Jackson's estate sues over website
Published 21/01/2011 | 09:22
Michael Jackson's estate is trying to shut down a website that is selling a book written by the late singer's mother and has released music attributed to the pop superstar.
The singer's estate is suing businessman Howard Mann, who operates the website www.jacksonsecretvault.com, claiming both are infringing copyrights and pose unfair competition.
The website features a book of Katherine Jackson's recollections of her son and released a remix of a Jackson song shortly before the release of a posthumous album last year. Music legend Michael died in June 2009, aged 50.
The copyright infringement lawsuit asks a federal judge to turn over the website to the estate. It also seeks all profits from the website, which would go to the multi-million-dollar estate that supports Katherine Jackson and the singer's three children.
The complaint claims Mr Mann and the site are using Jackson's likeness improperly, including images from the film This Is It and five sketches the singer drew.
The lawsuit states Mr Mann has created a false endorsement by including a "special thanks" to the estate in Katherine Jackson's book, despite not receiving permission for the use of copyrighted works.
Several of the Jackson Secret Vault releases have occurred at the same time as estate projects were being released, including the anniversary of Jackson's death and the release of the album Michael in December. That album sold more than three million copies.
"The estate had hoped Mann would voluntarily cease his conduct but that was not to be," estate lawyer Howard Weitzman wrote.
"People who trade off of Michael's personality, copyrights, and trademarks should not be allowed to exploit the legacy of one of the world's most recognised talents for their own benefit."