Jurors found that the Grammy Award-winning music producer was entitled to royalties for the use of the singer’s recordings that the plaintiff helped produce and which were later used in the film “This is It” and other projects.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for about two days before finding in favor of the 84-year-old producer on Wednesday. He sued MJJ Productions Inc., which is now part of Jackson’s estate, in October 2013.
“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 said that master recordings he worked on were wrongfully edited and remixed so as to deprive him of bonus profits. He also maintained that 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 to be given first opportunity to re-edit or remix any of the master recordings. He also said the coupling of master recordings with other recordings required his permission, and that he was to be given producer credit for each of the master recordings.
Lawyers for Jones argued that their client was entitled to $30 million, but defense attorneys said he should be paid no more than $392,000.
Lawyer Zia Modabber, who argued on behalf of MJJ Productions, said Jones never owned Jackson’s master recordings.
“These are Michael Jackson’s masters, he owns them,” Moddaber told the jury. “This is a grab for money that Mr. Jones isn’t entitled to.”
Lawyer Howard Weitzman, also representing MJJ Productions, 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.
–City News Service