Home Celebrity Michael Jackson Estate Sues Over Website, Mrs. Jackson’s Book, More

It’s about freaking time.

The estate of Michael Jackson, represented by Howard Weitzman, has filed suit against Howard Mann and all his pseudonyms and DBAs.

The suit is all about Mann’s alleged copyright infringement: his jacksonsecretvault website, the picture book by Katherine Jackson called “Never Can Say Goodbye,” a recently announced Michael Jackson lithograph collection, and even the release of a “new” song last fall that turned out to be a remix of the Jacksons record “Destiny.”

Mann, if you recall, bought the contents of a warehouse of Jackson family memorabilia after its owner, Henry Vaccaro, filed for bankruptcy. Mann, who runs gambling websites out of Canada, then made a deal with Katherine Jackson to exploit the contents of the website. That included publication of “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

Mann always took the position–especially in talks with this reporter–that because he owned the physical contents of the warehouse he also owned the intellectual property rights–despite the fact that both the Jackson estate and Sony probably superseded him.

Mann kept pushing the envelope, using his relationship with Katherine Jackson as a shield. But now the estate, run by John Branca, has finally responded. The lawsuit is 53 pages long and quite explicit. In other words: the party is over.

The Estate calls Mann’s actions “rampant misuse of Estate assets” that has caused “consumer confusion.” Indeed, Mann thanks the Estate on his website, which the suit says makes it seem as though they condone and endorse him.

In a way, the estate is now exhibiting a little muscle in the direction of Katherine Jackson, whom they’ve supported financially since the day Michael died. Mann has always stated–including to me–that Mrs. Jackson was in need of funds becausde the estate was shortchanging her. How Mann replies to this lawsuit will be interesting, certainly.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
14 replies to this post
  1. Looks like the estate lawyers have something to hide by going after Howard Mann, who has Katherine and Michael’s children on his side… and they ARE the Estate.
    Don’t assume that because they are lawyers they are honest!!!

  2. I like to look at it this way, who’s running Elvis Pressley estate, his family! Who’s running James Brown estate,his family!! Who’s running most of the celebrity estate, Their Families!!!! This is a conspiracy and it’s time for everything to be exposed!!! So, what the Jackson wants to run things, Michael worked His ass off all these years and Not for the executors, but for his family!!!!

  3. Katherine isn’t stupid or greedy. She’s been backed into the same corner MJ was. The associations cannot be missed. Marc Schaffel shot the video, he’s Debbie Rowes BFF. Follow the money. Katherine must play ball and be practically pimped by this trio of slime in order to not get hauled into court and have custody challenged. MJ loved his babies but you could tell he learned from his mistakes big time by the way he chose to conceive Blanket.

  4. Let’s wait and see whether Katherine Jackson is going to be involved as well in that law suit. The estate sued Mann and any “Doe” partner, affiliates etc. According to KJs contract with Mann, she is involved indirectly as a Doe.

  5. It’s about time! Katherine Jackson’s business ventures would do better under the aegis of the Estate.Too many people want to profit from the death of Michael Jackson.Howard Mann is one of those people who thinks that they can sell items of questionable quality and rake in profits.

  6. So by Mann’s way of thinking, because I bought some Michael Jackson stuff, photos, some recordings, I now have the right to turn it around and sell it and make a profit? What?? Hey Mann, I bought the off the Wall album in ’79, does that give me the right to use it to make a profit?

    Mann bought a bunch of stuff, he didn’t buy the rights to anything. I hope this sends a clear message to all the leeches.

  7. I remember when I went to that site after it first launched – and I thought it was endorsed by the Estate given the way it is worded. However, I always thought it was strange that the bio on MJ is lifted right out of Wikipedia. In any case, when “Never Can Say Goodbye” was announced and more detailed information started to become public about Mann and whom he was associated with, another porn producer, Marc Scheffeld (sp) – who appears to be with Debbie Rowe (rolling the eyes), this long list of suspect characters certainly made me keep my money in my pocket.

  8. About time something is done about Mann, who is exploiting Katherine Jackson. But the difficult thing is, the estate is taking care of Katherine Jackson’s and the Jackson children’s money. And though you itch to pry Mann away from Mrs. Jackson, it must be her right to publish a book about her son with pictures in her possession, and it must also be her right to co-operate with anyone she chooses. I don’t feel like buying the book, but that’s another story.

    So no wonder it took time to figure out a way to go about this. I would be interested to know how.

  9. FINALLY!!!!!! I am 100000000% behind the MJ estate. They took their time to gather all facts and went for the jugular.

    this sleaball doesn’t own the copyright to ANYTHING. Several time in the past, there have been judgment for Vaccaro to turn over the Michael Jackson items because MJ wasn’t a party to Joe & Katherine’s bankruptcy filing. They lid and claimed MJ’s items were stolen.
    I cannot believe Katherine is letting this scumbag in MJ’s kids life. What kind of witness is she again??

    Do they worship God or money?

  10. It amazes me, how the executors are the one’s making most the money and the Jackson’s are only allowed to make penny’s. They want to control the Jackson’s and I think it’s going to be a fight to the end. So what, they want money, the executors and lawyers wanting and getting theirs!!!!

  11. Finally!
    By supporting Mann, Katherine is just short changing herself.

    Mann is just capitalizing on the death of someone he never knew.
    And he really has caused “consumer confusion.”

  12. The estate took their time to gather the facts. 53 pages is nothing to sneeze at, goes to show that the estate ain’t playing. It just boggles my mind that a “church lady” would go into a venture with this person – I am sure it was the lure of the old mighty dollar.

    Next up will be the venture that Joe has coming out with some cologne/perfume with Michael’s image.

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