Michael Jackson’s estate has reached a $2.5 million settlement with a former business partner of Jackson’s mother and memorabilia dealer who had already been found liable for infringing on the estate’s copyright rights.
The settlement avoids a trial that would have asked a jury to determine the amount of damages Howard Mann, operator of michaeljacksonsecretvault.com and MJgives.com, et al., owed the estate for his online sale of Jackson-related merchandise and music as well as the use of the pop singer’s image on the websites.
Jackson died in 2009, and his estate has retained the copyrights in Jackson’s music for the benefit of his mother Katherine and his children. Katherine Jackson had worked with Mann on several projects about her son, but the dispute arose because Mann sold merchandise that the Jackson estate asserted he had not been authorized to sell. In its argument, the estate referred to this as acting with “arrogant disregard” of the estate’s copyrights.
The estate also maintained that Mann’s website “does absolutely everything in its power to suggest to its visitors that it is the hub for all things Michael Jackson, and that it is sanctioned and supported by the estate, when in fact it is neither.”
All of Mann’s Michael Jackson-related websites have been ordered to be shut down.
The estate’s lawyers have been quoted as saying that “the settlement seems appropriate for all concerned,” while Mann’s attorneys haven’t commented.
What do you think of the settlement?