Thursday, November 8, 2007

Prince, R U fucking kidding?

So we're all in agreement that Prince is a musical genius, right? Because he is. And like many geniuses, he has always been prone to...eccentricities. But I scarcely have words for this latest bit of news:

Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and "anything linked to Prince's likeness," and have vowed to fight what they said was censorship.

The move was a shock to many of his followers and came two months after Prince threatened to sue YouTube and other major Internet sites for unauthorized use of his music and image.

But by targeting fan sites directly, Prince risks a backlash, and the sites have vowed to unite under the banner "Prince Fans United" and take the matter to court if necessary.

"We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of ... freedom of speech and should not be allowed," said a statement from the three sites -- www.housequake.com, www.princefams.com and www.prince.org.

A company helping Prince control his image and music on the Internet said the fan sites had spun the story so that it was "incorrect and misleading."

"At no time is Prince suing his fans and this is not about freedom of speech," said John Giacobbi, managing director of Internet policing specialist Web Sheriff.

"The current issue is one between Prince's record label and three unofficial Web sites and relates to the use of Prince trademarks and photographs, many of which are Prince's copyright," he told Reuters.

In a statement released later, he added:

"These forums have taken it upon themselves to wear the crown of being the self appointed representatives of the millions of Prince fans worldwide, despite the fact that they only represent a tiny fraction of Prince's global fanbase."


I would like to think that this is all a big misunderstanding, or perhaps Prince is receiving the world's worst advice from his representatives because frankly, this whole controversy seems very un-Princelike. This is the man who changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol during a battle with the recording industry, the man who wrote "slave" on his cheek to be displayed during a performance, the man who has taken to giving away free copies of his albums.

But if you go to prince.org, for example, you can see the text of a letter allegedly sent to these fan sites from Web Sheriff, which represents AEG Worldwide, Paisley Park Enterprises, Prince, etc. etc. This letter allegedly threatens the fansites involved with Prince Fans United with charges of libel (libelous statements supposedly being complaints that Prince is "attacking" his fans), and it states: "Whilst writing, we would caution you against communicating any further correspondence or remarks to third parties that could, in any way, be construed as being libellous of PRINCE or that could otherwise constitute a malicious falsehood, injurious to our clients’ business interests."

So, in other words, what Prince and his legal team appear to want is an immediate cessation of all discussion of Prince that could be construed as critical and the immediate takedown of all images of Prince, quoted lyrics, and anything Prince-related. Like I said, either a HUGE misunderstanding...or the worst advice EVER. I mean, how is shutting down fan discussion on the Internet going to enhance one's career as a rock star? Regardless of whether you belive copyrights are being infringed upon, isn't it far more damaging to send threatening legal letters to your biggest supporters? Check out the forums of the aforementioned fansites to read the litanies of anger and betrayal.

Now, over here at Places Parallel, we continue the grand tradition of Wearing These Chains in being extremely willy-nilly with copyrighted images, lyrics, etc. Granted, if a copyright holder ever contacted us to have an image removed, I'm sure that we would quickly comply. However, what we're largely performing for these artists at the same time that we're all wasting time at work is FREE ADVERTISING. Even when we're bitching about something, it is still FREE ADVERTISING. In my opinion, fans should be *encouraged* to express their love for an artist ad nauseam, to ooh and aah over the latest pics, to debate the meaning of the newest lyrics. That is how you ultimately sell merchandise, albums, and concert tickets. There are tons of bands that would KILL for the devotion that these fans have for Prince, even though they wouldn't receive a dime from these websites.

Not to mention the fact that it's not 1984 anymore, so really, Prince should check himself before he wrecks himself.

Prince is a hugely talented and influential artist. Let's just hope that other artists aren't moved to follow suit. Especially you, Trent.

18 comments:

JR said...

So it's, like, a big surprise that Prince's diva/martyr tendencies extend to his relationship with his fans, and not just the record label, et al?

Not to me.

You've GOT to expect that from ANYONE who wears 3 to 4 inch stilletos, regardless of gender or station in life.

maise said...

Given that I think he has only a couple of inches of height on *me*, I believe the term "Napoleonic complex" applies.

JR said...

Uh oh...I'd better take down my Maise site ASAP.

Zeemort said...

To be honest, as much as I <3 Prince, I can't say I'm surprised. He's been pretty crazy-anal-arrogant for, well, forever. This is just a new level of crazy-anal-arrogant, it'd seem.

I mean, er, I HATE prince, I only listen to INDUSTRIAL and GABBA, grrrrr! >:C
(Sorry, as a highschool kiddie here I have a quota to fill)

maise said...

That's right. Every time Angelman claims to "pwn" me, he needs to pay me $1,000.

pokeydots said...

I loved Prince when he would wear his 4 inch stilletos in his black panties on stage. Priceless... He used to sing "Do Me Baby" in a four poster bed onstage. Now, all we get is HATE and SHIT. I have NO idea why he is letting this type of thing happen with his music and image.

I think he should follow George Clinton's advice - free his mind and his ass will follow. Stop teasing your fans Prince!

Iris said...

Somehow I don't think this is the best way to get your fans to work for you in promotion but hey...he's grabbing headlines with it. There's no such thing as bad publicity, right? Just ask Britney.

Danny Angel said...

"You want me to ask, OK! I'll ask... ma'am... where do the high school girls hang out around here?"

Moving on...

I never got Prince. I always thought he was ridiculous and so was his music. The fact that he would be apparently trying to censor other peoples' (his fans) opinions makes his even more ridiculous. He is not a great musician or songwriter - not even remotely... writing pop songs is not art. All the purple and "lame love signs as your name" in the world can't save him from that.

Oh and Maise I wouldn't have to pay you every time I pwnd you because if we went to court there is not a jury in the world that would think you had not suffered serious pwnage at my hands.

Gabriel said...

and from the stretch....

Prince is one of the greatest musicians and songwriters of the last 20 years, and without a doubt one of the best guitar players.

Danny Angel said...

Not even close, Gabriel. This one is not up for debate. Prince wrote a few catchy pop songs in the 80. Yippee. As guitar player he doesn't rank in the top 1000. I warn you not to go here with me Gabriel, lest I start talking music theory and bore us all to death.

Danny Angel said...

Exhibit A? BATDANCE.

maise said...

The concept of Prince being a musical genius is not up for debate. He is.

The point is, he has now entered the "insanity" phase of his genius.

Gabriel said...

The fact that you come back with BATDANCE and "a few catchy songs in the 80s" as his catalog just reveals your ignorance, Angelman.

You'd think we were arguing about the Beatles here.

Danny Angel said...

As much as I want to have a snarky argument...

Prince is not good. He's no beatles, he not a great guitar player. I don't need to back this up, it is just so.

Gabriel said...

Prince plays all of the instruments on almost all of his albums.

Guitars, vocals, drums, everything.

You would be wise to not question his musical talent without knowing what you're talking about, padawan. You will get schooled ugly in this one.

Danny Angel said...

If his music was remotely interesting, complex or hard to play that MIGHT be impressive. I can play all of thos instruments better than he can, and you know it.

Danny Angel said...

btw - there is no argument here. He's not a genius. He just isn't. Next I will explain why water is wet.

Danny Angel said...

well - I can't sing like him... but I think that is a good thing.