LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The Estate of Michael Jackson took the extraordinary step of publicly lambasting both television network ABC and their corporate parent Disney, over what it claims is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in an upcoming documentary on Jackson.
In a press statement released on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Estate said:
“We want consumers to know that The Last Days of Michael Jackson, a television special airing on ABC TV (a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) tomorrow May 24, is not sponsored or approved by the Estate of Michael Jackson. 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.
“ABC was using a copyrighted photo and silhouette image owned by the Estate in the trailers and promotional material for the special. Only after notice from our attorneys to ABC News indicating they were infringing on our IP rights were the materials removed.
“We are told ABC intends to use music and other intellectual property owned by the Estate such as photos, logos, artwork, and more in the program itself, without having licensed the rights to any such material.
“Imagine if this was done with any of ABC’s intellectual property. 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 documentary, “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” is set to air on ABC on May 24th and is billed by the broadcaster as “an exploration of the ‘King of Pop’s’ life and legacy; never-before-seen interviews with Jackson.”
Jackson and Disney had numerous collaborations with Disney during his life, including the production of “Captain EO” a 3-D sci-fi short in the vein of Flash Gordon, that was shown as part of an attraction at Disney’s theme parks for a decade, starting in 1986.
A rep from Disney did not respond to a request for comment.