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Streaming rights at heart of latest Prince estate legal battles

The Bremer Trust, which is the temporary administrator of Prince's estate, has been dealing with a number of legal battles lately. It's facing allegations from potential Prince heirs that experts botched the job of handling a tribute concert last year, and it's also dealing with an ongoing battle regarding streaming rights to Prince's music.

According to Bremer Trust, streaming firm Tidal doesn't have access to stream all of Prince's catalog. Based on contracts, says Bremer, Tidal only has rights to the penultimate album from the artist. Tidal doesn't agree, though. The company, along with Roc Nation, says that there were other written and oral agreements between the streaming services and Prince.

In new filings, Roc Nation is claiming to have had a distribution agreement with Prince based on four albums. Roc Nation claims that it contacted Bremer early on about these agreements, but there seems to be an ongoing dispute about what agreements were actually in place and how streaming and distribution will proceed at this time. Billboard reports indicate that the probate judge isn't forcing Bremer to comply with the so-called Roc Nation agreements at this time.

The cross suits obviously haven't worked their way to a final conclusion, and it will be interesting from a legal perspective to see how this plays out for the state. Meanwhile, the lawsuits are a good look at what can happen if the right documentation isn't left behind.

Granted, the Prince estate includes considerations most people won't be dealing with, but without a will or any other estate planning, the going has been rough. It's been a year, and heirs aren't even finalized and no one really knows what Prince had planned for his creative assets. You can avoid such problems with your own estate by working with a lawyer now on will and estate planning. If you're already dealing with estate administration matters, a legal professional can help you minimize litigation or other legal issues as you move forward.

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