Fox News Sued For Interview With Michael Jackson’s Ex

The man who owns the copyright to a 2003 interview with Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Deborah Rowe has sued Fox News for copyright infringement.

 Former Jackson adviser F. Marc Schaffel filed the lawsuit in federal court Jan. 7, claiming that shortly after Jackson’s death last June, News Corp.-owned Fox News aired portions of the Schaffel-produced interview.

Photo: AP Photo / Startraks
Michael Jackson stops by the December 19 "Miracle on 34th Street" show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

According to the Associated Press, Fox aired portions of the interview in 2003 in order to balance an interview considered damaging that ABC ran earlier in the year.

Schaffel owns the copyright for two tapes containing the interview, portions of which, aired in a 2003 special titled “Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See.” The interview aired on Fox News after ABC ran Martin Bashir’s interview with the King of Pop, which included a segment where Jackson talked about allowing kids to sleep in his bed at Neverland Ranch insisting nothing sexual ever happened.

The lawsuit also slams News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch for accusing other media outlets of ripping off Fox News. Murdoch has publicly criticized Google’s News search, saying the company is profiting from searching News Corp.’s newspaper Web sites.

“Fox sanctimoniously operates unencumbered by the very copyright restrictions it seeks to impose on its competitors,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states Fox News claimed it had a “fair use” right to air the footage.

A Fox News spokesman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

This isn’t the first time the footage has sparked a lawsuit. Schaffel sued Jackson in 2006 for payment for work producing the interview. Jackson countersued, and the suit ended in a split decision with the jury awarding Schaffel $900,000, while giving Jackson $200,000.

Click here to read the complete Associated Press article.