The value of intellectual property survives death, never more so than in Michael’s case!
The executors of Michael’s estate have made business deals worth many millions of dollars for the estate since June 2009, and are absolutely adamant that they will continue to protect Michael’s legacy for his heirs.
To protect this income and value of his brand, a week ago, Michael Jackson’s estate brought suit in California against his mother’s business partner, alleging infringement of the valuable rights to Michael’s likeness, image, copyrights, trademarks and goodwill, through products sold (allegedly) for Howard Mann’s own profit. Specifically, it alleged that Mann had infringed on copyrights for the hit film, ‘This Is It,’ that incorporated unseen video just prior to Michael’s untimely death, from rehearsals for his highly anticipated tour and the book ‘Never Say Goodbye.’ According to the complaint, the film is becoming the highest grossing concert movie and documentary ever released.
The estate further contends that the business partner used websites to market various products, with Michael’s name and image. This was used to trick the public into believing that the estate endorsed the creation of the products on sale. The estate seeks injunctive relief. We will see if the California court tells the business partner to ‘Beat It,’ as some legal commentators have suggested might be the result.
This was not the first lawsuit brought by the Michael Jackson Estate. In April 2010, Michael’s Estate obtained an injunction against a foundation which was using the name of Michael’s charitable group, his likeness and trademarks.