A posthumous Prince album won’t be released Friday on the first anniversary of the singer’s death as previously announced following a Wednesday evening ruling in Minnesota federal court.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright granted a restraining order late Wednesday barring Prince’s former sound engineer, George Ian Boxill, from distributing any of the late musician’s unreleased recordings, consequently canceling his plans to put out a six-song EP later this week, “Deliverance.”
Mr. Boxill worked with Prince over a decade ago and had planned to release the fruits of their labor on the first anniversary of the musician’s passing. Prince’s estate pushed back, however, and accused him of exploiting the late artist in a court filing last month.
“Mr. Boxill is threatening to exploit the personal interests of a deceased person that do not belong to him,” attorneys for Paisley Park Enterprises and the Prince estate argued last month. “If Mr. Boxill publishes sound recordings Prince made before he died without authorization, it deprives Prince (and now the Estate) from choosing what is released to the public and when.”
Judge Wright heard arguments from both sides Wednesday and issued an order afterwards barring Mr. Boxill for now from releasing the recordings on account of the irreparable harm it’d likely pose to the plaintiffs.
The judge also ordered the engineer to surrender digital and analog copies of the recordings to the Prince estate in accordance with a non-disclosure agreement he reportedly signed prior to their collaboration.
“Deliverance,” the album’s title track, had already been made digitally available by Apple prior to Wednesday evening’s ruling, but the company has since pulled the track from its online Music and iTunes platforms.
“The toothpaste is out of the tube, and we’re not at all happy about that,” Lora Friedemann, an attorney for Prince’s estate, said at Wednesday evening’s hearing, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
“The music is unique. We can’t release something else … It’s absolutely taken that opportunity away from us in a way that we will never be able to quantify.”
The temporary restraining order is slated to expire on May 3 unless otherwise extended. Attorneys for the engineer have until this Friday to file a response.
Prince died last April at from an accidental fentanyl overdose at his home in Minnesota. He was 57.
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