Earlier Tuesday Prince’s estate – Paisley Park Enterprises – filed a federal lawsuit against Deliverance EP co-producer Ian Boxill for releasing the project to music streaming services without their permission. The lawsuit alleges that Boxill is packaging Deliverance along with five other unpublished recordings featuring Prince without their authorization.
The estate has confirmed the authenticity of the tracks, however, they claim Boxill is violating the terms of his recording agreement with Prince. Deliverance was scheduled to be released on April 21, the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death.
In a statement given to Rolling Stone, the state explained why they decided to take legal action. Initially, Boxill planned on releasing the EP with Rogue Music Alliance (RMA), which promised to give “the majority” of the sales to the Prince estate.
“The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is aware that Mr. George Ian Boxill, in conjunction with Rogue Music Alliance, has issued a press release announcing an intent to distribute previously unreleased Prince master recordings and musical compositions,” the estate said, adding that the release was “not authorized.”
“During his unparalleled career, Prince worked with many sound engineers, including Mr. Boxill,” the statement continued. “Like the other engineers that had the opportunity to work with Prince, Mr. Boxill signed an agreement, under which he agreed (1) all recordings that he worked on with Prince would remain Prince’s sole and exclusive property; (2) he would not use any recordings or property in any way whatsoever; and (3) he would return any such recordings or property to Prince immediately upon request. Mr. Boxill did not comply with his agreement. Instead, Mr. Boxill maintained copies of certain tracks, waited until after Prince’s tragic death, and is now attempting to release tracks without the authorization of the Estate and in violation of the agreement and applicable law.”
The songs on the Deliverance EP were previously unreleased Prince tracks stemming back from a 2006 studio session between Prince and Boxill. However, the tracks were not engineered and mastered until after Prince’s death. In a statement, Boxill gave his explanation as to why he avoided major labels upon releasing the EP.
“Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that’s what Prince would have wanted,” Boxill said.
According to Minneapolis’ KSTP, the estate is also demanding that Boxill returns “any and all masters, copies and reproductions” back to the estate of Prince .
“The Estate is taking immediate legal actions to prevent Mr. Boxill’s continuing violations of his agreement and the rights of the Estate and its partners in Prince’s recordings,” the estate added. “Any dissemination of the recordings and underlying music compositions, or fixation of the same in any audiovisual work or otherwise, is unauthorized and in violation of the Estate’s rights to the master recordings and musical compositions.”
According to court documents obtained by TMZ earlier today, Prince’s estate’s has been granted a restraining order – meaning the EP will not be released on Friday, the anniversary of Prince’s death. A court determined that Boxill does not have the right to distribute the music to the public on his own. Boxill was also ordered to turn over all of the recordings to the estate. The restraining order will end on May 3, unless the seek to extend it.
On Wednesday iTunes pulled the pre-order down from their site. However, according to TMZ the album had already been pre-ordered over a million times by fans. The judge did not make a decision on what to do with all the pre-orders or when the EP will be scheduled to drop.