Jackson Wins First Legal Skirmish Over TV Footage
Pop superstar Michael Jackson won an early legal skirmish today (Feb. 28) in his fight to ban a British television company from screening unseen footage from a controversial behind-the-scenes documentPop superstar Michael Jackson won an early legal skirmish today (Feb. 28) in his fight to ban a British television company from screening unseen footage from a controversial behind-the-scenes documentary about him. The performer had asked the High Court in London to grant an injunction preventing Granada Media Group showing any more footage from British journalist Martin Bashir's "Living With Michael Jackson," but lawyers for both parties said they had managed to reach a private agreement.
Granada's lawyer, Geoffrey Hobbs, told the court that his client had agreed not to exploit copies of the program or any out-takes until a full hearing of the case after March 31. But Hobbs said Granada maintained there had been absolutely no wrongdoing and had made the agreement "without any admission of liability."
This means the footage will be kept under lock and key until the full hearing and that Granada will be unable to release the program in video or DVD form, or broadcast any material from the interview which has so far not been screened.
The documentary, aired earlier in February to huge audiences in Britain and the U.S., was a rare peek at the private life of one of pop's biggest icons. It kicked off a storm of controversy, with Jackson accusing Bashir -- who was given unprecedented access to the singer -- of betrayal and slamming the documentary as a gross distortion of the truth.
In it, Jackson revealed his third child was born to a surrogate mother he had never met. He also admitted sharing his bedroom with children at his Neverland Ranch in California.
A statement issued this week on behalf of the 44-year-old singer said Jackson was seeking to have all previously unseen footage -- especially that showing his children -- locked away until a wider dispute between the two sides and Bashir was resolved.
"Michael Jackson has argued that Martin Bashir and Granada broke the agreement by which he was permitted to film Michael, concerning ownership of the filmed material and permissions relating to the inclusion of the Jackson children," the statement said. "In particular, Granada has failed to honor an agreement reached earlier this month to deliver up to Michael Jackson unused film footage of his children, where recognizable."
Jackson's lawyers have already filed complaints with British broadcasting authorities over the documentary. Granada has said the company will fight the legal action. In an attempt to turn the tables, Jackson released his own footage of Bashir praising Jackson's way with children, which recently aired on Fox in the U.S.
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