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Music copyright battle over Prince's unpublished songs

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When Prince died suddenly last year, he left behind a number of unpublished songs. Just days before the one-year anniversary of the famous musician's death, his former sound engineer and mixer, George Ian Boxill, released six songs.

Within days, a court in Prince's home state of Minnesota ordered Boxill to unpublish the songs at the request of Prince's estate. A temporary injunction stopped the release of the songs with the exception of the 'Deliverance' single, which is still available for downloading. Boxill claims that he and Prince jointly owned the songs while the estate claims that Prince had sole and exclusive rights to them.

On May 3, the parties went back to court to rehash the issues surrounding the temporary restraining order. If Prince's estate wishes to continue to block Boxill from publishing the remaining Deliverance EP songs, it must pay a $1 million bond by May 12.

Copyrights for musical compositions

Many do-it-yourself websites make copyright law look easy. Follow a few steps, check off a few boxes and pay a little money and suddenly, your music is protected. However, it really isn't that easy.

For example, there is a difference between sound recordings and performing arts. Certain aspects of your composition may not be protected, such as short lyric phrases, chord progressions or concepts. Additionally, while exclusive rights to perform, duplicate and transmit may be included with your copyright registration, the protection does not last forever.

If you wish to truly protect your work, ask an experienced entertainment law attorney about your options. Contact the law firm of Myers Berstein LLP for more information.

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