An e-mail from Prince providing a free download to singer Judith Hill’s debut album Back in Time via Live Nation’s mailing list resulted in a lawsuit being filed against him by Jolene Cherry, a producer for Ms. Hill.

The producer claimed in her suit that Hill was under contract with her, but took the music they had been working on together and instead worked with Prince, who gave away the music at no charge. In her lawsuit, Ms. Cherry wrote: “Judith Hill’s first album—Back in Time—is now out, but rather than cheering along with her, the people who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop her career and album and worked to position Hill for her first release….are siting dumfounded on the sidelines while Prince gives away their investment for free.”

Before Cherry filed her lawsuit in California, Peter Haviland, attorney for Ms. Hill, filed a lawsuit in New York that claimed “Judith is an independent artist, not bound by contract to anyone.” Her suit also notes that Sony Music—which is suing neither Prince nor Hill despite advising Prince to not release her album—has relinquished their interest in a joint enterprise they previously had with Cherry.

“Judith Hill was and is absolutely free to perform her music as she has done,” Mr. Haviland said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “It’s a shame that Prince has been dragged into this insanity, but Judith Hill will not be deterred from performing her music by the likes of some Jolene Cherry.”

Related Practice

Intellectual Property Litigation