Let’s Go Crazy: Legal Battle Heats Up Over Unreleased Prince Recordings

April 24, 2017
Post by Nicholas J. Krob

On the anniversary of Prince’s death, a battle is being waged over the late musician’s work.

Last week, Prince’s estate sued a sound engineer who was planning to release a six-song EP containing previously unreleased Prince recordings.  The estate alleged that this engineer, George Ian Boxill, was in unlawful possession of the recordings and did not have authorization to release them or to use Prince’s name and likeness.  Accordingly, the estate sought a temporary restraining order to block the release of these recordings.

The recordings at issues were made by Prince and Boxill in 2006.  Notably, Prince’s estate claims that Boxill had signed an agreement acknowledging that Prince alone owned the recordings and Boxill could not retain or in any way use the recordings. 

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Prince’s home state of Minnesota issued a temporary restraining order preventing Boxill from publishing or otherwise disseminating any unreleased Prince recordings.  Furthermore, the court ordered that Boxill deliver all recordings acquired through his work with Prince to Prince’s estate.

The court’s ruling is one that could be the first of many, as it is merely a temporary restraining order—essentially an emergency ruling made in light of a time-sensitive matter.  Such a ruling was necessary in this case, as the music at issue was set to be released on the anniversary of Prince’s April 21, 2016 death—well before a preliminary injunction hearing could have occurred.  Yet as a form of emergency intervention, the temporary restraining order is purposefully abbreviated, expiring on May 4.

It is likely that Prince’s estate will file a motion for a preliminary injunction—a more permanent remedy to protect the dissemination of the recordings as the parties progress to, and possibly through, trial. 

Not only does Prince’s estate believe such protection is necessary to protect the rights in the late musician’s work, but it also alleges an unauthorized release such as this could jeopardize the estate’s contractual relationship with Universal Music Group, who has been given exclusive publishing rights in any unreleased Prince music.  Conversely, Boxill claims he is merely doing what he can to follow Prince’s expressed desire to “bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public.”

Whether the music will ever actually make it to the public, however, remains to be seen.

Post Categories

Comments (0)
Post a Comment

Captcha Image
Return to the Filewrapper Blog

Search Posts


The attorneys of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. designed this blog as an informational and educational resource about intellectual property law for our clients, other attorneys, and the public as a whole. Our goal is to provide cutting-edge information about recent developments in intellectual property law, including relevant case law updates, proposed legislation, and intellectual property law in the news.


McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. provides this blog for general informational purposes only. By using this blog, you agree that the information on this blog does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created between you and McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. Do not consider this blog to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified, licensed attorney. While we try to revise this blog on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. We consciously refrain from expressing opinions on this blog and instead, offer it as a form of information and education, however if there appears an expression of opinion, realize that those views are indicative of the individual and not of the firm as a whole.

Connect with MVS

Enter your name and email address to recieve the latest news and updates from us and our attorneys.

Subscribe to: MVS Newsletter

Subscribe to: Filewrapper® Blog Updates

  I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C.