Legal Battle Over Prince’s Cloud Guitar is Over

The man who created the Cloud Guitar seen in Purple Rain says he’s reached an agreement with Prince’s estate to continue building replicas.

The pair knew each other long before Prince found fame, with Dave Rusan having tried out for one of Prince’s early bands. That didn’t work out but they remained friends, and Rusan wound up being commissioned to create a unique instrument for the 1984 movie.

Rusan crafted four more versions of the Cloud Guitar until Prince’s death in 2016, when he began offering replicas for $8,000, and went on to trademark his design. That led to a lawsuit from Paisley Park, with the demand that he surrender the trademark, seemingly associated with the estate’s offering of their own version of the Cloud for $1,750.

Rusan now says the issue has been settled. “I feel very relieved; I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted,” he tells 5 Eyewitness News in St. Paul, Minn. “It doesn’t feel good to have someone try to tell you what you can do and can’t do.”

Watch Prince Playing the Cloud Guitar in ‘Purple Rain’

Their arrangement is confidential, but Rusan added: “All I can say is it was amicable. I’m very glad we can come together and both move on.”

He says “I think I honor Prince’s memory by doing it. It seemed like I should continue the fight, because it seemed like it was right that I should be doing it.” Responding to the suggestion it had been a “David vs. Goliath” battle with Prince’s estate, Rusan pointed out: “I got the right name for it!”

This new deal suggests progress in planning for the future of Prince’s legacy, after the various stakeholders in his estate finally settled their differences with own legal agreement last month.

“I want nothing from them other than to be left alone to make my guitars for appreciative fans of Prince and the guitar I made him to play in Purple Rain,” Rusan told Guitar World in 2019.

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