Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Prince fought to protect his copyrighted material

To the world, Prince is probably best known for his "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy." But as much as the world loved his music, Prince wasn't in love with freely sharing his music with the world. 

From when the musician began his career to now, it is a different world of digital sharing. The speed and ease with which people can share and upload creative content complicates copyright matters. When the singer was alive, he was reportedly aggressive in fighting copyright infringement.

But what about now that he is gone?

The Wall Street Journal notes how those who worked for Prince, including some from his family, worked to ensure the protection of the artist's creative property while he was alive. Specifically, they would surf YouTube and make sure that Prince's music was not used or shared in online videos unethically -- according to the artist's reportedly strict standards. 

Clearly, Prince valued the work and dedication he put into his music and felt this digital age tends to undermine the value of intellectual property. He and those who worked for him in protecting his copyrighted music would regularly issue takedown notices to YouTube in order for unauthorized music to be deleted from the site. 

That control over his creative works makes it all the more surprising that, according to sources, Prince didn't leave behind an estate plan. Now, not only will state laws dictate what happens to the late singer's material assets, but laws -- not Prince's wishes -- will dictate how is intellectual property is handled. 

No one will ever know if Prince wishes he would have stated in his will how to manage his IP. His zealous protection of his music and image while he was alive, however, can serve as a reminder to any artist or entrepreneur that one can exercise legal power in protecting their ideas and creations. 

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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