Prince’s Estate Sues Jay Z Over Streaming Rights
While it was reported last month that Jay Z was looking to purchase Prince's back catalogue for $40 million, things have shifted quite a bit since then. Prince's estate is looking to sue Tidal an Roc Nation over streaming rights to Prince’s HITNRUN Phase One.
As previously reported, that the battle has been ongoing for months in a Carver County District Court, however yesterday (Nov. 15) The Star Tribune reports things came to a head when NPG Records, Inc and NPG Music Publishing filed a federal lawsuit alleging copyright infringement against Roc Nation, which includes the streaming service Tidal.
Although the lawsuit acknowledges that prior to his death Prince had an agreement to stream and sell “the next newly recorded studio LP by the recording artist known as Prince" (HitNRun: Phase 1), and gave Tidal exclusive rights for 90 days, as of June 2016 the lawsuit claims that Roc Nation, through Tidal was “exploiting many copyrighted Prince works in addition to the works that comprise the ‘HitNRun: Phase 1’ album.”
Roc Nation has submitted documents saying it had oral and written agreements to exclusively stream Prince's music on Tidal. Prince's estate, however, says Roc Nation never produced any documents to back up that claim. The suit also says that Roc Nation continues “to reproduce, distribute and publicly perform” Prince’s music, a copyright infringement. The lawsuit asks for the issue to be decided by a jury, and also asks that the court order Roc Nation/Tidal to stop streaming and selling Prince's music other than HitNRun: Phase 1. It also asks for unspecified damages.
As of right now, much of Prince's music is still streaming on Tidal.