Musicians Union Sues Sony Over Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’

The American Federation of Musicians is suing Sony Music Entertainment for allegedly violating its contract in the Michael Jackson documentary “This Is It.”

The suit, filed in federal court in New York, alleges that the artists were misled to record work for “This Is It” with the understanding that they were working on a phonographic record instead of a film score.

Sony had no immediate response to a request for comment.

“The Sound Recording Labor Agreement, which Sony has signed, covers only recording sessions for records—and prohibits recording film scores,” the union said.

AFM International President Ray Hair said Sony allegedly refused to sign a letter allowing them to use the AFM Motion Picture Agreement for this recording session. As a result, the union asserted, musicians have been unable to collect residuals on the film.

The film, directed by Kenny Ortega, grossed over $260 million worldwide.

“A fan may wonder what difference it makes if musicians record music under one contract versus another, but it makes a huge difference to musicians trying to earn a living,” Hair said. “Musicians have joined together to create industry standards and it is simply unacceptable for greedy corporations to knowingly violate those standards by denying residuals.”

The suit also charges Sony with refusing to make new payments on Pitbull’s 2012 version of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and sampling of Jackson songs like “Billie Jean” and “Man in the Mirror” in “This Is It.”

“We did not want to go to court, but Sony repeatedly refused to do the right thing and pay the musicians fairly,” Hair said.

The AFM is seeking breach of contract damages, including the payment of wages and benefits that should have been given to musicians.

The suit is AFM’s third filed in recent months. The union sued Paramount Pictures last month for allegedly breaching its master contract by recording the score to Renee Zellweger’s upcoming film “Same Kind of Different as Me” in Slovakia. The union also filed suit against Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount on April 27. AFM claims that the studios violated its master contract for recording film scores outside the U.S. and Canada for “Interstellar” (Warner Bros. and Paramount), “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (Warner Bros.) and MGM’s reboots of “RoboCop” and “Carrie.”


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Reliving Michael Jackson ‘Captain EO’

Back in 1986, 3D movies didn’t feature at every cinema like they do now, Michael Jackson was an immensely popular icon and Disney was about to unveil a show that would delight tourists for years.

It’s time to once again hop in the time machine and appreciate a classic attraction with modern eyes.

Last week we regaled you with the moment Jurassic Park: The Ride opened. Now it’s time to honor the magnificence that was “Captain EO,” which opened to fans on Sept. 12 1986.

Below is a commercial that touted the 3D attraction that was set to open at Walt Disney World and Disneyland respectively.

Before we revel in the misadventures of Captain EO and his band of musically inclined pals we have some dreadful news.

Billboard reported back in 2014 that Disney Parks would shutter EO for the time being; with various outlets saying the closing was permanent.

This came after the attraction opened anew in 2010 following the death of star Michael Jackson.

Now the report does point to a previous release that mentions the following: “Captain EO is expected to return at a later date.”

And, a quick look at Disneyland’s attractions shows a page for Captain EO, although no schedule is available.

So there is hope, however scant, that a presentation that delighted us as kids may again return at some point in the future.

But the Internet is a kind place to those in misery, because you can watch versions of the short movie online. It’s perfect for those who enjoy shots of nostalgia or those who have no inkling as to the show about which we are talking.

Just watch this and imagine being in a theater and having the added amenities of actual 3D technology and a big screen:

Getting “Captain EO” to screen was no small affair, featuring a collaborative effort from the likes of Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola (director), George Lucas (screenplay) and actress Anjelica Huston who played the part of Supreme Leader.

That wasn’t enough ’80s for you? Well, perhaps watch nearly 50 minutes of its grand opening, which features youthful versions of Patrick Duffy and Justine Bateman.

Jefferson Starship, Belinda Carlisle, The Moody Blues and Robert Palmer perform as a cavalcade of stars scoot on down the iconic Main St. at Disneyland.

It’s the kind of gigantic and indulgent celebration that will have you yearning for the decade that gave us a 3D space odyssey featuring Michael Jackson and a bumbling sidekick named Hooter.

Source: Gabe Zaldivvar-

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