ABC and Disney claim they had every right to use Michael Jackson music in their documentary special, “The Last Days of Michael Jackson,” and wants the estate’s lawsuit against them dismissed.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, ABC and Disney say their use of songs like “Billie Jean,” “Bad,” “Thriller” and “Black or White” are protected by the doctrine of fair use under the Copyright Act.
As ABC and Disney explain, they are permitted “to use limited excerpts of copyrighted works — here, in most instances well less than 1% of the works — for the purpose of reporting on, commenting on, teaching about, and criticizing well-known public figures of interest in biographical documentaries without fear of liability from overzealous copyright holders.”
They believe they did just that, claiming, “ABC News used and incorporated short excerpts of some songs, music videos and other material featuring Jackson within a two-hour documentary entitled The Last Days of Michael Jackson for the purpose of providing historical context and explanation tracing the arc and aspects of Jackson’s life and career.”
ABC and Disney wanted the lawsuit tossed and are asking for fees and costs.
As The Blast previously reported, the estate claims “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” used songs and videos that belong to the estate.
The lawsuit claimed, “Disney used this music without obtaining required permissions from both the owners of the sound recordings (the Estate) and the owner of the musical compositions (the Estate for most songs, and third parties for a few others).”
The case is ongoing.