Music legend Quincy Jones was awarded $9.4 million Wednesday after a long dispute with Michael Jackson‘s estate over unpaid music royalties.
The royalties and production fees come from some of Jackson’s biggest hits, such as “Billie Jean” and “Thriller.” Jones, 84, also claimed that he was underpaid for music used in Jackson’s documentary This Is It, as well as two Cirque du Soleil shows, Variety reports.
The iconic producer sought $30 million from the lawsuit he filed nearly four years ago, according to the Associated Press, while Jackson’s estate placed the figure at about $392,000.
“As an artist, maintaining the vision and integrity of one’s creation is of paramount importance. I, along with the team I assembled with Michael, took great care and purpose in creating these albums, and it has always given me a great sense of pride and comfort that three decades after they were originally recorded, these songs are still being played in every corner of the world,” Jones said in a statement.
“This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created. Although this judgment is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favor in this matter. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists’ rights overall,” he concluded.
The recording producer took the stand during the trial and insisted he was simply seeking money he was due for his work, despite Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman’s claims that he had already benefited from Jackson’s 2009 death, the AP reported.
“You don’t deserve a raise,” Weitzman said. “You can’t have any more of Michael Jackson’s money.”
Jones worked with Jackson on three album’s that were widely considered the singer’s biggest successes: Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad.
“While the jury denied Quincy Jones $21 million – or more than two-thirds of what he demanded — from The Estate of Michael Jackson, we still believe that giving him millions of dollars that he has no right to receive under his contracts is wrong,” Howard Weitzman and Zia Modabber, attorneys for the estate of Michael Jackson, said in a statement.
“This would reinterpret the legal language in, and effectively rewrite, contracts that Mr. Jones lived under for more than three decades, admitted he never read, referred to as ‘contract, montract.’ and told the jurors he didn’t ‘give a damn’ about. Any amount above and beyond what is called for in his contracts is too much and unfair to Michael’s heirs. Although Mr. Jones is portraying this is a victory for artists’ rights, the real artist is Michael Jackson and it is his money Mr. Jones is seeking,” the statement concluded.