Wednesday 7 November 2007

He Giveth Then He Taketh Away - Prince Sues HIs Fans

One moment he is staging 21 amazing nights of affordable concerts at London's O2Arena, giving away his CD to concertgoers and with copies of the Mail On Sunday.

The next he is threatening to sue his biggest fans for breach of copyright.
His lawyers have forced his three biggest internet fansites to remove all photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to the artist's likeness. A legal letter asks the fansites to provide "substantive details of the means by which you propose to compensate our clients [Paisley Park Entertainment Group, NPG Records and AEG] for damages".
The cease and desist notice went as far as calling for fans to take down pictures of their Prince tatoos and Prince-inspired licence plates.

Now like anybody who was a young person in the eighties, Prince is part of the sountrack of my youth - but this just goes against the grain of the social web.

The new reality of the social web is giving artists and authors headaches galore across the world

What is fair use? What is theft? Should an author's work be digitised forever and ever thus blurring the any boundaries in terms of rights?

Fans on social sites play a massive role in the virus-like word-of-mouth relay of good books and music. In the field of YA fiction where readers are particularly skilled, fans produce videos, music, even countdown counters in honour of their favourite authors.

Here's a countdown widget (right) that a fan created for Scott Westerfeld's new book, Extras.

And here's a YouTube video in homage to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Should authors and artists resist such flashes of inspiration in the name of copyright?

Or would it save time to just shoot one's self in the foot?

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