Written by: Alex Green
ABC is set to air Disney’s “The Last Days Of Michael Jackson,” a documentary that starts in Gary, Indiana and traverses its way through Jackson’s career, first as a member of the Jackson 5 and then as a solo artist.
Replete with onstage footage and never-before-seen interviews, the two-hour special initially promised to add to Jackson’s legacy by offering a deep look into his life as a global superstar.
However, with the special’s airing only a day away, Michael Jackson’s estate issued this message:
“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.”
The message went on to say: “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.”