3 Count: Michael Jackson, Jay-Z & Prince

This one is a thriller!

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1: Michael Jackson Estate Sues Disney Over Unauthorized ABC Special

First off today, Kory Grow at Rolling Stone reports that the estate of Michael Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary ABC TV alleging that ABC used dozens of Michael Jackson’s works without permission when producing an unauthorized documentary about the singer.

According to the lawsuit, The Last Days of Michael Jackson aired on ABC last week. The special, which focused on the events leading up to Jackson’s 2009 death, used clips from several of Jackson’s songs including Beat It, Billie Jean and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough as well as related music videos and concert performances. All totaled, the estate claims the special used dozens of works owned by them without obtaining permission and in the face of cautionary letters from attorneys representing the estate.

ABC has not responded to the lawsuit, saying they have not yet had a chance to review the complaint. The estate had previously called the documentary “another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson.”

2: Jay-Z defeats copyright claims over ‘Big Pimpin”

Next up today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has handed a victory to Jay-Z in a dispute over the rapper’s use of a sample from an Egyptian song.

The lawsuit was filed by the nephew of the late composer Baligh Hamdy. According to the plaintiff, Jay-Z’s 1999 hit Big Pimpin’ used a sample from Hamdy’s song Khosara Khosara. Originally Jay-Z argued the song was in the public domain but eventually paid EMI Saudi Arabia $100,000 for the use of the sample. However, the plaintiff argued that it wasn’t an issue of the economic, right, but the moral right.

Jay-Z and the other defendants argued that the United States does not have a comparable moral rights clause and, as such, the plaintiff’s have no standing in U.S. Court. The lower court agreed, dismissing the case, and that decision has now been upheld by the Ninth Circuit 3-0.

3: Prince’s Estate Sues Yukon Man for Copyright Infringement

Finally today, Nolan Clay at The Oklahoman reports that Prince’s estate has filed lawsuit against Phil Shadid, an Oklahoma man that the estate accuses of copyright infringement.

According to the lawsuit, Shadid posted videos involving the album Vanity 6 on TuneCore, a music distributor that works with independent artists. The estate filed a takedown notice on the videos and TuneCore removed them. However, Shadid filed a counternotice on the videos, resulting in them being restored and in the Prince estate filing a lawsuit.

Vanity 6 is a 1982 self-titled album performed by a group that Prince put together and wrote the music for. The estate has filed a similar lawsuit, that one against a YouTube who filed a counternotice after a Prince-related video was removed at the request of the estate.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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