The PRINCE Act Could Legally Protect the Legacy of the Late Icon & Many Others

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The April 21 loss of an icon as influential as Prince continues to elicit pangs of sadness throughout the music industry and beyond. The seven-time Grammy Award winner has left behind a legacy so grand, the contributions it makes will no doubt be heard and felt for generations to come. In addition to the 39 studio albums released throughout his prolific career, there exists a body of work so vast that those now controlling his estate are tasked with the difficult job of navigating the way it is shared with the world – and that’s saying nothing of all of the unheard Prince material that reportedly exists. As with the passing of any pop-culture giant, Prince’s likeness, his music, voice, and even his signature become potentially highly valuable aspects of his legacy. In this particular case, Prince’s gift to culture is so monumental that even government legislatures are stepping in to handle the protection of his assets.

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In his home state of Minnesota, a proposition has been put forth within its Senate and House of Representatives to delegate certain controls of Prince’s estate. The Personal Rights in Name Can Endure Act (PRINCE) would “extended publicity control to the musician’s estate, limiting outside use of his name and likeness in commercial pursuits,” as reported by Billboard. Introduced yesterday (May 9), the PRINCE Act will likely be voted on within a two-week window as the state legislature prepares to wrap up its current session. If passed, this bill would not only apply to Prince’s estate but also those of other citizens of the state. As Chris Payne reports, “Supporters of the bill admitted it was directly inspired by Prince’s death, although it would apply to all Minnesotans – not just celebrities.” If signed into law, Minnesotans will have their images, names, signatures, and voices legally protected for 50 years after death, and the bill would also apply to those who passed away prior to its introduction.

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Prince made it no secret that he valued tremendously the protection of his works, and he became notorious for preventing streaming services like YouTube from publishing his work without his permission. Though his death was a tremendous tragedy, some fans may find solace in knowing that the musician’s steadfast dedication to his own legacy may now mean the protection of countless others who otherwise would likely never be afforded the same attention.