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?