The Littlest Thug: Prince Sends Cease And Desist To Fan Who Created 'Le Petit Prince' Miniature Doll

from the dawwwww...-he's-so-CUTE-when-he's-angry! dept

For an artist who has worked tirelessly to maintain his artistic integrity (even going so far as to change his name/wear a mask), Prince has done more than most to ensure that his vision remains intact all the way up to the fans’ ears. Unfortunately, he seems to view this “connection” with his fans as one-way.

Between starting one of the first CwF websites and swiftly abandoning it after collecting $79/head, suing YouTube, eBay and the Pirate Bay for “making his work available,” declaring the internet to be “over” (and thus, unworthy of hosting his music) and claiming that cover versions physically destroy the original tunes (???), Prince has done everything he can to prevent fans from connecting with him.

To that end, Prince has yet again flexed his tiny, presumably purple, muscles to order a fan to cease and desist doing fan-type stuff. Troy Gua, a “serious Prince obsessive” and conceptual artist, just received a cease and desist letter from “Prince’s people”, ordering him to knock off his puppet-based adoration of the Artist.

Somewhere deep down, we’re sure Troy Gua expected he’d someday have to face saying goodbye to the much-lauded miniature doll that was at the center of his art series, Le Petit Prince. This was no small project — Gua literally recreated many famous Prince moments with the little guy and even included detailed props like the Purple Rain motorcycle. Ironically, we were recently emailing with Gua to do a piece about the new calendar he was putting out featuring some of these photographs, but this week Gua sadly informed us the dream is over. He received a cease and desist letter from the real Prince’s people on Monday.

Not only did Troy Gua receive an angry email, but also a very official hard copy via FedEx. The order states that Gua is not allowed to “exhibit the photo work or the sculptural doll,” which covers pretty much the entire Le Petite Prince project. Gua has decided not to fight back and has left instructions on his website asking fans to only leave positive comments.

Gua’s taking the high road, but Prince seems unwilling to allow any sort of expression based on him or his works to see the light of day anywhere. CityPages points out that another artist was hit with a C&D for posting Prince remixes for streaming only at her SoundCloud page. Presumably, the upcoming calendar would be considered commercial use of Prince’s image (I suppose) and that may have urged on the Purple Hammer, but DJ Lenka Paris’ mixes weren’t being sold or made available for download, so it’s not entirely a crackdown on commercial use.

It may be that Prince wants all things “Prince” to originate from Prince only. If so, Prince should learn to let go. No one has that much control and attempting to maintain “artistic integrity” by stomping out anything not officially blessed by the man himself is an awful way to treat fans. Here’s exactly how to do CwF WRONG:

If it wasn’t clear before, his Purpleness has some very stringent ideas around what his fans can and cannot do in their appreciation of him. In a nutshell: Yes, please do pay $250 for that concert ticket, but ‘Hova help you if you seek to publicly admire him through music or art.

Prince has a large fan base and it appears that his fans won’t fight a legal battle with a.) someone with much more money or b.) someone they respect greatly, even if that respect is completely one way. One of those is logical and the other is understandable, but either way, it’s tough for non-Prince-acolytes to respect an artist whose response to fan efforts that stray into “his” territory is unvarying legal thuggery.

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Comments on “The Littlest Thug: Prince Sends Cease And Desist To Fan Who Created 'Le Petit Prince' Miniature Doll”

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45 Comments
anon says:

Not every Prince fan is so blinded by his antics, yes he “was” a pop star in his day but that day is over, I like to listen to a few of the old tracks that he released many years ago, but in no way will I support such a goof, seriously, I can understand him being forced to change his name when he left his label during the contract he had with them, and I can accept some of his flakiness when he was popular but he is a hasbeen, with most of his real fans having moved on from his antics and his music.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

What if...?

What if this is all just an elaborate next step in part of his plan to fade into non-existence?

Not happy with just making sure people couldn’t say his name, he wants to make sure people can’t actually remember him or his music!

Keep going Pri… Umm… &$%@@**… whoever you are, in a few more years you will be completely irrelevant and forgotten!

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Clueless as ever

I can’t find it now, but I read an account a while back posted by a beleaguered Web designer who had been contracted by Prince to build an official website for him. After some time, His Purpleness ran across a JPEG artifact or two and confronted the web designer about the imperfections in the images.

He tried to explain some of the technical details behind it, and how by discarding a small amount of mostly-unnoticeable visual information, the files could be cut down to a manageable size, but Prince was having none of it. He was all “I did not get where I am by cutting corners,” and insisted that ZERO lossy compression be used for any image on his website, which is how he ended up with one of the slowest professional sites on the World Wide Web.

out_of_the_blue says:

You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

As I’ve said before, if someone else’s work is basis of and indispensable to yours, just don’t do it, at best verges on copyright infringement, at worst shows you’re a second-hander wasting what little time and talent you have by mere copying, and it’s often painful to those who like the original. — Even if sincere “homage”. — Enjoy their stuff and steal bits here and there for your own interpretation, but NOT using even audio samples. — And c’mon, an entire puppet show! That’s just near creepy obsessing that I’m glad is supppressed.

Take a moment for Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick and click:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
Actual unsolicited testimonial: “Until I read Techdirt.com, I didn’t know what shameless self-promotion was!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

Quote:

As I’ve said before, if someone else’s work is basis of and indispensable to yours, just don’t do it, at best verges on copyright infringement, at worst shows you’re a second-hander wasting what little time and talent you have by mere copying

By now you know that is nonsense don’t you?
Because seriously, people told you a thousand times already why that is nonsense.

If there was true you wouldn’t be able to have a car without paying royalties.

The guy created his own vision of the Prince world, he invested time and work to do it, but a monopolist is stopping him from doing it now and that is a damn shame.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

How is this legal to profit from the shirttails of a real brand, Prince? Who doesn’t know this “Prince” by just the mere mention of “Prince”? What legal right does someone have to use that name for his or her own aspirations without a licensing deal at least? What if you were, “Princess”? and someone came up with a beer named “Princess Beer”? Would you drink it without being miffed? I don’t think so. I think you would want to OWN that. But, maybe not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

Gonna take a second wack at this one because it’s so wacked.

if someone else’s work is basis of and indispensable to yours, just don’t do it

Hey, yeah! Great idea!

Now we have no computers, internet, electricity, medicine, houses, language, community, eachother … Anything really because everything is a basis of itself. Dumbass.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

“As I’ve said before, if someone else’s work is basis of and indispensable to yours, just don’t do it, at best verges on copyright infringement, at worst shows you’re a second-hander”

This may well be the dumbest statement about culture in the history of the Internet.

ALL art is based on (interpolates) other art. ALL art. There are two ways to do it – informally, the way Homer, the Bible, Shakespeare, the brothers Grimm, etc. etc. etc. did it, and formally, the way Lewis Carroll, Warhol, Spielberg, the Rolling Stones, most 20th century artists, and remixers do. This doll creator falls somewhere in between.

These works are art regardless of whether the artists have a legal right to distribute.

As always, blue, I appreciate your demonstration of the ignorance at the center of the pro-copyright position. My favorite part is when you say you’re so proud of your ignorance, you’ve displayed it more than once.

Big Al says:

Re: You're confused. This isn't even copying, it's second-handing.

“As I’ve said before, if someone else’s work is basis of and indispensable to yours, just don’t do it, at best verges on copyright infringement, at worst shows you’re a second-hander wasting what little time and talent you have by mere copying”

Snow White
Sleeping Beauty
Cinderella
Pinnochio
The Jungle Book

Need I go on?

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Fan of the music not the man

I’m a huge fan of Prince’s music!!!!

Now that I got that out, I have to say the man is moron when it comes to knowing how to treat his fans in cyberspace. He doesn’t make his videos available on YouTube. Does he really think people are still watching MTV or VH-1 ? Does he really think we are sitting around waiting for an announcement that he will be airing his videos on some TV channel?

Best way to deal with his Purple Highness is to pirate everything he’s made and share it.

I would say his brain is lost in some purple haze, but then I’m sure I would get a shake down letter from a Jimmi Hendrix lawyer.

Anonymous Coward says:

The poor guy. He’s incredibly talented, I hope there’s a Streisand Effect on this so that his work gets out there into the public eye. But I am reminded of Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and his framed restraining orders from Stan Lee and Leonard Nimoy. If Troy Gua is a trufan, he’ll have the Princely C&Ds in shiny purple frames and on his wall in no time.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see why this isn’t contested. He’s not including anything produced by Prince in his work. Not his music or any imagery he produced or even his logo. Only a likeness of him, which is perfectly permissible of a private figure, let alone a public one. Unless there’s a case to be made that someone is likely to mistake this as a claim that the representation is actual size, and therefor libelous, there’s no constraint against producing a likeness of anyone.

Name says:

I don’t see why this isn’t contested. He’s not including anything produced by Prince in his work. Not his music or any imagery he produced or even his logo. Only a likeness of him, which is perfectly permissible of a private figure, let alone a public one. Unless there’s a case to be made that someone is likely to mistake this as a claim that the representation is actual size, and therefore libelous, there’s no constraint against producing a likeness of anyone.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

The "high road"?

Gua’s taking the high road

That’s not “taking the high road”, it’s “knuckling under”. Prince’s legal threat doesn’t have a leg to stand on. He can’t claim a copyright on anything that merely references him, only on his own original works, which these aren’t; and trademark requires use in commerce and likelihood of confusion. I doubt the latter, at least, is applicable here.

AngelSoDivine says:

Ceist & Desist Party in L.A. 12/15/12

The Palms Bar-Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood
Saturday-December 15th 2012
8:00pm until 2:00am

The artist Troy Gua, who created the figure LE PETIT PRINCE, recently received a “Cease & Desist” letter from Prince & his attorneys, bullying him into removing every single image and likeness of LE PETIT PRINCE from the internet, at least from Troy’s website: http://www.troygua.com

This inspired me 2 have a HEAD night again N Los Angeles devoted 2 the Troy Gua creation known as LE PETIT PRINCE, which is a loving and respectful miniature figure made N the honor & image of PRINCE. During this “Cease & Desist” part
y, video montages of the many Prince scenes Troy Gua created with LE PETIT PRINCE will B played throughout the club AS WELL AS the music, videos and visuals of Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and the many MPLS related artists they produced and wrote 4.

The Palms Bar will B transformed N2 a virtual Prince & MPLS related museum with album covers, paintings, posters, memorabilia and more covering Prince, Jam & Lewis and the many artists they’ve touched from the 70s 2 Now. A massive wall sized video screen overlooking the dance floor will fill your eyes with Princely visuals & videos all night long!

A Princely Drink Menu AND a Special LE PETIT PRINCE Drink will B available from the wonderful bartenders Pattie and Victor!!

HEAD nights are a rarity these days so make sure and find a babysitter, call in sick, take vacation…do what U need 2 do 2 clear your calendar & come 2 the CEASE & DESIST Party 2 sho the love 2 LE PETIT PRINCE and the music & videos of Prince & related!!!

And 2 all those worried…DON’T! Let’s say I, DJ Myles Matisse received a “Cease & Desist” letter from Prince & his legal team, I would ignore the letter and put on this party anyway. Prince & his peeps would have 2 physically come down to The Palms Bar and shut me down personally for this night NOT to happen. It’s about freedom of speech and freedom of expression and the MUSIC, VIDEOS, VISUALS of Prince, Jam & Lewis & related…including LE PETIT PRINCE!

SIGHTS & SOUNDS: DJ/VJ Myles Matisse!
COVER: $5
AGE: 21+
TIME: 8pm-2am!
DATE: Saturday, December 15th!
WHERE: The Palms Bar
8572 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA

The Palms Bar is located N the heart of West Hollywood, a block away from La Cienega Blvd on the south side of Santa Monica Blvd. 4 those traveling from outside Los Angeles or who don’t want 2 drive after the club and need lodging, there’s a Ramada Inn right across the street: http://www.ramadaweho.com/

Free street parking is available as well as a $5 Parking garage next door 2 Palms.

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