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Farrer & Co | Prince in the Courts: The Legal Legacy of a Musical Icon

Given his towering genius and great eccentricity, it is no surprise that most tributes to Prince Rogers Nelson have focused on his music and his enigma – not his contribution to copyright law. Even so, such was the notoriety of his relationship with record companies and rights ownership that few obituaries failed to note his legal battles. These stemmed from a possessive approach to his back catalogue, for which it is hard to criticise him; and a sometimes heavy-handed policing of his copyright, on which point (by his own admission) he was prone to overstep. As far as maximising creative revenues goes, the jury is still out on both policies; but the industry (and its artists, agents and lawyers) will owe Prince a debt for repeatedly testing the boundaries of convention in his business practice, just as he did with his recordings.

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If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing please contact Owen O'Rorke (owen.o'rorke@farrer.co.uk;) +44 (0)20 3375 7348, or your usual contact at the firm on 020 3375 7000.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, April 2016

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