New Ruling Issued in Michael Jackson ‘Fake Songs’ Lawsuit Following Settlement Agreement

Michael Jackson image IRS
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Michael Jackson image IRS
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Photo Credit: Constru-centro / CC by 4.0

One week back, reports revealed that Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and the Michael Jackson estate had quietly settled a lawsuit concerning three posthumously released songs that were allegedly recorded by a vocalist besides the King of Pop. Now, it appears that the court may have modified the settlement.

This latest development in the long-running complaint arrives some eight years after one Vera Serova submitted the action. In brief, regarding the multifaceted case’s background, diehard Michael Jackson fans have for some time maintained that the three songs in question – Michael’s “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster” – were recorded not by Michael Jackson, but by a different singer.

Sony Music originally defended the tracks’ authenticity before adopting a more careful position with the introduction of the mentioned lawsuit. And this complaint, for its part, centered on alleged deceptive representation against consumers as well as other purported commercial violations.

Then, 2018 saw Sony Music cleared of liability in the marathon suit, during which it’s come to light that Jackson’s mother Katherine believes the songs were recorded by a different singer than her son. Meanwhile, producer Eddie Cascio (who co-wrote the songs) is among those who have vouched for the vocals’ authenticity.

In any event, the same ultra-dedicated Michael Jackson supporters who’ve spent over a decade discussing the matter promptly noticed early last month that the trio of works had been removed from leading streaming services. (The songs remain absent from Spotify, where Michael still encompasses just seven of its 10 original tracks.) And as initially noted, mid-August brought with it a settlement agreement – and what appeared to be an end to the much-publicized lawsuit.

Nevertheless, evidence suggests that the California Supreme Court may have modified the settlement.

Digital Music News received a “judgment reversed” notification from the appropriate court today, albeit without the precise details of the development. Similarly, related documents, save for a brief summary, were unavailable at the time of this piece’s writing.

“We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal insofar as it ordered struck, per the anti-SLAPP statute, those claims of Serova against Sony that remained after the trial court’s order, and we remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including any dismissal proceedings contemplated by the parties’ settlement agreement,” said brief summary reads in full, seemingly indicating that a lower court will consider the dismissal and the judgement reversal.

It’s worth highlighting in conclusion that MJ, the namesake artist’s official musical, debuted on Broadway in February. With no shortage of attendees having taken to social media to tout the perceived quality of the show, organizers recently announced that MJ is set to head to a number of other cities in 2023 as part of a comprehensive North American tour.