In response to our November 7 news item (see below), Prince has released a statement refuting claims that he is suing fansites.
It was reported that a team of lawyers for the artist had ordered several fansites to remove any image that bears his likeness, prompting fans to form the group PrrinceFansUnited.com to fight the demands.
However, a statement released by the singer's promoter AEG said: "Prince is not suing his fans, is not looking to penalize fans and nor is he looking to or inhibiting freedom of speech in any way. In fact, he is simply looking to provide Prince fans with exclusive music and images entirely free of charge, and bypassing unofficial and unauthorized phony fansites that exploit both consumers and artists.
"The action taken earlier this week was not to shut down fansites, or control comment in any way. The issue was simply to do with in regards to copyright and trademark of images and only images, and no lawsuits have been filed.
"The three sites in question have falsely positioned themselves as representatives of millions of Prince fans. In fact, many have come out in support of Prince at his official site and even on the message boards of the unofficial sites in question.
"Mediation between the parties is currently resolving the matter."
The "offending items" were reported to be live images from Prince's 21 nights in London at the O2 Arena earlier this year.
The statement also spoke out against fansite piracy, saying:
"Prince is breaking new ground as the first artist to take on the world's largest internet pirates bootleggers, including the notorious The Pirate Bay who have been misrepresenting themselves as a site for 'the fans'.
"They are in fact exploiting copyrighted material for their commercial gain. The site has flouted constant legal notices from artists and corporations throughout the world while cashing in on advertising monies. All the time, they keep up the pretence of being an anarchist, 'free music' fansite when it is really a massive money-making venture."
Originally published on 11/7/07:
PRINCE FANS FIGHT BACK AGAINST ATTACKS
In an extraordinary, but not unfamiliar move, the rock legend Prince is using an army of lawyers to launch attacks on his own fans.
Several of the largest web communities dedicated to the artist have received notices to cease and desist all use of photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to Prince's likeness.
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..."
The owners of the three largest fansites supporting Prince: www.housequake.com, www.princefams.com and www.prince.org have come together to fight back to what amounts to an injustice to the fansites and the very fans who have supported Prince's career, many since the very beginning nearly thirty years ago.
It is their hope that Prince will reconsider his position and allow these fansites to continue their existence without constant threats from Prince and his attorneys. Should this not be possible, the fansites are fully prepared to defend their position in the proper court of law, as well as fully prosecute any claims to which they are justly entitled.
The owners of housequake.com, princefams.com and prince.org acknowledge that, while Prince is entitled to control of his copyrights, it should be within the law. The law clearly provides for displaying of images of a celebrity's likeness for newsworthy events or matters that are considered to be public interest. All three websites feel that the photographs and/or likeness displayed on their websites clearly fall within the public interest category. Additionally, the use of photographs is legal based on the fair use doctrine, i.e. the displaying of album cover art, or the collage headers created by website members using a variety of different photographs.
For housequake.com: Aaron A. Sikkink and Gavin McLaughlin
For princefams.com: Endre Adolfsen and Jonathan Nice
For prince.org: Ben Margolin
For more information, please contact the Prince Fans United Group spokesperson:
Gavin McLaughlin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.