U.S. District Court Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright has granted a request to halt the release of a planned Prince EP titled Deliverance. With a temporary restraining order issued Wednesday after a court hearing in St. Paul, the court required sound engineer George Ian Boxill to cease dissemination of six Prince recordings created from 2006 to 2008. Boxill claims that he co-wrote all of the previously unreleased songs, and says that he has the right to release the Paisley Park recordings.
The order also requires Boxill to “deliver all of the recordings acquired through his work with Paisley Park Enterprises, including original recordings, analog and digital copies, and any derivative works” to Prince’s estate and Paisley Park, which teamed up to file suit after Boxill announced, on Tuesday, the scheduled Friday release of Deliverance. The music has already been removed from online retailers and major streaming services.
MPR News reports from yesterday’s 90-minute hearing:
Boxill’s lawyer, Tony Zeuli, told the judge that Boxill considered himself a co-creator of the music, which featured Prince playing and singing. Zeuli said that Boxill was responsible for the guitar, bass and drum tone in the music and that he had personally produced the backing vocals for the tracks. Zeuli said Boxill planned to give Prince’s estate a fair share of the proceeds.
A lawyer for Prince’s estate, Lora Friedemann, said the estate acknowledged that Boxill recorded the music. But Friedemann said the sound engineer did not create Prince’s work and had no rights to it. She said the release constituted theft, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.
“Paisley Park owns all materials Mr. Boxill created with Prince,” Friedemann told the judge. “Mr. Boxill is misappropriating those assets to the detriment of the estate and for his own personal benefit.”
The plaintiffs and defendant have until April 25 and April 28, respectively, to file their next claims for and against a temporary injunction on the distribution of the recordings; the temporary restraining order expires on May 3. Meanwhile, details have emerged on an authorized release of new Prince music: the June release of a Purple Rain Deluxe Edition, with an entire disc of unreleased tracks from the Vault.