#irespectmusic: Right of Publicity “Prince Act” Sidelined

A bill was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature by State Representative Joe Hoppe that would recognize the right of publicity in a person’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness and prohibiting uses not authorized by the artist or their heirs, and, of course, providing civil remedies.  (Rep. Hoppe’s district includes Paisley Park.)

Called the “Prince Act”, the legislation was designed to protect the illegal copies of everything Prince that have already clogged the marketplace to put cash in the pockets of macabre profiteers (and no doubt online ad networks, too).  It would also bring Minnesota into the group of 17 states that provide a right of publicity.

It’s worth noting that the patchwork of state law right of publicity statutes was used by the United States as evidence of compliance with the moral rights requirements of the Berne Convention.  So aside from the complete moral bankruptcy of opposing laws that would give Prince’s legacy the protection it deserves, failing to do so may actually have legal consequences.

Evidence of just how profitable scamming on Prince’s death has itself become evident as this right-thinking bill to give Prince in death the protection of the law that abandoned him during his lifetime is apparently being opposed by unnamed forces on First Amendment grounds and by unnamed forces with concerns about “unintended consequences”.  Good thing unnamed forces are concerned about those unintended consequences with the DMCA notice and shakedown, right?

Those who have been on the receiving end of Silicon Valley attacks to protect piracy and counterfeit goods on “free speech” grounds will recognize this modus operandi–particularly the unnamed sources part.  Next thing you know, they will be saying that stopping a counterfeit t-shirt is censorship.

That’s right.  The Devil’s Greatest Trick.

Read about it on Billboard, Radio, and MPR News.