How Prince's estate will manage to pay its hefty estate tax bill has been a source of much speculation. It was assumed that one way to do so would be to sell the rights to Prince's unreleased recordings. Rapper Jay Z had offered a reported $40 million for those rights. However, the estate turned that offer down and it has come up with a possibly different answer.
It can raise money by suing Jay Z, as it hinted it might do in a statement made after rejecting Jay Z's offer.
Through Prince's record label a lawsuit has been filed against Jay Z's company Roc Nation, according to TMZ in "Prince to Jay Z No Free Rides in My Little Red Corvette ... Record Label Sues."
The lawsuit alleges that prior to his death, Prince had negotiated a deal with Jay Z to allow Jay Z to stream Prince's last album on the Tidal service, which Jay Z owns through Roc Nation. However, instead of just streaming that album, Jay Z assumed that he had permission to stream all of Prince's music and in June of this year began streaming all of Prince's best-known songs.
The lawsuit does not state the amount of damages that the record label is seeking, but it is likely to be extremely high given the popularity of Prince's music.
This is a case that both copyright attorneys and estate planning attorneys will keep a close eye on. The latter will be interested to learn if it sheds some light on how Prince's estate plans to pay estate taxes.
Reference: TMZ (Nov. 15, 2016) "Prince to Jay Z No Free Rides in My Little Red Corvette ... Record Label Sues."