New accusations emerged Friday as a former Prince sound engineer continued his fight to release five unpublished recordings by the late artist.
George Boxill and Paisley Park Enterprises, acting on behalf of Prince's estate, have attempted to work out a compromise since April when Boxill tried to sell the songs online through iTunes. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright quickly ordered a temporary injunction to suspend sales of the songs, which were recorded more than a decade ago.
The judge also required Paisley Park to post a $1 million bond for any damages Boxill might suffer because of the injunction, should he be able to overcome it. He had 30,000 CDs of the five songs ready for distribution before Wright's ruling.
The song "Deliverance" was available online for two days. Prince — who died more than a year ago in his home from an accidental overdose of painkillers — sings and plays guitar and keyboards on the songs.
On Friday, Wright heard Boxill's motions to dismiss Paisley Park's lawsuit seeking to stop the distribution of the songs and find Boxill in contempt for refusing to turn over the master recording.
Chris Brown, one of Boxill's attorneys, had a copyright agreement to keep the songs in his possession, despite Paisley Park's legal attempts to cancel it. He said Boxill didn't infringe on Prince's trademark symbol when he promoted the release of the songs.
Lora Friedemann, representing Paisley Park, said displaying the symbol would appear to buyers that the artist's estate had approved of the songs' release. She added that Boxill hadn't returned the master file of the songs until a week ago, which is when she filed her contempt motion. She claimed she still wasn't sure he had returned all existing copies of the songs.
Boxill attorney Anthony Zeuli said that his client went to extraordinary measures to stop distribution of the songs after the injunction and turn them over to the estate. He objected to Paisley Park's demand that he pay $5,000 for each day he was in contempt.
The 90-minute hearing ended with Wright taking the arguments under advisement. Unlike the last hearing, no Prince heirs appeared in the courtroom.