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HBO accused of breach of contract by Michael Jackson's estate

Contracts shape the way that business is carried out. It can set purchase prices and supply amounts, and it can dictate compensation and business duties. These agreements can affect any industry, too. Business, construction, and the entertainment industries can be defined by the terms contained in contracts. This is why those subjecting themselves to these provisions need to be careful that they are protecting themselves and their interests not only in the short-term, but also in the long-term.

To see an example of the power of contract, one need look no further than a recently filed lawsuit against HBO.

The company was recently sued by the estate of the late superstar Michael Jackson, claiming that an upcoming two-part series entitled Leaving Neverland, set to premier on the company's cable channel, violates a 1992 contract between Jackson and HBO.

According to the claim, that contract contained a non-disparagement clause whereby HBO agreed not to disparage or otherwise lower the reputation of Jackson, his public image, his representatives, and his business practices. The 1992 contract allegedly contains language that allows these provisions to last long-term, stretching even into today's business dealings.

The lawsuit further claims that the documentary is full of false accusations and lies that pose a threat to Jackson's image and reputation. This is because the film likely delves into allegations that Jackson had inappropriate relations with two underage children. HBO claims that it plans to air the film to allow the audience to judge the veracity of the accusations for itself.

While this breach of contract claim is pretty unique in nature, it highlights the conflict that can arise when the terms of a contract are alleged to have been broken. Whether in the construction industry, retail business, or real estate development, the terms negotiated in a contract can have profound consequences, as can the actions that are or are not taken in the event of breach. This is why those dealing with contracts and instances of breach should consider working with an attorney to analyze the facts at hand and determine the best course of action.

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