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Billboard Awards given OK to use Michael Jackson hologram

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Michael Jackson
Ebet Roberts/Redferns

The 2014 Billboard Music Awards are Sunday, and one additional pop star may be in attendance: Michael Jackson. Well, his likeness may appear on stage, anyway.

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the show’s producers will be allowed to go ahead with plans to use a hologram of the deceased music legend in a performance promoting the singer’s latest posthumous album, Xscape. Judge Kent Dawson said there wasn’t enough evidence to show that use of the 3-D image violates patents held by Hologram USA Inc. and Musion Das Hologram Ltd. Those companies, which brought rapper Tupac Shakur “back to life” at Coachella in 2012, filed an emergency lawsuit on Thursday, claiming their technology was being used without authorization to depict Jackson performing the song “Slave to the Rhythm.”

“The court’s decision is not surprising,” attorney Howard Weitzman, who represented Jackson’s estate and dick clark productions, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “The request to stop this extraordinary Michael Jackson event was ludicrous.”

Despite the ruling, the plaintiff’s attorney said his clients will continue with the lawsuit.

The Billboard Music Awards airs live Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.