The producer alleges that "clandestine agreements" have prevented him receiving royalties for the singer's posthumous releases
Quincy Jones has filed a $10 million (£6 million) lawsuit against the Michael Jackson estate for breach of contract.
The super producer – who worked with the King Of Pop on his best-selling albums including ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’, is suing both Sony Music Entertainment and MJJ Productions – a company controlled by the late singer’s estate.
In a complaint filed in Los Angeles last week obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Jones asserts that “clandestine agreements” had the effect of reducing his royalties for Jackson’s posthumous releases including the ‘This is It’ film and soundtrack album, the Michael Jackson traveling theatre show Cirque du Soleil and the 25th anniversary reissue of ‘Bad’.
He also claims that master recordings he worked on were wrongfully edited and remixed to deprive him of royalties and that he has been denied credit for his work on the Jackson’s posthumous releases.
“Quincy has been frustrated with these matters for a number of years, felt he was not making any progress and needed to take more formal action,” his lawyer Henry Gradstein said.
Jones says he made two agreements with Jackson in 1978 and 1985 which stipulated that he would be given the first opportunity to re-edit or re-mix any of the master recordings of his work, that the use of other recordings with his own masters would require his prior written consent and that he would be given producer credit for each of the master recordings. He also says that the deal entitled him to additional compensation for remixed masters.
Jones alleges that the terms of his deal were broken when MJJ allowed third parties to use his works “without first providing a reasonable opportunity to Jones to perform such re-mixes and/or re-edits”. He also alleges that the company “secretly entered into a venture agreement with Sony” to deprive him of profits.
Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for the Michael Jackson Estate, told the Hollywood Reporter that the estate “was saddened to learn that Quincy Jones has filed a lawsuit seeking money from Michael’s estate. To the best of its knowledge, Mr. Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael.”