Photo Credit: anotherblock
The Michael Jackson Estate threatens legal action over the release of the so-called “long-lost first ever studio recording” of Michael with the Jackson 5, warning it violates the Estate’s rights and could lead to a lawsuit.
A recently announced digital sale from Swedish company anotherblock of an early Jackson 5 recording that supposedly features Michael Jackson’s first ever studio sessions has led to a letter from the Michael Jackson estate. The letter, shared with Digital Music News on Tuesday (December 12th), threatens legal action over several issues that might “expose (anotherblock) to liability to the Jackson Estate.”
The recording, a 1967 version of the song “Big Boy,” is claimed by anotherblock to represent the first time Michael Jackson’s voice was recorded in the studio. But an attorney representing the Jackson Estate, Jonathan Steinsapir, points out a number of issues with anotherblock’s claims and digital sale of the recording that could lead to litigation.
The letter states that, as the Estate owns all rights to Jackson’s name, image, likeness, and trademarks, “any use of Michael’s name, image, and likeness in marketing, advertising, or in the product itself violates the Jackson Estate’s rights.”
Steinsapir also questioned claims that the recording was Jackson’s “first-ever” studio recording.
“We have no information to confirm that the unreleased recordings you are making available are in fact the first time Michael Jackson’s ‘voice was put on tape’ or even that it was the first time he recorded in a studio at all,” writes Steinsapir. “We have good reason to believe that this is not the first time Michael Jackson ever recorded in a studio. Because of that, you are likely misleading the public.”
Last week, anotherblock announced it would release the track for the first time in a digital format in a partnership with Jackson’s mother and a company called Recordpool that is said to own the intellectual property rights to the recording.
But the letter from the Estate’s attorneys makes clear that any deals anotherblock made to facilitate the sale could be invalid if they intersect with rights controlled by the Estate.
“We have serious doubts that Michael would have ever wanted these recordings released and commercialized,” the letter continues. “What you are doing is the opposite of honoring Michael Jackson.”
The letter concludes by warning that the Estate reserves all “rights and remedies,” including the right to seek monetary damages and an injunction to prevent further sales.