A dispute between the executors of the estate of the late Michael Jackson and a Canadian memorabilia dealer was settled Sept. 4, just hours before the start of a trial to determine how much the dealer owed the estate.
According to reports, a federal judge had already ruled that Howard Mann had violated Jackson’s copyrights. The two sides reached a settlement reportedly worth $2.5 million.
“In light of the court's rulings for the estate on summary judgment, this settlement seems appropriate for all concerned,” estate lawyers Howard Weitzman and Zia Modabber said in a statement.
Mann launched several Web sites, including michaeljacksonsecretvault.com and MJgives.com, while working on a 150-page book with Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson. He was using those sites to sell Jackson memorabilia and music without permission.
Among the things Mann illegally used were sound clips of Jackson’s song “Destiny” and “Thriller.” He also used images from the “This Is It,” the film about what was to be Jackson’s last tour, as well as a silhouette of Jackson dancing in the “Smooth Criminal” music video.
According to the Associated Press, Mann’s attorney’s rejected a previous settlement offer of $2 million, claiming that his client received bad advice on licensing the materials.
In addition to paying the $2.5 million, Mann and his companies are restricted from using Jackson’s likeness without permission in the future. According to CNN, a lien has been placed on items Mann purchased at an auction after Katherine and Joe Jackson’s bankruptcy in 1999. The settlement brings an end to a legal fight that began in January 2011.