Morris Day says Prince’s estate no longer allows him to use “Morris Day & the Time” as a band name.
Day, a local music legend who was a childhood friend of Prince, has sung in Time since Prince formed the band in 1981, appearing with the band in the film. purple rain and performing as Morris Day & the Time at Prince’s posthumous Celebration festival in 2017.
But now Day says he’s not allowed to use “time” anymore.
“Now that Prince is no longer with us, all of a sudden the people who control his multi-million dollar estate want to rewrite history by taking my name away from me, which is impacting how I feed my family. “, Day said on social media Thursday. “From now on, per the Prince estate, I can no longer use Morris Day & the Time in any capacity.”
Comerica Bank & Trust, which administers Prince’s estate, says that’s not entirely accurate, but hasn’t explained why that is.
In a statement to Bring Me The News, he said:
“Given Prince’s long history with Morris Day and what the Estate thought were friendly talks, the Prince Estate was surprised and disappointed to see his recent post. The Estate is willing to work proactively with Morris to resolve this issue. However, the information he shared is not entirely accurate.
The naming debate apparently stems from Day’s attempt to trademark the name “Morris Day & the Time,” according to a letter Prince’s estate sent to Day in December, which Billboard obtained. Lawyers for Prince’s estate cited a 1982 agreement in which Day allegedly agreed that Prince’s company would own the rights to the band’s name.
“As a result, Mr. Day has no right to use or record ‘The Time’ in any form,” the letter reads, according to Billboard. “This includes use and registration of the ‘Morris Day & the Time’ trademark.”
However, Day’s attorney, Richard B. Jefferson, told Billboard that the estate’s argument regarding rights to the group’s name was “not accurate”.
Day, in the social media post, said he dedicated 40 years of his life to building the name and legacy he and Prince came up with, noting that it was “a name that when he was alive, he had no problem with what I use.”
“I literally put my blood, sweat and tears into making that name worthwhile. the Time told me I couldn’t use the configuration name,” Day said.
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Many, including L. Londell McMillan who represents three of Prince’s siblings who have a stake in his estate, expressed their support for Day on social media. McMillan tweeted“I think it’s awful. I support Morris Day…we can’t wait to get back to the managers’ estate. Hopefully soon.”
Prince died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2016 and he had no will. This sparked a controversial and complex probate in which the court is deciding how to divide his estate, which is currently under Comerica’s control.
The legal proceedings are expected to conclude later this year, by which time control of Prince’s estate will be in the hands of two sets of legal heirs – Prince’s siblings and their advisers and Primary Wave, a group of the music industry.