Michael Jackson’s estate forces Belgian radio show to change name

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By Andy Malt | Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Michael Jackson estate has threatened Belgian broadcaster VRT with legal action over one of its Studio Brussel radio station’s programs, the pop quiz show ‘King Of Pop’.

The show, which has already run for three series, sees celebrities and members of the public answering questions about pop music. Whoever wins is crowned “King of Pop”. Or at least they were.

This phrase, you see, is a registered trademark of Triumph International Inc, the California company that manages the many phrases and logos belonging to the Michael Jackson estate. And he’s really not happy with it all. This discontent has now been exposed in an official legal letter.

According to The Brussels Times, presenter Stijn Van de Voorde says the letter sent to VRT was “signed by a lot of lawyers” and “says we are not allowed to use that name just like that. We didn’t even know ‘King Of Pop’ was a protected trademark ”.

“It’s pretty cool that these people know we exist, but it’s kinda stupid that they make such a big deal out of it,” he adds. “It’s funny they just found out now. I think they spend all day looking for ways to sue people and make money. It’s very American.

As to whether he plans to fight this in court, well, no. “’King Of Pop’ is a very inexpensive program,” he says. “I do everything on my own. I do the questions, choose the music and present it. It would be silly if we had to pay money for it now. There is no budget for that. We would prefer to have a new name.

A brand is a brand, of course. Although it seems unlikely that anyone would think that a pop quiz on a radio station aimed at Dutch-speaking Belgians had any official connection to Michael Jackson. I’m not sure if the show’s past winners will have to stop calling themselves the King of Pop as well.

When deciding on a new name, it would probably be a good idea for Van de Voorde and his team to browse and avoid the other brands owned by Triumph International. ‘Michaelfest’ has been released. The same goes for ‘Michael Jackson Fan Fest’. Don’t think you can call it “This Is It” either. Oh, and pretty much any “Neverland Ranch” related term you can think of should be ignored.

The name “Thriller, the world’s best-selling album” is a no-no. I would have thought it would be nice, but apparently it isn’t, it’s “Michael’s Pets”. The domain would almost certainly oppose “Dangerous” as well. Another wordy, “The World Of Michael Jackson An International Club”, is going to have to be struck off the list immediately.

“Bad” would probably be fine, as long as the official logo for the Michael Jackson album of the same name is not used. Although, I don’t know, some people might not think this was a good name for a radio show. Honestly, it’s a minefield. You can’t even just call him “Michael Jackson”!

Maybe the new title should just not be Michael Jackson related at all. I don’t know, how many candidates are there? Could you call it “The Fab Four”?



MORE ABOUT: Michael Jackson | Stijn Van de Voorde | Studio Brussels | VRT



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