MICHAEL JACKSON: NOT TO TRUST EVERYBODY IN THE RECORD INDUSTRY

 

The 2002 scenario marked the public back and forth of the war and the problems between MJ, Sony, and CEO Tommy Mottola. MJ words on Mottola speak alone.

There is no need to comment any further, primarily because it must not be forgotten that Mr. Mottola was a hired man at the end of the day.  Rumors tell of MJ and Masao Morita of Sony Entertainment Worldwide busy working on a video game with using the Invincible songs, and neither of them bothered to tell Mottola.  But in the USA, the hard fight to destabilize MJ  financially was officially on “screen.” 90% of the press was on random aspersions.

Also, people such as Russell Simmons and Ricky Martin had spoken out against Michael Jackson in his feud with Mottola and made in derisive public statements about him. Comedians like Dennis Miller and Robin Williams had bad mouth using comedic references to the allegations that MJ faced several years before. And even the people who have worked with him suddenly disappeared. No one stood up for MJ, and their non-support was uncannily the same when Michael faced molestation allegations.  Only the Jackson family supported MJ and, in particular, Jermaine Jackson, who defended his brother in public fiercely.

Jackson’s attorney Martin Singer stated during an interview that a lawsuit against Sony was into consideration. They had enough forensic audits. There were claims for breach of the agreement and fiduciary duties, accounting claims for under-reporting of revenues, and other alleged improper accounting practices worth hundreds of dollars.

Sony has always been famous for this kind of practice with artists under contract with them. They did not get money from their hits because the record label said the artists owe them money. It was their consolidated skill being mainly aware that only a minority of artists would have been able to fund on its own the audits (we are talking about a few hundred thousand dollars).

Sony, methodically diverted revenues from Jackson’ and his companies disguising the revenues of reproduction, use of it, and exploitation of his musical assets, as “profits” instead of “royalties,” by removing the royalties from the pool of revenues upon which MJ royalties were calculated and purposely reducing the royalties and his Net Receipts. Jackson recording artist contract agreement also provided that Sony should credit to Jackson account an amount equal to the portion of the foreign tax credits attributable to Jackson royalties.

Another Sony game was the allocation of the available tax credits.  An example is subparagraph 11.02 of Michael Jackson’s recording agreement. It provided that Sony would credit  MJ’s account an amount equal to the portion of the foreign tax credits attributable to MJ’s royalties after a final audit by the IRS. Once the IRS completed its audit, it became evident that Sony did not allocate to Michael Jackson a portion of the available tax credit. 

Contracts must be written in plain and understandable language and cannot contain unfair contract terms. The complexity of contractual clauses was instead the winning tool of the Sony strategy. And the issue with MJ lay in between good-faith interpretation and the abuse of the right. 

The same story of MJ for the Sony/ATV catalog. Another example of how Sony could mess up the accounts is showed in the letter sent to Sony/ATV by Jackson’s company to summarize the agreements they had gotten into:

The letter mention two crucial issues: 

  • The bank involvement (his infamous loan, pictured by the media, as frivolous expenses and capricious)
  • Further payments to him upon liquidation of the company. 

The capital contribution represents what Sony had to pay MJ to reach 50% of its shares. Sony/ATV, being newly born and having insufficient funds to assume operating expenses, took loans from Sony Entertainment to pay Jackson. These loans were bearing interests per annum rate of LIBOR plus 100 basis points. And here it started the debt circles that affected the company for all their partnership. To make a long story short: MJ was getting money for the sale of his 50% wholly-owned catalog, and Sony ATV generated debts to become 50% partners. Not to mention the byzantine priorities of financial management and the discretionality of how profits were distributed.

The Joint Venture signed between them in 1991, and the publishing catalog resulted in a multi-millionaire contracts/agreements intersected with each other was a breeding ground for accounting manipulations since the money flow passed largely in Sony coffers.

Sony could be able to show MJ account in debt somehow.  Because if it is true that as per the contractual principle that record labels cannot sue an artist if they cannot recover the advances disbursed, MJ was a business partner involved in gains and losses.

Wendy Day, founder of the artist advocacy group Rap Coalition correctly understood the situation. She said in a 2003  interview: “Michael Jackson’s problem is like racism: when you’re not the person being oppressed, you tend not to see it.”

It had nothing to do with Jackson’s personal issues toward Mottola. It was a dispute involving the recording agreement and relates to their business relationship in the publishing venture, Sony/ATV.

Jackson claimed Sony acted inappropriately in the marketing of  “Invincible,” and the record company defended its budget to show initial support for Jackson. In reality, the 25 or whatsoever Million claimed to have spent making and promoting the album were inflated and far from accurate, as well as the number of record sales attributed to it; because there’s a world of difference between them spending money and spending it adequately. The cash was, in no small measure, purposely wasted. Recording studios and hotel rooms left empty and booked for months with no one caring about it and pressures put on MJ to use new and young producers, convincing him he needed them when indeed it was the contrary. Sony’s mismanagement during the production of the album was well documented.

It was only in  November 2001, after the acquisition of 50% of the MJ ATV catalog, that Sony started to deposit copyrights into Sony/ATV. Sony/ATV signed a co-publishing deal and acquired Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs. In July 2002, Sony/ATV Music Publishing purchased country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. It’s a mistake to think that Jackson had deposited no additional copyrights into the catalog since Sony/ATV was a partnership, and MJ was on the board of directors. The company could not act without his consent. The Operating Agreement specified that both shareholders were forbidden to purchase catalogs if not for the interest of the company.

Meanwhile, the company had raised substantially in value. There’s an official survey dated 1999 saying that Sony/ATV value was 993 million of dollars. And MJ 50% was still the most valuable and significant income of the company.

Since 2000 Sony Corp. was in full crisis, having many of its divisions in precarious situations, and their interest was to put MJ into liquidity constraints, not to squeeze him into a bankruptcy procedure. If MJ had gone bankrupt, as news had deceitfully reported, Sony would not have been able to apply to the option imposed by Bank of America, namely the “Put Option” price. If this had happened, the bank would have owned 50% of Sony/ATV shares and subsequently auctioned them to the highest bidder. And Sony couldn’t let it happen.

By the timeline of the events, it is clear that the album boycott and the purchase of new catalogs were the occasions to absorb most of MJ’s incomes deriving from Sony/ATV and consequently for Sony to acquire more leverage in their joint-publishing venture. Michael Jackson’s financial situation wasn’t insecure to the extent that Sony could put some hopes on it. But the truth was that Michael had his assets pledged into Bank of America loans, and part of his revenues placed in the reserve accounts to guarantee the payments of the interests and secure the loan itself.  That’s was the reason he was seriously planning other ventures and solutions to diversify and strengthen the sources of funding and developing other corporate alliances.  

On September 30th, 2002, a third amended and restated term loan agreement between Bank of America and MJ-ATV Publishing restates in its entirety the Existing Loan Agreement plus the already agreed third loan od 11.5 million of dollars that inject cash in the collateral accounts, and settled banking costs, interest, and expenses. Only 3 million were available for MJ corporate expenses.

Contrary to what the press was heralding,  it was the same old corporate loan in agreement with Sony since 1995. At that time, MJ’s financing had gone from a prime rate regulated by Federal reserve funds to LIBOR to try to earn on futures operations through collateral accounts that accrued interest.

The year 2003 started with management “clean up.”  There was another change of the structure of MJ/ATV, and MJPT trusts with Mr. Branca and Mr. Siegler replaced by Mr. Malnik and Mr. McClain.

Dieter Wiesner and Ronald Konitzer were working on a plan named MJ Universe, which was supposed to relaunch Michael’s career. Meanwhile, Jackson strolled around the world journalist Martin Bashir, who was introduced to him by his friend Uri Geller.

As per a 2005 testimony of attorney David Le Grand, Wiesner and Konitzer tried to take over Jackson’s management, working subtly behind his shoulders. They messed up a great time with Michael’s money to synthesize their work, but they did not succeed in their intent. There were too many people around and too much at stake for everyone.

Michael was not a fool and immediately realized that Le Grand was unable to care for his publishing affairs and dismissed him after only three months. And this was his consideration regarding Konitzer: (excerpt from the 2006 Schaffel lawsuit) regarding Konitzer: 

So, even if in bad terms,  Mr. Branca law firm still had the management for the licensing of MIJAC. However, it was a real mess.

The controversy that arose after the broadcast of  Martin Bashir’s documentary,  Leaving with Michael Jackson,  followed by the leaked Chandler’s 1993 deposition, appeared “magically” on The Smoking Gun website had almost immediately a disparaging effect on his business efforts and his finances.

It resulted that by the end of August 2003, he raised the credit line guaranteed by MIJAC from 35 to 70 million and the relevant amendment of the Sony inter-creditor agreement. The document shows MJ was in debt with Sony Music of 12.5 million.

An Intercreditor Agreement sets out the arrangement between financiers providing loans or credits to a borrower and reconciles their different interests. It deals with the commercial behavior of the parties and also the ranking of their debt and security, particularly on insolvency, by subordinating junior lenders (Sony in this case) and regulating the rights of lenders.  Commercially this kind of agreement provides for the subordination of the Inventory lien solely to the loans made under a Revolving Credit Agreement. 

I have no documents related to it, so I cannot have a clear understanding. What it’s sure is that the agreement is linked directly to MJ advance on royalties and the exploitation of his music and intellectual property.

I found a document dated 1998 referring to various agreements between them. The most interesting is the “use period” connected with Michael Jackson’s recording contract.

The document refers to the sixth album for which MJ was still under contract, specifying the insertion of a new wording in the Subparagraph of the Recording Agreement.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, if prior to your delivery of the sixth album of your recording commitment Jackson, MJJP or MJV becomes a debtor in a case under the Bankruptcy Code section 365 (an applicable rejection order) the used period shall continue until the later January 1st, 2024, and the date that is seven years after entry of an Applicable Rejection”.

The above is another example of the many interpretation legal diatribes that must have been to get out of Sony. MJ was strangled in a finance facility that engaged all his assets. He still had other resources, but the lack of liquidity gave him little room for maneuver when negotiating new agreements or renegotiating existing ones.

 

All of the above, it makes me wonder why all of a sudden, almost a year after MJ had lashed out at Tommy Mottola, the new allegations came about. So I wonder why the very same day of the Number One’s CD release, Tom Sneddon with a search warrant and 70 cops went to raid Neverland.

And also why in October of 2004, while Michael was facing child molestation charges in Los Angeles, there was news spread in the Media asserting MJ was on the way to agree to sell his 50% catalog to Sony. And they dared to go into details such adding that general discussions between Sony and Jackson’s representatives, John Branca and Charles Koppelman, were in place to discuss already the post-merger direction of the partnership. 

 

 

MICHAEL JACKSON’S 2005 VINDICATION DAY: A RETROSPECTIVE

21.4.17

Sneddon’s case against Michael Jackson was bulls-it. That was the logical conclusion of a brilliant journalist such as Matt TaibbiHowever, the few articles that evenly reported the Michael Jackson 2005 trial drowned down in a slime of packed lies.

 Actually, the havoc, the shame, the scam should have been debited to the Californian Legal System, which allowed  a trial based on circumstantial evidence and in total conflict with the American statute, which clearly states that: “ YOU ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BY A COURT OF LAW.”

Michael Jackson was arrested in November 2003, days after sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at his Los Olivos ranch.  MJ was tried on 10-count indictments but in April 2003 he was charged with four more counts of child molestation; four counts for providing alcohol to a minor to facilitate that molestation, one count of attempted molestation, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at his sprawling 2700-acre Neverland compound.

Sneddon’s intricate conspiracy charges —that Jackson held hostage the family of his so-called victim and plotted to fly them to Brazil—was proven to be ludicrous. Attorney Tom Mesereau had no difficulty in illustrating to Jury that family members had gone on a shopping binge during their supposed confinement, including body waxes for the mother of the alleged victim and various orthodontic works for the children.  Testimonies declared that the family “escaped” and returned to Jackson’s Neverland ranch at least three times, once in a Rolls-Royce, but never called anyone for help.

Prosecutor Tom Sneddon slandered Jackson publicly, creating a situation where Michael ultimately was forced to face two trials: one in the courtroom and the other in the newsroom. Jackson was ridiculed and dehumanized by the media – and not just in the rags. The awful headlines that trumpeted prosecution claims while burying more subdued and smaller articles about the defense arguments contributed to winning over the public opinion.

The media found Jackson guilty before the trial even began. To this day, there still people who speculate on the charges acquittal formulation saying that “no guilty” verdict means “lack of evidence”Actually, it does not work like that. Lack of evidence produces the dismissal of the judgment, not a verdict of “not guilty.”

When someone is formally charged and gets into a courtroom, no-one is ever found ‘innocent.’ That’s how USA Law is constructed. A verdict of not guilty constitutes an acquittal. At trial, an acquittal occurs when the Jury determines that the prosecution hasn’t proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case should never have been brought in a court. Prosecutor Sneddon was aware of the evidence’s poor quality, yet indicted Jackson anyway. Moreover, the parade of witnesses with poor credibility did more than undermine the prosecution’s case. It also sent an ugly message: this prosecutor wanted to get Jackson even if he had to suborn perjury. And in order to procure substantial prejudices against the defendant, the prosecutor’s misconduct went so far as producing pieces of evidence that were then proved false.  But after all, we have to be thankful that the smart and thoughtful Jury did the right thing.

In his closing argument, Tom Mesereau called the family a pack of scam artists trying to pull off the ”the biggest con of their careers.” He was kind enough not to say the same about Santa Barbara’s District Attorney’s office.

With this short introduction, I will let you go through a collection of articles, videos, and pictures of what happened on June 13th, 2005.

June 1: Judge Melville gives the Jury the rules of Jury  Deliberations.

Jurors, who listen to 98 pages of legal guidelines to help them decide the case against the pop star, will hear closing arguments starting this morning. Michael sat motionless, staring at the jury, as Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville recited dense legal language for more than 90 minutes. The judge has ruled that one of the lesser charges against the singer can be revised, increasing the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
Judge Rodney Melville agreed to a prosecution request that the jury could consider a lesser charge of giving alcohol to a minor. Mr. Jackson had been charged with providing alcohol to a minor to enable a felony, a charge which carries a sentence of two to four years. If convicted of the lesser charge, which is a misdemeanor, not a felony, Mr. Jackson would face a fine and the possibility of less than a year in jail. The jury will consider a lengthy indictment that includes four charges of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a minor, one charge of attempting to commit a lewd act on a minor and one of conspiracy involving child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. The conspiracy charge alone alleges 28 overt acts. The jury only has to find that Mr. Jackson was involved in one of the acts to find him guilty of conspiracy. Should he be found guilty of all charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison. With Melville’s instructions fresh in their minds, jurors will hear closing arguments starting this morning before retreating into the jury room for their first discussions about the case. The defense and the prosecution each had long as four hours to make their final appeals in a cliffhanger trial that has careened from one dramatic piece of evidence to the next over nearly 14 weeks of testimony.  Among Melville’s instructions were rules for considering a videotape played just days ago that maybe one of the most powerful weapons in the prosecution’s arsenal. In the 2003 video, Jackson’s young accuser haltingly told Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies that Jackson had molested him. The nervous 13-year-old boy on the tape was a marked contrast to the wisecracking, sometimes prickly 15-year-old who testified at the trial in March. Defense attorneys tried to show that the accuser’s mother coached him to come forward with the molestation allegation so the family could sue Jackson. Melville reminded jurors that they could view the videotape only to observe the boy’s demeanor and gauge whether he was parroting a fabricated story, and not to decide whether he had been molested. The other videos include “Living With Michael Jackson,” a British TV documentary in which the pop star admitted that he enjoyed nonsexual sleepovers with children. The worldwide uproar following that broadcast prompted a “rebuttal video” from Jackson in which the accuser and his family lauded him as a loving father figure. Jurors saw the rebuttal video several times in the trial and are likely to see snippets again. Prosecutors allege that Jackson held the family hostage to force them to make the video. The defense had used the tape to argue that the boy and his family, so enthusiastic about Jackson before the camera, were not captives. In his instructions, Melville also said the jury might opt to find Jackson guilty of a misdemeanor — furnishing wine to a minor — rather than the more serious charge of administering alcohol in order to commit a felony. That instruction may offer jurors some room to negotiate. At the end of the court day, Jackson and his entourage left without comment.

June 2: Ron Zonen gives his closing statement followed by Tom Mesereau who doesn’t have time to finish.

The Michael Jackson trial reached a climactic phase yesterday as the prosecution and defense presented starkly different views of the singer to a jury expected to start its deliberations today. For the prosecution the trial was “about the exploitation and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old cancer survivor by an international celebrity”, said the deputy district attorney Ron Zonen. The defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau told the jury: “The issue before you is the life, future, fortune and reputation of Michael Jackson. That’s what is about to be placed in your hands.” While both sides concurred on the momentous nature of the decision facing the jury, that was about all they agreed on. Both teams focused much of their closing arguments on the credibility of Gavin Arvizo, the 13-year-old accuser in the case, and his family. Mr Jackson is accused of sexually molesting Gavin Arvizo and conspiring to imprison the Arvizo family. If found guilty on all counts he faces up to 20 years in prison.”If you don’t believe [the Arvizos],” Mr Mesereau said, “Michael Jackson must go free.” Mr Zonen told the court: “There are two themes, that Michael Jackson inserted himself into the Arvizo family, not the other way around,” and that, “Janet Arvizo never asked Michael Jackson for a penny.” He then launched a withering attack on Mr Jackson’s defence. Reminding the jury that Mr Mesereau had made several promises in his opening statement, Mr Zonen said: “He was inviting us to judge him. Let’s begin the judgment.” The defence, he said, had promised evidence that the Arvizo family had tried to “shake down” numerous celebrities for money. He said the promised parade of celebrities had failed to materialise and those who had testified had not backed up Mr Mesereau’s assertions. He also disputed the defence’s assertion that Mr Jackson, 46, had taken time out from his career to help the young cancer patient. He had, Mr Zonen admitted, made numerous calls to the boy. “That’s what he does with all the boys who end up in his bed,” he said. “That’s how Michael Jackson functions. That’s what he does. That has nothing to do with benevolence.” He went on to describe Neverland as “the world of the forbidden. Michael Jackson’s room was a veritable fortress with locks and codes which the boys were given … They learned about sexuality from someone only too willing to be their teacher.” Pouring scorn on the prosecution’s conspiracy charge, Mr Mesereau said: “Does he look like the kind of person capable of masterminding a criminal conspiracy of this magnitude? It’s absurd.” He also defended Mr Jackson’s practice of inviting children into his bedroom, arguing that Mr Jackson was often taken advantage of by the children. “They like you to think it was all Michael Jackson taking these innocent lambs and corrupting their lives. That’s all baloney,” he said. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jun/03/michaeljacksontrial.music

June 3: Tom Mesereau completes his closing arguments.

Michael Jackson’s fate is now in the hands of the eight women and four men of the jury, who began their deliberations shortly after noon on Friday with the task of deciding whether he is a predatory pedophile or Peter Pan. Lawyers for Mr. Jackson and for the state ended their closing arguments on Friday with two videotapes portraying him in starkly different lights. The defense showed a videotaped interview in which Mr. Jackson proclaimed his innocent love of children and complained that he was maligned and misunderstood by other adults. “No matter what you do,” Mr. Jackson says in his breathy voice, “there’s always some jerk, some mean-spirited person who wants to bring you down.” The other tape, shown by the prosecution for the second time in a week, shows the accuser, then 13, haltingly telling a police detective how Mr. Jackson served him alcohol and molested him in bed at Mr. Jackson’s Neverland ranch near here. “You have just witnessed the worst seven minutes of this young man’s life,” said Ronald J. Zonen, the deputy district attorney who delivered the closing argument for the prosecution. “This is an absolutely sincere revelation by a child about a man he had been close to.” Outside the courtroom, crowds have grown somewhat this week as the denouement of the 14-week trial approaches. On Friday morning, about 75 fans stood outside the fence ringing the courthouse, jeering reporters and chanting, “Michael’s innocent.” They cheered again as Mr. Jackson left the courthouse shortly after noon accompanied by his parents and his brothers Jermaine and Randy. On most days, only a handful of Jackson fans showed up. Mr. Jackson’s sisters, Janet, LaToya and Rebbie, were in court as his lead lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., ended his closing argument with a ringing denunciation of the accuser and his family as grifters who were “trying to pull the biggest con of their careers.” The pop star’s sisters left the courtroom before Mr. Zonen took to the lectern to complete his summation. “They found listening to their brother being vilified like that very difficult,” said Raymone K. Bain, a Jackson family publicist. Mr. Jackson faces 10 felony counts – four of child molesting, one of attempted child molesting, four of administering alcohol to aid in the commission of a felony, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to more than 18 years in prison. Calling the accuser’s family “con artists, actors and liars,” Mr. Mesereau said that the accuser, his brother, his sister and his mother had repeatedly lied on the witness stand.”It only takes one lie under oath for you to throw this case out of court,” he told the jury. “Just one.” “This case is a fraud,” Mr. Mesereau said. He concluded by saying to the jury, “Ladies and gentlemen, this has been a nightmare for Michael Jackson.” He acknowledged that Mr. Jackson had mismanaged his fortune and had been foolish to befriend the accuser and his family, who have now turned on him. But he said voluminous evidence in the trial had shown them to be dishonest and not to be trusted in anything they said. “Under the law and the facts,” Mr. Mesereau said, “you must return a verdict of not guilty on all counts. It’s the only right verdict.” Mr. Zonen reminded jurors that no one had contested that Mr. Jackson shared his bed with a succession of young boys, in one case over the period of a year on two world concert tours. “Why would Mr. Jackson do it? Because he could,” Mr. Zonen said. “He has no restraints on his impulses.” He said that Mr. Jackson had prepared the accuser, who is now 15, for weeks before ultimately molesting him on at least four occasions. “This child was in love with him and would do anything he said,” the prosecutor said. “His opportunity was there and the child was ripe.” He answered Mr. Mesereau’s assertion that the accuser’s family had repeatedly committed perjury by saying that the defense could point out only about 40 minutes of inconsistent testimony during the 12 days that family members spent on the witness stand. Before sending the jury off to deliberate, Judge Rodney S. Melville of Santa Barbara Superior Court delivered a few last-minute instructions. He told the jurors, who are not being sequestered, to be in no rush to reach consensus and not to enter the jury room with fixed opinions. “You are not partisans or advocates in this matter,” the judge said. “You are the impartial judges of the facts.” Ms. Bain, the Jackson family spokeswoman, said that Mr. Jackson was relieved that the trial was over and was proud of his defense team. “He is hoping and believing that the jury will acquit him of these false charges,” she said. She said that he was healthy, despite his gaunt appearance and at times glazed look in his eyes. “He is not falling apart,” she said. But Ms. Bain added that the next days, as the jury deliberates, will be difficult. “This is the hardest part now,” she said, “the waiting game.”

 

MEANWHILE, THE MEDIA CIRCUS SPENDS ITS MISERABLE TIME MAKING BETS WITH UK TRADERS

June 3-13:   Here an excerpt: 

Jurors in the Michael Jackson case is heading home for the weekend after wrapping up a sixth day of deliberations in the star’s child molestation trial . So far the jury has spent 28 hours behind closed doors without reaching a verdict. This leaves Michael Jackson’s future up in the air— and lots of speculation on the final outcome. Some of it is just idle speculation around the courthouse. But there’s also serious speculation on the Jackson verdict with dollar signs attached. These range from offshore betting sites to Dublin-based online trading exchange intrade.com. The Website claims their traders called every state and the District of Columbia correctly in the 2004 election. Here’s how it works: Traders can choose from one of two sets of charges (the molestation charges or the administering an intoxicating agent to a minor charges). Then they choose to bet whether Jackson is guilty or not. They decide to buy or sell depending on their prediction.  As the percentage chance of guilty goes up or down in the minds of the traders, some people are losing while others are making money.  For example, before Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau made his closing arguments, the smart money was on him to sway the jury. Guilty contracts dropped down to 35, meaning they generally believed there was just a 35 percent chance of a conviction. But when the traders found his closing disappointing, contracts for “guilty on molestation” went up from 35 to 45— meaning those who had bought at 35 were making some big money. The “he is innocent” crowd who had put money on an acquittal were suddenly losing money. If they wanted out they would have to pay the difference. As the jury deliberations have continued, many are thinking a compromise verdict could mean Jackson is only found guilty on the alcohol charges. Right now a “lewd act” conviction for Jackson is trading around 50 percent with “intoxicating liquor” over 72. As that “market” trades up and down on the futures… let’s not forget that Michael Jackson’s future really hangs in the balance. It’s hard to imagine Jackson going from the magical place called Neverland— with almost 3,000 acres of child-like fun complete with amusement park rides and a petting zoo— to the confines of a drab eight by 12 foot jail cell in the California Department of Correction if he is convicted.  MSNBC.com 

Worldwide on the News….

June 3, 2005: Jennifer London Defense Cl. arguments

June 6, 2005: Abrams Reports MJ’s prison cell.

June 7, 2005:Jennifer London visits Jesse Jackson

June 9, 2005: Jennifer London/verdict watch

June 9, 2005: Katie Couric/ MJ in hospital

June 9, 2005: Dan Abrams/Jesse Jackson

June 10, 2005: Jennifer London/ Fans at the courthouse

June 11, 2005: Frank Cascio/J. Tacopina on Court TV

2005 June 13, MSNBC Full Coverage Before the Verdict

Michael Jackson NOT GUILTY!

Michael Jackson Exit The Courtroom After The Verdict

Michael Jackson going back to Neverland after verdict reading (wonderful video shot by french fans who followed MJ during his sad journey)

Victory of Verdict/Neverland Party

Abrams Report/ MJ not guilty

June 13, 2005: Dileo reacts after the verdict

June 14, 2005: Today Show/ Couric, Mesereau

“Good Morning America” Interviews the Jury that Acquitted Michael Jackson.

For Tom Sneddon, A Broken Record By Libby Copeland  Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How bad is it to be Tom Sneddon now? For the second time in 12 years, Michael Jackson has gotten away from him. Anyone who sat in that courtroom in Santa Maria saw that Sneddon could be cranky and, perhaps worse for such a high-profile trial, bland. Jim Thomas, a former Santa Barbara County sheriff turned NBC commentator, said that on Monday evening he and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Sneddon and others involved in the prosecution engaged in some post-game analysis at the house in Santa Maria where Sneddon and members of his team had been staying during the trial. They had dinner. There were no tears. Sneddon even talked a little about golf. But he was “disappointed,” Thomas says. “They were all disappointed, because they believed this boy.” The boy, of course, is the 15-year-old who accused the pop star of molesting him two years ago. His testimony was followed by the testimony of his mother, a combative, melodramatic witness who helped torpedo the prosecution’s case. On Monday, several jurors said they disliked her and doubted her motives…..You can read full article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn…061401676.html

I would like to conclude with the article excerpt of Ishmael Reed dated June 29, 2009, THE PERSECUTION OF MICHAEL JACKSON

Last Thursday, while working on some writing deadlines, I was switching channels on cable. On CNN they were promoting “Black In America,” an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s, according to a useful book entitled “The Showman and the Slave,” by Benjamin Reiss. The early penny press sold a “whiteness” upgrade to newly arriving immigrants by depicting blacks in illicit situations. By doing so they were marketing an early version of a self esteem boosting product.

One of the initial sensational stories was about the autopsy of a black woman named Joice Heth, who claimed to be George Washington’s nurse and over one hundred years old. It was the O.J. story of the time. Circus master, P.T. Barnum, charged admission to her autopsy, which attracted the perverted in droves.

And so, if the people broadcasting cable news appear to be inmates of a carnival, there is a connection since the early days of the mass media to that form of show business. According to Reiss, early newspapers were not only influenced by P.T. Barnum, but actually cooperated with him on some hoaxes and stunts.

I would classify CNN’s “Black in America” as a stunt. In preparing for a sequel to the first “Black In America,” which boosted the networks ratings (the O.J. trial saved CNN!), CNN rolled out the usual stereotypes about black Americans.

Unmarried black mothers were exhibited, without mentioning that births to unmarried black women have plunged since 1976 – more than that of any other ethnic group. Then we got some footage that implied that blacks as a group were homophobes even though Charles Blow, a statistician for The New York Times, recently published a chart showing that gays have the least to fear from blacks.

Recently, the media perpetrated a hoax that blacks were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, the California proposition that banned gay marriage. An academic study refuted this claim, but that didn’t deter The New York Times from hiring Benjamin Schwarz to explain black homophobia. Schwarz is the writer who wrote in The Los Angeles Times that blacks who were victims of lynching in the south were probably guilty.

In the last “Black in America,” Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s designated tough love agent against the brothers and sisters, scolded a black man for not attending his daughter’s birthday party. The aim of this scene was meant to humiliate black men as neglectful fathers. Ms. O’Brien won’t be permitted by her employers to mention that 75 percent of white children will live at one time or another in a single-parent household and that the Gov. of South Carolina’s not showing up for Father’s Day isn’t just a lone aberration in “White America.”

How would CNN promote a “White in America?” The thousands of meth addicts who have abandoned their children? The California rural and suburban white women who do more dope than Latino and black youth? The suburban Dallas white teenagers who are overdosing on “cheese” heroin? Why not? Can’t get State Farm, Ford, and McDonald’s to sponsor such a program? All of these companies are sponsoring “Black in America,” the aim of which is to cast collective blame on blacks for the country’s social problems. For ratings. You can read the full article here:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/06/29/the-persecution-of-michael-jackson/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN MJ SPOKE HIS MIND AT THE NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK

When Michael Jackson appeared at the National Action Network in Harlem with Al Sharpton’s, he was trying to let people know how the music industry was hopelessly corrupt. He blamed them, described the recording industry as racist, and denounced the injustice against artists, dead and alive.

At that time, it was not just Michael Jackson having problems with record companies. Many USA artists joined forces with the Artist Empowerment Coalition (“AEC”), an activist organization rallying recording artists to end what they believed was unfair business practices. Artists such as Roberta Flack, Faith Evans, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, and many others, invoked throughout the evening the names of those musical greats who – after huge recording successes – woke up one day and were unable to scrape together two nickels.  Blues legends like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith were denied royalties and died indigent.

Beck and Billy Joel protested against restrictive contracts; the Dixie Chicks were locked in a contract dispute over money with Sony. Courtney Love was fighting with the Universal Music Group. George Michael had to insist on reviewing his contract with Polydor each time he had a new album.

The central conflict had to do with a complex equation of copyright laws, publishing rights, royalty formulas, and expense recoupment, how money was paid out. The paradox for artists was that while they are obligated to pay back most of the costs for recording and promote an album, labels retained control of the master recordings, which is essential to generate ongoing income from minims and greatest hits reprints. Record companies’ response had always been they couldn’t exist without assets like masters.  With the battle between artists and record companies, AEC was taking its case to the legislature of New York State (the center of the music business).

On the other side, they had the help of California Democratic state senator Kevin Murray. A bill was introduced to repeal the music business’s exemption to California’s seven-year contract rule. The little-known labor code allowed record companies to sue for damages if an artist did not complete an agreed-upon specified number of albums regardless of how long that might take. The music industry execs predicted dire consequences for the California economy and foresaw fewer artists’ signings. But Murray was unmoved, calling the seven-year rule “a well-paid form of indentured servitude that gives record companies unfair control of artists.” The debate over the seven-year rule inspired Murray to hold two additional hearings on the recording business accounting practices before the California Senate Selected Committee on the Entertainment Industry. For once, the record companies were on the hot seat.

The demands of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network were pressing, and Jackson’s contribution compelling and straightforward. But it backfired him, and there was no shortage of coverage of the outburst. It took a couple of comments made by some “insiders” to trigger a media war against him. Tabloids brought the trashing of Michael Jackson to another level, plastering mockery headlines picturing him as an eccentric star of bizarre behaviors and made him a joke in the English-speaking parts of the world. Who was behind the Media headlines knew very well the meaning of these actions. For MJ, the problem was more than a black and white issue: it was about big businesses and questionable distribution of wealth.

Michael was more politically savvy than what people gave him credit.  Prince, putting the word ‘slave’ on himself in his struggle with Warner Music, didn’t reach out. He succeeded to some degree, but he didn’t exploit black consciousness. Michael reached out to the black community successfully, as evidenced by the enthusiastic presence during his rallies.

Media fine-tuned propaganda was highly implausible and went hand in hand with the winning backed up formula of the insider that does not want to be mentioned and whose tip becomes the backbone info in the whole article. And the anonymous “donor” spills the “breaking news” semen protected by the first amendment.

Tabloids sold millions of copies launching headlines telling a sordid story of MJ pawning a $2 million diamond watch to borrow money from a bank. Never mind if  Jackson spokesperson Howard Rubenstein dismissed it. The same happened with the story of borrowing cash from Sony against the Beatles songs. The industry insider stating the record label did not seek to buy” ATV Music Publishing but that the word “foreclose” would have been appropriate since Sony technically already owned the songs. Sony’s execs asserting that the Harlem speech was staged cause of MJ’last album had sold only 2 million copies, calling Invincible a flop when worldwide sales figures listed the record from 8 million to 13 million.

Daily News June6, 2002

Daily News June 6, 2002

 

During an exhausting back and forth on the same day, Jackson accused Sony Music of making a false claim such he owed it $200 million, calling it ”outrageous and offensive.” And Sony immediately denied the quote of the anonymous executive saying, “’We have never issued any statement verbally or in writing claiming that Michael Jackson owes us $200 million; as a result, we are baffled by the comments issued today by his press representatives.” 

All of the above, when just seven weeks before the Harlem speech, MJ was with President Clinton at the Democratic National Committee benefit concert, and the Media described him as a role model. How come, once he decided to expose Sony, he became, all of a sudden, “a freak”?

Sony Harakiri for the Invincible album was the juxtaposition that tells there was more going on than what transpired in the news.

Many people think that record companies loan money to artists to record their album. Well, there is a big difference between an “advance” and a “loan.” An “advance” is a pre-payment of royalties, and no interest is applied. It is a misperception that artists are in debt “with record companies or writers concerning their publishing. The advance is NOT a “debt,” and it doesn’t have to be repaid. The advance is only “recoupable,” meaning that it is applied against earned royalties.

The artist funds album using their own royalties. That means paying for recording costs, the recording studios, producers, arrangers, and engineers. And it’s part of the artist’s lawyer’s job to get as much of an advance on royalties as possible. The record company can recoup the investment selling more records to increase the volume of the artist’s royalties. If the artist doesn’t generate enough royalties to pay that back, then the record company has to live with that. They can’t pursue the artist personally for un-recouped royalties. Also, the cost of producing videos is considered advances against the artist’s royalties. Record companies try to recoup 100%, but a good negotiation gives the chances they agree only to recover 50% of video costs.

No record company would do something like what Sony did with the Invincible album that unless there’s so much more at stake. And that’s why Sony’ execs felt comfortable: MJ was not just an artist under-recording contract. He was their business partner, with his ass firmly fixed on an armchair of Sony/ATV board of directors and a bunch of other companies’ agreements and Joint Venture business. In short, he had a say in Sony. For obvious reasons, most of his income flow (not all but many) was credited into Sony accounts and reverted to him deducting the records company commissions and percentage. And it was the card they played. Whatever sum was for MJ accounts as a recording artist could have been used to implement Sony/ATV, recover advances, and any other company emergency because of their joint venture.

When Sony/ATV was set up, technically and in practice, it was Michael Jackson purchasing Sony Publishing, not the contrary. Sony Publishing had limited ownership of the libraries. It was generated by co-publishing or administration deals. Instead, Michael Jackson was the sole 100% owner of the publishing rights – including all of the Beatles’ titles – owned by ATV and was almost the sole owner of his publishing right and copyrights of MIJAC.

Here the excerpt of one of the few articles that got the news correctly:

 

Michael Jackson’s made sure to keep the most valuable stake of the ATV catalog. His 50% ATV Catalog had higher incomes compared with Sony’s other half. There’s an article in the operating agreement, specifying that Sony had to pay to MJ “all losses and various reimbursements while the two companies started making money together.” Did they comply with their obligations? I strongly doubt it, and by listening to MJ words, they didn’t pay the due.

From Court documents, it is clear that already in 2002, MJ wanted to take back from Sony the licensing distribution of his master recording catalog and not to renew his recording contract with them. And he was actively looking for a financial solution to take back from Sony’s at least his stake in ATV. Sony balked. And it was the beginning of a whole series of shading episodes to destabilize his finances, a peculiarity which distinguished Michael Jackson during the last decade of his life.

While seeking for solutions, he stumbled across a bunch of adventurers. These typical leeches gravitated in the undergrowth of political and financial environments. Among others, they include Marc Schaffel, Ronald Konitzer Rabbi “Shmuley” Boteach, and James Meiskin. Jackson met Meiskin, a commercial real estate broker, at the house of Howard Rubinstein while presenting his new charity with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. At that time, the media described Meiskin as Jackson’s financial advisor.

Meiskin himself spread the news that he had helped set up Jackson’s performance at the Apollo Theatre while trying to line up investors to salvage Jackson’s financial problems. However, the only real connection I found between Meiskin and Jackson is Meiskin’s research for a mansion in South Florida on behalf of Jackson (early 2003). In the lawsuit that Marc Schaffel leveled against Jackson, there’s a statement from Jackson confirming that, in April 2003, he had instructed his accountant Alan Witman to transfer a deposit for a house. However, in October 2003, Meiskin was arrested along with his attorney Samuel Gen on charges of extortion. I would like to dispel an internet myth about the discovery of Jackson’s name linked to Samuel Gen on Epstein’s black book. Gen was never Michael Jackson’s lawyer in any form or occasion.

MJ’s name appearing in Epstein’s book might come from the grapevine of those who mention big names to impress people. This infamous book is also obsolete. It contains email addresses from portals that no longer exist, Epstein’s own phone numbers, hotels, restaurants, and contacts of representatives places. It looks like an old business agenda of general contacts met at parties or meetings. A superficial tool. Nothing useful for any criminal discovery. Since countless notable names are included, the mention (but not the contacts) of a worldwide personality like Jackson is not surprising. But was Gen Jackson’s lawyer? In short, no. The only mention of Samuel Gen as Jackson’s lawyer comes from a 2012 article by a freelance blogger, David Musk, who wrote one of the many improbable stories about Michael Jackson. The story is about Musk’s meeting with Denise Rich in Jackson’s hotel suite in New York. The article is mostly focused on the sarcastic and relentless body-shaming of Jackson. Given how the content could have been subjected to a defamation lawsuit, Musk would not have been able to write such claims while Jackson was alive. While I read (with much disgust) the tons of offenses leveled at a human being, I found the following passage:

“We all saw Michael Jackson on August 31st, 2001, when NASDAQ officials presented him with an original 1934 Shirley Temple’s poster, while staffers rolled out a vanilla birthday cake lined with strawberries and sang “Happy Birthday.”

There are two options here: either Musk is giving an offensive and disrespectful fictional narrative or Jackson took the piss (which wouldn’t surprise me).

All of the above seems to debunk the preconception that someone’s name listed into anyone’s contact book has their reputation compromised.

 

Sources: 

https://musictechpolicy.com http://www.techdirt.com   https://music.asu.edu/  

Vibe Mag 2003

 

 

 

 

JACKSON’ JOINT VENTURES, MASTER RECORDING AND “SONY SUCKS”

 

The above excerpt represents the beginning of Jackson’s Invincible album promotion that meant the opening of the poisonous Pandora’s box between Sony Music and Michael Jackson Corp.

  • An amendment in Sony ATV Operating Agreement dated 2000 related to section 7.9, the Put Option. The value has been increased by 45 million dollars, bringing the new loan facility with Bank Of America to 185 million dollars, and it states that if MJ had delivered the new album by June 2001, the loan raises to 200 million dollars.

While analyzing this document, it comes clear that Michael Jackson’s recording artist contract undergone several modifications after 1991. You can read in full here on the blog dedicated page.

The below screenshot is from journalist Zack O’Malley Greenburg book:

Michael Jackson, Inc.

Greensburg implies Michael took his time to release the album because he thought his contract with Sony was on his way to expire. But between MJ and Sony, there was a group of companies all linked together through the Joint & Venture set up in 1991, which included an exclusive distribution agreement of his catalog and Sony/ATV set up in 1995. Moral of the story: around 2000, MJ learned that due to the fine print and various review of contract clauses, the date his licenses were to be reverted to him proved to be many years away, apparently, in July of 2009. In short, he would not get the distribution of his catalog that would allow him to promote his old material how he liked and prevent Sony from getting their cut the profit. Michael said he had never been informed about these added clauses.

And to make the matter worse, Sony began to limit Michael creative control over the production, promotion, and budget; something never happened before, or at least not so blatantly. And Michael could not obtain the advance he required against future sales.

MJ and Branca had a short business separation, about three years, be back working together in 1993. In court documents, I found the amendments list of MJ’s contracts with Sony, and I noticed that after 1994 there is another amendment to his recording agreement in 1995 and another one in 1996. Mr. Branca’s services were back into force at that time. How not pay attention to such crucial matter while examining the documents for the constitution of Sony/ATV? Also, inside the documents related to their employment relationships final closure in 2006, I found the list of all the contents of the MIJAC catalog administered by Branca’s law firm, regularly issuing distribution licenses at Sony request. I could easily dismiss Mr. Branca’s work by stating that he is a distracted lawyer, a lousy lawyer. Still, he’s known as one of the brighter and smart lawyers of the entertainment industry. It feels a sort of intentional careless towards his client.

Coming back to mid-2001, news of MJ recording a new album it spread around the world along with the low blows that Sony lashed against Michael Jackson project behind the scene.

The first example of artist control limitation was Unbreakable that MJ wanted as first release single supported by a spectacular short film. But Sony Music said “NO” and told him that the first single to be released would have to be You Rock My World. Michael never used on being told NO, but his hands were tied. He had to rush the concept for the video clip of “You Rock My World” sort out the production.

I want to bring attention to a specific document dated July 15th, 2001, which is one of the many amendments to the original agreement between Sony Music and Michael Jackson companies.  Keep in mind that everything is heading to the original CBS recording artist and the relevant changes and renewal – and the joint-venture between them dated January 01st, 1991.

  • It resolves an issue related to the Foreign Royalty. The agreement states that upon the release of the studio album (which I assume it would have been Invincible)  and any re-issued version of the catalog controlled by the Jackson Recordings Division (audios, phonograph records) derived from master recordings, the royalties percentage was increased from 23% to 25% with effect from January 01st, 2002. In a few words, there was a rise in royalties rate outside the USA.

MJ knew very well that his sales were good worldwide except the USA. And for a guy targeted by the press as ruined and irreversibly in debt with his record company, it was not such lousy move renegotiate his foreign percentage. It shows he was very much aware of the leverage he had on Sony, and he used it for his benefit.

  • There was a partial audit settlement: Sony Music recognized and accredited $3 million to MJJP’s royalty account. The audit period in controversy was through December 31st, 1999, and there was still pending other claims on Sony Music for the wrong payment of mechanical royalties.

  • MJ returned the equipment listed under the “End User Sales Agreement” dated August 20th, 1995, and Sony had to accredit $300,000 to MJJP’s royalties account.

  • There was another change in the definitions of the MJ Recording Agreement.

As already mentioned, the MJ recording artist agreement is always sealed, which doesn’t surprise me given the sensible and reserved content. I was still able to understand how the changes evolved, thanks to the many excerpts found in the testimonies exhibit. But I want to emphasize that pieces of the puzzle are missing. And mine is logical speculation reinforced by having read court documents and many books talking about the music industry business commenting on some of the definitions of his agreement with Sony.

So, it can be confirmed that – just before the release of Invincible – MJ expressed the desire to end the recording contract with them and no longer produce albums under the Sony label. The return of the equipment is an excellent reason to support this idea.

Michael Jackson’s decision to leave Sony Music, and taking his profits with him, would have been an economic disaster for an already in dire straits company as it was Sony at that time. (who ‘s willing to read Sony financial conditions at that time can read the links about Sony at the bottom of this article). That’s the only rational reason for Sony’s to sabotage the Invincible promotion. They initiated the friction and manipulated the situation and public perception to make MJ look like a problematic artist, so when his contract was fulfilled, no other label would pick him up. If that happened, he would have had three options: renegotiate a deal with Sony, sell his catalog or retire. And they were banking on the middle one. If MJ could not earn enough royalties, he would have had severe trouble with Bank of America, and consequently, it would have further problems finding other sources of loan investments.

Another unusual setback was “You rock my world” leak to two US radio stations. The song was played on August 17th, by both stations every two hours. The day after Jackson’s record label, Epic Records called the program director Frankie Blue and asked him to stop. Blue, never said how he got the single. Rumors say that the entire album was leaked and available on the Sony Russian website over a month before the official worldwide release, but it cannot be verified.

And on August 20th, an amendment to section 7.9 of the Sony ATV Operational agreement postponing the album release date.

Meanwhile, MJ started the album promotion. 

Opening up the NASDAQ stock market.

At the Metropolitan Opera House in New York appeared on stage as part of ‘NSync’s performance of the song “Pop” within the MTV Video Music.

Then the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration memorable shows at Madison Square Garden. On November 13, the show collected an 18 percent share of the TV audience. The show drew a record of 25.7 million USA viewers on CBS, and You Rock My World bang the US Billboard Charts at #10 – without been available commercially jet.

During the same period, MJ recorded the single What More Can I Give to raise money for the victims’ families and survivors of the terrorist attacks in New York. At the time of the attack, MJ stated that he hoped to raise $50 million for those affected and that that the recording would be released as soon as possible. The song failed to gain an official release for reasons that surely are NOT what media, producers, and Sony told at that time. Later different allegations arose as to who was to blame, which will be detailed later on this site.

What transpired publicly was CBS taking action to Jackson’s representatives to force ABC to remove MJ’s performance on the benefit show United We Stand to protect their exclusivity agreement for the upcoming special drawn from the 30th-anniversary concerts to be broadcasted on their channel.

In substance, they made an issue for the participation to a single charity show, because of an they show to be released ten days later.
CBS feared a risk of overexposing that might compromise a special? Hey….they were talking of Michael Jackson, a man who had his image overexposed since he was five, and people never got tired to see it.

One thing that is already certain was ABC had to condense the show. The much advertised Jackson’s solo performance of Man in the Mirror was removed and during the television broadcast, there was no mention of Jackson’s name, and he was never featured in the foreground. No footage of Man in the Mirror performance was released, and limited photos exist. But the full concert was broadcast live on National Radios in the United States.

Originally Michael performed two songs; “What more can I give” and “Man in the mirror.” After listening to the performance, the Radio DJ’s proclaimed themselves fans and apologized for any MJ jokes in the past. You can listen to the audio of “Man in the Mirror”:

 

But there is more; MEDIA demolished the show for the many technical problems. And who got the fault? Michael Jackson, naturally! The concert has been called “The worst benefit concert ever, describing all the “horrors” that happened during the broadcast, and some journalists had the gut to claim that Jackson did not want to be broadcasted because he did not get paid for it.

Finally, on October 29th, (30th, for the USA), Michael Jackson’s “Invincible” had officially been released. The album was available in five different colors covers for a limited time.

MJ went to New York for the Time Square Virgin Mega Event: fans gathered in the streets surrounding the Virgin Megastore. And although critic reviews were not enthusiastic on November 11th, figures revealed that Invincible had sold 4.4 million copies worldwide.

In the wake of September 11, Michael had decided to release the song Cry as the second single worldwide. Again there were issues with creative control, and Sony denied Michael the video clip he wanted. Michael refused to be in the video clip, the song was released in December and was a monumental failure in the charts.

The third single Butterflies, without video clip or single release in the US, was, however a hit, even with the little promotion the album received. The song made it to the no.1 position on the R & B billboard charts, and no—16 on the hot 100. The release date was pushed back several times, as was the video clip, and then both were later abandoned. The news of this pushed the single out of the top 20, never to return.

During 2002, Michael Jackson was nominated in the category Best R&B/Soul Album, Male for Invincible at the 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Michael also won three awards at the 33rd Annual NAACP Image Awards, which took place at the Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA. But thanks to frivolous lawsuits like Myung-ho Lee running almost every day to the rags showing supposed loans, debts and unpaid pharmacy invoices or ex-wife Rowe going to a private judge to have her parental rights for the two children, his name was always in the lowlife gossip timelines, instead than be on magazines celebrating his artistic achievements.

On March 29th Michael Jackson made an exceptional live performance at the American Bandstand 50th Anniversary TV special.

Michael’s album, which had managed to debut at no.1, was losing ground fast and tension with Sony Music mounted. They refused to release What More Can I Give, and they set a miserable budget for the video of Unbreakable giving the work to director David Meyers. Michael was not satisfied with the project and decided to finance & produce the video by himself. Sony asked MJ to go on the world Tour to promote himself. But when he was about to start shooting the Unbreakable short film, Sony announced their decision to cease the promotion of Invincible. By the end of March, Sony Music deleted Michael Jackson album as it was not considered a priority only five months after its release.

April 21st, Michael Jackson performed “Dangerous” at the American Bandstand 50th Anniversary TV special in Pasadena, California. The show was aired on May 05th on the ABC network.

On 24th gave a rare performance to launch a campaign Democratic National Committee’s Every Vote Counts. An enthusiastic crowd greeted Jackson at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. The concert raised almost $3m for the Democratic National Committee.

On May 15, 2002, comes The Mirror with this HEADLINE:

IT’S WAR WORLD EXCLUSIVE: MICHAEL JACKSON BREAKS HIS SILENCE IN HIS FEUD WITH RECORD BOSS

And shortly after the news totally changed and culminated with Michael paraded in New York City and in London on a Double Decker holding up big posters with written “Sony Suck” and “Sony Kill The Music”.

From there, Media had gone crazy writing about everything they got on MJ/Sony subject without an ounce of a clue. They were just reporting the bullshit that “industry insiders” were referring to them. But this one is the Pearl of the 2002: Sony refused to renew Michael Jackson’s contract and spent 25 million promotional campaign; money that went up in smoke by MJ refusal to go on tour.

Even Michael Jackson own Estate appeared comfortable with the old gossip. And considering the inaccuracy of content in that specific document (the pre-trial memorandum on the case with IRS), I believe that this one, together with many others, has as a primary source the tabloid narratives.

Besides the fact that the “Invincible” album contains 16 songs and not 14, I find the comments concerning the sales untrue and tasteless. But what don’t you do to avoid paying taxes, huh?

Mr. Branca himself, contradicted the lame memorandum during his deposition of February 7, 2017

Here Mr. Branca omits the fact that MJ grown suspicious of him because his law firm was also giving service to Sony, and he did not even wait for the full results of an investigation to send him a termination letter on February 2nd, 2002 resulting in his resignation from the MJ/ATV Trust. However, he said the truth concerning Michael Jackson contract recording agreement.

Because of the 1991 Joint Venture that included the exclusive license for the distribution of Michael Jackson master’s recording, and all his intellectual property, Sony found his way to remained inseparable from his business. What was the catch? It might have been the thin print, or they cheated by slipping the expiring dates between one amendment and the other. In any case, only with November 2003 the terms changed, giving MJ the freedom he wanted. Mr. Branca also confirmed it:

Here there’s another interesting word which Sony loved at the Invincible time to defend their decision to put the word end to the album: advance…and how do generally work the “ADVANCES” in an exclusive recording contract with a records label? And how do they worked with the MJ/Sony Venturer?

Stay with me…

 

Sources: