Sues The Walt Disney Co.
The people who manage Michael Jackson‘s estate say The Walt Disney Co. has some nerve for profiting off the tears of MJ’s kids and stealing a bunch of its property … all to make a shoddy TV special they claim never came close to documenting Michael’s ‘Last Days.’
The estate just sued The Walt Disney Co. claiming copyright infringement and saying it never had permission to use a bunch of its footage for its “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” TV special … which premiered last week to more than 5.5 million viewers.
In docs, obtained by TMZ, the estate claims Disney’s lawyers told them they were making a documentary, so use of the MJ clips was fair game. But the estate calls BS … saying the special “did not focus on his last days … rather it was simply a mediocre look back at Michael Jackson’s life and entertainment career.”
The estate goes on to claim Disney jacked a bunch of MJ’s songs — including recordings of “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” The estate says Disney even exploited MJ’s kids when they aired Paris Jackson‘s heartbreaking remarks about her father at his 2009 memorial service. The estate says it’s never licensed that footage for commercial use.
The estate says it was never approached by Disney about the making of the TV special, much less asked for permission to use its intellectual property. The estate says that’s ironic since Disney goes to great lengths to protect its copyrighted characters … citing how Disney once sued a couple on public assistance for $1 mil when they dressed up as an orange tiger and blue donkey that looked too close to Tigger and Eeyore.
Estate attorney Howard Weitzman tells us, “Can you imagine using Disney’s intellectual property – like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Star Wars, The Avengers, Toy Story, and so many other works – without asking Disney’s permission or getting a license? The Estate has no choice but to vigorously protect its intellectual property, which is the lifeblood of its business.”
The estate is suing for profits Disney made off the special and other damages. We’ve reached out to The Walt Disney Co., so far no word back.