Michael Jackson’s Estate Settles Lawsuit With Disney Over Documentary Featuring Late Singer
After a lengthy legal battle, Michael Jackson’s estate has come to a settlement agreement with Disney after a dispute regarding ABC’s two-hour documentary The Last Days of Michael Jackson, which aired on the network in May of last year.
The parties have resolved their issues as they agreed for the case to be dismissed with prejudice, so the claims in the lawsuit can’t be refiled.
While the details weren’t made public, the attorney for Michael Jackson’s estate, Howard Weitzman said the matter was
Michael Jackson’s estate sprung into action with a copyright lawsuit against Disney, calling out the company for infringing on Michael Jackson’s likeness for years. The estate said that The Last Days of Michael Jackson featured portions of the This Is It documentary along with projects from the late King of Pop such as videos for hits like “Black or White” and “Thriller.” It also pointed out that Disney never hesitates to take legal action when protecting its own intellectual property.
The lawsuit said, according to The Hollywood Reporter,
“In light of all of this, the plaintiffs in this case…were genuinely shocked when they watched Disney’s prime-time two-hour television program.”
It continued and said The Last Days of Michael Jackson was
“simply a mediocre look back at Michael Jackson’s life and entertainment career.”
A lawyer for Disney, Daniel Petrocelli, responded,
“This case is about the right of free speech under the First Amendment, the doctrine of fair use under the Copyright Act, and the ability of news organizations to use limited excerpts of copyrighted works — here, in most instances well less than 1% of the works — for the purpose of reporting on, commenting on, teaching about, and criticizing well-known public figures of interest in biographical documentaries without fear of liability from overzealous copyright holders.”
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