Michael Jackson’s estate sues ABC, Walt Disney for copyright infringement

Michael Jackson has led Forbes’ list of the highest-earning dead celebrities five years running, with an estimated $75 million last year. (Reuters)
Updated 31 May 2018

Michael Jackson’s estate sues ABC, Walt Disney for copyright infringement

NEW YORK: Michael Jackson’s estate sued ABC on Wednesday, arguing that a special the network aired last week about the pop singer’s final days used his songs and music videos without permission.
The copyright infringement lawsuit, which also names ABC’s corporate parent Walt Disney Co. as a defendant, was filed in Los Angeles federal court and took aim at “The Last Days of Michael Jackson,” a two-hour show broadcast on May 24.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
“Like Disney, the lifeblood of the estate’s business is its intellectual property,” the complaint said. “Yet for some reason, Disney decided it could just use the estate’s most valuable intellectual property for free.”
An ABC News spokesperson said the company had not yet reviewed the lawsuit but defended the broadcast.
“The ABC News documentary explored the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide, and did not infringe on his estate’s rights,” the spokesperson said via email.
Jackson, known as the “King of Pop,” died in 2009 from a prescription drug overdose at age 50.
The estate raised objections to the show before it aired last week. According to the lawsuit, a lawyer for Disney told the estate the special’s use of copyrighted music was “fair use” because of its documentary nature, an argument the estate called “absurd.”
“If Disney’s position on fair use of the estate’s copyrights were accepted, a network, studio or producer could make a documentary about Walt Disney, and spend most of the documentary’s time using, without Disney’s permission, extensive clips of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, and Disney movies,” the lawsuit said.
The show employed “at least 30 different copyrighted works,” according to the lawsuit, including hit songs like “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” and video footage owned by the estate.
Jackson has led Forbes’ list of the highest-earning dead celebrities five years running, with an estimated $75 million last year thanks to a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and a new posthumous album, among other sources of revenue.


New James Bond film title ‘No Time To Die’

Updated 15 min 11 sec ago

New James Bond film title ‘No Time To Die’

  • Filming of the 25th cinematic instalment of the British spy saga is already underway, but has been beset by problems
  • Oscar winner Rami Malek will play the villain in the long-awaited movie that is set to see Craig bow out after eight years as 007

LONDON: The next James Bond film starring Daniel Craig as 007 will be called “No Time To Die” and released in April 2020, the storied franchise announced on Tuesday.
Filming of the 25th cinematic instalment of the British spy saga is already underway, but has been beset by problems.
An explosion at Britain’s Pinewood Studios in June rocked one of the film sets, causing damage to the stage and one minor injury.
The Sun newspaper said a triple blast hit the set after a stunt went wrong, taking off part of the roof and several wall panels.
Bond actor Craig earlier had to undergo minor ankle surgery after an injury on set.
Craig — who will play the legendary character for the fifth time — sustained the injury during filming in Jamaica.
Oscar winner Rami Malek will play the villain in the long-awaited movie that is set to see Craig bow out after eight years as 007.
It will also see the return of Ralph Fiennes as Bond’s boss and French actress Lea Seydoux.
The production has been repeatedly delayed over script disputes.
The delays were prompted in part by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s replacement by Cary Fukunaga in September.
The film is now due to open in cinemas in Britain on April 3, 2020, and in the United States five days later.