07 November 2007

Prince takes a Schillings approach to fans

Prince has had a remarkable and controversial career. He has produced a number of fine albums but he has made a number of odd moves including changing his name to an unpronounceable love symbol. Not long ago he gave away a copy of his latest album free with a Sunday paper here in the UK, but if Prince giveth, Prince can also taketh away.



Prince's latest decision, however, is likely to provoke a backlash from his fans: he has threatened to sue fans for breach of copyright, His lawyers have forced his three biggest internet fan sites to remove all photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to the artist's likeness. A legal letter asks the fan sites to provide "substantive details of the means by which you propose to compensate our clients [Paisley Park Entertainment Group, NPG Records and AEG] for damages".


A coalition named Prince Fans United, representing Housequake. Princefans and Prince.org has been formed to contest the action on the basis that it was an attempt "to stifle all critical commentary about Prince". They added that the "cease and desist" notices went as far as calling for the removal of pictures taken by fans of their Prince tattoos and their vehicles carrying Prince-inspired licence plates.


"It's a really short-sighted and futile move," said Nicola Slade, editor of the industry newsletter Record of the Day. "Prince has got a lot of fans and as he's decided to take a more left field approach to releasing his material, he should be nurturing the relationship. I'm shocked, really." Alex Burmaster, an analyst at Nielsen Online, said: "It's a paradox that a musician who has done so much to bring himself closer to his fans, particularly with his 'them and us' crusade against the record labels, should be engaging in a course of action that effectively removes the raison d'etre of fan sites. “


This move follows an earlier attack on copyrighted material available on websites including YouTube and eBay. Using the services of internet company Web Sheriff about 2,000 clips have been removed from YouTube, including one posted by a mother of her baby dancing to Let's Go Crazy and Prince's. Lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have vowed to contest the claim on her behalf, saying the song is hardly audible and constitutes fair use.


A spokeswoman for the fans' campaign said the sites had always tried to work with Prince's management. But it appeared that Prince wanted to edit his past and there was "no sign" of his lawyers backing down, she said. "He's trying to control the internet 100% and you can't do that without infringing people's freedom of speech," she added.

11 comments:

Siani said...

He may have produced the occasional good tune, but I've never liked the little control freak munchkin. He's doing himself far more harm than good with such a silly move. He's basically hurting his fans - and without fans, he's stuffed. Also, I don't see how he has a legal leg to stand on in respect of pics of tattoos and car number plates.

jams o donnell said...

The you tube vid of teh baby dancing and the photos of tattoos and number plates is just plain madness. I think he needs a sense of proportion

webduck said...

I think he needs a swift kick in the pants and a frontal lobotomy. He sure must have a lot of money to waste on such a lunatic endeavor. He could send some my way....lol. Never, but never, bite the hand that feeds you Prince baby.

jams o donnell said...

It's one thing to take down copyrighted videos etc from sites but photos of tattoos or a toddler dancing to a Prince song? I think he needs a reality check

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but I think the scientific term for the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince's condition is "he is a shortass twat"

jams o donnell said...

I think you've got it right ordovicus!

Steve Bates said...

Give him what he wants. Take the fan sites down. If he has a significant rival... I don't know, as I've never cared for The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince... redirect the URLs to the rival's fan sites. And simply forget to acquire his recordings, in any form, by any means, legal as well as illegal. You don't have to boycott him; just turn him into an un-person as far as web fan sites go. See how he likes that.

(I'm sorry; I have no sympathy for such behavior. It's as bad when artists do it as when the recording industry does it.)

Bryan said...

I'll second Steve, just wipe all trace from the memory banks and give him what he apparently craves - anonymity.

There is certainly no support for the position he has taken in US law, and the US has one of the more paranoid copyright laws in the world.

He wants to be a nobody - make it so.

jams o donnell said...

Steve, Bryan. I like the idea of simply ignoring him. I will take a principled stand and never mention him again. There will be no images of him, no reference to his music, no likeness of him (not even a photo of Mimi's arse which bears more than a passing resemblance to him. I am sure you will both follow suit!

JRD168 said...

I'll even go as far as leaving the room if his music comes on, that'll teach him, shortarse!

jams o donnell said...

LOL JRD that'll show him!