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Michael Jackson Estate Threatens to Sue ‘MJ Live’ — But Vegas Tribute Act Fights Back

Las Vegas‘ MJ Live is suing the estate of Michael Jackson after the Jackson estate attorneys threatened to sue the act for violating trademark.

In a complaint filed Wednesday, the org behind MJ Live asked a judge to allow the show, which features an impersonator of Jackson, to continue at the Tropicana and other cities in the U.S. It also accused the Jackson Estate of infringing its intellectual property, according to Billboard.

In the lawsuit, the show claims that it has staged more than 3,600 shows since 2012 but that the estate only recently started to send cease-and-desist letters to venues asking that they cancel MJ Live’s upcoming tour dates.

MJ Live’s attorneys claim they have not infringed on any trademarks nor likeness rights, referencing both free speech protections in the First Amendment and Nevada’s likeness laws that allow for the legal use of impersonators in live performances.

“Over the past eleven and one-half years … plaintiff has spent millions of dollars advertising and promoting its MJ Live show,” MJ Live’s lawyers wrote in the suit, per Billboard. “Plaintiff estimates that over 2,500,000 audience members, clapping and singing in their seats, jumping to their feet, and dancing in the aisles, have experienced the joy, excitement, and thrill of MJ Live.”

Neither the Jackson estate nor reps for MJ Live responded to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

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The MJ Live group further argued that the Jackson estate infringed on its intellectual property, by naming their Broadway show MJ The Musical. It also argued that the cease-and-desist letters to block dates as “intentional and wrongful interference” in his business.

The Broadway jukebox musical began in 2022 to critical acclaim. “You’ll leave the Neil Simon Theatre both on a giddy high from Jackson’s music but also grappling with what was and wasn’t incorporated,” read a Rolling Stone review of its opening night.

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