The estate of Michael Jackson issued a statement Wednesday decrying an upcoming ABC News special about the late singer.
“It is particularly disheartening that Disney, a company known to strongly believe in protecting its own IP rights, would choose to ignore these rights belonging to the Estate,” Jackson’s estate said via a spokesperson Wednesday.
The special, which is scheduled to air Thursday, is being promoted as having new information about the singer’s decline and ultimate death in 2009.
According to the statement from Jackson’s estate, ABC had been using copyrighted material to promote the special, including a particular silhouette image of Jackson. The statement claims that the special improperly uses other copyrighted material, including Jackson’s music.
ABC on Wednesday issued a response, saying in a statement, “ABC News’ documentary explores the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide. The program does not infringe on his estate’s rights, but as a courtesy, we removed a specific image from the promotional material.”
Read the full statement from the Jackson estate below:
23 May 2018
We want consumers to know that The Last Days of Michael Jackson, a television special airing on ABC TV (a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) tomorrow May 24, is not sponsored or approved by the Estate of Michael Jackson. It is particularly disheartening that Disney, a company known to strongly believe in protecting its own IP rights, would choose to ignore these rights belonging to the Estate.
ABC was using a copyrighted photo and silhouette image owned by the Estate in the trailers and promotional material for the special. Only after notice from our attorneys to ABC News indicating they were infringing on our IP rights were the materials removed. We are told ABC intends to use music and other intellectual property owned by the Estate such as photos, logos, artwork, and more in the program itself, without having licensed the rights to any such material. Imagine if this was done with any of ABC’s intellectual property. We believe the special to be another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children.
The Estate of Michael Jackson