LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's estate and a businessman working with the singer's mother settled a copyright infringement lawsuit for $2.5 million on Tuesday, shortly before a trial in the case was scheduled to begin.
The settlement also restricts Howard Mann and his companies from using Jackson's likeness without permission in the future. It ends a year and a half of legal fighting over Mann's use of Jackson's name and likeness on a website used to promote unreleased songs, photographs and a book written by Katherine Jackson filled with recollections of her superstar son.
Mann is the CEO of Vintage Pop Media, which operated the website www.michaeljacksonsecretvault.com until it was ordered shut down last month by a federal judge who ruled the site violated copyrights controlled by the singer's estate.
Under the terms of the settlement, announced in court by estate attorney Zia Modabber, Vintage Pop Media Group is responsible for $2 million of the judgment, while the entity Vintage Associates LLC is responsible for the remainder. Vintage Associates is the custodian of the items that were at issue in the case.
Mann's attorney, Lee Durst, declined comment after the hearing. "The estate is delighted this matter is behind us," estate attorney Howard Weitzman said.
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