Re: About MJ
In Response To: Re: About MJ ()

Hi Cindy-

Firstly, my condolences to you, and my gratitude, too, for maintaining the MJBlue web site and keeping all of us fans in the loop.

Re: The unpublished music, I suppose these days many people play fast-and-loose with intellectual property rights, and so there may be little chance of trouble if you post MP3s here (there are some already, I know). That said, I'm not a lawyer, but I know a teeny bit about music law from articles on the topic in various music magazines and from friends in the biz, and there are concerns. Michael only wrote a fraction of the tunes he performed; for songs written or co-written by others, technically royalties are due, even when Michael's arrangement is his own. I don't know how those are handled for web postings; there may be info at HFA (Harry Fox Agency; they handle a lot of US music distribution licensing). For songs he wrote, the situation depends on whether he had a publishing deal with anyone; if so, they may have the publishing rights.

I suppose his family will be dealing with estate attorneys who will know how his publishing and broadcast rights will now be handled. You might consult with them for advice or permission on how to handle the unpublished music. Unless Michael made you his archivist in some legally sanctioned manner, you may not have any legal standing regarding how to handle the gift of his unpublished music.

Speaking for myself, if you find yourself having to get paid consultation with an IP attorney to learn about how best to proceed, I'd be happy to contribute to reimburse you. If it comes to that, consider setting up a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding project to cover any costs you anticipate.

Sorry to get legalistic at this time; I just want to make sure you don't get into any trouble! That said, I can't wait to hear what he passed on to you!

On the technical side, if you need help digitizing the music, I can volunteer some time and effort. I'm not a pro audio engineer, but I've done some engineering, have been an AES member, and I have some good tools for doing audio repair to things like noisy cassette or tape dubs. But I strongly suspect Michael's fanbase has lots of people better at it than me!

Cheers,
Tom