If it feels like just yesterday that Prince was suing his fans for illegally uploading videos of his concerts to YouTube, that’s because it was.
The Purple One filed suit against 22 blogger who were part of a network of fans who used their blogs and Facebook pages to distribute bootleg recordings from Prince concerts, as first reported on Torrent Freak. The suit sought damages of $1 million from each of the defendants.
Now comes news that Prince has decided to drop the lawsuit. According to TMZ who obtained legal documents filed in federal court in California to dismiss his lawsuit, Prince’s legal team is looking to dismiss the case, but without prejudice — meaning that he could refile the suit later.
“We recognize the fans craving for as much material as possible, but we’d prefer they get it from us directly than from third parties who are scalpers rather than real fans of our work,” his legal team told TMZ.
Prince has always held a tight leash on his online presence. Anyone who has been lucky enough to attend a Prince concert recently can tell you that he has no qualms about throwing fans out for daring to snap a photo during his set, let alone take a video. The lawsuit, filed and dropped, seems like another extension of Prince’s firm hold over his own intellectual property.
While many artists have learned to live with YouTube by teaming up with Vevo or similar services that allow them to earn royalties while giving fans access to their bodies of work, the Purple One has made it nearly impossible to find his songs on the video site. As soon as someone posts a video, his team — like Liam Neeson in Taken — have been quick to hunt down the copyright infringing work and snuff it out. While fans may find the practice irksome, it’s his prerogative to go his own way. Plus, he usually wins. To wit, as his legal team told TMZ: “Because of the recent pressure, the bootleggers have now taken down the illegal downloads and are no longer engaging in piracy.”
The lawsuit seems like just another reminder to the world that Prince is omniscient and omnipresent. He could sue you for copyright infringement if he wanted to, but he is a benevolent ruler of his Prince-dom, so he won’t. Yet.