Prince Sues Musicians For Making A Tribute Album For His Birthday

from the happy-birthday! dept

It's been really disappointing watching how Prince has squandered what had been seen as a enlightened view of how music works in this day and age. Instead of continuing to embrace that, and use it to his advantage, Prince has become fantastically anti-fan, and day-by-day seems to be destroying his reputation. It started with threatening fan sites, quickly followed up by lawsuits against YouTube, eBay and the Pirate Bay, and more recently has involved a bizarre and ill-advised strategy of taking down YouTube videos that he probably had no right to take down.

The latest case involves fifty Norwegian musicians, who teamed up with a Norwegian record label to create what they thought was a nice 50th birthday present for Prince: a "tribute" album with 81 covers of Prince songs. They figured that it would be a nice gesture to send Prince a copy, and contacted his representatives to figure out where to send a copy. What they didn't expect was for Prince, instead, to turn around and sue the label and all fifty musicians. He's also demanding that all copies of the album be destroyed.

There is a question of compulsory licenses here -- as Norway requires about $0.10/song, and with 81 songs, that's about $8 per album. The label (potentially incorrectly) believed that since it wasn't making any money on the album, it didn't need to pay. Even if the album ran afoul of copyright laws, this response from Prince is just dumb. Here are a group of musicians who are paying tribute to him, and he sues them. What better way to piss off a group of truly devoted fans?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:59am

    I bet the hasbeen is starting to have money problems

     

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  2.  
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    grandpa, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Thieves

    Prince has every right to sue these beserkers for covering so many of his songs without permission. What if they butchered them, thereby defiling his art work and thus hurting his branded position. Intellectual property rights and copyrights do not just vanish because somebody calls it a 'birthday tribute.' How stupid are these people, and how stupid is the writer of this article for interpreting Prince's defensive actions as 'dumb' and 'anti-fan'. I'm a fan and have no qualms with Prince's response to these freeloaders. Time to grow up and write your own music if you want to record.

     

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  3.  
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    Gary S., Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:01am

    Smithsonian

    What is the process to re-evaluate Prince's exhibit at The Smithsonian?

    I'm very serious. Please- tell me who I can write a letter to?

     

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  4.  
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    Troy (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:03am

    Re: Thieves

    You don't get out much, do you.

     

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  5.  
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    grandpa, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:04am

    And, I bet you too will start having money problems as soon as you move out of yo Mammy's house. But then you will have to walk the walk instead of being another pathetic anonymous coward.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Re: Smithsonian

    Write your letter to some politician who won't mind or even notice that you end sentences with prepositions. Try the smirking chimp.

     

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  7.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Re: Thieves

    Re: Mike
    "What better way to piss off a group of truly devoted fans?"
    .. Can't really think of many better ways to piss off fans.

    Re: grandpa
    You must have missed the part where they intended to make no profit from this at all. It was a tribute to Prince. Even if Prince does have the right, that does not mean it is in his best interest to take full use of that right. Time for you to grow up and understand that there can be more to being a dan than simply liking the music. You may be a fan, but you have nothing on those Norwegians. They are bigger fans than you obviously ever will be. Although, I would be shocked if they are still fans after this. As for your comment about what if they butchered the songs. So be it. If they do, nobody will like their music and nobody will listen to it. Simple. You make it sound like once these are released nobody can listen to the originals or something.

     

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  8.  
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    SisterofDot, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:10am

    music business

    Looks like this f'd up model of FREE MUSIC doesn't work very well. Have you noticed lately - that all of the musicians have been acting schitzoid?

    FREE music doesn't benifit anyone but the thiefs. Period.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward (2), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:11am

    He must have missed the 1990s...

    Metallica really needs to stage an intervention at some point here.

     

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  10.  
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    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:12am

    Grandpa, your a coward and an idiot!

    If that many bands took the time to make an album that they didn’t make money off of, he should be honored. Even if they did horrible on the songs they took a lot of their time to show how much they like the artist. Prince's response is an insult anyway you look at it. If he is that hard up for money, he will be even more now that people see the true side of him.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:12am

    really sucks..

    First the Jehovah's Witness thing and now these past few tirades against people who seem to actually like him, well it's enough that I'm not buying anything new from him for a while. His only hope now is to die so that his stuff will be worth something again.

    I was one of his biggest fans but now he's nearing an EPIC FAIL on the same level as Metallica, and I'll do the same to him as I did to them, sell all my collection and wipe any mp3's from my list, never to be heard in the household again and he can just keep searching for the purple banana.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re: Thieves

    Obviously not as stupid as you. Prince is a half pint pussy, how could anyone possibly hurt his lame ass music.

    Go take your meds grandpa.

     

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  13.  
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    John, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Re: Thieves

    They don't need his permission. With a compulsory license, a government forces the holder of a patent, copyright, or other exclusive right to grant use to the state or others - they just need to pay the fee. Now, not paying the fee was incredibly stupid on their part, and C+C Records should have known that. Since Norway does have a compulsory license law, for Prince to ask for anything other than the owed license fee - and possibly damages - just makes him look petty and vindictive.

     

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    grandpa, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Killer_Tofu is lame

    Tofu, you need to go create some art or music, devote your life to it, and then sit by quietly while other people rip it off and put a stink on it. Then you need to write the thieves a note thanking them for being such good fans.

     

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    Troy (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    I love the grammer-nazis. Great fun.

     

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    Troy (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Re: music business

    I think your grandpa is around here somewhere.

     

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    Ima Fish, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    So it's official, Prince is more of an idiot than all the members of Metallica combined. And that's saying something.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    Morons, all of you.

    Lets say that you (and I mean you, little Jason) set up a lemonade stand and start selling to make a living. I guess it wouldn't bother you if lots of people set up stands and gave the drinks away for free! And it probably wouldn't bother you that they stole YOUR lemonade.

    I tried to keep the example simple, because you're a simpleton.

     

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  19.  
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    dru, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Prince?

    Prince who? The artist formerly known as ^ ? First off, that they found 50 "artists" who would do cover songs of Prince is highly suspect. Let me say this simply. PRINCE SUCKS! Prince knows this. He wants the albums (CDs) destroyed to prevent the joke that is his music from being released into the wild, which will confirm what I already said. PRINCE SUCKS! He is actually doing us all a favor by blocking the release.

     

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  20.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    If grammar is the worst thing you can find in error, you need perspective.

     

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  21.  
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    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    Lemonade

    LMFAO! If someone wanted to copy my lemonade so badly then so be it. Its not like they sent a copy of the cd to every person on earth, or even in his neighbor hood. This is music. Your supposed to write songs because you love to write songs, not because I'm supposed to buy it to make you rich.

     

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  22.  
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    bobbknight, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Slave

    Prince used to be a slave to the record company label, now he's just a slave to his own stupidity, greed and lack of redoubtably.

     

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  23.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Indifference vs Antagonism

    One might forgive some artists for finding an audience's attentions an irritation, and to attempt to remain indifferent and aloof to their affections and tributes.

    However, when an artist actually attacks their audience, and artists among them, for nothing more than enjoying, performing, sharing and building upon their art then they have truly lost sight of what it means to be an artist among artists.

    They have been corrupted by the cult leaders of their corporate record labels to turn against the very people who love them.

     

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  24.  
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    Quantity Surveyor Man, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Princely weirdness

    Look up Kevin Smith's (AKA Silent Bob) experience with "His Purple Weirditude". Prince has been playing pinball with no flippers for years now.

     

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  25.  
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    Gary S, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    Sorry Asshat, It's early and I need more coffee.

     

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  26.  
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    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    RE: Indifference vs Antagonism

    I so agree with you. What ever happened to doing things because you love to do it? If I could even play an instrument I would be very honored someone wanted to learn what I could play.

     

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  27.  
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    TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsDouchebag, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    Prince Who?

    Has he done anything relevant since Purple Rain? I don't think so.

     

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  28.  
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    Yvette Adams, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Re: Smithsonian

    It looks like G. Wayne Clough is the man you want to complain to:

    Smithsonian
    PO Box 37012
    SI Building, Room 153, MRC 010
    Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

    http://newsdesk.si.edu/admin/org_chart.pdf

     

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  29.  
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    Ben Smith, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re: Thieves

    Grandpa, I think you've succumbed to Alzheimer's. Your opinion is as outdated and ignorant as copyright law.

    Perhaps you were making an attempt at sarcasm? Calling the author stupid demonstrates your lack of understanding of the law and IP in general.

     

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  30.  
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    Shohat, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Bullshit

    Bullshit.
    Prince doesn't have 50 fans in Norway, and he knows it.

     

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  31.  
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    i_hate_ny, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    I think the "Surly Truck Driver" from Spider-Man(aka Jim Norton) sums up my feelings on Prince quite well.

    "He stinks and I don't like him"


    81 songs? Prince even has 81 songs? Did they just sing "little red corvette" and "when doves cry" over and over?

     

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  32.  
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    Peter Thomas, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:49am

    Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    Yeah! Stealing a physical, tangible object, is exactly the same as stealing something that can be copied infinitely for next-to-no-cost, isn't it?

    Isn't it?

    Oh hang on, I spot a flaw in AC's argument.

     

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  33.  
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    Just Me, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Thieves

    How could they possibly butcher the songs worse than he did?

     

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  34.  
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    Sumbuddy Stoopid, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Another amazing comment

    Who's Prince???

    You thought Metallica was bad, Jeebus!

     

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  35.  
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    MadJo (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    I vote he changes his name again

    The Artist Now Officially Known As Hasbeen
    TANOKAH.

     

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  36.  
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    Gary S., Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    Thank you for the address.

    If anyone is curious, here's my talking points. I recommend you write in too.

    * Distinction of the Artist's "Work" vs "Brand" (Prince's Work is being promoted, while he is still a Brand.)
    * The Brand is protecting it's Brand Image.
    * The Smithsonian is reserved for National treasures to be shared.
    * Actions show prince is not a national treasure but a business and brand.
    * Actions of suing parents, kids, anyone who threatens the Brand, and sales of the works.

    Most importantly:
    * Does the Smithsonian want to be associated with a "Brand" that's actively in litigation? And conversely, should Prince be associated with the good will of Smithsonian?

    I will request clarification from Mr. Clough:
    * Does a blatant attempt to maintain a "brand image" while being recognized as a national treasure go against the core ideas of a National Treasure and the Concept of the Smithsonian as a whole?
    * Should the Smithsonian continue to accept and promote "National Treasures" which are still in Production?

     

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  37.  
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    DanC, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Re: music business

    Looks like this f'd up model of FREE MUSIC doesn't work very well.

    The Norwegians mistakenly believed since the album was not for profit, they didn't have to pay the compulsory license fee. Anyway you look at it, that isn't a business model of any kind. It was simply a mistake. Nice try though.

    FREE music doesn't benifit anyone but the thiefs. Period.

    You really don't know or understand what you're talking about.

     

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  38.  
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    Shaun, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    Actually this is almost a good analogy except just add a magic machine that produces the lemonade at no cost and drop the stealing bit. Rather than stealing it would be more like they buy a lemonade off you and use it in their own magic copying machine to make more lemonade and give it away for free. Obviously you would be stupid to try to make a living off something that everyone else can copy at no cost.

     

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  39.  
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    Gary S., Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Smithsonian

    I want to clarify:
    * Actions of suing parents, kids, anyone who threatens the Brand, and sales of the works.

    Should read:
    * Actions of suing parents, kids, anyone who threatens the Brand, including creating derivative works, without profit. Including legal action against derivative works created in other sovereign nations. (WTF!!)

     

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  40.  
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    jerm, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:24am

    freeloaders? stealing? pah!

    Considering just a year ago he was GIVING away his new album in the UK, I don't think it's fair to call them freeloaders or say they were stealing anything.
    "It's all about giving music for the masses and [Prince] believes in spreading the music he produces to as many people as possible."


    With that kind of history I don't think it was off-base for them to think he would be in to such a thing -- both in terms of doing the covers and giving them away for free.

    I don't think it's that a musician was pissed of about this that is surprising, it's that it was a musical with the "free love" kidf of attitude that he showed toward his music in recent history.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Thieves

    Actually they need a mechanical license, John. The ignorance of the readers of this post continue to reveal itself.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Thieves

    Actually the writer of this article has in the past said that he looks at IP from an economic view and not a legal view. Any thoughts he has on IP laws are not looked at in the prespective of what is legal, but only what makes the most sense economically.

     

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  43.  
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    SisterofDot, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    music

    If the songwriters don't get paid - all you are going to be stealing is crappy music.

    There is YOUR free. Crap.

     

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  44.  
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    OMG I put a random name in here so my view point i, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    Nub

     

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  45.  
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    dorpass, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Thieves

    grandpa, are you angry douche's relative?

    Time to grow up and write your own music if you want to record.

    What a moronic statement. Why don't you tell Prince to get rid of all the covers he has done over the years? Sounds like you are competing in senility with Prince right there.

     

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  46.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re: Killer_Tofu is lame

    It would be impossible for them to be theives unless perhaps it was a painting and they took the physical painting itself.
    Otherwise the worst they could have done would be to copyright infringe, and that is not stealing.
    Your "grandpa" moniker suits you well as it assists with conveying your lack of knowledge in the topic matter.

    And if I did write music, rest assured I would be glad if others took the time to do covers and other such derivative work. Thrilled in fact. It is a sign that they like my music. Even if I hated their derivative works, at least their hearts are in the right place. Not to mention they went through much more trouble than most fans ever would to show appreciation, and that says a lot about them. I would be honored indeed. And you are right, I probably would write them a letter thanking them.

    However, I have assisted with a few small parts in open source software. Nothing major, but it was used, and I did have somebody once use my addition to add on a feature. I thought it was a stupid feature, but I was pretty darn happy that I enabled that. I am sure that counts close enough.

    Then again, using the grandpa name, and making such arguments, I am sure you will toss out source programming as an exception and claim that it doesn't count. Which, if you do, it will only make you appear further out of touch with the way things are. Not will be, but are. No matter how much people like Prince fight it, you can't tell 80% of the population they are criminals. It only points out shoddy laws that need to be updated to the times.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    Wha?

     

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  48.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    "And that's saying something"
    Lol, yah it is.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Thieves

    it doesn't matter if they didn't want to make any money for it, they still had to pay royalties. This isn't being anti-fan, these fans just weren't using their heads. If they planned to sell or even give away these CDs, then they had to pay for the rights to use the songs!!!

     

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  50.  
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    mike allen, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: Thieves

    Actually You are wrong any one can record any one elses music with their own arrangement many have ove the yearsPrince has no right to sue over this anfd certainly not demand the album be taken down
    a short list of songs covered by other artists
    Buddy Holly Oh Boy covered by rolling stones
    Beatles various songs
    Michale covered by the overlanders
    obla de obla da marmalade
    many done in a clasical style by london philharmonic
    i wont go on or mike will need to buy more bandwidth.
    you do not understand the music business grandpa.

     

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  51.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: music

    Do you even understand what stealing is?
    I must admit, I am almost getting tired of explaining this to new people. Almost.

    It is NOT stealing. Stealing would be if you owned a car, and I took it. You can no longer use the car, because it is a physical tangible good, and gone because I took it. If somebody downloads a song, does the songwriter or musician no longer have it? Nope, they still have it. So it is not stealing because it is not a tangible good. It is not an act of theft. It is copyright infringement. What was the RIAA suing dead people over? Stealing stuff? Nope. They are trying to sue over Copyright Infringement. Whether they even have any grounds for this is not the point of discussion, I am just showing that even your beloved heros that 99% of the world hates know the difference between stealing and copyright infringement. Although, that doesn't mean that they haven't tried to muck up the waters and tried to say that it is stealing. But still, no judge has ever agreed in any sort of way that it is stealing anyways.

    Calling it stealing just makes you look ignant, and removes credibility from the rest of your argument.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:58am

    You guys are killing me! All of the things you call anti-fan are examples where LAWS are being BROKEN!!! This isn't like he's randomly attacking people who just say his name in a courtyard, people are abusing copyrighted works and not getting permission first.

    The guy doesn't need money, he's so sick with cash that he could disappear, but that's not the point... EVERY artist should be doing what he is doing because it is their right to do so under the laws.

     

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  53.  
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    mike allen, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Thieves

    Sorry made an error rolling stones recorded not fade away which was the original B side to oh boy by buddy holly

     

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  54.  
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    Relonar, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Yeah, he was in the right when filing the suit if the label did not pay the license fees. Yeah, it sorta makes him look like an asshat. Yeah, this is another example of why government granted monopolies need short term limits, in my opinion. Hey looks like a good time to rant.

    I believe in a more academic view when in comes to music, tech, etc., (any idea that the govt. and corporate says can be 'owned').
    In my opinion this is how I would have it work.
    If you create a song that is completely new, and then go and record this song, register and secure a copyright on the recording (re-read that last part and let it sink in) then you are entitled to protect that recording no matter the medium or encoding. You alone should be allowed to license this recording for distribution. When a work is created for pay, then the employer holds this grant.
    This license should be allowed to expire in a reasonable amount of time.

    The lyrics and musical score (or any other source idea) registered and a copyright is secured separate from the recorded information. This is how cover licenses are taken care of. and again this grant is allowed to expire.

    Radio services would acquire a license to distribute recoded information to anyone tuning in at that time. This is why recording something off radio works fine in this model.

    An end-user licenses holder is allowed to make backup copies of recorded information. This would consumers to keep plastic discs, backup HD's, and other of the sort while still being able to keep a cd in their car, and a file on their iPod or device of their choice. The holder of and end-user license should be able to transfer that license (first sale stuff)

    A person who is licensed to distribute recorded information can't make up BS EUL agreements (i.e. software distributors really go to town on that stuff).

    Public Performance rights are dealt with the same way as radio, and should only be required is the audience is large enough for the duration of a given time frame (licensing music to be looped in your store). Blasting your radio while you work, or looping radio through a PA system does not require a license, since the radio operator has already acquired one.

    Cover recordings and performances are allowed when the separate lyrics/score are licensed. These licenses should not be able to be revoked or transferred.

    License agreements can be made between distributors and cover artists, but not to extend the period of protection.

    All that really doesn't matter after the grant expires.

    ... omg. that's why this is so f(* up!
    still overly simplified, no fair use yet, doesn't distinguish between commercial and non-commercial, but this shit is making my head hurt. (man I'm glad i didn't choose law)

    please rip into my opinions, that's the only way compromise works

    and even in this simplified system the norway guys still screwed up. now there is still the argument of whether it was good business to sue, but...
    except for the more recent stuff, this wouldn't have been an issue if grants still expired in a decent period of time (I find ten reasonable, 25 max in my opinion)

     

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  55.  
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    SisterofDot, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    thieves

    When someone does a cover of a song - the songwriter is GETTING PAID.

    Techdirt should collect the IP addresses of the fools in this chat. They probably steal everything that is possible on the net.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    wtf?

    This is ridiculous... next, "artists" are going to start suing all the young kids learning to play instruments and forming little bands in the garage with their friends because they didn't pay licensing fees.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Erik, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:08am

    Seems awfully short sighted and stupid to go so far out of your way to piss off fans. Maybe he's hanging out with Kanye West and Metallica too much?

     

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  58.  
    icon
    Matt (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:09am

    don't burn yourself up on this tofu

    Honestly, anyone who calls it stealing clearly either
    a: never researched the issue
    or b: has ties to a music or movie industry
    or c: ignorant and unfamiliar with fact

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    Re: thieves

    I am no Prince fan.. but I highly doubt he was the principal songwriter on all of his music... so is he going to split the money with the other song writers if he wins his law suit?

     

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  60.  
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    cp punk is spunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:15am

    thieves

    You are a DOLT.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    paying tribute to an artist is "abusing" his work now??
    What turnip truck did you people roll off of???
    Nobody stole anything and nobody is making a profit, I really don't see the harm... other than Prince's over inflated ego being bruised.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Harry Potter, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:27am

    Serves them right

    Anyone stupid enough to be a fan of Prince, deserves the law suit.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Bobino Boberman, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    I believe your analogy is wrong and overly simplistic, even for a bufoon such as your self.

    This is the correct analogy.
    Pretend you moved out of your dead uncle's garage. You decided to start a lemonade stand.
    Now 80 people in the surrounding neighborhood,s from where you live in your cardboard box, really liked your lemonade!
    They decided to start sharing some of that lemonade with others. That is how much they loved your lemonade! When they ran out of lemonade, some were so inspired by your lemonade that they made lemonade of their own. They gave that lemonade away and said, 'Hey if you like my lemonade, go buy some from the homeless man in the box'.

    That would be the correct analogy. Would you be ticked when new fans, who may never had known you even had a lemonade stand outside your box, started buying from you? You might, but a sane person would be ecstatic.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Re: thieves

    was this supposed to be some sort of intelligent response to what I posted? I think you missed your mark.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Harry Potter, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Re: wtf?

    If the lawyers and music industry thought they could collect, they would charge. After all, music schools are supposed to use and pay for copyrighted sheet music. Why not the kids? After all, they have parents with enough money to buy them overpriced instruments.

    The whole thing is stupid...........
    Several hundred million dollars just isn't enough for some has beens.
    It makes me sick.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    Just because he can doesn't mean he should. That's the point of the article. It's a bad business decision to take this legal action in this particular situation.

     

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  67.  
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    monkey3, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    Re: Thieves

    You obviously have not read the recent piece about prince and Radiohead. If prince is going to try to claim copyright on a cover he did of a Radiohead song to prevent it going on Youtube, then he has no recourse whatsoever to go after people who do tributes of his own music; especially considering the fact that prince was paid for the live performance in which he played that Radiohead song.

     

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  68.  
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    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: wtf?

    I sort of see your point about the sheet music.. although anyone can walk into a book store or Guitar Center and buy sheet music... not just schools and teachers. But, reproducing that music in your garage for fun should not be grounds for a law suit. That is what I am saying... and that is basically what these people did, didn't they?
    I mean, they obviously enjoy Prince's music (for whatever reason) so for "fun" and to pay "tribute" (not to make a profit) they "reproduced" his music. It's the same thing really.
    Now, on the other hand if these people were doing this to make money and Prince was not seeing any of that money.. I could see the problem.

    maybe I am just biased since once in a while my friends and I find it fun to play some music from bands we like.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    WHOA

    68 posts and I don't think anyone has referred to Communism yet... must be a record.

    wait... oops... screwed the pooch on that one.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Oblio_A, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Re: Prince Sues His Fans

    Continuing with the lemonade analogy... It will cost them $8 per 'glass' to give it away. Even if they have good intentions, are ignorant of the law, and just really like your 'lemonade recipe', they still have to pay the compulsory licensing fee.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Fred Waters, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: wtf?

    If you ever wonder why your child's junior and senior high school choirs and bands perform songs mostly from before the 20th century -- no copyright bullshit, except for the printed sheet music. When you play Beethoven, you can just play it and enjoy it, no performance license, no royalties, no bullshit. No welfare payments made to the great-great-great-great-grandchildren of Beethoven. Unlike now, when I sing "Happy Birthday" in public, I might have to pay multiple royalties to dead people.

     

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  72.  
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    mobiGeek, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Re: Prince?

    Because, of course, if the album is released we are all obligated to purchase it?? If played on the radio, we are all forced to not change the channel??

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: music business

    FREE music doesn't benifit anyone but the thiefs. Period.

    I'm sure Trent Reznor would disagree...

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    spoon, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Piss off what fans? the ones that aren't willing to pay money for his music? oh yeah, lets keep them happy, they're really good for business.

    So 50 'artists' got together in an attempt to get free publicity, and now they're pissed that uhm.. they're getting it?

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    the wise one, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    picture this

    Imagine ur favorite song. The one you hold dear. The one that stops ur day and takes u to a place and time that's only yours. Now imagine it as the next budweiser jingle, ring tone, rap song, kiddy song, car commercial, political theme song, exercise video...
    Now, would u pay $10 to keep that from happening? Can u hear me now?

    Btw he may be a divo, but he is genius.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Knife, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Uh Yeah... I think it was a BIRTHDAY present made by FANS for PRINCE.

    And Prince SUES.

    Did you fucking miss that, Asshole?

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Thamios, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    "Pathetic anonymous coward?" You seem to be the one hiding behind words. With how that statement came out, it really seems as though you're the one living in your parents basement. For all you know, "Troy" is more successful that both you and I combined.

     

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  78.  
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    sickpuppy1, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    It does strike,initially, as petty and greedy, but I think artists get tired of everyone, or at least,"too many". people using their "artwork". At what point does one get too carried away? Thats an individual thing. To me, it's another example of humans losing the ability to be humane

     

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  79.  
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    Bill M, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Don't forget that Prince recently gave away one of his albums in a move that didn't make a lot of record execs happy. I highly doubt this has anything to do with money. Maybe it has more to do with how "Nothing Compares 2u" was butchered on the compilation? Who knows. He has the right to do what he wants with his licenses. And the folks in Norway would have the right to cover his stuff if they paid the license fees, but they didn't.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:52am

    Re: picture this

    No, I wouldn't.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    JS Beckerist (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:01am

    Re: Thieves

    Um, it's called a tribute album. They aren't making money off of it, so they aren't freeloaders. They paid for all expenses out of pocket, and the musicians were eating the cost of the time and energy they spent.

    Personally, I'm all for covers and remixes, I believe that you can truly create a new and beautiful song using and existing foundation. Do you think that sitting women were never a subject for artists before Da Vinci came along?

    Prince is a talented musician, but that doesn't have any bearing on his credentials as a copyright lawyer... or a winner for that matter...

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    I drink YOUR! milkshake! I drink it up!!!

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Jemima, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:10am

    Re: Thieves

    Hey gramps. Take a nap and don't forget the Geritol. You really need it.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Fushta, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Thieves

    You do not have to pay royalties to cover a song. If you want to sell the song in the marketplace, maybe, but not if you are just covering a song in a concert.

    How many times have to seen a band cover a song in their concert off the cuff? Do you really think they paid for the royalties or even got permission to do it?

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    asdf, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:29am

    Re: Bullshit

    i lol'd

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    FU Prince!

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    asdf, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    tool.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Fushta, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: wtf?

    HP,

    If you didn't already realize this, nearly all school-age kids' instruments are provided by the school...for free (or taxpayer money). Sometimes rich parents might buy their kid a new instrument, but don't generalize unnecesarily to create a meaningless point.

    F

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Overtkill, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:44am

    Hmm....

    To coin a phrase, They are all becoming pilfering grab-asses!

    Free music is not the choice that will win either. Instead, perhaps the "pay what you want" model might be the way to go as more and more bands leave behind the big labels.

    Its a pity to see such a talented musician (the man can play more instruments than you have fingers) resort to such measures, like Metallica.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: Thieves

    Prince has every right to sue these beserkers for covering so many of his songs without permission. What if they butchered them, thereby defiling his art work and thus hurting his branded position. Intellectual property rights and copyrights do not just vanish because somebody calls it a 'birthday tribute.'

    Um, no one said that he didn't have a right. I believe Mike said that it was dumb to piss off your fans. That IS dumb. That's what happens when people listen to thier attorneys instead of thier PR reps.

    He could have just had his attorney send them a letter explaining that they owe eight dollars per album for use of his material, or asked them not to devalue his music. True fans probably would have been disappointed, but otherwise okay. A lightning lawsuit was not the best PR response.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    Yes, but the law is 'Pay money, or don't distribute.'. So all they need to do is pay the money; nobody disagrees with that.

    But he wants all copies destroyed and is all angry dude about this tribute. That's bad PR and bad for any future sales of anything.

    Economically speaking, his lawsuit is a bummer.

    That's the point of the article, idiots.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch - Doctor of Sister of Dot, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 12:07pm

    Re: thieves

    When someone writes Harry Potter fan fiction, that writer is GETTING PAID.

    Oh, wait, capitol letters don't make me right.

    Crap.

    They covered those songs becuase they loved them, not to make money from them. They didn't profit from them. they were not paid. And generalized statements about a specific situation only make you seem like an idiot.

    C'mon now, Sister of Dot. It's time to take your medicine and lay down for a nice nap. Here, put on your nice white jacket so you'll be more comfortable...

     

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  93.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 26th, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Thieves

    I am thankful if that is true that they don't need permission or anything to do live cover.
    Three Days Grace did this in their concert when they were here in MI.
    During the last song it was Home, and partway through the song switched to Hey Man Nice Shot, and then back to Home.
    Was freaking awesome.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    Coward, he may have trouble with nuke-yuh-lar, but at least he knows that it's perfectly acceptable to use an adverbial particle at the end of a sentence. You are so sub-Dubbya!

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: music business

    Hmm..burn.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    This is just...wow. Just wow. Prince's action is so beyond the pale of stupidity that it can it can only be adequately described as insanity. The guy has lost it, really.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 4:03pm

    Re: thieves

    Yes hello, Techdirt...sign me up for the espionage plan, please.

    Thank you.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Other Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 4:15pm

    Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    Well, it kinda depends....did I make it with a food replicator? If so, then I don't mind as long as they distribute it themselves. I don't want to sit there all day and hand it out. I'd rather be home downloading music. :)

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Other Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: wtf?

    "don't generalize unnecesarily to create a meaningless point" Also, don't generalize so as to be generally WRONG: "nearly all school-age kids' instruments are provided by the school" We alls hadta pay for our'n at teh publick skewl.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 12:32am

    Re: Prince Who?

    (contemplating how relevant Purple Rain is)

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Freedom, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 6:17am

    Re: Thieves

    The concept of Intellectual property is a terrorism of the mind. Its a terrorism grounded on repression of what is possible. The sooner they eradicate IP laws, the better off society as a whole will be. Sharing, copying and collaborating is as much a part of the human condition as breathing. We will not have true freedom of speech until IP laws are dismantled.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Antonio Marques, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:19am

    This is obvious bad press, but...

    ... this groups of musicians should try to contact Prince BEFORE doing the record and ask for permission to do it, not AFTER...

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Ray, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 10:53am

    Prince fan here!

    I agree it's all a clusterf--k. He's a genius, and he's in his own world. Don't be blinded by business side of it, the boy's got talent and spirituality to burn...how 'bout you all?

    What does "relevant music" mean? Listen to the lyrics of the song "Planet Earth" off his newest album...which he GAVE AWAY two million copies to...

    Why the pissing matches between people here? Seems like a bi-polar freak show to me.

    Peace, y'all...PEACE!

     

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  104.  
    identicon
    Dennis Savage, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 11:26am

    Wow, it took a whole day and a quarter for someone to show up who was willing to call himself a Prince fan. That's fame!

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 1:08am

    ..lol...
    out of 20 musicians, NOBODY knew that if you use a song written/published by someone else -you need a license from them - normally requiring some payment in advance- YEH RIGHT!

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: Thieves

    ...and would it be ok for someone to pay "tribute" to your wife by taking candid pictures of her and posting them on the internet without her permission.......????

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 1:31am

    Re: Prince Who?

    have YOU EVER done anything as relevant as Purple Rain???????

     

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  108.  
    identicon
    Jezsik, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 7:26am

    Who are these people?

    I mean the people making comments here. By the look of things, a good number of them don't even read TechDirt (or read it without understanding it).

     

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  109.  
    identicon
    Mikey Frizz, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    musician's perspective....

    Personally, I'd be flattered if someone made a tribute album for me! NOT that I'm good enough for that or anything, but seriously. With the internet, your music will be distributed for free whether you want it to or not. And with the internet, people can do basically whatever they want with your music. Might as well learn to get with the times, eh?

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    James, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 5:21pm

    Re:

    You have a problem with people living with their parents? It's called Family! I bet your parents wanted your Arse out as fast as they could.

     

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  111.  
    identicon
    unknownsoundman, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 3:53am

    princerage

    I'm not sure you "Have To Get Permission",
    I thinks "you pay your rights to play the songs"
    >the Way YOU WANT TO!

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Arny Young, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:48pm

    prince sues musicians...

    Let them (The aforememtioned musicians) write their own music.
    Rock on Prince!

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Hopefully this can be the final word. The group may have been doing this as a tribute, and the project may lose money, but don't confuse that with non-profit.

    The 5-disc set sells for about $50 USD. They should have arranged the license beforehand. They should pay the $8 per disc-set to whomever owns the rights to the songs they recorded.

    This isn't about greed, or being to big of a star. It is getting what you are legally entitled to and not letting people profit from your image and creativity.

    The publicity is too bad because it paints Prince in a light of cuing some poor garage band for making a tribute CD and sending it to him as a present.

    That is not what happened. They put a lot of work into it, and expected to recoup some of the money spent doing it. Was there real purpose to give it as a gift literally to Prince? Who knows. But once they decided to print copies and sell it, it became a legal matter. Prince is not a jerk here, he is just being painted as one because it is an easy sell and far more interesting than the truth.

    Peace!

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Bob AKA Anon Cow, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    cuing = suing
    to big of a star = too big of a star

     

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  115.  
    identicon
    MyNameisVinceandIamFunky, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Re: Prince Who?

    I think Prince is certainly off his rocker in many ways and has gone on the other side of the purple banana. That said, while I think it is a shame that he feels it necessary to sue these folks for trying to make a tribute album, it would definitely be really challenging for me as a musician to let some group of random people steal my songs and call it a tribute.

    If they were friends or people that I knew, it would be easier to take; And it's hard to fault the guy for not taking the time to try and get to know these people or listen to the album; in the end, it's just free publicity for them, fans or no fans, with no upside to Prince except the fact that they get to ride his coattails by performing songs and getting notoriety because of it.

    I'm not sure if I would've outright sued without issuing a statement explaining his position, but that's what happens when you've slipped on the purple banana peel one too many times.

    As far as musical relevance, for me personally, while Purple Rain remains a great album, I personally think Sign of the Times is an incredible collection of his talent; so many musical styles and themes - I don't see how it came out of one person's head. Even the album with the squiggly symbol was pretty damned good, but obviously your mileage may vary.

    Just my opinion. Respect yours. Peace.

     

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  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Smithsonian

    "...end sentences with prepositions"

    That's ok now:
    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/p.html#prepositions

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Jesus, May 7th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Prince and his muisc

    As a songwriter, I understand the frustration of seeing your work duplicated without your permission. Also, a really nice gesture would have been for those musicians and the label to call and get permission BEFORE they recreated the music. For those who don't create, it's extremely easy to criticize those who make a living from creating a product that others see as their own.

     

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  118.  
    identicon
    Beardy, May 19th, 2011 @ 3:35am

    Infringement!

    I hereby give public notice that I will be suing The Prince Formerly Known as an Artist; I have facial hair, and he has facial hair, but as he's being a dick, his facial hair is devaluing my facial hair. Technically, he's stealing my mojo, and I won't rest until he has removed his facial hair and promised never to re-grow it lest he harm the image of my facial hair.

     

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  119.  
    identicon
    Bowswer, Nov 11th, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: You little meth heads just don't think things through.

    plus you would have to patent the lemonade which is F'd up as it is.. the problem is ip laws..

    their a form of tyranny

     

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  120.  
    identicon
    Peter Cook, Oct 2nd, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    Thieves in the Temple

    It's tough at the top and easy to see why artists become slightly paranoid.

    Lighten up tho' Prince. The fans r with u

    P xx

     

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