Twenty-five metal reels containing master recordings of unreleased tracks by the King of Pop, recorded in 1994 at New York’s The Hit Factory studios—including Lost in Love, Like U, New Jelly, and Rescue Me—have been pulled from the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction site. This action follows a legal threat from Alex Spiro, a representative of Michael Jackson‘s heirs.
The auction house had presented the reels last month, intending to sell them as “artifacts only,” meaning they were considered pure objects without copyright and strictly prohibited from reproducing their contents. Rolling Stone US reported that each reel could have garnered bids ranging from $500 to $4,000.
This legal move comes after an initial cease and desist letter sent on November 29 to Gotta Have Rock and Roll by another legal representative of the Jackson estate, Jonathan Steinsapir. Billboard reported that the letter claimed the reels were “stolen or taken without authorization” by Jackson’s heirs.