On Friday, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted an injunction to block Canadian entrepreneur Howard Mann from using the websites “michaeljacksonsecretvault.com” and “MJgives.com” and other similar domain names for infringing the deceased singer’s intellectual property. Howard Mann is a Canadian memorabilia dealer who worked with the mother of Michael Jackson on a tribute book. His websites used images and music of Michael Jackson, and according to the court, violated the copyrights held by the deceased celebrity’s estate.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson wrote in his ruling, “There is undisputed evidence that (Mann) intended in bad faith to profit from use of Jackson’s name, by registering multiple domain names containing his name or the initials ‘MJ’ to sell Jackson-related products.”
The lawsuit was filed against Mann by the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate in January 2011, about 18 months after the death of the legendary singer from an overdose of propofol. The estate of the singer holds the rights to his image and music for the benefit of his children and his mother Katherine.
The executors claimed that the websites run by Mann used clips of Jackson’s song “Destiny,” a logo featuring the “King of Pop” and art from the posthumous concert movie “This Is It.”
Mann is known to have worked with Katherine Jackson on several projects since 2009, including “Never Can Say Goodbye” a coffee table book featuring recollections of Michael Jackson by his mother, as also a DVD and calendar featuring previously unpublished photos and videos.
Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for Jackson’s estate said that the court had set September 4 to find out “how much in damages the Michael Jackson Estate is entitled to collect from Mann and his various entities.” Executors of the estate said that they were pleased with the court’s ruling and it will prevent Mann from “continuing to unlawfully profit from Michael Jackson and his intellectual property.”