LONDON (Reuters) – British police on Friday arrested a man suspected of hacking famous music acts to steal unreleased songs and sell them for cryptocurrency.
City of London Police said the 19-year-old was arrested in Ipswich, a town in rural east England, after receiving a tip from the Manhattan District Attorney’s (D.A.) office.
They also searched a property in north London.
“Today’s action marks a significant point in our investigation into the individuals responsible for stealing music and selling it on illegal streaming websites, worldwide,” Detective Inspector Nick Court from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit said in a statement.
“This sort of crime causes significant financial loss to those who work so incredibly hard to produce, write and make music for their fans to enjoy.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s office launched the investigation based on referrals from the management companies of the recording artists.
Songs have been stolen from several major acts and leaked online in recent years.
In June, British band Radiohead released an album of demos and outtakes from 1997 in response to a thief who reportedly put the material on sale for $150,000.
And in 2015, a former contestant in Israel’s version of “American Idol” was jailed for hacking the computers of singers including Madonna, who had complained about unfinished tracks from an album being leaked online.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison