Prince Misses The Point: Sues YouTube, eBay, Pirate Bay For Copyright Infringement

from the and-it-looked-like-he-was-getting-somewhere dept

For many years it had seemed like Prince was one of the major music industry stars who actually understood the new business models made possible by the internet, and how those could be leveraged without wasting time on worrying about those who were making unauthorized copies. Unfortunately, for all his innovation in the space, it looks like he, too, has fallen victim to trying to sue those who are out there promoting his works. Prince had experimented widely with a variety of innovations in making, distributing and promoting music -- including his recent offer giving away his latest CD for free with newspapers. He'd also done a number of other promotions, all designed to push more people to his concerts and events where he could make even more money. That's why it's both surprising and disappointing to find out that Prince is now going to the other extreme and is suing YouTube, eBay and the Pirate Bay for making his works available.

There are quite a few things that are problematic about this lawsuit -- with the first one still being that he's suing the wrong parties. The sites he's suing are all the platforms which others are using for distribution. They're not involved in the content at all, and if he wants to sue, he should be suing those who are uploading his content. However, the much more important issue is how backwards this is and how it goes against nearly every other part of his strategy. Nearly every other part of Prince's strategy had seemed to be focused on the simple idea that the more his music got out there, the more ways there were for him to make money -- whether it be from more people wanting to see him in concert or getting others (sponsors, partners, even fans) to pay him upfront to create his next group of songs so that he doesn't need to worry about monetizing the music after it's been produced. These are strategies that make sense, and actually become even more valuable when his music is being heavily promoted online for free by his biggest fans. This kind of strategy backfires when you try to also maintain strict copyright control. For someone who had been so creative in figuring out new business models that don't require limiting fans via copyright, it's disappointing to see Prince go in the opposite direction -- potentially harming much of the good will he's built up.

In the meantime, it's looking like Trent Reznor may quickly be taking away the baton as a well-known musician who is experimenting with cool new models designed to get more music out there and then providing incentives to make money elsewhere. Reznor is now being quoted as telling fans that they should be downloading his music for free from his own site, rather than wasting money on buying counterfeit CDs.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: copyright, music, prince
Companies: ebay, google, pirate bay, youtube

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Chris, 13 Sep 2007 @ 10:45pm

    what if...

    If I create a super computer to spit out every single combination of notes that any instrument in the world can create and then combine it with every single world in any language spoken, then copyright, trademark, or by other means make it exclusivly avaialble only to my sole person to distribute or market it to anyone else you'd be compleley supportive of me being the only person capable of generating any type of business or revenue off these orignail works of art because I was the first person to file correct? HELL NO! The point you are misssing is that anyone who truely believs in any form of artistic expression will do so even it means living in a gutter for the rest of their lives. No one who truely wnats people to be expossed to their "Creative" abilites is going to prohibit their works from freely being distributed to the masses. Obviously if there is a mechanism in place that will enable the artists or creator to generate some type of profit or revenue to help support their ability to create such works in the first place, they're going to take full well advantage of it. However, to completely dismiss anyone elses logic or reasoning as to why they should be able to obtain such pieces in the first place at not cost is completley devoid of any realm of comprehension as to why people dont want to pay in the first place. Admiraiton, aprreciation, and respsect trump any face vaule that can be recieve in return for the amount of any true artsits work. Anyone else is just a biggot on a soapbox spouting out their crap in hopes that some random moron will pay through the teeth so they can be on the next episode of MTV cribs showing off their 7 cars that rape the environement while their materialistic greed further devolves their ability to produce anything once resmebling anything someone might have given a crap about. All I really have to say is "Imagine" and if you can't comprehend that then odds are you could never see the benefit in freedom of distribution.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.