Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Atty Blasts Quincy Jones' ‘Outrageous’ Royalty Bid At Trial

An entertainment attorney testifying Tuesday in Quincy Jones’ suit against a Michael Jackson company over $30 million in royalties for work on “Thriller” and other albums called it “outrageous” for the producer to expect ticket revenue from a posthumous movie and live shows featuring video of Jackson, reports Law360.

During the second week of the Los Angeles trial, defendants MJJ Productions Inc. called to the witness stand Owen J. Sloane of Eisner Jaffe, a contract attorney who told jurors he has represented such musical luminaries as Elton John, Chris Daughtry, Matchbox Twenty, Stevie Nicks and Kenny Rogers over the course of his 47-year career. Acting as MJJ Productions Inc.’s expert witness on music industry contracts, Sloane rejected many of Jones’ contract claims for compensation as atypical of industry practice.

That included telling the court that it would be “outrageous” and “absurd” for a producer like Jones to seek a share of box office receipts on top of royalties for “snippets” of music used in a film or live performance.

During cross examination, an attorney for Jones, Scott Cole of McKool Smith PC, noted that Sloane was there to testify about music industry custom and asked the defense expert “if he would agree” that Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones were “anything other than a standard, run of the mill” artist and producer. Sloane agreed.

He later asked Sloane about a provision in Jones' 1985 agreement with MJJ Productions for compensation when one of the master recordings he produced was used in "any audio visual presentation embodying” Jackson’s performance.

Cole asked Sloane to confirm that a documentary about Jackson’s life, "This Is It,” would qualify, since it incorporates hit songs from the albums produced by Jones and videos of the pop star before he died.

Sloane disagreed, maintaining that the phrase was meant to indicate music videos, not movies or live shows.

“To take that language and manipulate it to support your position is outrageous,” Sloane added.

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