Prince's Estate Sues Tidal over Streaming Rights to Back Catalogue
Published Nov 16, 2016Prince's estate has sued Roc Nation, parent company to Tidal, claiming that the Jay Z-helmed streaming service exploited copyrighted Prince material after the singer's death earlier this year.
In a lawsuit filed by NPG Records Inc. and NPG Music Publishing, Prince's representatives claim that Tidal has been "exploiting many copyrighted Prince works in addition to the works that comprise the HitNRun: Phase 1 album," the Star Tribune reports.
Prior to Prince's death in April, the singer removed his back catalogue from all digital streaming services except Tidal. He also negotiated a deal with Tidal to exclusively stream his album HITNRUN: Phase One for the first 90 days of release.
NPG acknowledges that deal, but asserts that Roc Nation began exploiting other work by Prince on June 7, 2016. That's the same day 15 rare Prince albums appeared on Tidal.
Following a letter of intent from NPG, Roc Nation filed documents in Carver County District Court on October 21, November 7 and November 11, insisting that it had both oral and written agreements to stream the entirety of Prince's catalogue on Tidal.
NPG maintains that Tidal continues to commit copyright infringement by reproducing, distributing and publicly performing Prince's material, and is asking that the case be tried before a jury. The complainant is also demanding that Tidal stops streaming Prince's music (other than HITNRUN: Phase One) and that Roc Nation pays an unspecified amount in damages.
Further complicating matters, Universal Music Publishing Group announced earlier this month that it is "the exclusive worldwide publishing administrator for Prince's entire song catalogue, released and unreleased, effective immediately."