Last week, just hours before it debuted, news broke that the Michael Jackson estate was not happy with a two-hour ABC special dedicated to the King of Pop’s final moments. MJ’s estate claimed that the documentary, The Last Days of Michael Jackson, was in no way “sponsored or approved” by the late star’s family and described the project as “exploitative.”
On Wednesday, they went ahead and sued ABC, along with its parent company Disney, citing improper use of Jackson’s songs (“Billie Jean,” “Bad,”) videos (“Thriller,” “Black and White,”) and movies (Michael Jackson’s This Is It and Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off The Wall), Associated Press reports.
According to AP, the lawsuit dismisses any inherent value in the doc and refers to the special as “a mediocre look back at Michael Jackson’s life and entertainment career”:
The lawsuit alleges at least 30 violations and seeks unspecified damages and an injunction against further use of the estate’s intellectual property.
It frequently cites Disney’s aggressive defense of its own copyrights and its normally narrow view of “fair use,” the doctrine in copyright law that says short excerpts can be used for news, criticism and research.
The lawsuit further stated: “Like Disney, the lifeblood of the estate’s business is its intellectual property. Yet for some reason, Disney decided it could just use the estate’s most valuable intellectual property for free.”