A federal judge in Los Angeles has blocked a Canadian memorabilia merchant from using Michael Jackson-related domain names, reports Reuters. Howard Mann had registered and used websites like michaeljacksonsecretvault.com and MJgives.com that featured Michael Jackson’s copyrighted artistic property, including his parts of his song “Destiny,” a logo featuring Jackson’s likeness, and images from the posthumous live documentary film This Is It.
“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,” said U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson.
Mann had collaborated with Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson on MJ related properties like Never Can Say Goodbye, a coffee table book released in 2010, and a DVD and calendar touting exclusive new videos and photos of the singer. Mann sold these projects through michaeljacksonsecretvault.com, saying he had rightfully acquired the legal rights to the properties at a Jackson family bankruptcy sale several years ago.
The executors of Jackson’s estate, John McClain and John Branca, submitted the request for injunction in January 2011. A court date has been set for September 4th that, according to Jackson lawyer Howard Weitzman, will determine “how much in damages the Michael Jackson Estate is entitled to collect from Mann and his various entities.”
Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009. Spike Lee has recently revealed he is working on a Michael Jackson documentary, and the family recently settled an acrimonious dispute around the guardianship of his three chilren.