Features

Minnesota Lawmakers Have Introduced the 'Prince Act'

The Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act, or PRINCE Act, aims to protect an individual's image and likeness after death.
10 May 2016, 8:30am

Image via Wikimedia Commons

An 11th hour piece of legislation prompted by Prince's untimely death on April 21 was introduced today in the Minnesota state legislature. The Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act, or PRINCE Act (we see what they did there), aims to protect multiple aspects of an individual postmortem, including name, image, voice, and signature.

The bill, if enacted, would grant extended publicity control to heirs of Prince's estate and limit outide use of his name and likeness in commercial pursuits. Rep. Joe Hoppe, who introduced the PRINCE Act, called it an attempt "to recognize the right of publicity postmortem." Though the bill's supporters cite the artist's death as direct inspiration for the proposal, its protections would apply to all Minnesotans, not just celebrities, and apply for 50 years following an individual's death. It would also apply retroactively to those who died before its signing.

If the bill passes, Minnesota would join 17 other states that have laws guaranteeing publicity control rights after death, according to MPR. With just two weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are rushing to get the bill signed into law, and it has thus far received bipartisan support and the endorsement of the trust of Prince's estate. Given the massive outpouring of tributes and memorials in the wake of his death, the law would make a substantial immediate impact if passed.

Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota on April 21 at the age of 57. Results of toxicology tests following an autopsy are still pending, though it's been revealed that federal officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Attorney's Office have been working with the local sheriff's department in the investigation surrounding the late singer's death. It was also recently reported that Prince was set to meet with an opioid addiction specialist the day after his death.

Andrea Domanick is the West Coast Editor of Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.

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