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Quincy Jones sues over posthumous Michael Jackson releases

By | Published on Monday 28 October 2013

Quincy Jones

Presumably having noted the recent conclusion of the Jacksons v AEG legal battle, and aware that there have to be at least four bits of litigation involving Michael Jackson working their way through the US courts at any one time, Quincy Jones has stepped forward with a ten million dollar lawsuit. Good times.

Jones – the producer, of course, on what some might call the “decent bit” of the late king of pop’s solo oeuvre – is suing Sony Music and the MJJ Productions company, the latter now controlled by the Michael Jackson Estate, over various ventures that have utilised the singer’s catalogue since his death in 2009.

And that includes the ‘This Is It’ film and accompanying soundtrack, the 25th anniversary edition of ‘Bad’ and the two Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil productions. The latter played no small part in ensuring Jackson was declared the most profitable dead celeb of the last year by Forbes magazine last week.

The litigation says that, through the various posthumous Jackson projects, the estate and Sony Music, which released, via its Epic label, most of the singer’s solo albums, including the three the legendary producer oversaw, breached agreements dating from 1978 and 1985 that gave Jones the first option to remix or remaster the records he produced.

He also reckons that Sony and the Estate constructed complicated deals for some of the projects, especially the ‘This Is It’ film and soundtrack, designed to filter more money to MJJ Productions rather than Sony, and in doing so cutting him out of some of the royalties he is due via his contract with the major as producer on ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’.

Confirming that matters were now going legal, the producer’s attorney told reporters: “Quincy has been frustrated with these matters for a number of years, felt he was not making any progress and needed to take more formal action”.

For its part, the Michael Jackson Estate has denied any wrong-doing. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, its legal rep Howard Weitzman said the estate was “saddened to learn that Quincy Jones has filed a lawsuit seeking money from Michael’s estate. To the best of its knowledge, Mr Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael”.