Businessman Howard Mann has been banned from selling Michael Jackson memorabilia and using the singer’s name online, after a US judge ruled he was guilty of copyright infringement.
District Judge Dean Pregerson granted an injunction blocking Howard Mann from using his sites including MJgives.com and michaeljacksonsecretvault.com.
The sites featured Michael Jackson video clips, art from This Is It and Jackson logos.
Michael Jackson’s estate sued Mann over copyright and unfair competition.
The estate holds the copyright to Michael Jackson’s image and music for the benefit of the singer’s mother Katherine and his three children.
Judge Pregerson said: “There is undisputed evidence that [Howard Mann] intended in bad faith to profit from use of Jackson’s name, by registering multiple domain names containing his name or the initials MJ to sell Jackson-related products.”
Howard Mann was not unknown to the Jackson family. He had worked with Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine on several projects since 2009.
These projects included a book published in 2010 entitled Never Can Say Goodbye, which featured recollections of her son, as well as a DVD and calendar containing exclusive photos and video.
All were sold through Howard Mann’s “secretvault” website.
Howard Mann said he obtained the rights to the material at a bankruptcy sale involving members of Michael Jackson’s family several years ago.
Michael Jackson estate executors John McClain and John Branca said in a statement they were “extremely pleased” with the court’s ruling which will prevent Howard Mann from “continuing to unlawfully profit from Michael Jackson and his intellectual property”.
A further court hearing on 4 September will decide how much Howard Mann will have to pay in damages to the Jackson estate.