Prince Copyright Crusade Clashes with Fans

Dennis Faas's picture

Just how far should artists go to defend their music? The Record Industry Association of America, or RIAA, seems to believe it should mean the prosecution of average Americans, with fines reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, one artist is taking matters into his own hands, attacking fan sites using his name without permission.

The artist in question is none other than Prince, and recently he's been rocking his own fans like its 1999. Sites dedicated to the 80s legend have now been served notice that they must remove images of Prince, his song lyrics, and "anything linked to Prince's likeness."

As you might expect, Prince's loyal fans are shocked. One page is now arguing, "We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of ... freedom of speech and should not be allowed."

Fighting back is Prince and his representatives, who believe that the targeted fan sites are blowing the whole matter out of proportion. John Giacobbi, managing editor for Internet defenders Web Sheriff, has stated, ""At no time is Prince suing his fans and this is not about freedom of speech."

Three sites in particular have come under scrutiny by Prince and his people. These include, and Giacobbi believes these sites have simply gone too far in their use of protected material, finding they are inappropriately using "Prince trademarks and photographs, many of which are Prince's copyright." (Source:

So, what are the Prince sites doing about this?

For now, they've got little choice but to block out images of Prince. The three sites have largely replaced their images with a hand print with "pfu", or Prince Fans United.

The matter has surprised many in the music industry. Prince has become known as one who challenges the music industry and traditional marketing techniques -- not those who have made him a legend and household name. Regardless, these fan sites may have simply been caught in the crossfire as Prince lays siege to The Pirate Bay and other legitimate copyright threats. (Source:

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