Prince Estate Sues Roc Nation Over Alleged Illegal Tidal Streaming
Prince‘s estate has sued Jay Z‘s Roc Nation for copyright infringement, claiming Tidal has been illegally streaming the late-musician’s catalog, the Star Tribune reports.
The federal suit was filed by NPG Records and NPG Music Publishing Tuesday, though the estate and Roc Nation have been at odds over Prince’s catalog for months. In 2015, Prince pulled his music from all streaming services, but struck a deal with Tidal to premiere his LP Ht N Run: Phase One. In June, Tidal added 15 lesser-known Prince albums, though the Prince estate claims they did so without authorization.
A representative for Tidal declined to comment. A representative from NPG was not immediately available to comment.
On Friday, Roc Nation filed a petition asking the court to enforce what they claimed was an agreed-upon arrangement with Prince concerning his digital catalog. The move came after Prince’s estate inked a deal with Universal Music earlier this month to become the worldwide publishing administrator for Prince’s music, threatening Tidal’s supposed exclusive rights as it would allow the musician’s catalog to be added to additional streaming services.
In its new suit, NPG acknowledged the initial Roc Nation deal, but said it was only supposed to last for 90 days. It went on to claim that when Tidal added those 15 Prince albums in June, Roc Nation started “exploiting many copyrighted Prince works in addition to the works that comprise the Hit N Run: Phase 1 album.”
The suit goes on to claim that Roc Nation has yet to produce documents to support their asserted claim that they have “both oral and written” agreements to exclusively stream Prince’s entire catalog on Tidal.
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Prince died in April after an opioid overdoes. Along with the legal battle over the rights to his catalog, the courts are also still narrowing down the musician’s legal heirs. Investigators, meanwhile, continue to examine whether doctors illegally prescribed the pop star opioids or whether the Fentanyl that killed him came from black market sources.
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