By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) - The record label for Prince has sued rap star Jay Z's entertainment company for copyright infringement, saying it illegally offered the late musician's songs on its music streaming service, according to court records.
The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Minnesota on Tuesday by NPG Records, claims Jay Z's Roc Nation illegally offered such Prince hits as "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and "1999" on its subscription-based streaming service, Tidal.
"Roc Nation, through its Tidal service, is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works," according to the lawsuit.
While Tidal was authorized to offer some Prince songs to its customers, the service expanded the number around the time of the musician's death on June 7 without approval from the Prince estate trust, it claims.
Roc Nation was not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit, which seeks undisclosed damages.
A musical innovator, Prince notably blended elements of jazz, funk, R&B, disco and rock in a prolific career of more than 30 albums that have sold over 36 million copies in the United States alone since 1978. His hits included "Purple Rain," "When Doves Cry," and "Little Red Corvette."
He was also known as fiercely determined to maintain creative control over his music, famously changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol for several years during a bitter contract battle with Warner Bros.
Prince died from an accidental, self-administered overdose of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, medical officials said in June.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Alan Crosby)