Are Michael Jackson vocals fake? Sony refuses to say yes.

Articles published on Thursday claimed that Sony Music had “admitted” that three tracks on “Michael,” the 2010 Michael Jackson album released posthumously by Sony’s Epic Records, contained lead vocals that were not actually by Michael Jackson — an assertion that the company denied in a statement released late Friday morning.

“No one has conceded that Michael Jackson did not sing on the songs,” Sony Music said in a statement.  “The hearing Tuesday was about whether the First Amendment protects Sony Music and the Estate and there has been no ruling on the issue of whose voice is on the recordings.”

The report stems from a 2014 class-action lawsuit brought by a fan, Vera Serova, against Sony Music; John Branca, a co-executor of the estate; MJJ Productions; and the producers and production companies of the three songs in question, “Breaking News,” “Monster” and “Keep Your Head Up.” According to the lawsuit, in November 2010 Sony stated “We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own.” Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Jackson’s estate, released a statement citing multiple engineers, musicians, vocal directors, executives and musicologists as concluding that the vocals were Jackson’s.

Among other claims, the lawsuit seeks a refund for individuals who have purchased the songs.

According to sources close to the situation, individuals who attended Tuesday’s court hearing seized upon a statement by an attorney for Jackson’s estate in which he said something to the effect of “even if the vocals weren’t Jackson’s” as proof that they were indeed faked. The sources insist that the attorney was speculating.

Whether or not the vocals are indeed Jackson’s was not the purpose of Tuesday’s hearing, but rather the album’s liner notes are protected by the First Amendment (particularly freedom of speech).

The notes read in part, “This album contains 9 previously unreleased vocal tracks performed by Michael Jackson. These tracks were recently completed using music from the original vocal tracks and music created by the credited producers.”

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