MJ Estate Battles Fraud

The June 25 death of Michael Jackson has created more than just legal entanglements regarding his children and extensive estate. The battle against fake MJ memorabilia being hawked to grieving fans is an ongoing battle.

Both AEG Live and the Jackson estate have plenty of authorized merchandise to go around that’s distributed through Bravado, Universal Music Group’s retail division. However, fans are literally buying into the plethora of bogus merch – T-shirts with the wrong date of Jackson’s death or no collar tags, for example – that’s reportedly sold on street corners, in stores and online.

That’s an estimated loss of tens of millions of dollars worth of merchandising royalties, according to CMG Worldwide chief exec Mark Roesler, business agent for the estates of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and other deceased stars.

“In the piracy and anti-counterfeiting world, this is as big as it gets,” Roesler told the Associated Press. “It’s a daunting task for the rights holders to get on top of this.”

The bottom line is this: Like a carnival “Whack-A-Mole” game, estate administrators may not be able to swat down every infringer before another pops up around the country or online, but MJ fans need to help themselves by remembering the adage, “Buyer Beware.”