Prince Sues 22 Fans For $1 Million Each For Posting Bootlegged Concerts Online
So, you know how sometimes you'll post a shaky live-concert video on Facebook of your favorite musician? Well, be careful because you could get in trouble... with Prince. Prince is suing 22 people for $1 million each over sharing bootlegged footage of his performances on Facebook and blogs.
The megastar (whose full name is Prince Rogers Nelson) filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California on Jan. 16 accusing Facebook fans and website owners of “massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.”
Two of the defendants were named—Dan Chodera and Karina Jindrova—who used to run a bootlegging Facebook fansite, according to Consequence of Sound. (The Facebook page has since been taken down.) The other 20, who are described as "Does 1-20," remain unidentified and eight were listed by their online monikers, such as PurpleKissTwo and FunkyExperienceFour.
The lawsuit claims:
Defendants rely on either Google's Blogger platform or Facebook, or both, to accomplish their unlawful activity. Rather than publishing lawful content to their blogs, they typically publish posts that list all the songs performed at a certain Prince live show and then provide a link to a file sharing service where unauthorized copies of the performance can be downloaded.
You got that right. Some of the users just linked to his performances, including a 1983 Chicago concert from WorldofBootleg.blogspot.com.
It looks like Prince is asking for more than just $1 million from each of the accused. The lawsuit, which can be seen in its entirety here, says that the musician also wants from the defendants any profits generated in addition to interest and legal fees. He wants a jury trial, but since so many of the "Does" are anonymous, it doesn't look like he'll likely be getting his wish. If found guilty, the defendants would be banned from “engaging in any further alleged violations of Prince’s rights.”
The Independent reported fans on community fan website Prince.org were upset with his lawsuit:
"Is this a joke? What a black day in Prince history," one user wrote, while another said: "Crazy guy. Not like he needs the money either, he's loaded!"
Prince isn't a stranger to stirring up trouble with fans though. In 2007, he threatened to sue fan sites that were hosting images, photographs, album covers, and lyrics linked to the star, reported the Guardian and TIME. However, he didn't go through with a lawsuit after all the fan backlash.
UPDATE 5:10 p.m.: Well, that was quick. Prince officially dropped his lawsuit against the alleged bootleggers, TMZ reported from legal documents they obtained. Even though the singer dismissed his complaint, it's without prejudice, which means he can file it again if he wants to.