Israeli man jailed for stealing, selling Madonna's hacked album

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Jerusalem : An Israeli court jailed a man for 14 months for breaking in to computers, stealing new songs by pop star Madonna and selling them. The man is a former contestant in Israel's version of 'American Idol' and he was selling demo tracks he stole from Madonna's latest album by hacking into the email and cloud accounts of people close to the singer.

Adi Lederman confessed as part of a plea bargain to “hacking in to a number of computers working with Madonna, and selling the musical files of Madonna he copied from those computers to two buyers,” the justice ministry said.

According to court papers, Lederman sold demo tracks from Madonna's album "Rebel Heart" to two buyers at $300 each, having copied the files from cloud accounts whose passwords he obtained after hacking email servers used by her musical director Kevin Antunes, talent manager Guy Oseary and two other people. Lederman also obtained parts of Madonna's work diary.

"The ease with which crimes such as this can be committed by those who have skills in the field, such as the accused, require an appropriate punitive response that has a deterrent and uncompromising message," the court said in a statement.

Arguing for leniency, Lederman's lawyer told the court that his client was "not someone with a criminal mentality, but rather, a very fired-up and impassioned collector who went too far". Lederman had health problems, said the lawyer, declining to detail these for the court record out of privacy concerns.

Lederman, 39, was arrested in January after an investigation assisted by the FBI. Unfinished tracks from "Rebel Heart" had leaked online a month earlier.

Madonna has said the crime was an "invasion into my life - creatively, professionally and personally (that) remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience". Lederman previously made a brief appearance on "A Star Is Born", Israel's version of "American Idol", before being voted off.

Lederman was arrested in January on suspicion of stealing songs from Madonna as well as other international artists, after an investigation carried out in collaboration with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation

In December, the American star released six songs from “Rebel Heart” months ahead of schedule after early versions appeared online. She called that “artistic rape” and that the leaked tracks were not her final versions.


First Published on Sunday, July 12, 2015 at: 12:29 AM


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