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Thread started 10/16/17 10:22am

Angelsoncrack

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Interesting observation regarding visual artists who have worked for Prince

Hi everyone, I wanted to start a thread about something I found very interesting regarding visual artists who have worked for Prince.

They don't own their own work. Paisley Park owns all rights to it.

Ie: Those artists who made that work cannot re-distribute their own work through means of selling prints or similar.

I have seen various artists who have worked for Prince mention this whenever people ask them about prints.

This is coming from the man who campaigned for years tirelessly for musical artists to be the rightful owners to their own intelectual property. Yet apparently Prince thought that visual artists should not share that same right.

Naturally I can only imagine Prince offered a very handsome sum of money to these artists for them to sell up the copyrights to their own work- but still. My point stands.

I love Prince, but goddamn that's some major hipocrisy right there. I probably feel so strongly about this because I am an illustrator myself.

✿Prince and lawsuits. Still a better love-story than Twilight. ✿

@Spoookyelectric ← Follow me on Twitter!
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Reply #1 posted 10/16/17 10:33am

purplerabbitho
le

I don't think that is comparable. Artist hired by Prince are creating Prince related covers and art. Warner Brothers was not telling Prince to write songs promoting their record company. Its a bit different. If he was creating songs for the purpose of promoting Warner BRother's merits as a company than you would have a comparision between what he did for warner brothers and what the artists did for him. . FOr example, if an artist creates an emblem for a company and they decide not to use it, I imagine they still own rights to that emblem if if is not used, especially if they paid the artist upfront. Right or wrong, that is probably how it works. Art created for this purpose is not just about the artist's individual expression of him/herself. Its art to promote or collaborate another entity.

[Edited 10/16/17 10:35am]

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Reply #2 posted 10/16/17 10:47am

Angelsoncrack

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purplerabbithole said:

I don't think that is comparable. Artist hired by Prince are creating Prince related covers and art. Warner Brothers was not telling Prince to write songs promoting their record company. Its a bit different. If he was creating songs for the purpose of promoting Warner BRother's merits as a company than you would have a comparision between what he did for warner brothers and what the artists did for him. . FOr example, if an artist creates an emblem for a company and they decide not to use it, I imagine they still own rights to that emblem if if is not used, especially if they paid the artist upfront. Right or wrong, that is probably how it works. Art created for this purpose is not just about the artist's individual expression of him/herself. Its art to promote or collaborate another entity.

[Edited 10/16/17 10:35am]

It is. Art is still art. No matter if it is promoting someone else or not. If someone created something naturally they should still own it and be able to do what they wish with it. Most of the time artists only sell up intelectual rights for very vast sums of money. Generally when an artist makes something for someone else, the artist still owns it intelectually. Be it a logo, an illustration, a graphic...anything. If it was comissioned freelance they give permission to the person who comissioned it from them lease rights to using it that are specifically defined by the artist for the third party to use under those rules. If the party who is using it for branding uses it in a way that was not specified within the lease given to them by the artist, legal action is generally taken.

In your example, the artist who designed those logos may have given them the right to choose from any, including the ones that are unused but they would still own that design and it would of been agreed upon that 'the designs i provide you with are yours to use'. Otherwise they may just say 'The finalised design is yours to use on lease by me but the unused designs are not yours unless you pay a further lease fee'.

My argument is that Prince did not afford these same rights to visual artists and that its hypocritical for him to have done that, even if those artists did agree to sell up the rights for money. I'm talking on a moral basis that Prince was defying his own morale and was thus being hypocritical, and I wanted to start a discussion regarding it.

✿Prince and lawsuits. Still a better love-story than Twilight. ✿

@Spoookyelectric ← Follow me on Twitter!
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Reply #3 posted 10/16/17 11:39am

TrivialPursuit

Angelsoncrack said:

I love Prince, but goddamn that's some major hipocrisy right there. I probably feel so strongly about this because I am an illustrator myself.


Perhaps you've never worked for a professional a-list music artist, maybe you have, but it's not hypocrisy at all. It's work-for-hire. And yes, he did pay them well. He also bought the negatives from photographers or rights to photos as to stop leaks (not that it totally helped). A lot of singers fight for being autonomous but doesn't negate them having exclusive rights to the artwork they have made and put on their product. If it's everyone else it cheapens and devalues the brand and the work.

"Despite everything, no 1 can dictate who u r 2 other people." - Prince |
http://bit.ly/unboxingprince
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Reply #4 posted 10/16/17 11:40am

Germanegro

What a vexing point! I would say that Prince had to choose whether to accept the artists' standard right to ownership of their work, or request for them to opt in as "workers for hire," unlike the stance he developed against record companies farming musicians. Maybe that does look rather hypocritical, but it is an option that exists if two parties agree to the negotiation. Anyway, Prince did have some slipperyness regarding his conduct!

>

His desire for exclusive control over imagery may have been the driving force, if not pure greed to take away earning potential from the visual artists, compiling the works to manipulate at-will, and, I guess, in a less costly manner for himself, it would seem. Perhaps his potential use of the goods for both commercial and nonprofit means could have been one way for him to rationalize his choice in pursuing such agreements with artists. Some of the works could be used to help promote the charitable events he would conduct--again, not that that changes the business-end of things.

>

I wonder why the artists would submit their works to him under that condition. Maybe because of the potential noteriety they could get by producing material for a high-profile entertainer. I don't feel he was shy about promoting the artists' work. One minor trade-off could have been the noteriety of working with him, not that they couldn't have done that with their own portfolios, of course.

twocents

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Reply #5 posted 10/16/17 11:41am

jaawwnn

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These contracts were drawn up beforehand weren't they? I wouldn't be surprised if a fair few people were offered work and said no because they didn't want to sign over their rights.

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Reply #6 posted 10/16/17 11:52am

purplerabbitho
le

Exactly. Artists make this choice. Prince made the choice with WB, i Guess. But he fought the contract because of the fact that they could let others covers his recordings. Unless Prince was loaning out his visual artists works to others so they could manipulate those works and then virtually claim them as their own creation, I do not think they are entirely equivalent..

If the OP ever read about the difference between the right of the revolution (ironic word to use here) and a legal right, he/shemight think a bit differently about this scenario. These artists signed over their legal rights just as prince signed over his when he signed his WB contact. However a right of revolution (political, historial term) is different from a legal right. It basically means that you find man-made legal laws to be so unfair or not up to your moral code, that you are willing to break them and pay the consequences. None of the artists working for Prince seemed willing to evoke their right of revolution. Prince was willing to evoke that right when he was dealing with WB..and so he paid the consequences with less promotion, lower record sales and having to change his name to get around the contract. Prince understood WB's legal rights and at times respected them. He was just saying that sometimes an artist needs to break rules they don't agree with and pay the consequences to uphold their artistic integrety. Working on Prince cover work was (I imagine) NOT most artists ultimate goal so they took the money to get the experience and credit on their resume.

jaawwnn said:

These contracts were drawn up beforehand weren't they? I wouldn't be surprised if a fair few people were offered work and said no because they didn't want to sign over their rights.

[Edited 10/16/17 12:08pm]

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Reply #7 posted 10/16/17 6:25pm

Bodhitheblackd
og

In the same vein, Mayte, in her book The Most Beautiful revealed that after the demise of her marriage to Prince she found out that she was "apparently a slave to NPG" which owned ALL rights to her album, Child of the Sun. For me, it was the most disturbing revelation made in the book. The hypocracy by Prince was stunningly off the wall.

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Reply #8 posted 10/16/17 10:30pm

purplerabbitho
le

Bodhitheblackdog said:

In the same vein, Mayte, in her book The Most Beautiful revealed that after the demise of her marriage to Prince she found out that she was "apparently a slave to NPG" which owned ALL rights to her album, Child of the Sun. For me, it was the most disturbing revelation made in the book. The hypocracy by Prince was stunningly off the wall.

, hypocrisy is spelled with an I.

BTW, there is literally one song Mayte co-wrote with Prince. The rest are written by him and/orother people. ANd the songs were unreleased in any format as far as I know so he probably didn't make any profit off his work either. Laying down vocals on songs written by other people does not make you slave especially if you didn't do most of the work and no one made any money off the 'collaboration'. He should have given her some rights on that one song she co-wrote and maybe made sure she was compensated a bit for her singing. But its not like this one song would have made much money for her and most of the songs were recorded in 95 and 96 when she was an employee and later wife of a rock star. She is being hyperbolic with her slave statements.

CD LP

The compact disc version is the original issue.

  1. Children Of The Sun (4:29) 1
  2. In Your Gracious Name (5:05)
  3. If EyeBlue.png Love U 2night (4:17) 2
  4. The Rhythm Of Your ♥ (3:16)
  5. Ain't No Place Like U (4:44)
  6. House Of Brick (Brick House) (3:19) 3
  7. Love's No Fun (3:57)
  8. Baby Don't Care (5:25)
  9. However Much U Want (4:31)
  10. Mo' Better (4:55) 4
  11. If EyeBlue.png Love U 2night (Spanish) (4:17)
  12. The Most Beautiful Boy In The World (4:30)

This album has not been released in LP format.

All tracks written by Prince (as SymbolSmallerBlue.png), except where noted

1 Written by Mayte and Prince (as SymbolSmallerBlue.png)
2 Written by Prince (as Paisley Park)
3 Written by William King, Thomas McClary, Walter Orange, Lionel Richie, Milan Williams and Ronald La Pread (as Brick House)
4 Written by Prince (as SymbolSmallerBlue.png), Andrew Hopkins and E.M. Hunter

[Edited 10/16/17 22:49pm]

[Edited 10/16/17 22:55pm]

[Edited 10/16/17 23:02pm]

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Reply #9 posted 10/17/17 6:00am

databank

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Bodhitheblackdog said:

In the same vein, Mayte, in her book The Most Beautiful revealed that after the demise of her marriage to Prince she found out that she was "apparently a slave to NPG" which owned ALL rights to her album, Child of the Sun. For me, it was the most disturbing revelation made in the book. The hypocracy by Prince was stunningly off the wall.

Honestly, I find this perfectly legitimate: Child Of The Sun is for all intent and purpose a Prince album, certainly not "her" album. It was for the most part composed, arranged and produced by him with the help of a few associates that he picked, and Prince is very likely to have been the person who selected the tracklist and cover art altogether. Mayte may have had a say on the tracklist. Maybe. If I make a record and ask someone to sing the lead vocals, I won't consider it their work anymore than if I ask a drummer to play the drums. Or then John Blackwell should have been given the masters to The Rainbow Children.

.

Regarding cover art, I assume like others above that artists were grown enough to decide what they signed and free to agree or refuse, and indeed the art was a promotional tool for Prince, usually using his image on top of it. I will conceide that there is some sort of an ethical contradiction here, though, but I think the bottom line was the comemrcial use of Prince's image more than of the art itself.

.

As often, however, people tend to make good points with wrong examples. Prince certainly was not consistant with his statements regarding artistic freedom, but his contradictions (and possible hypocrisy) are to be found elsewhere.

.

One thing, which is blatantly ridiculous, is that Prince retained the rights to the masters of most Paisley Park records released after 1987. While, as said above, I find this normal for his own side projects, it makes no sense whatsoever when it comes to albums on the label he had little, or nothing to do with (and there were quite a few). Of course, there is no known case of artists reclaiming their masters from Prince, so it can always be argued that, had George Clinton or TC Ellis reclaimed their records, Prince may have obliged them. I guess we will never know but fact is that, as far as we know, Prince owned those records till the day he died (and the estate still does)...

.

Even worse, though, is the fact that, according to Jill Jones, Prince locked her in a deal she didn't want anymore: When Jill decided she wouldn't release her second album on Paisley Park, Prince apparently declined to terminate her contract, which extended to 1994 and made her incapable of signing another record deal, or release any music on any other label, for about 5 years. I'm not sure where he got his info from but Bart recently said that the same thing more or less happened to Margie Cox. This is not only as bad but worse than anything WB ever did to Prince, because WB could probably have blocked Prince from releasing any new music until 1999 or 2000, and agreed to let him go in 1996.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #10 posted 10/17/17 8:58am

purplerabbitho
le

Devils advocate—
Prince’s masters fight intensified after the shit with jill started. Bart is our only source for that other artist and no one challenged him about masters and like you said, if they had challenged him and he refused to give them up then his hypocrisy would have been ridiculous blatant. I wonder if prince ever addressed these contradictions.
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Reply #11 posted 10/17/17 11:20am

Angelsoncrack

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databank said:

Bodhitheblackdog said:

In the same vein, Mayte, in her book The Most Beautiful revealed that after the demise of her marriage to Prince she found out that she was "apparently a slave to NPG" which owned ALL rights to her album, Child of the Sun. For me, it was the most disturbing revelation made in the book. The hypocracy by Prince was stunningly off the wall.

Honestly, I find this perfectly legitimate: Child Of The Sun is for all intent and purpose a Prince album, certainly not "her" album. It was for the most part composed, arranged and produced by him with the help of a few associates that he picked, and Prince is very likely to have been the person who selected the tracklist and cover art altogether. Mayte may have had a say on the tracklist. Maybe. If I make a record and ask someone to sing the lead vocals, I won't consider it their work anymore than if I ask a drummer to play the drums. Or then John Blackwell should have been given the masters to The Rainbow Children.

.

Regarding cover art, I assume like others above that artists were grown enough to decide what they signed and free to agree or refuse, and indeed the art was a promotional tool for Prince, usually using his image on top of it. I will conceide that there is some sort of an ethical contradiction here, though, but I think the bottom line was the comemrcial use of Prince's image more than of the art itself.

I agree with your first point. Prince wrote those songs- they are his work. I think of it in a similar way artists lease their work to be used commerically. Prince 'leased' his work to be used by Mayte.

I think people were missing my point a little though- I'm fully aware the artists agreed to sell up their work. I mean hell, if Prince offered me a hefty sum to sell the copyrights of my artwork to him I probably would of. I'm talking on a moral level that he was being hypocritical here. This isn't about the artists- it's about Prince's hypocriticism. I'd disagree about the commercial use of Prince's image though. There is a certain level of artistic license that come into play here.

✿Prince and lawsuits. Still a better love-story than Twilight. ✿

@Spoookyelectric ← Follow me on Twitter!
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