Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In 2001, Vintage Pop obtained possession of some Michael Jackson memorabilia and set up a pay-per view website for the material. Michael Jackson sued the company for copyright infringement and other charges, but the case was dismissed in 2006 with prejudice when Michael stopped paying his lawyers and refused to submit to a deposition.
Howard Mann saw this as an opportunity and purchased Vintage Pop. He believes that Vintage Pop is forever immunized against intellectual property lawsuits from Jackson and is free to make money from Jackson’s name. A few months after Michael’s death, Mann introduced himself to Katherine Jackson, offering her money and the opportunity to protect Michael’s reputation. Katherine accepted, claiming that the money coming from Michael’s estate wasn’t enough to support her.
Since the unlikely alliance, Katherine has marketed a Michael Jackson book on Oprah for Vintage Pop Media, and they’ve sold calendars as well. These joint endeavors are becoming a nuisance for estate administrators, and although they do not want to offend Michael’s mother, they plan to take appropriate legal action soon, claiming that Mann’s legal theory is flawed.
See Harriet Ryan, Michael Jackson Estate is Warily Watching Rival Releases, L.A. Times, Dec. 12, 2010.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this to my attention.