Earlier this month, ABC announced the premiere date for its documentary on Michael Jackson. The special was set to air on May 24, but the King of Pop’s estate shared that it’s against the program’s broadcast, adding that the network may “violate” the entity’s “intellectual property rights.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday (May 23), and confirmed by the Associated Press, the “Human Nature” singer’s representatives expressed disappointment with ABC News’ decision to still press forward. “It is particularly disheartening that Disney, a company known to strongly believe in protecting its own IP rights, would choose to ignore these rights belonging to the Estate,” the response reads.
The Last Days of Michael Jackson planned to detail the global star’s fight for normalcy and what transpired in his final hours. Jackson died in 2009 of a propofol intoxication and other drugs. His estate notes that the network might use music and other creations of Jackson’s within the special even though an infringement notice was sent to ABC News.
“Imagine if this was done with any of ABC’s intellectual property,” the statement continues. “We believe the special to be another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children.”
The Last Days of Michael Jackson is scheduled to air on May 24 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
ABC News issued a statement on the matter:
“ABC News’ documentary explores the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide. The program does not infringe on his estate’s rights, but as a courtesy, we removed a specific image from the promotional material.”
The Blast has obtained a lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s estate against ABC, claiming that the network illegally utilized the pop legend’s music in its documentary.
“Disney used this music without obtaining required permissions from both the owners of the sound recordings (the Estate) and the owner of the musical compositions (the Estate for most songs, and third parties for a few others),” the estate outlined.
According to the website, Disney previously reached out to Jackson’s estate and said it was allowed “fair use” of songs like “Billie Jean,” “Bad” and “Thriller” because of the program’s documentary status.