Musicians Union Sues Sony Over Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’

michael-jackson-this-is-it

The American Federation of Musicians is suing Sony Music Entertainment for allegedly violating its contract in the Michael Jackson documentary “This Is It.”

The suit, filed in federal court in New York, alleges that the artists were misled to record work for “This Is It” with the understanding that they were working on a phonographic record instead of a film score.

Sony had no immediate response to a request for comment.

“The Sound Recording Labor Agreement, which Sony has signed, covers only recording sessions for records—and prohibits recording film scores,” the union said.

AFM International President Ray Hair said Sony allegedly refused to sign a letter allowing them to use the AFM Motion Picture Agreement for this recording session. As a result, the union asserted, musicians have been unable to collect residuals on the film.

The film, directed by Kenny Ortega, grossed over $260 million worldwide.

“A fan may wonder what difference it makes if musicians record music under one contract versus another, but it makes a huge difference to musicians trying to earn a living,” Hair said. “Musicians have joined together to create industry standards and it is simply unacceptable for greedy corporations to knowingly violate those standards by denying residuals.”

The suit also charges Sony with refusing to make new payments on Pitbull’s 2012 version of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and sampling of Jackson songs like “Billie Jean” and “Man in the Mirror” in “This Is It.”

“We did not want to go to court, but Sony repeatedly refused to do the right thing and pay the musicians fairly,” Hair said.

The AFM is seeking breach of contract damages, including the payment of wages and benefits that should have been given to musicians.

This is AFM’s third suit filed in recent months. The union sued Paramount Pictures last month for allegedly breaching its master contract by recording the score to Renee Zellweger’s upcoming film “Same Kind of Different as Me” in Slovakia.

The union also filed suit against Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount on April 27. AFM claims that the studios violated its master contract for recording film scores outside the U.S. and Canada for “Interstellar” (Warner Bros. and Paramount), “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (Warner Bros.) and MGM’s reboots of “Robocop” and “Carrie.”

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3 thoughts on “Musicians Union Sues Sony Over Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’

  1. What musicians??? MJ’s band members? I don’t recall musicians in This Is It that they could be talking about! When will all of these people ever going to stop attempting to get money from this one man and his ESTATE! This man has been dead 6 damn years and this BS just won’t end!!! What’s next will someone find a problem with the entertainers who performed at Michael Funeral Services?? Oh Yeah, the city of Los Angeles has dibbs on that!!

    • It seems that their beef right now is just with Sony. I hope that they don’t even up suing Michael’s estate over it. They will never get out of probate at this rate. You just get so fed up with Michael’s name being associated with so much mess that is not his fault. God rest his sweet soul.

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