*The Michael Jackson hologram may have brought the late King of Pop – who died 5 years ago today – back to life at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, but it’s presence has given life to another item: a lawsuit.
The Hollywood Reporter mentions that the hologram’s creators, Pulse Entertainment, have filed a $10 million lawsuit, against entrepreneur Alki David. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Pulse accuses David of being a “charlatan who had no involvement whatsoever in the development of the Michael Jackson animation.”
The complaint further stated that David “falsely claimed credit for creating and developing the visual effects spectacle in a nationally-televised interview on CNN, in press releases and on his various websites operated by his company, FilmOn.”
In the lawsuit, David is painted as a person who is famous for his outrageous antics and being a “notorious infringer of intellectual property rights.” The business owner’s well-publicized battles with TV broadcasters are especially mentioned in the suit, in light of Pulse being up set with David’s alleged efforts to “divert public and industry attention away from Pulse Entertainment just as the company was being launched.” As a result, the company believes this gives way to unfair business competition practices and trade libel.
Pulse goes on to point out how David demanded a “shakedown” in the days leading up to the Billboard Music Awards by demanding credit for the creation of the Jackson “hologram.”
Another detail worth noting in the suit is David’s emphasis on calling the image of Jackson a “hologram.” According to Pulse’s complaint, “This mischaracterization of the [Michael Jackson] animation as a hologram highlights David’s complete lack of technical expertise and involvement in the creation and development of the Michael Jackson Animation, insofar as the virtual Michael Jackson appearing at the Billboard Award Show was not a hologram at all, rather, it was an animation projected onto a screen. This distinction is lost on David, because he is nothing more than a fraud claiming credit for Pulse Entertainment’s animation.”
News of Pulse’s lawsuit comes after David filed his own suit, which originally named Prometheus Global Media among the defendants. As it stands now, that suit has been amended to mostly focus on Pulse and its chairman John Textor. Among the other defendants in David’s suit are the executors of the Michael Jackson estate.
In regards to labeling the Jackson image as a “hologram,” David’s suit references a USA Today story that mentioned how the technology used by Pulse was responsible for creating the hologram of Tupac Shakur. Pulse’s version of the technology originated from a magician’s technique called Pepper’s Ghost.
“After Plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order in these court proceedings to enjoin Defendants from using the Patented Technology to create the Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards, Defendants argued to this Court that they would not use the patented technology to create the Michael Jackson hologram,” David’s amended complaint states. “That argument is belied by the actual evidence. Initially, Textor attempted to obtain rights to the Patented Technology in the months and days leading up to the Billboard Awards because he knew those rights were required.”
Overall, David’s company maintains that the entrepreneurs “ “have created significant confusion in the marketplace” has been created by the entrepreneur’s “legal adversaries.” As a result, efforts to do recreations of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley have been impacted as it “diluted the value of the Hologram USA brand.”
Pulse countered David’s claims by stating that David hijacked the launch of the company and has similarly caused “immeasurable harm” to its “public relations, its reputation and brand.”