UK: Hacker who stole Sheeran songs sentenced to 18 months

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. disregard / ˌdɪs rɪˈgɑrd / (n.) – the act of ignoring someone or something

    Some fans showed disregard for the actor’s privacy by taking pictures without permission.

  2. subsequent / ˈsʌb sɪ kwənt / (adj.) – happening after a certain event

    After the company released a successful smartphone in 2007, demand for its products increased greatly in subsequent years.

  3. link / lɪŋk / (v.) – to show that a person or thing is connected to something

    The police linked the mayor to several illegal activities.

  4. scheme / skim / (n.) – a plan to benefit oneself, especially by deceiving other people

    The police arrested the man for being behind the robbery scheme.

  5. line (one’s) pockets / laɪn ˈpɑkəts / (idiom) – to make money through illegal means

    The hacker stole and sold credit card details to line his own pockets.


Read the text below.

A computer hacker who stole unreleased songs from British pop star Ed Sheeran and American rap artist Lil Uzi Vert has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, U.K. prosecutors said.

Adrian Kwiatkowski, 23, of Ipswich in southern England, hacked the artists’ cloud-based accounts and sold their songs on the dark web in exchange for cryptocurrency. City of London Police, which investigated the case, said Kwiatkowski made 131,000 pounds ($147,000) on the transactions.

“Kwiatkowski had complete disregard for the musicians’ creativity and hard work producing original songs and the subsequent loss of earnings,’’ said Joanne Jakymec of the Crown Prosecution Service. “He selfishly stole their music to make money for himself.”

In August, Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, including 14 copyright offenses and three counts of computer misuse. He was sentenced in Ipswich Crown Court.

City of London Police worked with authorities in the United States to investigate the case after the management companies of several musicians reported that an individual, known online as Spirdark, had gained access to their clients’ cloud-based accounts and was selling their content.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation in 2019, and linked the email address used for Spirdark’s cryptocurrency account to Kwiatkowski. It then identified the IP address of the device used to hack one of the accounts as his home address.

After further investigation, Kwiatkowski was arrested by the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit in September 2019.

“Cybercrime knows no borders, and this individual executed a complex scheme to steal unreleased music in order to line his own pockets,’’ Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. said.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The hacker was able to access the artists’ cloud-based accounts to steal their songs. After this incident, do you think it’s still a good idea to use cloud-based storage for important files? Discuss.
  • Why do you think some people bought the stolen songs from Kwiatkowski? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If you were one of the artists whose songs were stolen, what would you do about it? Discuss.
  • How do you think piracy, or the act of stealing and distributing intellectual property, can be stopped? Discuss.
Category : Technology/Innovations