MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – The sound engineer who was blocked from releasing five unheard Prince songs will remain barred from doing so until his dispute with the late pop singer’s estate has been fully resolved, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Paisley Park Enterprises and Comerica Bank & Trust, representative of Prince’s estate, were granted a preliminary injunction banning Prince’s former sound engineer George Ian Boxill from publishing any unreleased recordings by the late pop star. Paisley Park Enterprises is a corporation that Prince owned, which is now run by his estate.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright granted the injunction, stating that a confidentiality agreement Boxill executed back in March 2004 requires his work to remain with Prince’s estate.
The preliminary injunction comes a month after Judge Wright issued a temporary restraining order blocking Boxill from releasing the “Deliverance” EP, two days before it was set to be sold on iTunes, Amazon Music and Google Play.
In early 2004, Boxill assisted in selecting and testing recording equipment at Prince’s Paisley Park residence, according to Monday’s 26-page order, and he began recording with the musician later that year.
During this time, Boxill signed a confidentiality agreement stating that recordings from Boxill’s work with Prince “shall remain Paisley’s sole and exclusive property, shall not be used by [Boxill] in any way whatsoever, and shall be returned to Paisley immediately upon request,” court records show.
After Prince’s death last year, Boxill mixed and edited five recorded songs he had worked on with the late pop singer, including “Deliverance,” “No One Else,” “I Am,” “Touch Me,” and “Sunrise Sunset.”
According to Judge Wright’s order, Boxill tried to negotiate with Prince’s estate to release the songs but was unable to reach an agreement.
Paisley Park Enterprises and Comerica Bank filed a lawsuit against Boxill last month after learning that he was planning to release the “Deliverance” EP on his own. The six-song EP would have included the five songs Boxill worked on plus an extended version of “I Am.”
On April 19, Wright held a hearing and issued a temporary restraining order the same day halting the EP’s release.
In Monday’s order, the judge enjoined Boxill and two other defendants – Rogue Music Alliance LLC and Deliverance LLC – from publishing or disseminating any unreleased recordings that comprise the work of Prince.
Wright also blocked Boxill from using the “Prince” trademark in connection with the promotion and sale of “Deliverance.”
“On balance, the [relevant] factors weigh in favor of granting plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. However, the scope of a preliminary injunction should not be greater than necessary to protect the movant until the dispute can be resolved on the merits,” the order states.
The judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent alleged irreparable harm as to Paisley Park Enterprises and Comerica’s claims of trade secrets misappropriation and copyright infringement, finding they did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on those claims.
Prince died of an accidental painkiller overdose in April 2016 and left no will.