The IPKat was interested to read an Associated Press piece about the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death in IP terms. His passing, in common with that of other celebrities who have died young (such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe) has spawned a huge demand for memorabilia, which often isn't licensed. The Jackson estate has said that it will take action against unauthorised sellers, noting:
"The sale of unauthorized Michael Jackson merchandise is illegal and provides nothing for the beneficiaries of his estate, namely his mother, his children and charitable causes that were important to him".A new phenomenon, though, is that the death has resulted in a huge increase in illegal file sharing of Jackson's songs, as well as of legitimate sales.
Matters are complicated by the fact that Jackson did not register the term THE KING OF POP and only registered the term MICHAEL JACKSON for sound recordings, videotapes and films involving music and entertainment.
The IPKat notes that the same old problems keep coming up with merchandising. How many people would really believe or care whether Jackson or his estate authorised the sale of t-shirt purchased in a spontaneous outpouring of grief? Being cyncial, the Kat also suspects that it would be worth the estate's while to let at least some of this slide in the immediate aftermath, not least because it will cement the (merchandisable) personality cult.