Kwiatkowski, known by his online handle Spirdarkgained access to a number of secure file transfer accounts owned by musicians and began selling the unreleased works in exchange for cryptocurrency, the crown prosecution service (SPC) said. In total, Kwiatkowski is said to have made £131,000 in sales.
Last Friday at Ipswich Crown Court, it was revealed that Kwiatkowski had 1,263 individual music files from 89 different artists on his laptop and admitted to accepting bitcoin payments for pirated songs. A Frank Ocean piece was sold for nearly £890, the convict admitted.
Kwiatkowski admitted three counts of unauthorized access to computer equipment, 14 counts of selling a copyright infringing item, one count of converting criminal property and two counts of possession of criminal assets. SPC’ Joanne Jakymec said the hacker had “complete disregard for the creativity of musicians” and “selfishly stole their music to make money selling it on the dark web”.
detective agent Daryl Friattof the Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the City of London Police, also commented, saying: “Not only has he caused significant financial harm to several artists and their production companies, but he has deprived them of the opportunity to publish their own work.
What is the punishment for music piracy?
It is illegal to download movies, music, e-books and other editor files without consent in the UK. Penalties vary depending on the exact crime, but if you are found guilty of breaching digital copyright law in the UK, the penalty can be up to 5 years in prison and a fine of 5,000 £, although these penalties and fines may be more severe depending on the nature of the product concerned.