Jones brought suit in Los Angeles County, California last week against MJJ Productions, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment, alleging breach of contract and seeking over $10 million in damages.
Jones alleges that MJJ and Sony breached the 1978 and 1985 contracts in connection with Jones’s production services on Jackson’s Off the Wall and Bad albums. Interestingly, attached to the complaint are the original agreements, executed by Jackson himself.
Among other things, Jones claims that MJJ permitted certain master recordings to be re-edited for commercial release without first providing Jones the opportunity to perform such re-editing. Under both the 1978 and 1985 Agreements, MJJ and Sony were not to have the masters re-edited or re-mixed by anyone other than Jones without first giving Jones the opportunity to provide such services.
Additionally, Jones claims that he was not paid royalties for the use of certain masters in the film “This is It”, the Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” and their accompanying soundtracks. Under the agreements, Jones was to receive royalties with respect to other records using the masters.
Jones also claims that he was not afforded the proper producer credit to which he was entitled: “Produced by Quincy Jones for Quincy Jones Productions.”
Jones is seeking, in addition to the breach of contract damages, a full accounting of all money received by MJJ and Sony for the exploitation of the masters to verify royalty payments due under the agreements.
Given the Jones and Jackson relationship, fans were surprised to see that the conflict made it to court. Although the two had not worked together since the Bad album, Jones has stated on several occasions that their relationship was fine and maintained until the end that he was in awe of Jackson’s talent.
It will be interesting to review the Jackson’s response, as their attorney, Howard Weitzman, said that the estate “was saddened to learn that Quincy Jones has filed a lawsuit seeking money from Michael’s estate. To the best of its knowledge, Mr. Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael.”
Quite the “Bad” turn of events for one of the most successful music partnerships in history.