Michael Jackson estate sues Disney over documentary
LOS ANGELES: The estate has sued US broadcaster ABC, arguing a network special about the pop singer’s final days used his songs and music videos without permission.
The legal action also names ABC’s corporate parent, which happens to be Walt Disney Co – as a defendant.
The two-hour documentary, The Last Days of Michael Jackson, was broadcast on 24 May and explored the life, career, and legacy of Michael Jackson.
“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.”
According to court papers, the estate raised objections to the show before it aired.
A lawyer for Disney said the use of copyrighted music was “fair use” because of its documentary nature.
ABC has said the film “did not infringe on his estate’s right.”
Jackson died in 2009 from a prescription drug overdose at the age of 50.
He has topped Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-earning dead celebrities for five years running, with an estimated $75m (£56m) last year.