I've been reading through the 600 pages of court filings submitted in the Michael Jackson estate case, and, I'm telling you, there's gotta be a better way.
Contract legalese is painful.
You want to punish Bernard Madoff? Make him read stuff like this: "For the avoidance of doubt, the Footage shall include the vignettes intended for the jumbotrons at such concert series (the "Vignettes"); provided, prior to the date 24 months after the initial release of the Picture in the United States, Licensor shall be entitled to use such programming only in connection with live concert events and after such period, there will be no restriction on Licensor's right...with respect...thereto...." zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Naturally, all the good stuff-the actual money figures being negotiated between the Jackson estate and firms like AEG, Columbia/Sony, Apple, and Bravado International (a merchandiser)-are blacked out. Well, almost all.
Court records confirm that Columbia has agreed to pay the Jackson estate and concert promoter AEG "a minimum guarantee" of $60 million for footage of Michael Jackson's rehearsals for his London tour, a deal which Columbia says "provides unprecedented and historic economic benefits for the Estate". The movie will run no longer than 150 minutes, and it will be in theaters no later than December 31st. The studio also wants to create a special "director's cut" and two "special editions", and it wants its staff to get two executive producer credits on the film.
Columbia will screen a proposed final cut to the estate's administrators, John Branca and John McClain (assuming they keep those jobs), and Michael Jackson's production company, which "shall have the right to require that Columbia not include identified portions...which present Michael Jackson in a negative light." If both sides disagree what constitutes "negative", they can go to arbitration.
Ninety percent of Columbia's payments will go to the estate, and ten percent will go to AEG.