Michael Jackson’s Estate Says Digital Sale Of Early Recording Violates Estate Rights; Here’s Why

BY Edwin Lamptey December 11, 2023 8:14 PM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@michaeljackson

Lawyers for the estate of late musician, Michael Jackson, have expressed concerns about the risks involved in the potential sale of the estate. 

The lawyers argue that the sale could expose some people to liability and is “the opposite of honoring Michael Jackson.”

Michael Jackson’s estate, according to sources, isn’t excited about a recently announced digital sale of an early Jackson 5 recording, warning that the move could “violate the Jackson Estate’s rights” and lead to a lawsuit. 

A Swedish company called Anotherblock announced on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, that it would digitally release a 1967 version of the song “Big Boy”, claiming it represented the first time that Jackson’s voice had been put on tape. 

The company indicated that the release was in partnership with Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and a company called Recordpool, which purportedly controls the intellectual property rights of the recording. 

However, in a letter sent the following day, the estate’s attorney, Jonathan Steinsapir, pointedly advised the company about several problems that may lead to exposure to liability to the Jackson Estate. 

The letter, amongst other things, warned that the estate owns all rights to Jackson’s name, image, and likeness rights, along with his trademarks. 

Steinsapir further noted that, as a result, “any use of Michael’s name, image, and likeness in marketing, advertising or in the product itself violates the rights of the Jackson estate. 

At the heart of the growing dispute is a 1967 version of the Jackson 5 song Big Boy, a subsequent version of which was commercially released in 1968. 

The earlier version was called the One-derful Version because it was recorded at Chicago’s One-derful Studios. Rolling Stone has revealed that that version of the song first surfaced in 2009 and was released in 2014 on vinyl. The sale includes $25 and $100 packages with various other goodies and is meant to be conducted via the Anotherblock website. 

An article released in 2009 by the Chicago Reader referred to the One-derful track as the earliest known recording of Michael Jackson and his brothers. Another article released in 2014 by Rolling Stone also called the recording the “earliest commercially available Jackson 5 recording.”