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Prince’s Estate Suing Streaming Service Over Music Rights

 Posted on November 16, 2016 in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning attorneyIt is not uncommon for multiple areas of the law to converge all at once for in a particular situation. For example, a person facing charges of domestic violence may soon find him- or herself in family court regarding the limitation of parental rights. Such is often the case as well with many issues related to estate planning, as a failure to prepare for the future may leave the door open for a number of potential problems to arise. An example of this is now making headlines as the estate of a pop music icon is suing a digital streaming service and its parent company for copyright infringement.

Background Details

Since the death of pop superstar Prince—born Prince Rogers Nelson—in April, there has been a great deal of confusion surrounding the status of his multimillion dollar estate. Much of the controversy is related to the rights to play, perform, and distribute Prince’s music, as the artist himself was extremely selective about how his work should be made available.

In 2015, Prince pulled his work from streaming services around the world but agreed to allow one company—Tidal, a subsidiary of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation—to distribute songs from his most recent album. In the wake of the superstar’s death, however, Tidal began streaming music from 15 other Prince records. According to reports, the company had no such authorization to do so.

New Developments

Now, Prince’s estate has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Tidal overstepped the original agreement and that the contract was only meant to give Tidal exclusive rights to one album for 90 days. The lawsuit states that Roc Nation has made many claims that the original agreement did allow additional rights but that the company has failed to produce any evidence of such details.

Earlier this month, Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it had obtained exclusive global publishing rights to Prince’s entire catalog. The announcement was disputed by Tidal, which claims that its preexisting agreement should take precedence.

Preventable With Careful Planning

While nobody will claim the music industry is a simple realm in which to conduct business, Prince was often seen as an artist who made definitive decisions for himself. Thus, the confusion following his death is seen by many of uncharacteristic of the man who maintained such careful control of rights to his music.

Rights to intellectual property, such as literary works, art, and music, can be protected and provided for through comprehensive estate planning, even for those producing such works on a small scale. To learn more about your options for protecting such assets, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Schedule your confidential consultation at any of the three locations of A. Traub & Associates today.



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