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Arts and Entertainment

Jury Awards Quincy Jones $9.4 Million In Michael Jackson Royalty Dispute

Quincy Jones. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Quincy Jones, the legendary record producer, was awarded $9.42 million by a jury Wednesday after suing the Michael Jackson estate over royalties that he claimed were owed to him, reports Variety.

In his storied career, Jones had served as producer for a wide range of artists—from Donna Summer to Frank Sinatra to Dizzy Gillespie. His most famous work, however, was with Michael Jackson, with whom he teamed up with on Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad. These works were the basis for the lawsuit that Jones filed against Jackson's estate in 2013. The suit claimed a breach of contract, and said that Jones was owed royalties for posthumous material that featured the singer's music—namely, the 2009 documentary This Is It and two Cirque du Soleil shows that revolved around Jackson's work. According to the L.A. Times, the suit claimed that the master recordings that Jones produced for Jackson were remixed to deprive the producer of royalties and production fees that were secured for him through contracts signed in 1978 and 1985.

"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 said in a statement, according to the Times.

Howard Weitzman, attorney for Jackson's estate, countered by saying in trial that Jackson was largely responsible for the sound of the records. According to Variety, this argument didn't sit well with Jones, who testified that it's the producer who takes the blame when a record is a flop, but the artist who gets credit for the successes.

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In trial, Jackson's estate conceded that an accounting error had kept about $400,000 from Quincy, but said that the producer was not entitled to the millions he was asking for. After Wednesday's ruling, Weitzman and Zia Modabber, another attorney for Jackson's estate, sent out a statement:

While the jury denied Quincy Jones $21 million—or more than two-thirds of what he demanded — from the estate of Michael Jackson, we still believe that giving him millions of dollars that he has no right to receive under his contracts is wrong.
Any amount above and beyond what is called for in his contracts is too much and unfair to Michael’s heirs. Although Mr. Jones is portraying this is a victory for artists’ rights, the real artist is Michael Jackson and it is his money Mr. Jones is seeking.

Here's a 1983 interview with Jones and Jackson during happier times. They talk about Jackson's collection of animals, which include a llama, a chimpanzee, and a tiger. NBD.

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