News, Free speech doesn’t protect Sony in dispute over Michael Jackson songs, court rules : detailed suggestions and opinions about Free speech doesn’t protect Sony in dispute over Michael Jackson songs, court rules .
More than a decade ago, allegations arose that Michael Jackson didn’t sing all the songs on his 2010 album “Michael,” which was released the year after his death. On Thursday, the California Supreme Court weighed in with a ruling that set new legal precedent around entertainment advertising.
The question the state’s highest court considered pitted consumer protections against claims of free speech in advertising. The court came down on the side of consumers.
It ruled that Sony Music Entertainment’s advertising of the songs on “Michael” as authentic was commercial speech — and, therefore, subject to consumer protection laws.
It also rejected Sony’s assertion that the claims of authenticity — on the back of the album and in a promotional video — were protected against consumer litigation by a free speech statute designed to protect statements on matters of public interest from becoming the subject of onerous and expensive litigation.