Quincy Jones filed a lawsuit against the Michael Jackson estate on Friday, seeking millions of dollars in royalties from projects that were released after the pop star’s death. Jones is claiming that the way Jackson’s music was utilized in the This Is It film and soundtrack, as well as Jackson’s Cirque du Soleil productions, and 25th anniversary of Bad breached the contract between Jones and Jackson. Sony Music Entertainment and Epic Records were also named in the suit.
The music legend's claim stems from his belief that master recordings of songs he worked on were remixed and altered in order to evade paying Jones profits that he would have been owed under the agreements he signed with Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jones says that under those contracts, he should have been offered the initial opportunity to edit or mix any of the master recordings, and that he was entitled to a producer credit for the master recording, and any additional compensation if those masters were remixed.
Jones is seeking at least $10 million in damages for the breach, and also wants compensation for unpaid royalties, remixing fees, and compensation for the loss of credit. Jones’ attorney Henry Gradstein told THR, “Quincy has been frustrated with these matters for a number of years, felt he was not making any progress and need to take more formal action.”
Howard Weitzman, representing the Jackson estate, released a statement in response to the lawsuit. “The estate of Michael Jackson was saddened to learn that Quincy Jones has filed a lawsuit seeking money from Michael’s estate,” it read. “To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Jones has been appropriately compensated for over approximately 35 years of work with Michael.”
As recently as 10 weeks ago, Jones tweeted a picture to his Instagram, commemorating Thriller going 30X multi-platinum, saying, “Miss you Smelly, but I bet you’re up there celebrating by teaching everyone the Thriller dance!”
Jones produced three of Jackson’s biggest solo albums, Off the Wall in 1979, Thriller in 1982, and Bad in 1987. Recently, Jones was honored by BET as an ICON MANN, one of the 28 men awarded for being men of change.
(Photo: Chris Walter/WireImage)