Memorabilia dealer’s challenge of MJ’s will shot down in court
New York: A memorabilia dealer working with Katherine Jackson violated copyrights owned by Michael Jackson’s estate and can’t use the material in the future, a federal judge ordered on Friday.
In a victory for the late pop star’s estate, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson said that businessman Howard Mann had no right to use art from the movie ‘This Is It,’ the Jackson song ‘Destiny,’ and material from an anniversary release DVD of ‘Thriller’ on web properties including michaeljacksonsecretvault.com.
The website, now inactive, was set up to sell a hardcover tribute book, which Mann had published with Katherine two years ago.
The judge granted a permanent injunction against unauthorized use of the material saying that due to Mann’s longstanding interest in Jackson and ties to his parents, “future violations are likely.”
An upcoming trial will decide damages, but Judge Pregerson wrote, “defendants are unlikely to be able to pay damages, given their substantial outstanding debts.”
The estate had filed the lawsuit against Mann more than a year ago claiming his venture with Katherine was illegal, confusing to consumers and potentially damaging to legitimate business ventures trying to earn money for Michael’s mother and three children.
“The Court’s ruling makes clear that Howard Mann had no right to use Michael Jackson’s intellectual property for his own benefit,” a leading daily has quoted estate lawyer Zia Modabber as saying in a statement on Friday.
“The Executors of the Michael Jackson Estate are extremely pleased with the Court’s ruling which prevents Mann from continuing to unlawfully profit from Michael Jackson and his intellectual property,” a statement from an estate spokesman read.
Mann, however, did not seem deterred and vowed to fight on and said he doesn’t believe the judge’s ruling applies to the hardcopy tribute book that he published with Katherine’s blessing.
“It’s obviously very disappointing, but we intend to go back with some additional information. We still feel we have marketing rights related to the book,” Mann added.