BREAKING: Supreme Court Rules to Hear Case of Michael Jackson Fan Versus Sony in Fake Songs Lawsuit

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Pictured: Late pop superstar Michael Jackson speaks out against Sony Music at public event in 2002.

Pictured: Late pop superstar Michael Jackson speaks out against Sony Music at public event in 2002.

THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA has today ruled that it will hear the case of Vera Serova versus Sony Music and The Estate of Michael Jackson regarding the advertisement and commercial distribution of three allegedly-forged songs attributed to the late pop superstar on the Michael album since December 2010.

The ruling is a huge step towards justice for plaintiff Serova as she attempts to hold Sony Music and the Jackson Estate accountable for their decision to falsely advertise and sell a fraudulent product to Michael Jackson fans around the world.

Last month, on November 7, 2018, Serova and her legal team completed the process of petitioning the Supreme Court of California to intervene as a last gasp attempt to force Sony and the Jackson Estate to face the music. The corporations were controversially dismissed from the case in August this year, when the Court of Appeal ruled that they should be able to sell forgeries as the real deal—as long as they didn’t know the songs were fake.

Today, the seven Justices of the Court who reviewed Serova’s petition ruled that the Supreme Court should hear the case. The Justices felt the Court of Appeal’s ruling that corporations should be allowed to advertise and sell fake art as authentic was problematic in the eyes of the law.

Serova contends that the three songs at the centre of her lawsuit (“Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up” and “Monster”) were released by Sony and the Jackson Estate with fake vocals—sung not by the King of Pop, but by a soundalike.

The three allegedly-fake songs were sold to Sony and the Jackson Estate in mid-2010 by music producers and longtime Jackson friends Eddie Cascio and James Porte as part of a collection of twelve songs they claim Jackson recorded in their basement in 2007. Serova’s lawsuit contends Jackson did no such thing, instead claiming that Porte and Cascio masterminded the most high-profile art forgery in the history of the music business.

Additional litigation remains pending against Cascio and Porte, who have been sued by Serova for fraud. The case against Cascio and Porte has been on hold for almost two years now. The delay comes as a result of Sony and the Jackson Estate’s continued appeals. But the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case could result in new activity in the fraud component of the case, including the possibility of new defendants being added.

The obvious candidate for inclusion in the fraud component of the lawsuit would be the alleged singer of the songs, Jason Malachi. The Jackson family alerted Sony and the Estate to the fact that they believed Malachi was the singer of the songs in question way back in October 2010—two months before the Michael album was released. Upon the album’s release, Malachi’s longtime producer and vocal coach, Tony Kurtis, went public with his insistence that Malachi was the singer of the songs. At that time, countless Jackson fans around the world also identified Malachi as the singer, recognising his voice—not Jackson’s—on the songs in question.

When confronted by Jackson fans online about having sung the vocals on the three allegedly-fake songs on the Michael album, YouTube user EvinVerma posted:

“Guys, don’t hate on Jason. He’s an individual with his own life to live. If he did sing on those tracks on Michael, which is obvious, then good for him to contribute to continue what the King wasn’t able to finish. Don’t blame Jason, blame Sony Music Entertainment.”

Malachi’s response:

“Thank you!!!”

Malachi response to EvinVerma

Participating in the recording of vocals that Michael Jackson did not record and passing them off as work by Jackson constitutes art forgery, which is a felony in the Unites States. If pursued by the authorities, such a crime carries the potential penalty of prison time. At this point, however, Serova’s civil litigation is the only course of action being taken.

UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, plaintiff  Vera Serova made a blockbuster revelation via Twitter. Serova was asked by a fellow Twitter user whether she had seen Malachi’s response to the above-mentioned YouTube comment.

Serova, using the Twitter handle @MorinenMJ, responded by not only confirming she had seen it, but by revealing that she and her legal team have ‘direct evidence of his involvement’ based on correspondence with Malachi’s lawyer!

What this means for the case remains to be seen, but the fact that Serova’s lawyer and Malachi’s lawyer have been in contact, and that such contact resulted in ‘direct evidence of his involvement’ with the songs, is a major development.

Stay tuned for further updates on the Serova vs Sony Music, Jackson Estate, Cascio, Porte et al case. I will provide more information as the case progresses.

You can also listen to the trailer for my upcoming podcast series, called Faking Michael, about these songs and this case. A release date for the podcast has not yet been set, but you can subscribe to have episodes delivered when they become available.

The trailer for Faking Michael is live on Apple PodcastsSpotify and YouTube.

Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.

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