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Hearing Delayed in Jackson-Universal Suit

A judge delayed a hearing Wednesday in Michael Jackson’s lawsuit against Universal Music Group that claims the world’s largest record company owes the pop star royalties for the rerelease of songs he made in the 1970s.

Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias set a March 9 hearing date to rule on UMG’s motion for summary judgment on the case. The judge dismissed two of the singer’s claims, and the company is asking her to rule against him in the remaining eight claims.

The judge also said she would rule at the hearing on a request from Jackson’s side to review UMG’s accounting records.

The record company had sought to question Jackson in the lawsuit on Jan. 20, but his attorneys said they were all unavailable.

The lawsuit, filed in May, accuses UMG of violating a 1980 agreement to pay Jackson royalties from recordings he made with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist from 1969 to 1976 for Motown Records, which was acquired by UMG.

The lawsuit said Jackson reached a settlement with Motown Records in 1980 that forfeited his right to royalties for songs released before that time, but Motown was to pay Jackson royalties for previously unreleased material and songs rereleased on best-of compilations.

The lawsuit seeks an accounting of royalties owed and unspecified damages. Jackson also wants the 1980 settlement voided and seeks ownership of his Motown master recordings.

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