According to a report on Deadline, Michael Jackson’s estate is now suing ABC and parent company Disney. The estate claims ABC did not obtain rights to use Jackson’s songs and images in their primetime special about the singer.

Michael Jackson's Estate

What’s happening:

  • Last Thursday, ABC aired a primetime special on Michael Jackson titled, The Last Days of Michael Jackson.
  • Jackson’s estate filed a complaint saying that ABC did not obtain or request the rights to use Jackson’s images for their primetime special.
  • Disney says they removed a specific image from their promotional materials as a curtesy.
  • In a recent update on Deadline, Michael Jackson’s estate is now reportedly suing ABC and Disney for using song clips and images of the singer without permission.
  • Lawyers for the estate filed an 18-page lawsuit in a California federal court today with the goal of presenting the case to a jury.

What they’re saying:

  • The estate in a statement prior to the show’s airing: “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)… is not sponsored or approved by the Estate of Michael Jackson.”
  • Disney spokesperson responding to Deadline: “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.”
  • Lawyers at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldsert LLP (representing the estate): The extent of Disney’s use of the Estate’s intellectual property in The Last Days of Michael Jackson is truly astounding. The program used dozens of copyrighted works owned by the Estate, but obtained no license. In fact, Disney-owned ABC never even approached the Estate to seek a license or let the Estate know what it was doing.

The Last Days of Michael Jackson was a two-hour special documentary that aired last week on ABC. The special examined the life of the late singer.



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