Last Thursday, ABC aired The Last Days of Michael Jackson, a two-hour special with a focal point on the events that took place during the last days of the King of Pop’s life.
The context and content of the documentary do not sit well with many. The estate of Michael Jackson has officially filed a lawsuit in federal court against ABC and their parent company Disney over the alleged act of infringing intellectual property, as reported by the Associated Press.
The lawsuit imputes the special pursue about 30 violations ranging from the illegal use of Jackson’s most cherished classics to a near defamation of character. Portion of musical commodities such as “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” and “Black or White” were rather “recycled,” along with pops from Spike Lee‘s 2016 documentary Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, and immediate posthumous feature film This Is It, both garnered by the Jackson estate.
“Like Disney, the lifeblood of the estate’s business is its intellectual property,” the lawsuit states. “Yet for some reason, Disney decided it could just use the estate’s most valuable intellectual property for free.”
Prior to the airing of the special, the estate made an attempt to place a halt on its release by sending warning letters to the attorneys of Disney, but Disney reportedly failed to respond.
In response to the allegations, Disney released a statement last week defending their copyrights saying it was of the “fair use” canon which allows short excerpts to be freely used for news, criticism, and research.
They argue that the special is simply a piece of journalism and did not “did not infringe on his estate’s rights.”
The lawsuit rejects the whole “news value” ideal, deeming the special as being a “mediocre look back at Michael Jackson’s life and entertainment career.”