Music legendary producer Quincy Jones is suing music icon Michael Jackson's estate for denying him royalties generated after the latter's death. He claims the estate owes him millions in back royalties on some of Jackson's greatest hits.
According to the lawsuit obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Jones alleges that the estate reworked the music he produced on the deceased star's hit albums "Off The Wall," "Thriller," and "Bad" to use in new ventures, such as Jackson's "This It It" film and Cirque du Soleil shows. The move has deprived him of backend profit participations.
Jones also claims that he was denied credit for his work on Jackson's posthumous releases, and that Sony and MJJ entered into side deals to take profits that should have been included in the calculation of royalties.
"Quincy has been frustrated with these matters for a number of years, felt he was not making any progress and needed to take more formal action," his attorney Henry Gradstein has been quoted by THR as saying.
Jones' agreements with Jackson in 1978 and 1985 for his work on Jackson's solo albums included stipulations that the producer should be given first opportunity to re-edit or remix any of the master recordings, and that the blending of master recordings with others should have his prior written consent. Their contracts also stated that Jones should be given producer credit for each of the master recordings.
And in the event of remixed masters, the contracts provided that Jones be given producer credit to additional compensation, including upfront and a "backend" percentage.
The terms of the deal were apparently breached when MJJ allowed third parties to exploit his works "without first providing a reasonable opportunity to Jones to perform such remixes and/or re-edits."
The music producer wants at least USD10 million in damages for breach of contract. He also wants unpaid royalties that are due to him.
Michael Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman was "saddened" by Jones' lawsuit.
"To the best of its knowledge, Mr Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael," Weitzman said in a statement to THR.
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