×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Michael Jackson Estate Settles Copyright Fight With Disney

The Michael Jackson Estate has reached a confidential settlement with Disney over a 2018 TV special that included numerous clips from Jackson’s songs and music videos.

The estate sued in May 2018, alleging that “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” engaged in “astounding” copyright infringement. According to the suit, the ABC special used portions of more than 30 songs and videos belonging to the estate, including “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and clips from the “Thriller” music video and the “This Is It” concert documentary. The estate alleged that the producers never reached out for a license to use the material, and instead decided to use it all for free.

Disney contended that it was entitled to use the clips under the “fair use” doctrine.

The two sides filed a notice on Wednesday dismissing the complaint pursuant to a settlement.

“The dispute with Disney has been amicably resolved,” said Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Jackson estate, in a statement.

The estate’s claim included allegations that Disney had been extremely zealous in protecting its own copyrights.

“Disney has threatened to sue independent childcare centers for having pictures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on their walls, forcing them to remove all pictures of Mickey or Donald — and other anthropomorphized mice or ducks — rather than face ruinous litigation from one of the world’s largest corporations,” the suit alleged. “Disney once sued a couple on public assistance for $1 million when they appeared at children’s parties dressed as an orange tiger and a blue donkey. Apparently, these costumes cut too close to Tigger and Eeyore for Disney’s tastes.”

A jury trial had been scheduled for December 2020.

More Biz

  • Tarale Wulff Weinstein trial

    Ex-Waitress Testifies Harvey Weinstein Held Her Down and Raped Her

    A former cocktail waitress wept on the witness stand on Wednesday as she told jurors that Harvey Weinstein pinned her down and raped her in 2005. Tarale Wulff said she thought she was going to an audition. But when she arrived at Weinstein’s office, she was directed to get into a waiting car, which took [...]

  • Pamela Wasserstein CES

    Listen: Pam Wasserstein Brings Her New York State of Mind to Vox Media

    Merging New York Media with Vox Media wasn’t a deal Pam Wasserstein felt she had to make. But she’s glad she did. Now that the New York Media CEO-turned-Vox president is a few months into driving strategy for the combined businesses, Wasserstein is happy to report that her hunch that Vox and New York would [...]

  • John Stankey

    AT&T's John Stankey: TNT, TBS to Boost Unscripted Volume as WarnerMedia Invests in HBO Max

    The march to the launch of HBO Max in May is driving changes across WarnerMedia. John Stankey, AT&T chief operating officer and WarnerMedia chairman, told investors on Wednesday that cable powerhouses TNT and TBS will lean into more unscripted programming as WarnerMedia steers its investment in high-end scripted programming to the nascent subscription streaming platform. [...]

  • Passengers wait to depart for China

    Entertainment Stocks Tumble in Hong Kong as True Cost of Wuhan Virus Emerges

    UPDATED: The Hong Kong stock market tumbled by nearly 3% as it reopened on Wednesday. This was the first opportunity for local equities to be traded since the Chinese New Year holidays and the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, central China. There were steep falls for some of the companies most [...]

  • Ben Smith Buzzfeed

    Ben Smith Stepping Down as BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief to Join New York Times

    BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith is leaving the company to join The New York Times as its media columnist, stepping into the role once held by the late David Carr. Smith announced the news today to staff at BuzzFeed minutes before it broke publicly via NBC’s Dylan Byers. His last day will be in March, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content