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Joe Jackson and Piers MorganJoe Jackson Gives Interview To CNN. 31-01-'13

Yesterday evening, Joseph Jackson (84) appeared on the CNN show "Piers Morgan Tonight" and gave an exclusive interview.

He talked about the day he learned about the death of his son Michael:

"I got a call from a fan. And he says, 'Mr. Jackson,' he says, 'um, something is wrong.' He said, 'I see a ambulance there at Michael's place. And the ambulance took off. And the fire department is following the ambulance. Something is wrong.

The saddest part about the whole thing was Michael tried to reach me. He says, 'call my father.' This was before he passed, he would know how to get me out of this."

Joseph Jackson also commented on the circumstances surrounding the latter portion of Michael's life:

"They treated him like Howard Hughes," referencing the late aviator and filmmaker who lived reclusively in his final years, plagued by an obsessive-compulsive disorder. "The family couldn't get to him, you know, like they should have. And that was very wrong for that to happen."

To view a video of the interview, please click here.

Source: MJFC / CNN / Billie Jean

Updates About MJ Residency Show In Las Vegas. 29-01-'13

Las Vegas journalist Robin Leach published some exclusive information about the new Michael Jackson residency show headed to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas (USA) this spring.

According to the article in the Las Vegas Sun, the Cirque du Soleil show will not have a title - just a number. However, Cirque du Soleil officials are tight-lipped about the numeral they’ve chosen.

The Montreal cast and crew will move to Las Vegas to begin rehearsals on the nearly completed stage at Mandalay as of February 18.

One witness who saw the acts rehearsing in Montreal said the acrobats are the world’s best and exceed any other who performed to date in any Cirque show.

So the guessing game can begin regarding the final title of the show. What about "One"?

Cirque Du Soleil

Source: MJFC / Las Vegas Sun / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Secrets Shared “Private Conversations In Neverland With Michael Jackson”. 29-01-'13

Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson Book CoverAcosta Global Marketing announces the release of the William B. Van Valin II, MD journal “Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson" available at Amazon.com for $19.95 –a series of secrets are shared ranging from Michael’s Ghost to the stalker that inspired the Thriller hit, Billie Jean.

An insightful chronology that documents the friendship between a rural farmland physician and a music icon that continues to inspire the world with his music years after his untimely death. The book gives you a tender look at the close friendship of Barney and Michael, from their first unexpected meeting to the mysterious and sudden end of their friendship after five years.

Barney Van Valin, reflects, “Yes, it was difficult to understand at the time. Someone is in your life almost daily for five years and suddenly isn’t there. The family was equally confused but with his public life being so invasive that you somehow understood and accepted it. He came into my life suddenly and the exit was no different. I can honestly say the world idol was not who I knew---my friend was a humble, kind, gentle man who adored his children. Criss & I loved the family man who spent hours at our home. I miss our times. I miss him.”

“Private Conversations…” takes you inside Neverland Ranch from the dinner table to the extravagant game room, carnival rides, theater, to the touching words of Michael about the absence of memorabilia in his home from gold records to photographs of world dignitaries and his candid view of such acknowledgements; the nightly menu at the Neverland dinner table; the origin of the Moon Walk dance; Michael’s Ghost; the mystery behind Billie Jean; Michael's curiosity of the deceased that had him at Barney's mother’s death bed; and his candid opinion of his father, Joe, and mother, Katherine.

“Private Conversation…” is a must read for any Michael Jackson fan who will appreciate the charming style of Michael’s good friend, Dr. Barney, “There were so many wonderful meals,talks, late night sushi runs, Mexican chicken enchilada meals inside his Lincoln Navigator, watching movies with Michael and Elizabeth Taylor and so many more amazing memories. I have many stories and tender moments which I’ve kept in my heart, and after seeing the adoration around the world that fans had for Michael at his passing, I was motivated to share the moments in a book, and hopefully, his fans will understand why I treasure the memories of our friendship to this day.”

“Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson” is available at Amazon.com in eBook format and paperback. Information can be found here.

Go to Amazon

Source: Digital Journal / Billie Jean

Michael JacksonMichael Jackson's New Tell-All Memoir. 27-01-'13

Michael Jackson secretly began writing an autobiography about his lowest moments in the last years of his life.

Jackson, who died in 2009, wrote 600 pages of notes about his struggles during the late Eighties through to 2007.

He also accumulated sketches and documents in an attempt to correct how history was written about him.

During those two decades, Jackson was rarely out of the headlines, not least for paying off Jordie Chandler £12million amid child-sex allegations. His admission he shared his bed with children led Jackson to be accused but acquitted in 2005 of molesting Gavin Arvizo.

Anguished then Jackson flew to the Middle East where he began writing the manuscripts, where a former business contact has locked them away.

The wealthy associate is in two minds over releasing the book, which is not complete and would need to be fleshed out to make a full autobiography.

Jackson wrote one biography, Moonwalk, which had to be heavily edited because of attacks on family members.

A source from Los Angeles said: “The manuscript covers a raft of Michael’s adventures and business dealings. He makes it clear that he is the father of Prince and Paris.

“Michael wrote the book because he never got a chance to tell his story and at some stage needed to express his feelings on everything.

“The book addresses the child molestation at Neverland, insisting how he felt sickened that he was accused of doing that.

“Michael also talks about Jordie even though both parties agreed a gagging order when they settled in 1993.

“One of the key aspects of Michael’s book is his thoughts on his family.

“He talks about how he had been let down by all of them for many years. He accused most of them of wanting his money and being jealous of his fame.

“The only person who doesn’t get his venom is his mother Katherine.

“Michael says he felt that his mum was the only one, who understood him and his delicate nature.”

Jackson died after his doctor, Conrad Murray, pumped him with anaesthetic Propofol days before his comeback tour in June 2009.

Source: Express / Billie Jean

Super Bowl XXVII Halftime ShowMichael At The SuperBowl. 25-01-'13

CS Monitor has chosen Michael’s appearance at the 1993 SuperBowl half-time show as one of the seventh best Half-Time Shows ever.

From Prince's 'Purple Rain' to U2's 'Where The Streets Have No Name,' the Super Bowl halftime show has been home to great performances by artists. Here are our picks for the best. (They're in chronological order, not order of greatness.)

The singer performing as the halftime act caused audience numbers to go up during the show itself (the first time that had ever happened during the Super Bowl), causing Jackson's act to be often cited as the reason the Super Bowl tries to book big musical acts for the halftime show rather than the marching bands of yore.

When Jackson first appeared on the stage amid a flash of smoke, he stood dramatically silent and immobile for a full 1.5 minutes while many of the 98,000 at the Rose Bowl Stadium cheered.

During his performance, a chorus of more than 3,000 children from Los Angeles performed "We Are The World," and footage of Jackson being involved in charities was screened. Jackson sang "Billie Jean," "Black or White" and "Jam."

Arlen Kantarian, chief executive of halftime show producers Radio City Productions, remembered how Jackson was struck by the idea of the viewers who would be watching in other countries.

“He said, ‘Man, I’ll never tour there,’ ” Kantarian recalled in an article with the New York Times which detailed how Jackson's performance forever changed the halftime show. “We talked to him about the blue-collar football fan that might not otherwise be a Michael Jackson fan and about how he could build a new fan base. He got that as well.”

Bleacher Report writer Gordon Block ranked Jackson’s show as the best halftime show ever.

“Super Bowl XXVII is the standard for all Super Bowl halftime shows, as the league called in the star power of Michael Jackson to keep audiences tuned in to the game,” Block wrote. “Jackson did not disappoint… Since that 1993 show, the halftime performance has become a huge part of the game and made the game much bigger than the sport of football. It's a cultural event and one that is almost impossible to miss.”

Source: CS Monitor / Billie Jean

Thomas MesereauFamed MJ Attorney DISGUSTED By Conrad Murray Voicemail. 24-01-'13

Tom Mesereau -- the lawyer who successfully defended Michael Jackson in the singer's 2005 molestation trial -- literally could not stand to listen to Conrad Murray's desperate voicemail yesterday ... telling TMZ, "This man is despicable."

Tom was out in L.A. when we played the recording for him, and after just a minute, Tom turned it off with a disgusted look on his face ... saying, "I can't listen to any more of this."

Tom then tore into Conrad Murray over his desperate pleas for sympathy -- saying, "This man is despicable. This man has never taken responsibility for what he did to Michael Jackson. He's always been a blamer. He blames Michael Jackson for everything."

Tom added, "[Conrad] wants everyone to feel sorry for his situation. He caused the death of one of the greatest artists in world history ... a kind, decent, wonderful, nice person. He caused his death and he's never taken responsibility for it."

TMZ posted the voicemail recording yesterday morning, in which Murray pleads with a friend to save him from jail -- saying, "I can't sleep now ... it's very hard ... I'm in constant pain ... can someone please help me please!?"

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson's 'Sock Puppets' Should Look At The Man In The Mirror. 24-01-'13

Untouchable Book CoverMichael Jackson fans have swarmed to attack a new biography of the late pop star. But their efforts might rebound, argues Felicity Capon.

Anyone who dares publish a book deemed to offend Michael Jackson should be warned. A group of his diehard fans, describing themselves as "Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks", are taking credit for the fact that Randall Sullivan’s new biography, Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, has become a “resounding failure in the marketplace”, according to the New York Times.

Michael’s minions took to Twitter and Facebook declaring a “time for action!” Their mission statement is “defending the king and promoting his legacy”. They take this responsibility very seriously.

Sullivan's Amazon page quickly came under attack from the King’s men: Untouchable received more than 100 anonymous one-star reviews with fans leaving angry comments such as “It’s sensationalism, lies, and simply disrespectful. Let the KING rest in peace Mr Sullivan.” Fans are particularly outraged by claims made about the pop sensation’s virginity and use of plastic surgery.

The group also took responsibility for temporarily halting sales, after Amazon received reports that the book was physically defective.

But it might be that fans' blistering reviews are actually keeping sales going; after all, there's no such thing as bad publicity. One Amazon user commented: “I have not read it, but this recent negative campaign of naysayers makes me think they want to hide something. I am now going to order it and decide for myself”.

Source: Telegraph / Billie Jean

MJ Estate: The IMMORTAL World Tour In Taipei! 24-01-'13

We are happy to inform you that pre-sale tickets for Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour in Taipei will go on sale this FRIDAY morning, January 25, at 10 a.m. local Taipei time.

Tickets will be available here.

Source: The Estate Of Michael Jackson / Billie Jean

Forever DangerousJennifer Batten Launches ‘Forever Dangerous'. 22-01-'13

Michael Jackson lead guitarist Jennifer Batten has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for lighting, video and special effects for 'Forever Dangerous.' Top Michael Jackson impersonator Carlo Riley and famed Pink Floyd lighting and production designer Marc Brickman involved in project.

Forever Dangerous, a world-class, live stage production that pays homage to the legacy of Michael Jackson and features Jackson’s iconic lead guitarist, Jennifer Batten, has announced the launch of a crowd-funding initiative on Kickstarter.com and ForeverDangerous.com to raise funds for lighting, video and special effects in an effort to re-create some of the most memorable concert moments in live performance history.
Drawing from personal experiences during her ten years as guitarist for Jackson’s “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “HIStory” world tours, Batten and her partners hope to bring the world the greatest live fantasy show in history. “I want to give younger folks who never got a chance to experience a Michael Jackson show, as well as long-time fans, the chance to feel the magic again or for the first time, through my eyes and experiences,” Batten said.

Batten’s partners are producer Chris Fischer of Hi-Phi Entertainment and top Jackson impersonator,Carlo Riley. The trio initially considered pursuing traditional entertainment industry backing before realizing that there would be too many strings attached that could compromise the creative control and overall integrity of the show. “Instead, in this new audience-centric era of music projects, we decided to reach out directly to the millions of fans who love this music and have them participate in the process of bringing it to the world,” Batten said. “Quite simply, this is a unique opportunity where the fans will be the ones who make the difference.”

Since Jackson's passing in 2009, Batten has turned down numerous offers from various tributes all over the world. “I felt they lacked quality and I realized we could create something really exceptional to properly honor Michael's incredible contributions. When I discovered Carlo, his remarkable likeness and dance skills stirred up those extraordinary memories from the world tours,” Batten said.

World renowned lighting and production designer Marc Brickman recently joined the Forever Dangerous team. Brickman’s experience includes work with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Black-Eyed Peas, Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt,1992 Summer Olympics and 1998 Winter Olympics as well as television and major motion picture credits. “To pull off a production of the quality and professionalism we’re seeking, we needed to bring in someone of Marc’s caliber. He’s a certified legend in the lighting and design world,” said Hi-Phi’s Fischer.

“The sky is the limit on production value.” Fischer said. “With Marc Brickman involved, the more we raise, the more spectacular the shows will be. And, we’ve put together some exceptional and unique rewards for fans and backers at all pledge levels from limited edition pins and merchandise to signed guitars and backstage, all-access ‘rock star treatment’ packages.”

“My memories are personal and professional,” Batten added. “Memories of magical moments in the history of music that will never be repeated, of collaboration with a true musical legend and the little moments no one else saw. These are memories I want to share with the world through this production.”

Source: Yahoo / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Hayabusa: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. 22-01-'13

After covering the Long Beach Motorcycle Show in -- jeez, has it been that long already? -- the Autoweek Brain Trust ran across these photo that we had all but forgotten about. We would have gladly kept forgetting about it, but we're posting it here only because Senior Editor Rory Carroll was so tickled by it.

Wanna Be Startin' Something? This Is It: a chromed-out Suzuki Hayabusa, arguably the bastion of terrible motorcycle taste, lovingly paying tribute to Michael Jackson. Every facet of Jackson memorabilia is covered, including the Jackson 5 and Bubbles. Lovingly airbrushed with plenty of chrome, an extended swingarm, and a leather seat presumably made from a crocodile at Neverland Ranch. It took proud center stage at Suzuki's stand, as we recall, not in a corner but Off The Wall.

But at that speed, crashing would be Bad. Your skin would really Beat It. It would take a Smooth Criminal to steal this bike. We Are The World. Billie Jean. Captain EO was awesome.

Suzuki Hayabusa

Source: Autoweek / Billie Jean

Katherine JacksonKatherine Jackson Needs Evidence From Conrad Murray. 21-01-'13

Katherine Jackson wants Conrad Murray to give evidence in court.

Michael Jackson's mother needs the jailed doctor to testify in her wrongful death lawsuit against AEG, in a bid to prove the company negligently hired Murray - who is serving a four-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for inadvertently supplying the dose of anaesthetic Propofol that killed the King of Pop in June 2009 - and failed to supervise him.

According to gossip website TMZ, the showbiz matriarch needs Murray on the record to prove AEG hired him, but the disgraced doctor is refusing to co-operate.

His lawyers Valerie Wass and J. Michael Flanagan are trying to make the order invalid on technical grounds.

This comes just weeks after the physician launched a second appeal over his conviction for manslaughter.

Murray wants to leave prison and serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest as he believes he is not a threat to the community or a flight risk since he has a young child who lives in Los Angeles. His first attempt at appeal was denied last autumn.

Moreover, he is still insisting he has been wrongly convicted for Michael's death and is allegedly passing his time in his prison cell by writing a 'tell-all' book about his time with 'Thriller' hitmaker.

A source recently commented: 'Dr. Murray spends most of his days writing what he is telling friends will be a tell-all book about what really happened in the final days of Michael Jackson's life.

'Murray believes that the public will want to hear about the time he spent with Michael.'

Source: M&C / Billie Jean

Autographed Michael Jackson Shoes Stolen From Center City Hotel Found. 21-01-'13

A pair of shoes worn and then autographed by the late Michael Jackson have been safely returned to their owner after they had been stolen from a Center City Hotel.

Police say three drunk men swiped the shoes from the Loews Hotel at 1200 Market Street.

The shoes, worth $50,000, belong to South Jersey’s Martino Cartier, the founder of Friends are by Your Side, which provides wigs to cancer patients and grants wishes to young girls fighting the disease. They were set to be auctioned off at the Hair O’ The Dog charity event on Saturday night.

Authorities say security was handling an incident down the hall on the second floor of the hotel and when they returned the shoes were missing.

“It’s a crazy story,” says Cartier. “Apparently someone picked the shoes up and they were drunk. They went outside, they went to find a ride to the after party, they hopped in a limo with a bunch of girls and they were so drunk they forgot them.”

The women inside the limo recovered the shoes and returned them Sunday afternoon after they realized they had been stolen.

Approximately 2,000 people were attending the charity auction at the Loews Hotel on Saturday evening.

No arrests were made.

MJ Autographed Shoes

Source: Philadelphia / Billie Jean

Dr. Arnold KleinMJ's Dermatologist Hints He Is Prince Michael's Father. 18-01-'13

Michael Jackson's former dermatologist has sparked speculation that he is the biological father of the late King of Pop's son Prince, after contrasting an old photo of himself with an image of the youngster on Facebook.

Dr Arnie Klein, who has been mired in bankruptcy and financial woes in recent years, posted an old picture of himself beneath a photo of 15-year-old Prince Michael with the cryptic tag "hmmmmm".

The photo appears to be a wry nod to conspiracy theorists who have speculated for years that Klein donated his own sperm to help the late pop legend start a family, the Daily Mail reported.

Jackson, who died in 2009, fathered Prince Michael and daughter Paris with ex-wife Debbie Rowe, who previously worked as Klein's assistant at his practice in Beverly Hills.

Jackson's third child Blanket was born by an anonymous surrogate in 2002.

Rowe has never spoken publicly about the identity of the biological father of the children she bore Jackson.

However the eccentric Klein has previously gone on record to rule out any role in the parenting of Jackson's children.

Source: Yahoo / Billie Jean

Dedication Of Everland. 18-01-'13

After years of struggle, disappointment and heartache, Michael Jackson Legacy.org, the wonderful fans who worked on this project, can look at their achievements with great pride! The children’s home in Liberia is built and the children of the area are finally able to go to school. Many of the children are also being sponsored by Michael’s fans, however there are many more who need our help. The dedication of the building took place on November 23rd 2012.

To read all about it, to see the achievements, or to contribute in any way, however small, please click on this link.

Source: MJL / Billie Jean

Geoffrey WilliamsGeoffrey Williams Was Amazed MJ Picked His Song. 16-01-'13

Whenever Geoffrey Williams would hear the songs from Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall record in the early 1980s, he would put on his dancing shoes and go wild.

Little did he know that 20-odd years later, his own song Whatever Happens would feature on another of the King of Pop’s albums.

The Ballarat musician had written the song while sitting in an old car in front of a hospital in the UK, but he never thought anything would come of it.

After combining the lyrics with a backing track his friend had created, the song was sent off and picked up by Michael Jackson years later.

“It was the most amazing thing to hear someone who I had revered and been dancing to for decades sing those words I had wrote in that old car,” Williams said.

“I still put the record on today and think, ‘oh my God’. It’s so exciting to have him actually sing those words. It’s still unbelievable to me.”

Williams will share his blues and reggae-influenced tunes with the rest of the city this weekend as part of the City of Ballarat’s free Summer Sundays event.

The afternoon will also feature the funk and latino sounds of Melbourne-based act Gypsy Brown and fruit salad and cream from Cafe Lekker.

The event starts at 5pm on Sunday at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Source: The Courier / Billie Jean

Bob BalserThe Man Who Helped Animate The Jackson Five. 16-01-'13

For a while there, Bob Balser was the man, at least if you were talking animated pop stars.

This is the man, after all, who went from the Beatles to the Jackson Five, and almost to the Osmonds.

Yes, back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, musical acts starred in cartoons, and Balser had a hand in directing the best ones. And now, more than 40 years after its creation, “The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series” arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes on Tuesday. It includes all 23 episodes and 46 remastered Jackson Five songs.

“I got a copy of some of the episodes,” Balser says. “I was going through them smiling. I’m so excited.”

Balser has had a career that includes prestige animated projects such as “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” and work with the “Peanuts” gang.

In 1967-68, he co-directed the classic cartoon “Yellow Submarine,” starring the Beatles. That memorable work led to his title as supervising director on the 1971 cartoon for Motown’s famous family act.

“It was started in the United States, and it was taking forever,” says Balser, who was then based in London. “They called me in, and they wanted a full season done in 11 months or less.”

Balser tossed out the work that was already done (“I looked at them and really disliked them.”) and decided that it was important that the Jackson Five solve all their problems with music and intelligence. “It was the first series with a black group,” he says. “I thought it should be positive.”

Each episode features the adventures of the singing Michael, Marlon, Jermaine, Tito and Jackie Jackson — usually centering on Michael and his pets rats Ray and Charles, plus pet snake Rosie. Motown head Berry Gordy made appearances, as did Supremes star Diana Ross.

The Jackson brothers were too busy being teen idols to voice their characters, so Balser never met them. (Ross did voice her lines, but they were shipped to Balser, so he didn’t meet her either). He never met the Beatles, whose singing voices were used in “Yellow Submarine.” But he did meet the Osmond brothers, who had a cartoon in 1972. Balser was asked to help with that show, but when the Jackson Five series got a second season he had to pass.

Although boomers may remember the cartoon, today’s youth may not, and some may not even know the King of Pop was in a family group. Still, Balser is confident the cartoon – with its groovy ’70s psychedelic vibe and wholesome messages – still has appeal.

"They do know Michael Jackson, and the music is terrific. It’s not going to disappear,” he says.

Source: News Observer / Billie Jean

Lady GagaLady Gaga To Rescue Michael Jackson's Neverland. 16-01-'13

Over the past few years LADY GAGA has invested a huge chunk of her millions in showbiz memorabilia.

Now the crackpot singer has set her sights on the ultimate celebrity possession — MICHAEL JACKSON’s ranch.

Neverland would be a great place to show off her other buys — JUDY GARLAND’s Wizard Of Oz ruby slippers, a posh frock worn by DAPHNE GUINNESS and 55 of Jackon’s most personal items she recently bought in auction.

A source said: “Lady Gaga is obsessed with Michael. She’s become good friends with his sister LATOYA and would love more than anything else to restore Neverland to its original state.

“His kids are all desperate to hold on to their childhood home so they can decide what they want to do with it properly when they’ve grown up.

“Gaga would love to help with the financial costs by buying a share.”

She was due to support Jackon in London before he died in 2009.

Source: The Sun / Billie Jean

Studio 54 Auction. 16-01-'13

We thought your Michael Jackson fans may be interested to know our upcoming Palm Beach Modern Auction featuring Steve Rubell's personal collection of memorabilia from STUDIO 54, includes hundreds of celebrity photographs, numerous photographs of Michael Jackson at Studio 54 in the late 1970's, and several paintings of Mr. Jackson's original costume designs. The auction is January 19th at 12:00 noon (EST). The lots featuring Michael Jackson includes lots 38, 39, 213, 214, 215, 371. Lots may be viewed by clicking here.

Studio 45 Memorabilia Auction

Register to bid by phone, absentee, in person, or via the internet (an Absentee/Telephone Bidding Form is attached for your convenience). Preview times are Monday, January 14 through Friday, January 18 from 10am-5pm at Palm Beach Modern Auctions Exhibition Center, 417 Bunker Road in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Source: Live Auctioneers / Billie Jean

The Estate Of Michael JacksonStatement From The Estate Regarding Thriller. 15-01-'13

We understand that loyal MJ fans are reacting to the article that appeared in the New Yorker questioning the sales of Michael’s “Thriller” album. Let’s state this for the record: “Thriller” has sold MORE THAN 100,000,000 ALBUMS WORLDWIDE. In addition, the number of singles sold cannot even be tallied. It is far and away the largest selling album in record industry history which, ironically, the same reporter noted in the December issue of the same magazine. Quite frankly, we are unaware of the credentials of the blogger in the New Yorker, and point out that it is his opinion only, and not based on the facts of the extraordinary 30-year sales history of Michael’s masterpiece.

John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors, The Estate Of Michael Jackson

Source: The Estate Of Michael Jackson / Billie Jean

HackersHackers Sentenced For Michael Jackson Music Theft. 12-01-'13

A British court sentenced two hackers to 100 hours of community service on Friday for stealing a treasure trove of unreleased music — including Michael Jackson tracks — from the U.S. servers of Sony Music Entertainment.

Officials said that music aficionados James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, used their home computers to access Sony's servers and scour them for Jackson-related material. The pair downloaded nearly 8,000 files, including completed or partial tracks, artwork, and videos relating to Jackson and other unspecified Sony artists.

The precise nature of the unreleased material hasn't been made clear — Sony refused to comment on the case. A statement from Britain's Serious and Organized Crime Agency identified some of the material as stems, which are audio tracks that can be used in mixes and overdubs.

Marks and McCormick —who met online — were arrested in May 2011 after Sony alerted U.K. law enforcement to the breach. Chat logs recovered from their computers showed that they planned to sell or trade some of the files.

The theft could have been damaging for Sony had the music been released to the Web. The company has a seven-year deal, worth up to $250 million, to sell unreleased recordings by Jackson, who died in 2009 at the age of 50.

Marks and McCormick initially pleaded their innocence in public, releasing a statement saying that they "would never do anything to harm the legacy that is Michael Jackson's music." But the pair later pleaded guilty to two counts of "unauthorized access to computer material" in September.

Their community service order was handed down at central England's Leicester Crown Court on Friday.

Source: Yahoo / Billie Jean

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