The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called “King of Pop” changes its name, their lawyers announced in a letter to VRT.
For three seasons now, the show has aired every Sunday morning on the Dutch-speaking ‘Studio Brussel’ radio station, owned by public broadcaster VRT. During the show, presented by Stijn Van de Voorde, well-known as well as unknown people compete for the title “King of Pop” by answering quiz questions about music.
Van de Voorde received the official letter last week, which he says was “signed by a lot of lawyers.”
“It says that we are not allowed to use that name just like that. We did not even know that ‘King of Pop’ was a protected trademark,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “It is pretty cool that these people know we exist, but it is kind of stupid that they are making such a fuss about it.”
According to the newspaper, the “King of Pop” name is registered with Triumph International Inc, a company based in California, which manages the merchandising of Michael Jackson’s heirs.
“Funny that they have only just discovered this now,” Van de Voorde said. “I think they spend all day looking for ways to sue people and make money. It’s all very American.”
There is a good chance that the radio programme will indeed change its name, he says.
“‘King of Pop’ is a very cheap programme: I make it all by myself. I make the questions, choose the music and present it,” explained Van de Voorde. “It would be stupid if we had to pay money for it now. There is no budget for that. We would rather have a new name.”