(CN) - Michael Jackson's intellectual property was wrongfully usurped by a website owner, a California federal court ruled.
The King of Pop's estate prevailed on its complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against Howard Mann, Sonia Lowe, Vintage Pop Media Group and DC Netcast Media Group.
Mann's Vintage Pop group had published a website that advertised Jackson's previously unreleased songs and photos, according to the ruling.
The defendants argued they had acquired the rights at a bankruptcy sale involving members of Jackson's family. The estate countered that only personal property was available at the sale, not intellectual property.
Judge Dean Pregerson agreed, writing for the federal court in Los Angeles that the Jackson estate clearly owns the intellectual property rights because the bankruptcy sale only included personal property from a storage facility.
In addition, Pregerson granted summary judgment to the estate on its claims of cybersquatting and cyberpiracy.
The estate settled its dispute with the defendants in exchange for $2.5 million.
The settlement allowed Mann to avoid a trial on the damages.
Mann had worked with Jackson's mother, Katherine, on a book recalling her son's life.
Mann reportedly set up the website in order to sell the tribute book.
Jackson had sued Mann in 2004 for putting up another website called thejacksonvault.com. The website in the recent lawsuit was called MichaelJacksonSecretVault.com.