Engineer George Ian Boxill and his business partners have been ordered by a Minnesota judge to pay nearly $4 million to the estate of Prince, nearly two years after they attempted to release Deliverance, a six-song EP of previously unreleased songs that Boxill and the late artist collaborated on.
Boxill worked with Prince from 2004 to 2008, recording much of the artist’s 2006 album, 3121, and 2007’s Planet Earth. Tracks on the Deliverance EP were initially recorded between 2006 and 2008, though Boxill later completed them on his own in 2016 and 2017. The result was five new songs, which included titles like ‘Sunrise Sunset’ and ‘Touch Me,’ and an additional extended mix of one track, all of which listed Boxill as a co-writer and co-producer on the EP’s credits.
Within days of Boxill’s business partner, Rogue Music Alliance, announcing it would release the EP on streaming services like iTunes in April, 2017, Paisley Park and Prince’s estate gained a restraining order preventing the release. Nonetheless, fans who pre-ordered the EP received the title track as an instant download. Also named in the case with Boxill and Rogue Music Alliance were David Staley and Gabriel Solomon Wilson.
At the initial time of recording, Boxill signed a confidentiality agreement that stated all tracks they worked on together would remain Prince’s sole and exclusive property. In the initial 2017 court proceedings, however, Boxill’s lawyer argued that his client owned 10 percent of the songs and that the confidentiality agreement was never signed by Prince or Paisley Park, rendering it invalid.
The case eventually went into arbitration, and ultimately the arbitrator disagreed, declaring in August, 2018 that the agreement was binding, ordering that Boxill and his partners pay $3,960,000—$3 million for the contract violation and $960,000 for costs—to Prince’s estate and additionally return all his Prince-related materials to the estate as well. In turn, the engineer attempted to get the decision vacated, stating that the arbitrator had ignored copyright law, but the new court ruling has confirmed the arbitration judgement.
Prince’s estate is still suing Boxill and his partners for copyright and trademark infringement.