A 23-year-old computer hacker from Ipswich who breached copyright laws to sell songs by pop star Ed Sheeran and US rapper Lil Uzi Vert has been jailed for 18 months.

Adrian Kwiatkowski hacked computers to make electronic copies of the songs Give Me That and Butterfly by Framlingham musician Sheeran and a number of tracks by the American artist., Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Kwiatkowski, of Hampton Road, Ipswich, admitted three charges of gaining unauthorised access to a computer, 14 copyright offences, two charges of possessing criminal property and one offence of converting criminal property.

Sentencing Kwiatkowski, Judge David Pugh said: “These offences caused damage to the music industry which has a significant importance economically, particularly to the U.K.

“They also affected the artists whose personal lives were violated as the information you accessed was not just music, it was also personal details,” said the judge.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said: “This case is about the defendant’s unauthorised hacking of email, social media, and electronic storage accounts, his appropriation of music from those accounts and his sale/ offering for sale of that music on the dark web in exchange for cryptocurrency.”

Kwiatkowski was caught after a complaint was made in 2019 by the representatives of the US songwriter and rapper Frank Ocean to the New York District Attorney’s office in relation to someone accessing the Dropbox account belonging to Mr Ocean’s producer and downloading unreleased music from it and offering it for sale.

The matter was then referred to City of London police and a search warrant was executed at Kwiatkoski’s Ipswich home on September 12 2019 and a number of electronic devices seized.

“Examination of the devices identified evidence of the harvesting and recording of personal data including names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, passwords and photographs of celebrities and individuals connected to the music industry,” said Mr Renvoize.

He said that Kwiatowski had sold music in return for cryptocurrency.

“ He controlled a Bitcoin wallet which was connected to a Coinbase account which was linked to his Lloyds bank account.

“Between May 2017 and September 2019 350 transactions passed through the Counbase account and between June 2018 and July 2019 the Lloyds account received credits totalling £61,855 from the Coinbase account,” said Mr Renvoize.

In addition the balance of the Coinbase account when the defendant was arrested was £21,729.

After his arrest Kwiatowski admitted hacking Frank Ocean’s Tumblr page, selling a Frank Ocean song for $1,000, hacking the Dropbox of Lil Uzi Vert, Post Malone and downloading music after hacking Kanye West’s Dropbox.

In a statement Ed Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp said it was difficult to estimate the exact value of the money lost by Ed Sheeran as a result of Kwiatowski’s offending but he said the cost of pulling a track could run into six figure losses.

He said the hacking had caused the artist distress due to his personal life being violated as well his music being hacked.

Steven Dyble for Kwiatowski said his client had no previous convictions and was only 18 and 19 when he committed the offences.

He said Kwiatowski had made immediate admissions to police following his arrest and there had then been an an inexplicable delay of nearly three years before his first court appearance.

He said there were elements of the way Kwiatowski had committed the offences which were “utterly naive” and it was inevitable that he would be caught.

“It was a bit like committing a bank robbery in broad daylight using your own car which was registered in your own name,” said Mr Dyble.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt from City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said: “Kwiatkowski was a highly skilled individual who unfortunately saw potential in using his abilities unlawfully.

"Not only did he cause several artists and their production companies significant financial harm, he deprived them of the ability to release their own work.

"Kwiatkowski will now face the consequences of his actions, and I hope this result will also make his customers refrain from purchasing illegal content again."