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Fans of the artist Prince were delighted with the recent announcement that a new posthumous album, named after the title track, 'Deliverance,' was being released. The unexpected surprise album was all set to release this Friday, on the one year anniversary of Prince's death. Unfortunately for fans, the album's producer, Prince's former sound engineer, will not be able to drop the album on time, or maybe ever at all, thanks to a federal court order.
The controversy over the new album is courtesy of Paisley Park, Prince's music company and estate. Essentially, Paisley Park convinced a court to temporarily stop the former sound engineer from releasing the six song album of unreleased Prince songs. Fortunately for fans, one of the tracks was released early, and has, hopefully, now been immortalized on the internet. Fans may have a long time to wait before ever hearing the other songs. While the order blocking the album release is only temporary, there is a high likelihood that it will be made permanent.
Prince Protected by Paisley Park
Like many great artists, Prince's unreleased works are being compiled and prepared for release by the late artist's estate. However, as is common, individuals who had a connection with the deceased artist sometimes try to capitalize on the increased attention surrounding an artist when they die. Unfortunately for the sound engineer trying to release the posthumous album, a confidentiality agreement and contract was signed that specifically prohibited him from doing what he was trying to do.
When Paisley Park learned of the surprise album dropping on the one year anniversary, they filed for an emergency temporary injunction to block the release. Upon reviewing the lawsuit, and motion, the court approved the temporary injunction, and ordered the sound engineer to not release the album and turn over all recordings of Prince to Paisley Park.
Copyrights and Death
When the holder of a copyright dies, the rights do not just die with the holder. Like other property interests, copyrights can be transferred both in life and in death. Even though Prince has died, his company and estate still have the rights to his music, and can still enforce those rights against others. For several decades after a creator's death, a copyright can still be held valid. Depending on when the work was created, the amount of time a copyright will be a valid will vary.