Man suspected of stealing Madonna songs and leaking them online arrested in Israel

Israeli police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of hacking into the computers and stealing the work of international recording artists including Madonna, police said. -- PHOTO: AFP
Israeli police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of hacking into the computers and stealing the work of international recording artists including Madonna, police said. -- PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of hacking into the computers and stealing the work of international recording artists including Madonna, police said.

A law enforcement source told AFP that the investigation was linked to a complaint filed by a local representative of the US star, although no names were mentioned in an official police statement.

"The investigation by the national cyber unit began after a complaint from the Israeli representative of an international female artist," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in the statement.

"The man is suspected of offences of accessing computer material, intellectual property theft and fraud," she said, adding that the undercover Israeli investigation was carried out in collaboration with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

She said the 38-year-old suspect was believed to have stolen work from a number of artists.

Icelandic singer Bjork said Tuesday she would release her new album "Vulnicura" months ahead of schedule after becoming the latest artist to suffer an online leak.

Songs from the album emerged on pirate sites on Tuesday, several days after Bjork announced it would be released in March and provided a list of songs.

Madonna last month released six songs from her upcoming album months ahead of schedule after early versions appeared online. The diva called the leak "artistic rape" and said that the leaked tracks were not her final versions.

Internet leaks of albums have become increasingly common in an era in which reproducing music files requires little technical skill and pirate websites enjoy an eager listenership.