Michael Jackson estate, charity settle copyright case

08:56, April 20, 2011      

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The Michael Jackson Estate has settled a case with a Southern California charity over copyright infringement, media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Terms of the settlement were not publicly released as attorneys for the estate and the Heal the World Foundation met behind closed doors with U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee just as jury selection in the case was set to get started in Los Angeles federal court.

Melissa Johnson, founder of the Palm Desert-based foundation, was granted permission to use the late singer's name and image in association with the charity, while the late singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, was made a member of the board of directors to oversee the nonprofit institution's work, celebrity website TMZ. com reported.

The charity said on its web page that it is not affiliated with the Executors of the Michael Jackson Estate, neither are any products sold on this site endorsed by the Jackson Estate. It described itself as "a universal charity organization designed to improve the condition of all mankind."

The Jackson estate sued Johnson on infringement and unfair competition allegations shortly after she established her organization in 2008, six years after the superstar's own charity, also named the Heal the World Foundation, shut down. The executors of the Jackson estate alleged that Johnson registered the names or phrases "Michael Jackson," "King of Pop," "Thriller," "Neverland" and other words or phrases with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

While Jackson did launch his own Heal the World Foundation in 1992, it had no connection to Johnson's organization and became dormant before the singer died of an overdose of prescription drugs in June 2009 at age 50, according to the complaint.

Source: Xinhua

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