Intellectual Property Law

No Permission, No Problem: Gary, Ind., Plans Michael Jackson Museum

You might think Indiana officials would have learned a lawsuit lesson from the Dillinger Museum. After a seven-year litigation saga, tourism officials in Hammond reached an undisclosed settlement with the great-nephew of notorious gangster John Dillinger that permitted the facility to reopen to the public.

But now their Gary counterparts are working to establish a Michael Jackson museum in the famous pop singer’s hometown, even though Jackson’s estate hasn’t approved the plan, according to the Associated Press and Rolling Stone.

Jackson’s father and city officials announced the planned $300 million facility yesterday. Mayor Rudy Clay said money to construct the Jackson Family Museum and Hotel and the Michael Jackson Performing Arts and Cultural Center and Theaters will be provided through investors and donations.

But not everyone appears happy about the news. In a statement published by Rolling Stone, Howard Weitzman, the lawyer for Michael Jackson’s estate, says the Jackson estate has no connection to the project.

“Michael Jackson’s music, name, likeness, memorabilia and other intellectual property are assets exclusively owned by the estate for the benefit of his children, his mother during her lifetime and charities as specified in his will,” Weitzman said.

Related coverage:

CNN: “Estate challenges Michael Jackson belt tribute”

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