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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Jackson sues Motown
By Duncan Bartlett
BBC News

Michael Jackson
Jackson's musical career has been overshadowed by his private life
Michael Jackson is suing Motown Records for money he says he is owed for classic Jackson Five songs.

He filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging he has not been paid royalties due for the music.

Jackson also claims his music has been used in television adverts without his consent.

Motown Records was the best known soul music label in the US when Jackson and his brothers recorded a string of hits for it in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Never Can Say Goodbye, I Want You Back and I'll Be There.

But the Jackson Five left Motown in 1976 to sign for Sony under the name The Jacksons following severe rows, which were only settled in an 1980 agreement.

Jackson now wants the this settlement annulled by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that as part of the agreement Jackson forfeited any royalties on Jackson Five and solo material released before the record company split.

But Jackson contends Motown was to pay royalties for previously unreleased material and songs re-released on best-of compilations.
The Jackson Five were formed by their father Joe

Jackson alleges he has not been paid "a single dollar in royalties".

His lawyers are suing Motown's new owner Universal Music for unpaid royalties, as well as punitive damages which could run into millions of dollars.

Furthermore, Jackson is demanding the return of "all master recordings and musical compositions made and/or composed by Jackson" during his record contract with Motown.

Universal Music has refused to comment.

This lawsuit comes almost a year after Jackson sued his current record label, Sony, and its then chief executive Tommy Mottola, for what he described as racist business practices, a charge the company rejected as absurd.

Michael Jackson's last album for Sony, Invincible, cost a reported $30m (18.6m) to produce but sold a modest two million copies.

In February, Jackson was ordered to pay $5.3m (3.3m) to a concert promoter after pulling out of two Millennium Eve concerts.

After several bizarre court appearances in which the star compared himself to Walt Disney because he could not deal with administrative issues, a judge in Los Angeles ruled in favour of promoter Marcel Avram.

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