Michael Jackson’s estate halts auction of purportedly ‘stolen’ music recordings


The estate of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, has successfully prevented the sale of a collection of ‘extremely rare’ unreleased recordings. Gotta Have Rock and Roll had previously announced intentions to auction more than two dozen master tapes, recorded by the late ‘Thriller’ singer at New York Studio The Hit Factory in 1994. Expected to fetch up to $4,000 per tape, the estate’s lawyers intervened, asserting that the recordings were ‘unquestionably stolen’.

A letter obtained by Billboard written by attorney Jonathan Steinsapir on November 29 demanded the company “cease and desist from any and all efforts to further auction these tapes,” but also immediately return the recordings, reports aceshowbiz.com.

The letter continued: “Neither Michael Jackson nor his record company, Sony Music Entertainment, ever sold or gave away master tapes from his recording sessions at The Hit Factory (or anywhere else). These tapes were unquestionably stolen or otherwise taken without authorization. Accordingly, they are the property of the Jackson Estate.”

The letter was apparently unsuccessful and so this week, attorney Alex Spiro, sent an email to the auction house’s lawyer, in which they noted the company had already informed the estate that they “will not comply with these demands.”

They wrote: “We write to notify you that we intend to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction tomorrow (December 13) in New York Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.”

By Wednesday, December 13, the tapes had been removed from sale, though Gotta Have Rock and Roll are still selling a number of other items associated with the ‘Bad’ singer, including a “Circa 1984 Owned + Worn Red Military Style Jacket” which they estimate will sell for over $10,000.
The tapes had been noted as being “artefact ONLY with no copyright” with reproduction “STRICTLY prohibited” and had titles including ‘Oh Love’, ‘New Jelly’, and ‘Doing What My Heart’.
(With IANS inputs)

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