Prince's Estate Sues Jay-Z, Asks: 'When Will We B Paid?'

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 18, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Jiggaman may be wondering what is going on after getting sued by the now deceased artist known as Prince. This week, Prince's companies filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Jay-Z's company Roc Nation, for allegedly streaming Prince's music on the Tidal streaming service without permission.

While Prince's companies concede that Tidal has authorization to stream one of Prince's albums, the suit is focused on the streaming of several songs not on the one album, as well as the unauthorized use of Prince's images. Perhaps the Roc Nation thought they'd be able to get away with a little copyright infringement after Prince's death this past April, or perhaps there's more to it.

Jay-Z Wants to Own Prince's Music Catalog

Before this suit was filed, last week, Tidal filed a petition with the court regarding their alleged claim to Prince's music catalog. Prior to Prince's death, Jay-Z claims that he struck a deal with artist to have the exclusive rights to stream not just the newest albums, but the artists entire catalog, including videos and images.

Because Prince died unmarried, childless, and without a will, his estate has been heavily contested. In addition to Tidal claiming rights to part of the catalog, there have been numerous scammers coming out of the woodwork claiming to be Prince's long lost child. It appears that Universal Music and Roc Nation/Tidal will be battling over who has superior rights.

Prince Demands Payment

During Prince's lifetime, it was well known that he aggressively sought to remove his music from videos on YouTube, or from any other streaming service. In the copyright infringement suit, Prince's companies are seeking damages for the violations of copyright law, as well as an order from the court directing Tidal to stop streaming Prince's music that they are not authorized to stream.

However, prior to Prince's death, it did appear that he was opening up to allowing his music to be streamed on the internet. On top of the deal he made with Tidal, he also released a track on Spotify.

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