Defendants must pay $2.5 million for using images, recordings and other material owned by the King of Pop's estate
Michael Jackson's estate just got $2.5 million richer.
The deceased pop singer's estate reached a settlement Tuesday in a copyright infringement case against Howard Mann and other defendants. In addition to Mann and his co-defendants having to pay the above-mentioned sum, they have been slapped with a permanent injunction against infringing on Jackson's intellectual property in the future.
In addition, the settlement included a declaratory judgment confirming the estate's ownership "of Michael Jackson's right of publicity and other intellectual property rights," the estate's attorney, Howard Weitzman, told TheWrap in a statement.
Weitzman added that the settlement "seems appropriate for all concerned."
The estate filed its lawsuit in January 2011, claiming that a website operating under the URLs MichaelJacksonSecretVault.com and JacksonSecretVault.com used Jackson material without authorization.
"The website … does absolutely everything in its power to suggest to its visitors that it is the hub for all things Michael Jackson, and that it is sanctioned and supported by the estate, when in fact it is neither," the estate's suit read. "Instead, the website is rife with illegal uses of Michael Jackson intellectual property assets including, without limitation, photographs, copyrighted artwork, sound recordings and printed song lyrics."
Mann — who collaborated with Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson on the memoir "Never Can Say Goodbye: The Katherine Jackson Story" — subsequently claimed in court papers that he had evidence "that casts substantial doubt on the validity of [Jackson's] will," and thus called into question whether the estate owned the rights to the material.
The estate won a partial victory last month, when judge Dean D. Pregerson of the US District Court of Central California granted the estate a partial summary judgment.
Mann's lawyer did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.