Photographer Mentored by Prince Sues the Late Singer's Estate for Copyright Infringement, Unauthorized Image Usage

Photographer Mentored by Prince Sues the Late Singer's Estate for Copyright Infringement, Unauthorized Image Usage

A photographer has filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the late Prince’s estate. After working with the musician for the last few years of his life, she believes those associated with his estate have been exploiting her work without the correct license.

Madison Dube filed the claim last week against the estate and “associated companies.” The lawsuit details how Prince discovered the photographer’s work back in 2013, with the pair striking up a friendship. Prince became a mentor to Dube in that time, hiring her on a freelance basis on many occasions for photography, videography, graphic design, and other creative work.

Interestingly, the lawsuit specifies that Dube never signed away the rights to work, as Prince was adamant all artists should retain the right to their own artistry. The problem lies in that his estate, Dube claims, has continued to use images she took in various capacities, not least of which was in advertising, and on merchandise. She claims she was not consulted about any such usage and has proof the team was aware it was her work, usually credited the usages to her, and in some cases, even reached out to negotiate before they went ahead and used the images.

The lawsuit continues:

Ms Dube now brings this action to assert her rights guaranteed under the Copyright Act, and to preserve the integrity of her work, currently being commercialized by defendants and used for mass-marketing, mass-produced sales and advertising, without her consent and contrary to the intent behind the creation of those works.

The photographer is seeking an injunction in order to stop any future use of her images and seeks damages for all past uses, too.

Lead image: "Prince NSJ" by PeterTea, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 .

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5 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

Fair enough....and I liked Prince' attitude towards this kind of thing. Legend during his time.

EL PIC's picture

Only in America ... Sue the Deads Estate ..

Reginald Walton's picture

She's actually suing the estate, not him.

Tony Clark's picture

I take it Prince’s family doesn’t have the same respect for Intellectual Property as he did and are trying to generate revenue for themselves. I hope that she has paperwork and emails to demonstrate their business arrangements plus certificates from LOC so she can negotiate from a position of power. If so, I imagine the family will want to settle this quietly.

Tom Lew's picture

Still think of Dave Chappelle's version of Prince before the real Prince every time.