Quincy Jones is entitled to more than $30 million in royalties for the use of any Michael Jackson songs he helped produce and which were later used in the film “This is It” and other projects, an attorney for the Grammy Award-winning music producer told a jury Monday, but a lawyer for a company created by the late singer says Jones is entitled to just under $400,000.
The lawyers made their pitches to a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing final arguments in trial of Jones’ lawsuit against MJJ Productions Inc., which is now part of the singer’s estate.
“This case is about two men, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, and the music they created 30 years ago, some of the most loved and popular music ever,” said one of Jones’ attorneys, Scott Cole.
MJJ lawyers concede Jones, 84, was not fully compensated for his work, Cole said.
“They’re only saying they don’t want to pay the full amount,” Cole said.
Attorney Howard Weitzman, on behalf of MJJ Productions, countered that Jones had already been paid millions of dollars and will continue to receive money.
“But you don’t deserve a raise, man,” Weitzman said, looking toward Jones, who shook his head in disagreement as he listed to the lawyer’s argument.
Weitzman said Jones testified he did not care about the language of the contracts that he signed.
Jones’ suit alleges he is entitled to box office profits from “This is It” and two Cirque du Soleil shows about Jackson.
“This is It” is a 2009 documentary that traces Jackson’s rehearsals and preparation for a series of London concerts that never happened. The singer had been preparing for the shows when he died in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009 — 18 days prior to the tour’s start date — of a drug overdose at age 50.
Jones alleges that master recordings he worked on were wrongfully edited and remixed so as to deprive him of bonus profits. He also says a 2009 joint venture between MJJ and Sony should have increased his royalties share and that he was denied credit for his work on the singer’s works released after his death.
Jones made agreements with Jackson in 1978 and 1985 for work on the singer’s solo albums in which the producer claims he was given the first opportunity to re-edit or remix any of the master recordings. He also maintains that the coupling of master recordings with other recordings required his permission and that was to be given producer credit for each of the master recordings.
“He had a right to protect his works and they didn’t even ask him about it,” Cole argued.
But Zia Modabber, who also argued on behalf of MJJ Productions, said Jones never owned Jackson’s master recordings.
“These are Michael Jackson’s masters, he owns them,” Moddaber said. “This is a grab for money that Mr. Jones isn’t entitled to.”
Weitzman said the hundreds of millions of dollars the Jackson estate executors have accumulated since the singer’s death have benefited the entertainer’s three children; his mother, Katherine Jackson; and various charities.
Jones filed the lawsuit in October 2013 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
–City News Service