Reported by Nigel Boys
Unseen footage of Michael Jackson from a 2007 interview with Ebony magazine, is the result of a lawsuit between Noval Williams Films, the production company who filmed the footage, and the Jackson estate. Both parties claim rights to the deceased star’s video and pictures.
Director of the proposed movie, Craig Williams, claims that the Jackson estate was given the opportunity to purchase the rights to the unseen footage in 2011, but declined to do so. He adds that he purchased the rights legally two years later for use in his forthcoming film, “Michael: The Last Photo Shoots.”
According to Williams, the footage of Jackson, who died in 2009, was taken at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in an interview with Ebony magazine. He adds that the interview was the first in over 10 years and was given by the superstar because he intended to make a comeback.
However, Howard Weitzman, an attorney for the Jackson estate, said that the images and video belong to the family and are for private viewing only.
Weitzman went on to say “The makers of the documentary are attempting to exploit footage and photographs of Michael Jackson, which we believe are owned by his Estate.” He continued, “The documentary contains footage of Michael during private moments that he never agreed could be publicly and commercially exploited without his consent and/or involvement. Michael never authorized or approved the use of this material in the film.”
Williams is suing the Jackson estate because he claims that he obtained the rights to publish the Jackson interview legally in 2013, after the Jackson estate failed to purchase two years earlier. However, Weitzman claims that Jackson had only allowed the footage to be taken for his own private use and as thus it should be classed as a “work-for-hire,” meaning that Jackson remained the sole owner of the footage to do with as he pleased.
According to Williams, the Jackson estate is making such a big fuss just because they were not asked permission to make the film. He added that they may be concerned that some of the footage shows the late pop idol in an unfavorable light, but the film intends to portray Jackson as exactly what he was, namely a superstar, but with a touch of humanity included.