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March 2011

 

- As we mentioned before as expected (quite normal) Mann's lawyers has asked for a dismissal mainly claiming the previous lawsuit that Michael abandoned. Their dismissal request included personal attacks towards executors as well.

 

- Yesterday lawyers for MJ Estate has filed documents against Mann's dismissal request. Here are the main points that they make

 

 

---- They say that 2004 lawsuit was dismissed due to period of inactivity from MJ and with the reason of "failure to prosecute". As that lawsuit never went to trial and as no decision whatsoever made in that case it cannot be limiting today's case.

---- They argue that the 2004 defendants and today's defendants are different.

---- Estate lawyers argue that the new lawsuit is focused about the events happened in 2009 -2010 (such as copyright claim of TII - 2009/2010, issues with KJ's book - 2010, new website - 2010, release of opis none - 2010). They say as the lawsuit covers this new events it's a different lawsuit than the 2004 one.

 

---- Estate lawyers state that Michael's image from TII was used in the website background therefore not added by a user.

---- Estate lawyers argue that Mann didn't have any copyright rights on Destiny (also known as Opis None) whatsoever.

---- Estate lawyers state when people see "smooth criminal lean" it automatically reminds them of MJ and therefore whether he created the move or not is irrelevant.

---- As for the 5 MJ drawings, Estate lawyers state that Michael is the "author" and therefore the copyright owner. They state Brett Livingstone Strong wasn't in a position to authorize MJ's copyright.

 

---- Furthermore Estate lawyers state that the bankruptcy case that Vaccaro got this items from didn't include Michael and the judge in that case openly stated that Vaccaro can only get items from Katherine, Joe, Jermaine and Tito.

---- Estate lawyers is asking the court to establish that although Mann can own some items, he doesn't own the copyrights to them. He just owns the physical items.

 

(Estate's point is quite simple in this one. They say even if the court decides that Mann/Vacarro owns MJ related items, they want court to establish that they only own the physical items and not the intellectual property and copyrights. They state that intellectual rights are separate than material objects).

 

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a funny quote by the Estate's lawyer :

 

"Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ first, second and third copyright claims are

barred by the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (“OCILLA”),

17 U.S.C. § 512, part of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

Their discussion begins with a curious quote, without citation to any source,

purporting to establish that OCILLA can shield them “for their own acts of direct

copyright infringement.” (Motion at 7.) As discussed below, this is not the law, which

is not surprising given that Defendants’ authority appears to be Wikipedia." (16)

 

 

(16) Defendants did not reveal their source, so Plaintiffs’ counsel typed a portion of the

quoted text into a Google search and was directed to Wikipedia, where the entire

quote is found.

 

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April 2011

 

Judge denies Mann's motion to dismiss, the case moves forward.

 

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case is going forward with an expected trial date of June 2012.

 

 

In the initial papers filed MJ Estate's witness list includes Howard Mann and a bunch of people related to Vintage Pop and related businesses as well as Melissa Johnson, Joe, Katherine and Trent Jackson. Estate also is interested in any agreement between Mann and anyone that's related to Michael.

 

Howart Mann's witness list is quite interesting. It involves Estate executors, people who run MJ companies, Sony/ ATV, Cirque de Soleil, MGM Grand, almost all Jacksons  and the likes of Al Malnik, Brian Oxman, marc schaffel (spelled as Mark Shelfel), Randy Phillips, Londell McMillian, Joel Katz, Tohme Tohme and most probably Dieter wiesner (it's spelled as Didier Witzner).

 

 

Howard Mann's key documents include not only an agreement with Katherine Jackson but one with Joe Jackson as well. There's also a November 17, 2009  letter between Tohme Tohme and Brett Livingstone-Strong.

 

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Expected case timeline

 

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Henry Vaccaro's private investigator Frank Coonis who found the Jackson memorablia back in 2002 filed a petition in the case. He claims that he is entitled to 14% of anything that comes from the collection.

 

 

Judge denied this request saying that

1) the Estate - Mann lawsuit is mainly about intellectual property (image, likeliness, copyright, trademark) and not real property

2) MJ was not a party in the bankruptcy case so his assets cannot be a part of the lien (removes Estate's responsibility to pay) and

3) this was between Coonis and Vaccaro and that Coonis can sue Vaccaro if he wants to get his 14%.