After four years, Quincy Jones has won a lawsuit where he sought royalties for his production services of hits on some of Michael Jackson’s biggest albums.
A jury ruled that he should be granted $9.4 mllion in royalties from Michael Jackson’s estate. Jones was seeking a $30 million payout, while the estate contested that Jones was owed only $392,000.
“This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created,” Jones wrote in a statement. “Although this [judgment] is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favour in this matter. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists’ rights overall.”
In his lawsuit, Jones claimed MJ’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment owed him for the music they used in years following MJ’s death in 2009, music which he had a hand in producing — music from Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad as well as the posthumous This Is Itsoundtrack and two Cirque du Soleil shows. Jones claimed in the lawsuit that the posthumous works were re-edited for the sole purpose to deprive Jones of his royalties and production fees. He also stated that he had the contractual right to take first crack at any re-edit or remix as the songs’ original producer. Jackson’s hits from those albums including Billie Jean, Thriller and Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough are among the songs Jones claims were re-edited.
Estate attorney Howard Weitzman said he and his team were upset by the verdict. “I understand everybody’s going to say it could have been much worse – they were asking for huge amounts,” Weitzman said. “We’re still disappointed.” He said the estate planned an appeal.
Jones did made it clear during the trial when he took the stand that he was not suing Michael, he was suing the gatekeepers of his estate.