Prince is about to lose the few diehard fans he has left–me included. On the one hand, he has been such a renegade for artists working independent of record labels, retaining all your master recordings, and getting music to fans in as many ways as possible, even if it is for free.
But lately, His Royal Badness has become His Royal Pain-in-the-Ass.
Earlier this fall, his lawyers turned on Youtube, Ebay and PirateBay to halt all music sharing or sales of anything bearing his likeness or music. Now he has also threatened to sue his lifeblood, the fansites that link all the people who love his work to cease and desist using his images or linking to videos on Youtube and what not.
But the fans are fighting back. Three fansites (Housequake, Princefams, Prince.org) have joined forces tofight the legal battles they are all facing. They have formed Prince Fans United. The issued a press relaease which Eurweb.com published stating:
It is our opinion that these threats are not made in an attempt to enforce valid copyright as Prince alleges in his threats, rather we believe they are attempts to stifle all critical commentary about Prince. We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of the freedom of speech and should not be allowed. Prince claims that fansites are not allowed to present any artwork with Prince’s likeness, to the extreme that he has demanded removal of fan’s own photographs of their Prince inspired tattoos and their vehicles displaying Prince inspired license plates.
Prince’s representatives have requested that the fansites provide them with “substantive details of the means by which you [the fansites] propose to compensate our clients [Paisley Park Enterprises, NPG Records and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)] for damages…”
Prince needs to face the music. With album sales not breaking the platinum mark, he shouldn’t sue your fans. Also, I can understand not wanting people to sell products on eBay, bootleg items, or illegally download music. But Youtube videos? And your fan sites? Those do more good than harm. Would Prince be willing to lose those fan sites in order to prove a point about artist control?