The estate of the late Michael Jackson and Sony Music have both been cleared by an appeals court over a long-standing lawsuit which claims that three songs on a posthumous Jackson album didn’t actually feature the late singer’s vocals.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by Jackson fan Vera Serova, came to public attention again last week after the estate and Sony were forced to issue a statement denying that the latter had conceded that Jackson didn’t sing on the three songs in question, which all featured on the 2010 album ‘Michael’.
Three appeals court judges ruled yesterday (August 28) in favour of Jackson’s estate and Sony Music, essentially removing them from Serova’s class-action suit (via Variety). The ruling found that because the estate and Sony didn’t know for certain whether Jackson actually sang on the three songs in question, the album’s cover and promotional materials could not be held accountable under ‘commercial speech’ – and thus were not applicable for the charges brought by Serova.
In a statement, Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman said of the ruling: “We had a total victory in the appellate court in the Vera Serova Class Action matter.”
The ruling, however, hasn’t definitively cleared up the issue of whether Jackson actually sang on the songs ‘Breaking News’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’. All three tracks were reportedly recorded in 2007 with songwriter/producers Edward Cascio and James Porte, but fans of the singer have long disputed the assertion that the songs actually feature Jackson’s vocals.
Serova’s case against Cascio and Porte, as well as the production company Angelikson Productions, is still ongoing.