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Quincy Jones takes to the stand in Michael Jackson royalties dispute 

By | Published on Monday 24 July 2017

Michael Jackson

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones finally took to the witness stand last week in his legal battle with the Michael Jackson estate over allegedly unpaid royalties.

As previously reported, Jones accuses Sony Music and MJJ Productions – one of Michael Jackson’s companies, now controlled by the Jackson estate – of screwing him out of $30 million in royalties. Mainly in relation to projects and deals done since the late king of pop’s death in 2009 which exploited the famous Jackson recordings that Jones produced.

MJJ counters that Jones is incorrectly interpreting contracts he signed with Jackson in 1978 and 1985, from which the royalty claims stem.

In a testimony on Thursday, Jones said that those contracts had been handled by his lawyers and that he didn’t really read legal agreements. However, according to Variety, he told the court that: “If we made the record, we deserve to get paid – it’s that simple”.

However, a legal rep for the Jackson estate, Howard Weitzman, insisted that it’s not quite that simple, and then tried to get the producer to admit that, while he is obviously due a cut of the income generated when records are sold, what happens with monies stemming from licensing deals is more complicated. “That’s a joke”, Jones answered.

Pressed further by Weitzman, Jones responded with an ethical rather than contractual argument, stating that: “I don’t care what the agreement says. If I put my heart and love into making a record, I want to get paid. I don’t care what the paper says”.

Of course, beyond any ethical debates, lawyers repping Jones argue that the producer is also contractually due royalties on various projects that exploited Jackson recordings he produced, including the ‘This Is It’ movie.

Weitzman later made things a little bit personal, declaring to Jones: “You understand the estate of Michael Jackson is comprised of his children, correct? His children are the beneficiaries”.

“I’m not suing Michael – I’m suing y’all”, the producer hit back, referring to the estate’s lawyers, later adding: “I’ve got children too”.

The case continues.