Jemal Countess / Getty Images file
One of Courtney Love’s primary bartering points in Nirvana-related debacles may be gone, as she has reportedly lost control over late husband Kurt Cobain’s image rights.
According to The Fix, Love’s 19-year-old daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, has obtained control over the publicity rights for Kurt’s name, likeness and appearance, an arrangement that may have resulted from Love’s ongoing financial woes.
Documents acquired by The Fix show that "Love agreed to step down as acting manager of End of Music LLC — the business entity responsible for generating cash from Cobain’s publicity rights — once she’d received a $2.75 million loan from Frances’ trust fund in 2010." Frances also has the final word in business agreements, though Love remains a company member.
The loan was transferred to Love in December of that year, and, until she pays it back, Frances and her advisers are in charge of the considerably valuable assets. Jonathan Faber, a lawyer who once represented Kurt’s estate, told The Fix, “Publicity rights are potentially worth a fortune…They amount to the intellectual property rights."
The Hole singer hasn’t shied away from asserting her influence over the entitlement either. In 2009, she threatened to sue Activision for their depiction of Kurt in Guitar Hero 5, which Love found to be "vile."
"We are going to sue the s*** out of Activision," Love told U.K.’s The Guardian. "‘We' being the Trust, the Estate, the LLC, the various LLCs, Cobain Enterprises … For the record, this Guitar Hero s*** is breach of contract on a bully’s part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction."
This was before she and Frances had it out, however, and Love was pushed to the periphery. Frances filed a restraining order against her mother in 2009, citing that Love killed her cat and was ceaselessly using drugs, often falling "asleep in her bed while she is smoking." Love lost custody of Frances that year, and the 17-year-old moved in with her grandmother. In 2010, Love was removed from Frances’ trust fund, though reportedly arbitration continues over a stash of Kurt’s belonging, including paintings, musical equipment and pajamas, which, as it stands, Frances owns a 40 percent share of and Courtney has around 60 percent.
Sentimentality doesn’t seem to matter much to Love though, as The Fix reported in February that the singer was planning to auction the estate for as much $100 million. She previously sold off a large stake in the Nirvana frontman’s music publishing, signing away 25 percent of the work for a reported $50 million in 2006.
And where more gripping legal matters end, Love and her daughter have extended their feud through Twitter. After Love tweeted accusations that Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was “hitting on” Frances in April, also commenting he was “sexually obsessed with Kurt,” Frances responded by saying, "Twitter should ban my mother."
She additionally told E! News, "While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way. I'm in a monogamous relationship and very happy."
Appropriately, Love responded via Twitter. "Bean, sorry I believed the gossip.. Mommy loves you."