Michael Jackson estate settles long-running Disney dispute

The legal row was over an unauthorised Disney TV documentary

The estate of Michael Jackson has settled a 17-month dispute with Disney over an unauthorised TV documentary.

The Disney-owned US network ABC screened a documentary about Jackson, The Last Days Of Michael Jackson, in 2018. In May the same year, Jackson’s estate filed a lawsuit against Disney.

The lawsuit claimed the show used “substantial portions” of copyright material owned by Jackson’s estate without permission. This included Jackson’s music videos plus concert and documentary footage.


A spokesperson for Jackson’s estate told Rolling Stone: “The matter was amicably resolved.”

During the time of the lawsuit, Jackson’s estate protested that they were only made aware of The Last Days Of Michael Jackson days before its broadcast. They were also angry at Jackson’s image being used in promotional material for the documentary, which they said made it look like it had the approval of the estate.

ABC withdrew the promotional photo. But they argued that the use of the video, concert and documentary footage was allowable under US TV’s “fair use” rules.

The details of the settlement have not been revealed, and neither Disney or ABC were available for comment.


The programme investigated the controversy surrounding Jackson’s death in 2009. Jackson died aged 50 from an overdose of sedatives which had been administered to him by the singer’s personal physician, Conrad Murray.

Murray served two years of a four-year prison sentence after being found guilty in 2011 of improperly administering the drugs.

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