We have learned that today, May 30, Michael Jackson’s estate filed a lawsuit against ABC and The Walt Disney Company over their The Last Days of Michael Jackson special! Here’s what this is all about!
According to the documents, the special that aired last Thursday used some of the estate’s copyrighted materials without getting permission, which is as you can imagine, illegal!
Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump and Aldisert LLP and his partner Jonathan Steinsapir were the ones to sue the networks in the name of Michael Jackson’s estate.
Today, they released the following statement: ‘Disney and ABC committed willful and intentional copyright infringement when they used the estate’s copyrighted materials without the estate’s permission. Disney’s conduct here was particularly surprising given that it has no tolerance for anyone using its copyrighted material in even the most trivial of manners.’
‘Disney and ABC’s conduct’s also contrary to law and industry practice, and despite several cautionary letters from the estate to Disney and ABC attorneys, Disney and ABC never sought Jackson estate’s permission to use any of the material owned by the estate in the broadcast,’ the statement went on.
‘Can you imagine using Disney’s intellectual property – like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Star Wars, The Avengers, Toy Story, and so many other works – without asking Disney’s permission or getting a license? The estate has no choice but to protect its intellectual property, which is the lifeblood of its business.’
Meanwhile, however, ABC denied that their documentary infringed on Jackson estate’s legal property.
‘ABC News’ documentary explores the life, career, and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide. The program doesn’t infringe on his estate’s rights, but as a courtesy, we removed a specific image from the promotional material,’ one spokesperson told ET.