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Prince estate sues Roc Nation for "exploiting" music

Ralph Bristout

 // Nov 16, 2016

Over the summer, Jay Z's assured Prince fans that his catalog was "safe and sound" after the Purple One sided with Tidal in the middle of the streaming wars. Now, Prince's estate has filed a lawsuit against Jay Z's Roc Nation for copyright infringement, denying Tidal's claim of having exclusive streaming rights for Prince's music.

The complaint, which was reported by Star Tribune and later obtained by Pitchfork, states that Tidal was only given a 90-day period of streaming exclusivity for Prince's 2015 album HitNRun Phase 1 album. The letter of intent, dated Aug. 1, 2015, gave Tidal exclusive rights to the material for 90 days but, the complaint states that Roc Nation, through Tidal, started on June 7, 2016, "exploiting many copyrighted Prince works in addition to the works that comprise the HitNRun: Phase 1' album."

Roc Nation recently filed a petition asking the court to enforce what were "various agreements" between the company and Prince, "both oral and written." Among these "agreements," includes the exclusive streaming rights to Prince's entire catalog. The news comes after Prince's estate inked a deal with Universal Music earlier this month to become the worldwide publisher for the singer's iconic catalog.

As of this writing, Prince's catalog is still available on Tidal.

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