Violinist Reginald Hill featured on the pop superstar's classic track after joining studio sessions in Los Angeles in 1982.

He died 10 years after his work on Billie Jean, and four years before laws in Britain were changed to ensure record companies pay session musicians a fair share of royalties.

Hill's widow Elizabeth began fighting for a share of the proceeds from Billie Jean following Jackson's death in 2009, and bosses at U.K. music licencing body Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) have now added the musician to the list of performers on Billie Jean, allowing his widow to receive royalty payments for the first time.

Hill has also been given a credit on 54 other recordings, including works by Julio Iglesias and Earth, Wind and Fire, according to the BBC.

"It first came to my attention when Michael Jackson died," Elizabeth explains. "I realised they are going to be playing this stuff a lot - I know Reg did a lot. It's a system that's just too hard to fight. You shouldn't have to fight - they should be working for us not against us and it feels like we're fighting them every inch of the way.

"I know that if I had not had the help (from musicians in the U.S.), I would have got nowhere."

PPL chief executive Peter Leithem adds, "It wasn't a situation where we weren't trying to pay money to Mr Hill, it was just for this particular recording there was a disputed range of facts.

"By the time we concluded those investigations by going and speaking to different sources and doing more work, we then got to the position where he should be added to that recording."