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Jackson’s estate settles copyright dispute

Every business has property. Sometimes that property is warehouses, factories, machines or products. Other times, New Jersey businesses have intellectual property. These can include copyrights, patents, trademarks or licenses. Just like physical property, it is important for businesses to properly protect their intellectual property rights.

Copyrights are the rights to an individual’s original works, including photographs, performances, books, songs and paintings. The owner of the copyright has the exclusive rights to use the work, reproduce the work, distribute or perform the work. If someone without the copyright violates any of these, then the owner of the copyright is entitled to damages.

A case between the estate of pop star Michael Jackson and Vintage Pop Media Group have recently settled a copyright dispute just a week before it was set to go to trial. In this case, the company and its CEO were accused of using and promoting Jackson’s songs, likeness and images without permission.

Jackson’s estate claims that the group was using parts from Jackson’s “Thriller” video, as well as images from “This Is It,” a concert film released after Jackson’s death. The website where this information was being shared was shut down by the court earlier this summer.

Under the terms of the settlement, Vintage Pop Media Group will pay the estate $500,000 and its CEO will pay an additional $2 million. The group is also barred from using any of these images, songs or video clips in the future.

Just as Jackson’s estate did in this case, business owners must vigorously protect their business concepts and intellectual property. These rights are just as important as any other business asset.

Source: KNOE, “Jackson estate, businessman settle copyright case,” Anthony McCartney, Sept. 4, 2012

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