The estate of the late Michael Jackson has effectively prevented the auctioning of his “extremely rare and unreleased” recordings.
Last month, Gotta Have Rock and Roll announced plans to auction over two dozen master tapes, reportedly recorded by the late Thriller singer at The Hit Factory in New York in 1994.
They expected to fetch up to $4,000 for each tape, but lawyers acting on behalf of the estate threatened to sue, arguing the recordings were ‘unquestionably stolen.’
A letter written by attorney Jonathan Steinsapir on 29 November, which was obtained by Billboard, demanded the company ‘cease and desist from any and all efforts to further auction these tape,’ but also immediately return the recordings.
The letter continued: ‘Neither Michael Jackson nor his record company, Sony Music Entertainment, ever sold or gave away master tapes from his recording sessions at The Hit Factory (or anywhere else).
‘These tapes were unquestionably stolen or otherwise taken without authorization. Accordingly, they are the property of the Jackson Estate.’
But the letter was apparently unsuccessful with attorney Alex Spiro then sending an email to the auction house’s lawyer, in which they noted the company had already informed the estate that they ‘will not comply with these demands.’
They wrote: ‘We write to notify you that we intend to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction tomorrow (December 13) in New York Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.’