Friday, August 31, 2012

Spike Lee's Bad 25 Documentary: Venice Review

I'm so happy the reviews have been very favorable for Spike Lee's Michael Jackson BAD 25 Documentary. We know sometimes the media can be very biased when it comes to MJ.  We have some members from MJJC who will attend the UK premier Sun. Sept 2 and I'm looking forward  to their first hand account. I'm also excited about it airing on ABC Network on Thanks Giving Day. It will also be released on DVD but  not sure when, probably in time for Christmas  ~ Qbee

Bad 25: Venice Review
6:09 AM PDT 8/31/2012 by David Rooney

The Bottom Line
Even those of us who developed a Michael Jackson allergy during the saturation attention
that followed his death will find rich rewards in Spike Lee's terrific documentary tribute.

Spike Lee captures a specific pinnacle in Michael Jackson's career and a precise period in American popular music culture with his comprehensive recap of the making, marketing and legacy of the 1987 album, 'Bad.'

VENICE – Michael Jackson continues to be bigger dead than alive. It might have seemed that Kenny Ortega had his legacy covered with the 2009 documentary This Is It, but Spike Lee goes one better with Bad 25, an obsessively detailed quarter-century anniversary tribute to the 1987 album that capped the three-prong commercial tsunami Jackson began with “Off the Wall” and “Thriller.”

The film is a sensational snapshot of the peak of the music video as art form, as well as the intricately layered process by which superior pop is crafted. More poignantly, it serves to remove the veil of late-period craziness and allegations and restore the reputation of Jackson as a multi-hyphenate musician of peerless discipline, professionalism and perfectionism – not to mention a pioneering influence in dance and fashion. Following its Venice and Toronto bows, Bad 25 is scheduled to air on ABC at Thanksgiving.

Lee directed Jackson’s 1996 music video for “They Don’t Care About Us.” Despite conducting the interviews personally, he keeps himself out of the picture here aside from one or two audio snippets. But it’s clear that his connection to this material runs deep, revealing itself, for example, in his exhaustive attention to the making of Martin Scorsese’s short film for the album’s title track. No less fascinating is his recap of the multiple choreographic influences that went into the video for “Smooth Criminal,” ranging from Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon to Soul Train to Bugs Bunny to Buster Keaton. The wealth of primo talking-heads fodder makes this of interest far beyond Jackson fans to anyone curious about the production and marketing of popular music.

The director’s appetite for trivia is contagious. Who remembered that Wesley Snipes made his acting debut in the “Bad” video? Or that the arcane refrain “Shamone!” was Jackson’s homage to Mavis Staples? Or that the line “Annie, are you OK?” was inspired by the standard name given to CPR demonstration dummies?

It’s obvious that Lee is having as much fun as the audience sitting in with Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker as they look back over their work on the Bad short 25 years on. Writer Richard Price, who scripted the film for Scorsese, is – forgive me – priceless, discussing how an asthmatic Italian and an asthmatic Jew were enlisted by Jackson to make a video “to show the brothers that he’s down with them.” But Lee also gives serious consideration to the ways in which Jackson reaffirmed his connection to the black community.

Despite acknowledging the album’s flaws – everyone, including Stevie Wonder, agrees that his duet with Jackson, “Just Good Friends,” was a dud – the film is not guiltless of hagiography. But the fandom of interviewees like Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Chris Brown and Sheryl Crow, who performed as a big-haired backup singer on the Bad Tour, is generally disarming. (Perhaps the exception is Kanye West, who seems too self-regarding to really serve someone else’s tribute.)

Arguably, Lee’s one significant misstep is to lurch abruptly – at the end of a meticulous track-by-track reconstruction of the album’s recording and the shooting of its many music videos – to footage of Jermaine Jackson announcing his brother’s death. Lee then strings together a series of “Where were you when you heard he’d died?” responses, holding the camera on the subjects as they tear up. This feels manipulative and heavy-handed compared to the stimulating social context and illuminating insights that distinguish the doc and pinpoint it at a key moment in Jackson’s career.

But that’s just nitpicking. As forcibly inserted as they are, the memorials do serve to usher in a stirring assessment of “The Man in the Mirror” as a master class in how to build the perfect anthemic pop song. Input here comes from co-writers Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, as well as producer Quincy Jones and choirmaster Andrae Crouch, among others. The knockout closing footage of Jackson performing the song in a 1988 Wembley Stadium concert, accompanied by 72,000 screaming fans, is the film’s emotional high point.

It’s to Lee’s credit that he doesn’t just go for the famous faces. Instead he digs into every aspect of the music by talking with engineers, arrangers, session musicians, vocal coaches, video actors, dancer-choreographers, recording industry execs, managers, lawyers, biographers and music journalists. Particularly humorous is plain-speaking Joe Pytka, who directed the “Dirty Diana” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” videos. But invaluable contributions come from a wide variety of sources.

The film doesn’t shy away from the negatives. It covers the inescapable hype that accompanied the album release; the “Wacko Jacko” stigma; the specter of racism; the animosity toward Jackson in some circles for his stratospheric success; and the perceived encroachment on sacred terrain when he purchased the Beatles catalogue. Significant time is spent on the goldfish-bowl vulnerability of being in the spotlight since childhood, reflected in the song “Leave Me Alone,” with its “Gulliver’s Travel”-style, tabloid-nightmare photo-animation video.

Mostly, however, Lee keeps the focus on the extraordinary professional achievement that the album still represents, capturing Jackson at the apex of his quest for full creative independence. Beyond its value as a deep-probe portrait of the artist, this is a superb account of the music business and an indispensable pop-cultural time capsule.

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Out of Competition)

Production companies: Optimum Productions, Forty Acres & a Mule Filmworks, Optimum Productions
With: Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Antonio L.A. Reid, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Walter Yetnikoff, Larry Stessel, John Robinson, Ollie Brown, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Cee Lo Green, Joe Pytka, ?uestlove, John Branca, Joe Vogel, Richard Price, Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard, Ruben Blades, Steve Stevens, Tatiana Thumbtzen, Will Vinton, Jeffrey DanielDirector-producer: Spike Lee

Executive producers:
John Branca, John McClain, Antonio L.A. Reid
Director of photography: Kerwin DeVonish

Barry Brown

No rating, 129 minutes

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exclusive Liner Notes from Michael Jackson's BAD25

Michael Jackson: Exclusive Liner Notes from “Bad25″

Exclusive: Here’s some more info from the boxed set of Michael Jackson’s “Bad 25″ anniversary project coming on September 18th. Jackson fans should be ears up on this since we get some explanations for how the estate put the project together ...

Here’ an excerpt, plus a description of some of the unreleased songs ...  I’m telling you,
 “I’m So Blue” is one I cannot get out of my head. Very annoying, in a good way.

Excerpt: “A lot of time was spent listening to all of the recordings in the archives from the BAD era… Some tracks we found were very early recordings. They had no lyrics except possibly the chorus but more complete music tracks. Some were actually so complete that any other artist but Michael Jackson – who worked tirelessly to make sure his songs reflected his vision – might consider them finished tracks… As such, we have given a little information for each recording. As Michael wrote in a note at the time, he was determined to get exactly what he wanted on the recordings of his songs… In addition to the demo recordings, also on the “bonus” disc are the three recordings that were included in the 2001 re-release of the BAD album – “Fly Away,” “Streetwalker” and the Spanish version of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” In addition, a French version of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” is included along with the earlier mentioned remixes.”

It is well-known that Michael might start a song for one album, and then choose not to use it. The song would later be pulled from his vaults for possible use on a subsequent album project. “Don’t Be Messin’ Round” is an example of one such song, and how it took shape at the time of BAD. Indeed, Bruce Swedien has called it one of his favorites.

For Michael, creating a demo is how he let someone (in this case Quincy and Bruce) know what he wanted to hear in the finished recording. It also was a vehicle for writing both the lyrics and the music (since he didn’t actually write leadsheets). And because he was such a perfectionist, this really meant giving them a demo that, to most people, would be considered a finished “record” and not a demo at all as Bruce Swedien, among others, have noted. This is an example of one of those “demos.”

As noted earlier, this is a song that Michael knew could be controversial and, as a result, he spent a lot of time thinking about the story for the song and the voice through which the song should be told. The song is about a girl whose father is a priest; she was raised in the Church and on the Bible. She gets married in the Church but decides, against the Bible, to have an abortion and she wants “Abortion Papers.” As Michael indicated in his notes, “I have to do it in a way so I don’t offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully… I have to really think about it.“ This is an early example of a song with a controversial subject.

Generally, Michael’s process for creating a song would start with the chorus and harmonies first and it would build from there to include melodies and the lyrics for the verses. This piece shows a song that is clearly still a “work in progress” but with a full, finished chorus and harmonies.

Sometimes a song is written with a story in mind. In Michael’s work notes we found the story for this song – blind obsession. He described the story as “the girls who are over-obsessed with me, who follow me, who almost make me kill myself in my car, who just give their lives to do anything with me, to see me – they’ll do anything and it’s breaking my heart. It’s running me crazy. It’s breaking up my relationship with my girl, with my family. That’s the ‘Price of Fame’.”

When you listen to some early demos of songs, you can tell instantly what song it is. This is NOT one of those songs. It is an example of how different a song can be during its early stages of development from its later, finished polished version. If it were not a well known fact that “Smooth Criminal” was developed out of “Al Capone,” it would be hard to know that it had its roots in the material based on listening to this early recording.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Executor is cool under Jackson family pressure

Branca's Great response to his accusers, as they use to say "The proof is in the pudding" ~ Qbee

Executor is cool under Jackson family pressure

AP Special Correspondent

FILE - In this 1987 file photo originally released by John Branca, attorney John Branca, left, and Michael Jackson are shown at Branca's wedding in Beverly Hills, Calif. Branca, and his co-executor, John McClain, have been successfully pursuing projects to pay off a mountain of debt left by the superstar, to assure the financial future of his three children and to guarantee that Jackson's music will live forever.
Courtesy of John Branca, File / AP Photo

Read more here:

LOS ANGELES -- While family members squabble in public over Michael Jackson's money, the man who holds the purse strings of the estate is a calm center of the storm.

As co-executor of Jackson's will, John Branca chooses to ignore the erupting dramas and personal attacks and keeps his eye on the future, which he says belongs to Jackson's mother and children and to the pop star's musical legacy.

He and co-executor John McClain have been successfully pursuing projects to pay off a mountain of debt left by the superstar, to assure the financial future of his three children and to guarantee that Jackson's music will live forever.

"When Michael Jackson died, he was near bankruptcy," said Branca, suggesting the future for his three young children was uncertain. "Now we know the kids will be OK."

Branca sat down recently with The Associated Press to discuss the current state of the Jackson estate and projects to preserve Jackson's image as the King of Pop. But he resolutely refused to address the elephant in the room - recent attacks on him and McClain by some Jackson siblings who were left out of their brother's will.

They sent a lengthy letter that became public accusing the executors of deceit and manipulation of their mother and claiming that Jackson's will was a fraud. They have not taken any court action and legal experts say the time to challenge the will, which disinherited them, is long past.

Branca and McClain issued a statement calling the accusations "false and defamatory," adding "we are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress is being made to secure the financial future of his children ..."

Secure in his knowledge that all four of Jackson's wills named him as executor, Branca continues to make deals for the Jackson estate that are generating millions in revenue. This week, they announced an agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to administer Jackson's Mijac Music catalog, which includes such hits as "Beat It" and "Billie Jean." The deal is expected to generate enough revenues to pay off a remaining $5 million loan by year's end.

Since Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, Branca said the singer's personal debt of $200 million has been paid off and another $300 million tied to his ownership of the Sony and ATV catalogs has been renegotiated.

"Michael had a will and a trust and that's what we follow," he said.

The estate pays Mrs. Jackson $70,000 a month for the children's support, pays the rent on their mansion in Calabasas, and is picking up bills for other expenses including renovation of their Encino home.

Branca's AP interview was his indirect response to accusations by Janet, Jermaine, Randy and Rebbie Jackson that the estate was being mishandled. Jermaine later disavowed the incendiary letter and called for peace in the family. But Janet, Randy and Rebbie fired back with a letter of their own reiterating their complaints.

Brimming with excitement, Branca spoke of upcoming ventures he thinks would have delighted Jackson, especially a permanent Jackson-themed extravaganza on the Las Vegas Strip. It comes on the heels of the Cirque du Soleil Jackson tribute show, "Immortal: The World Tour."

"The Lion King" theater at the Mandalay Bay Hotel is being rebuilt to house the still untitled show, also a Cirque du Soleil production, which is set to open May 23, 2013.

"It will be highly theatrical and completely different from the arena show, which was more of a concert," Branca said. "We will have the opportunity to create something special and ground-breaking."

Declining to reveal all of the technical wizardry planned, he said, "We've got all kinds of tricks up our sleeves."

Every seat will have its own speakers, while the walls and ceiling will be used to create "a totally immersive experience for the audience," he said.

Unlike the touring show, there will be no live band and all music will come from remixes of Jackson's recordings.

Branca and co-executor McClain, a reclusive recording executive, say they understand Jackson's desires to take care of his mother and children - Prince, Paris and Blanket - financially and keep his music alive.

"We feel Michael entrusted us with his legacy and with the future of his mother and children," Branca said. "We're honored and proud and passionate about celebrating Michael. It's a labor of love for us. We love Michael."

Branca met Jackson in 1980 when both were just starting out. They would go on to legendary success together but there were also some rocky times. During more than two decades together, they had two three-year periods of estrangement over business disagreements.

Branca was rehired by Jackson a month before he died, with instructions to draft an agenda for future business deals. Branca presented the plan a week before Jackson died and it has been the roadmap for the estate's posthumous enterprises.

In addition to the upcoming Las Vegas show, a new album and a concert DVD will be released soon celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jackson's "BAD" album. Then a two-hour documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee on the making of "BAD" will show at the Toronto and Venice film festivals next month.

The anniversary promotions include a deal with Pepsi to put silhouettes of Jackson on a billion cans of soda in 20 countries.

And this week, the Cirque du Soleil traveling show begins an international tour to Mexico, Europe and perhaps Asia.


You can view the fans response or discuss it at my favorite MJ fanboard MJJC

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Michael Jackson nephew TJ officially appointed co-guardian

Michael Jackson nephew appointed co-guardian


LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge appointed Michael Jackson's nephew on Wednesday to share guardianship responsibilities for the singer's three children, but not without a last-minute effort by some relatives to delay the decision.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff named TJ Jackson as the children's co-guardian who will now share responsibilities for raising the siblings, who range in ages from 10 to 15.

The judge made the ruling after considering a letter submitted by singer Diana Ross, who was named in Michael Jackson's will as a potential guardian, and a letter presented by cousins of the singer who sought a delay in the appointment.

Debra Jackson and her son Anthony urged Beckloff to delay his ruling, saying they were concerned that family matriarch Katherine Jackson was being coerced. The pair said they had been ostracized from the family and that the children may not be as excited about TJ Jackson's appointment as has been presented to the judge.

But Beckloff noted that all three children have said they consent to the co-guardianship, and that an independent investigation he ordered showed they "have a very strong, loving relationship with TJ Jackson."

He urged TJ Jackson to consider allowing the cousins to visit the family, but said there was no reason to delay. The appointment means that Katherine and TJ Jackson will share responsibilities for raising the children. If one of them is no longer able to serve, the other would become the children's sole guardian.

Debra and Anthony Jackson declined to speak with reporters after the hearing, merely confirming their names and relationship to the family.

Their letter and one submitted by Diana Ross were not filed with the court and will not be made public, court officials said.

Katherine Jackson's attorney, Sandra Ribera, disputed their claims that her client is being improperly influenced.

"Mrs. Jackson is well informed," she said. "Mrs. Jackson is a strong woman who cannot be influenced by anyone when it comes to decisions about these children."

TJ Jackson, 34, was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was incommunicado during a stay at an Arizona spa with relatives.

Beckloff has said Katherine Jackson is doing a great job raising Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson, but noted that having a co-guardian will allow for continuity in their lives if she is no longer able to serve.

TJ Jackson was a relative unknown to the public before the recent rift in the family. He performs in a band called 3T along with his brothers and was close to his uncle, Michael, before the pop star died in June 2009 at age 50.

TJ Jackson is a cousin of the children and has remained close to them in the years since the singer's death.

Wednesday's hearing had been expected to be a legal formality and although Beckloff made time to hear the cousins' grievances, the judge didn't waver in his view that the co-guardianship arrangement was appropriate. He noted that it is frequently employed in other cases.

The mother of the two eldest children, Deborah Rowe, has indicated she is comfortable with the arrangement.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at

Monday, August 20, 2012


Mijac Catalog has moved from Warner Chappel into Michaels OWN Sony/ATVCatalog. making it even more valuable. This doesnt mean Sony/ATV owns the Catalog- They are just administrating the publishing rights. The MJ Estate still owns 100% Mijac Catalog_ Please see John Branca's message to fans below  ~ Qbee


NEW YORK —August 20, 2012—Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced today that the company has entered into a worldwide administration agreement to represent Michael Jackson’s iconic Mijac Music catalog. Founded by Michael Jackson in 1980 as his personal publishing company, Mijac Music grew to include – in addition to all of his own incredible songs – the classic Sly and the Family Stone catalog, songs by the legendary Philadelphia soul team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff as well as songs made famous by other artists such as Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.

Martin Bandier, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV said of the announcement , “We are thrilled that the Estate of Michael Jackson has entrusted us with this incredible catalog of songs, and everyone at Sony/ATV looks forward to finding innovative ways to use these songs, while protecting their legacy.”

 John Branca and John McClain Commenting on the deal, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson remarked, “Michael’s songs in the Mijac Music catalog not only showcase his greatness as a performer but also his creative genius as a songwriter. We are excited that the company Michael helped found, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and in which his Estate remains a 50% partner, will represent these amazing songs along with a rich collection of other music recorded by some of our greatest popular artists.”

The agreement comes in advance of the September 18 release of BAD25, a new two-disc-package and DVD that marks the 25th anniversary of Michael’s landmark BAD album.

The Mijac catalog includes all of the songs written by the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, including “Another Part Of Me,” “Bad,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” “Can You Feel It,” “Dangerous,” “Dirty Diana,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Earth Song,” “Heal the World,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Jam,” “Scream,” “Smooth Criminal,” “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “We Are The World.”

Also included in the Mijac catalog are some of the most iconic songs in rock, pop and soul music history, including ”Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” “After Midnight,” “Ease on Down the Road,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” “I Got A Woman,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Love Train,” “Mr. Bojangles,” “People Get Ready,” “Runaround Sue,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Wanderer”, “What’d I Say,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “You Don’t Know Me”. Of special note the catalog includes the songs made famous by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Sly and the Family Stone, including such hits as “Dance To the Music,” “Everybody is a Star,” “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “If You Want Me To Stay,” “Sing a Simple Song,” “Stand” and “Thank You.”

About Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson, is the world’s leading music publisher. Together with EMI Music Publishing, Leiber Stoller, Mijac Music, Motown and the Famous Music catalogs, Sony/ATV owns or administers more than 2 million copyrights, including some of the best known songs ever written. Sony/ATV’s catalog includes “New York, New York,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand By Me,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition, Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of such legendary artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder, among others. Its ever-growing list of chart-topping artists, writers and producers includes Beyoncé, Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Jessie J, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, P!nk, RedOne, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Stargate, Taylor Swift and Kanye West.

Email from Co-Executor John Branca
 to Jeff Jampol, GM of the MJ Online team


I understand that you are being asked a lot of questions about Mijac.
Yes, there is a matching right that Michael granted to Sony/ATV but they only get to administer the catalog for a limited term AND only if they agree to unprecedented favorable terms. We will not relinquish ultimate control and ownership to anyone. We have favorably refinanced the loans on Mijac which will be paid off and the catalog WILL absolutely be passed to Michael's children as long as we have anything to say about it.

Sony/ATV is a great company and the Estate owns half of it but no one, not even Sony/ATV, will ever own Mijac while John McClain and I remain in charge.

The current Sony team is the one Michael chose to work with on the Thriller 25 release and they are good partners. As stated in the recent court filings, they worked with us to refinance the burdensome debt that had been placed on Michael's interest in Sony/ATV to very favorable terms, an important achievement which insures that Mijac and Michael’s masters remain secure for the benefit of Michael's children for years to come.

I would appreciate your sharing this with the fans that are asking questions.

Thanks – John

John Branca
The Estate Of Michael Jackson
Los Angeles, CA "

Discussion at MJJC

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Scandalously Boring Truth About Michael Jackson's Will

Will Power:
 Despite recent controversy, The King of Pop's
Will is in no real danger of being overturned.

More than three years after his untimely death, Michael Jackson continues to make headlines—most recently as a result of a controversy over his will this summer. A few of his siblings labeled the document “false” and “fraudulent”; representatives for his estate countered by saying, “We are saddened that false and defamatory accusations grounded in stale Internet conspiracy theories are now being made by certain members of Michael’s family whom he chose to leave out of his will.”

Unfortunately for news hounds, the scandalous truth about Michael Jackson’s will is that there isn’t really much of a scandal, from a legal perspective. Last week FORBES obtained a copy of the latest will from the Los Angeles Superior Court (as others have before) and separately viewed three previous versions of the will, all of which are remarkably consistent and serve to confirm the boring reality: The will is in no real danger of being overturned, and even if it were, it would be replaced by a virtually identical previous version.

“If a later will is found to be invalid … the last will prior would be given full force and effect,” confirms Andrew Katzenstein, a partner at law firm Proskauer, who teaches the Estate and Gift Tax class at the University of Southern California.

Michael Jackson’s postmortem plans haven’t changed much over the years. His 1995 will names John Branca, Bert Mitchell and Marshall Gelfand as co-executors. Like all subsequent versions of the will, it specifies that the King of Pop’s interests be placed in an entity known as the Michael Jackson Family Trust, which stipulates the following distribution: 20% to charity, and the remainder split between a living will for Michael’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and a trust for any children Michael might have. Upon Katherine’s death, any remaining funds would revert to the children.

The second will, dated December 10th, 1997, also names Branca and Mitchell as co-executors of Michael Jackson’s estate, but replaces Marshall Gelfand with banker Jane Heller. The distribution under the trust remains the same. Michael’s first child—Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., born on in February—is mentioned by name, but the will still stipulates that half of what’s left after distributions to charities and Katherine Jackson be split between all children he might have.

The third, signed in March 2002, after the birth of Michael’s second and third children—Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, II (better known by his nickname, “Blanket”)—identifies only the first two children by name, but still indicates that the trust would benefit all his children evenly. Perhaps just to be safe, a fourth will that names all three children was filed the following July.

Jackson’s siblings have said that the singer was in New York on July 7th, the day the fourth will was dated and marked as signed in Los Angeles. Others have confirmed that the King of Pop was in the Big Apple that day. But under California law, this isn’t something that would render the will invalid, as it’s possible the document was simply misdated.

“If you accidentally write the wrong date on a document, does it matter? No,” says Katzenstein. “There’s no dating requirement.”
 The will was admitted to probate in 2009, and Katzenstein points out that California Probate Code Section 8270 stipulates a period of 120 days to file a petition with the court to revoke the probate of the will. That period has long since passed. The will’s witnesses have all confirmed the document’s validity–according to estate attorney Paul Gordon Hoffman, the individuals were contacted in the days after Michael Jackson’s death, and none indicated that their signatures were false.

Even if the most recent will–or the three most recent wills–was somehow overturned, the outcome would be the same: John Branca, who is named as an executor on all four, would still be one of the executors; 20% of all proceeds from the estate would go to charity, with the remainder split between Katherine Jackson and a trust for Michael’s children. If all four wills were invalidated, the children would inherit the estate at age 18, with Katherine Jackson and the charities left out. In theory, a more recent will could supersede the current will if discovered, but it seems highly unlikely that someone would have waited so long to come forward.

“It isn’t like someone who knew Michael, and thus would be in possession of his will, didn’t know about Michael’s death and thus is still holding it,” says Hoffman, who points out that none of Jackson’s many former lawyers or business managers knows of a more recent will. “No one has ever indicated that a later will was signed.”

But this is all essentially old news. Michael’s father Joseph, who was left out of the most recent will (and the three preceding wills), unsuccessfully challenged the will in the months following his son’s death. “Joe Jackson takes none of this estate,” declared Judge Mitchell Beckloff in 2009. “This is a decision his son made.” Beckloff formally appointed Branca and McClain as co-executors of the estate shortly thereafter, when Katherine Jackson dropped her initial objections and announced her support for their appointment.

In hindsight, that seems to have been a wise decision. The estate has generated roughly half a billion dollars in the three years since the King of Pop’s death, thanks to a slew of deals including a $60 million advance for the film This Is It, a new recording contract worth up to $250 million and theMichael Jackson Immortal World Tour, a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil that has already grossed over $75 million in the first half of 2012 according to Pollstar, more than any other North American concert tour.

In total, Michael Jackson has earned more in the past three years than any single living artist–yet another reason it would be hard to imagine the structure of his estate changing anytime soon.

Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff

Friday, August 10, 2012

Court Rules in Favor of Michael Jackson Estate in Copyright Claims against Howard Mann.

A statement from Howard Weitzman:
Attorney for the Michael Jackson Estate

A Federal Court Judge ruled today that Howard Mann cannot exploit intellectual property created by the late Michael Jackson, including trademarks, copyrights, name, likeness and image.

 The Court found that Mann and his entities improperly claimed to own the assets, and intended in bad faith to profit from them using his various websites. Zia Modabber, one of the lawyers who represents the Estate in this matter states “The Court’s ruling makes clear that Howard Mann had no right to use Michael Jackson’s intellectual property for his own benefit.” The Court ruled that Mann and his entities in fact do not own any of Michael Jackson’s intellectual property and should be permanently enjoined from unlawfully using Michael Jackson’s intellectual property in the future.

Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for the Estate indicated that “The Court’s ruling means that a trial set for September 4, 2012 will involve how much in damages the Michael Jackson Estate is entitled to collect from Mann and his various entities.” The Executors of the Michael Jackson Estate are extremely pleased with the Court’s ruling which prevents Mann from continuing to unlawfully profit from Michael Jackson and his intellectual property.

Court  Document of Judges partial summary compliments of  IVY_MJJC

More :

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY | Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that a businessman working with Michael Jackson's mother has violated copyrights owned by the singer's estate and should be blocked from future uses of the work.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson sided with the singer's estate in a ruling against Howard Mann and the website , which appeared to be inactive Friday morning.

The estate sued Mann in January 2011, claiming he was violating copyrights and posed unfair competition to Jackson's estate. Pregerson ruled that the website improperly used art from the film "This Is It," a logo featuring Jackson and the song "Destiny," as well as other material.

"In light of defendants' past and present infringement, it is also undisputed that future violations are likely, causing ongoing harm to plaintiffs and misled consumers," Pregerson wrote.

An upcoming trial will address damages, although the judge noted that Mann and the site probably will not be able to pay any amount because of debts.

A phone message for one of Mann's lawyers, Lee Durst, was not immediately returned Friday. Mann has collaborated with Katherine Jackson, who is a beneficiary of the singer's estate, on several projects, including a book of recollections about her son. Several of the Jackson Secret Vault releases occurred at the same time as estate projects were being released, including the anniversary of Jackson's death and the release of the album "Michael" in December 2010.

Mann's attorneys recently wrote in court filings that they hoped to introduce evidence during the upcoming trial that the singer's will was a fraud. The businessman had claimed he obtained rights to the works in a bankruptcy sale years ago, but Pregerson ruled there was no evidence that the items could be used commercially.

"The court's ruling makes clear that Howard Mann had no right to use Michael Jackson's intellectual property for his own benefit," attorney Zia Modabber, who represented the estate in the case, wrote in a statement. Estate attorney Howard Weitzman said executors John Branca and John McClain are "extremely pleased" by the ruling.
 By ANTHONY McCARTNEY | Associated Press


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sandra Bernhard To Host Billboard Touring Awards;
MJ's Immortal To Receive Creative Content Award

August 07, 2012 | By Billboard Staff
Multi-faceted actress/comedienne Sandra Bernhard will host the 9th annual Billboard Touring Awards, set for Nov. 8 in New York City, Billboard announces today. As part of the annual industry gathering, Billboard announces that the Creative Content Award will go to Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil.

Since launching her career at L.A.'s famed Comedy Store in the '70s, Sandra Bernhard has written and starred in numerous one-woman shows, acted in movies and on television, recorded albums, and authored books. Her first one-woman show, the groundbreaking Without You I'm Nothing, debuted off-Broadway in 1988 and served as inspiration for the film and Grammy-nominated album of the same name. Bernhard followed that with I'm Still Here… Dammit! in 1997, which moved to Broadway a year later, and was filmed for an HBO special. From 1991-1996 Bernhard played Nancy Bartlett -- the first openly gay character on a network sitcom -- on Roseanne. She has played roles on numerous other shows, has appeared more than 30 times on Late Night with David Letterman, and has been a regular guest of Howard Stern's since the early '80s.

Register today for the Billboard Touring Conference and Awards

November 7-8 in New York City and Save $50
(Use Promo Code BIZ12)

Bernhard's film credits include Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy, Nicholas Roeg's Track 29, Hudson Hawk, Dinner Rush, and Dare. Her albums include I'm Your Woman, Excuses for Bad Behavior, and Whatever It Takes. She has also sung with or opened for various musical acts, including the Pretenders, Cyndi Lauper, and the Scissor Sisters. Bernhard has authored three books, and her writing has been published in numerous magazines, including, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone.

"I'm delighted to help honor the top touring artists and professionals, because, as we all know, they never get enough love," says Bernhard. "So please join me on November 8th in New York City. I'll bring the glamour and the excitement, and it promises to be a terrific evening."

The Creative Content Award is conceived to honor new touring content that is both ambitious in its conception and is commercially successful, fulfilling the need for venues to present compelling content for entertainment fans. The award is not presented every year, reflecting the challenges of the sector; previous winners include Yo Gabba Gabba Live! (2010), Walking With Dinosaurs -- The Live Experience (2008), and Cirque du Soleil's Delirium (2006).


Irving Azoff, Coachella Team to Speak at 2012 Billboard Touring Conference & Awards

Immortal, which blends Jackson's music with stunning visuals and the creative touch of Cirque, has been a critical and financial success. Since Oct. 2 of last year, the tour has notched attendance of 1,180,163 and grossed $133 million in ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore. "Billboard is in many ways about the intersection of art and commerce, and the Creative Content Award addresses that in the realm of touring, while also acknowledging the need entertainment venues have for quality content that sells tickets," says Ray Waddell, executive director of content and programming, touring & live entertainment, for Billboard. "Michael Jackson the Immortal Tour by Cirque du Soleil hits the mark on all levels.   

"The entire Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour team is thrilled to accept the 2012 Billboard Touring Awards' Creative Content honor," says John Branca, who put together the Immortal production with Cirque and serves with John McClain as both executive producer and co-executor of the Estate of Michael Jackson. "Immortal's extraordinary success is proof of the enduring popularity of Michael's music. The creative team was guided by Michael's genius, indomitable spirit and his ability to inspire everyone throughout."


Billboard Touring Conference & Awards 2011 Hub

The Billboard Touring Awards, held annually at the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom in New York City, honor the concert industry's top artists, venues and professionals for the year, based primarily on the Billboard Boxscore chart and actual box office performance between October 1, 2010 - September 30, 2011. Special, non-Boxscore related awards include Legend Of Live, the Humanitarian Award, the Apple award in honor of the late pioneering promoter Bill Graham, the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award, and the Eventful Fans' Choice Award.

The Touring Awards will cap the 9th Annual Billboard Touring Conference, two days of touring industry panels, sessions, and networking set for Nov. 7-8 at the Roosevelt. Already announced as speakers are Live Nation chief Irving Azoff and the Goldenvoice/Coachella team of Skip Paige, Bill Fold and Paul Tollett.



Im am estatic. Thank You,  thank you  MJ Estate for bringing Michael to the world with class, dignity and a Huge BANG - with this and the upcoming Spike Lee  BAD25 documenarty all I have to say is   #WHO'S BAD :)   ~ Qbee



New York, NY – Epic/Legacy Recordings in collaboration with the Estate of Michael Jackson today announced the highly anticipated track listing for the September 18th release of Michael Jackson BAD25 that celebrates the legendary album and record breaking BAD tour. Featured in the deluxe package, are three CDs, two collectible booklets, and the first ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the record breaking BAD World Tour – the July 16, 1988 sold out Wembley Stadium show in London.  Pre-Order Now

Filled with previously re-mastered versions of iconic hits and un-released recordings from the King Of Pop, the BAD25 anniversary deluxe edition CDs and DVD will include the following:
CD one features re-mastered versions of Michael's biggest hits on the original BAD album, including, "Smooth Criminal," "Man In The Mirror," “Bad,” “Another Part of Me,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and "Dirty Diana" arranged in the same sequence as they appeared on the original album released 25 years ago. “Leave Me Alone” was added to the album as a bonus track following its initial release and has been included on the disc.

CD two offers fans a rare listen to thirteen additional tracks, 6 of which are previously unreleased demo recordings created at Michael’s personal studio built at his then-home on Hayvenhurst Avenue in Encino, California. Also included are all three bonus tracks from the 2001 expanded edition of BAD, the previously un-released French version of Michael performing the classic, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” a high power version of “Speed Demon” remixed by Nero and the brand new remix of “Bad” worked on as an electrifying collaboration between Pitbull and Dutch DJ Afrojack.

Recordings included in this package reflect the songs and spirit of Michael Jackson’s artistry during BAD’s recording sessions and have been selected to show the different stages of how Michael’s songwriting and recording genius took shape. Some tracks are so complete that any other artist but Michael Jackson – who worked tirelessly to make sure his songs reflected his vision – might consider them finished tracks. Others are less complete but offer insight into Michael’s creative process in its various stages. Included is the demo, “Al Capone,” an early incarnation of what ultimately became “Smooth Criminal,” “Don’t Be Messin’ Around,” an example of a more complete demo, and a song initially titled, “Song Groove.” That song later became known as “Abortion Papers” which according to Michael’s own records, he spent considerable time in weighing how best to thoughtfully address something that was, and remains, a very personal and sensitive issue.

A true highlight of the package is CD three and the DVD – the never seen before live concert on DVD and its accompanying music CD of Michael’s legendary July 16, 1988 concert at Wembley Stadium. The concert is not a compilation of performances, but rather one complete show, exactly as Michael performed it for Prince Charles, Princess Diana and the 72,000 fans who were in the audience for that night’s sold out show. This show was one of the seven record-breaking nights played at the venue attended by more than half a million people – three times that many people tried to purchase tickets. The DVD was sourced from Michael Jackson’s personal VHS copy of the performance as shown on the JumboTrons during the concert. This footage was only recently unearthed and is the only known copy of the show to exist. The visuals have now been restored and the audio quality enhanced so that fans can share in the excitement of that famous night in 5.1 surround sound taken from the original multitrack recordings made that night.

In addition to the complete Wembley Show, the DVD will also contain “The Way You Make Me Feel” from Michael’s July 15th performance at Wembley Stadium. This is the only song not performed on July 16th due to the late start of that night’s show. Also included are the thrilling early performances of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Bad” from the Yokohama Stadium performance in September of 1987 during the first leg of the BAD World Tour.



CD ONE – Original Album
1. Bad2. The Way You Make Me Feel3. Speed Demon4. Liberian Girl5. Just Good Friends6. Another Part Of Me7. Man In The Mirror8. I Just Can’t Stop Lovin’ You9. Dirty Diana10. Smooth Criminal11. Leave Me Alone

CD TWO – Bonus Tracks, Unreleased Tracks, Demos, Remixes
1. Don’t Be Messin’ Around2. I’m So Blue3. Song Groove (A/K/A Abortion Papers)4. Free5. Price Of Fame6. Al Capone7. Streetwalker8. Fly Away9. Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu (I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Spanish Version) 10. Je Ne Veux Pas La Fin De Nous (I Just Can't Stop Loving You, French Version)11. Bad (REMIX BY AFROJACK FEATURING PITBULL - DJ BUDDHA EDIT) 12. Speed Demon (REMIX BY NERO)13. Bad (REMIX BY AFROJACK - CLUB MIX)

CD THREE – CD Live at Wembley Stadium July 16, 1988
1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'2. This Place Hotel3. Another Part Of Me4. I Just Can't Stop Loving You5. She's Out Of My Life6. I Want You Back / The Love You Save / I'll Be There7. Rock With You8. Human Nature9. Smooth Criminal10. Dirty Diana11. Thriller12. Working Day And Night13. Beat It14. Billie Jean15. Bad16. Man In The Mirror

DVD – DVD Live at Wembley Stadium July 16, 1988
1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
2. This Place Hotel
3. Another Part Of Me
4. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
5. She's Out Of My Life
6. I Want You Back / The Love You Save / I'll Be There
7. Rock With You
8. Human Nature
9. Smooth Criminal
10. Dirty Diana11. Thriller12. Bad Groove (the Band Jam section)13. Working Day And Night14. Beat It15. Billie Jean16. Bad17. Man In The Mirror (Encore)

And Bonus Tracks Include:
1. The Way You Make Me Feel (Performed at Wembley the previous night, July 15, 1988)
2. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You/Bad (Performed at Yokohama Stadium, September, 1987)