Producer Quincy Jones sues Michael Jackson estate over royalties

Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:28pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Music producer Quincy Jones sued Michael Jackson's estate on Friday, seeking millions of dollars in royalties generated from some of the star's biggest hits after the King of Pop's death.

Jones, who worked on Jackson's three biggest solo albums - "Off the Wall", "Thriller" and "Bad" - also named Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company of Jackson's longtime label, Epic Records, in the breach-of-contract complaint.

Jones accused the music giant and the song company controlled by Jackson's estate, MJJ Productions, of denying him royalties, fees and profit-sharing as they exploited Jackson's work through the posthumous concert film "This Is It".

His claim, brought in Los Angeles Superior Court, also mentioned two Cirque du Soleil productions based on Jackson's music, accompanying soundtracks and the 25th anniversary edition of "Bad".

According to the lawsuit, master recordings of songs Jones produced were remixed and edited to deprive the 27-time Grammy-winning producer of compensation he was entitled to under agreements with Jackson dating back to the 1970s and '80s.

Jackson died in 2009 aged 50 in Los Angeles from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which he was taking as a sleep aid as he was preparing for series of comeback concerts.

The movie "This Is It," filmed during rehearsals for those concerts, generated more than $260 million at the box office worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing concert films ever.

The lawsuit seeks at least $20 million in damages - $10 million for each of the two master contracts that Jones claims were breached in various ways under secret agreements between MJJ Productions and Sony after Jackson died.   Continued...

Music producer Quincy Jones arrives at the 20th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in West Hollywood, California, in this file picture taken February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas