Prince Quickly Drops $22 Million Lawsuit Against Bootlegging Fans…

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Last week, Prince sued fans and bootleggers for uploading and distributing bootlegged concerts.   The Artist was seeking $22 million, $1 million from each of the 22 people he sued.

Well, now Prince has dropped the lawsuit less than two weeks after filing it.

Prince’s lawyer gave this statement to TMZ:

“Because of the recent pressure, the bootleggers have now taken down the illegal downloads and are no longer engaging in piracy… 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.”


12 Responses

  1. Adam

    Prince is a deuche. He gave an albums way free in a really shitty “newspaper” but he sues everyone and issues instant takedowns for stuff on YouTube that nobody can even buy. Clueless idiot that guy has become. Sad. I liked him better when he wore that purple suit and rode that cheesy purple motorcycle.

  2. FarePlay

    Apparently, Prince got what he wanted. Sent some fear into the lives of people he felt abused his work, had his work taken down, and withdrew the lawsuit with the caveat that he can reinstate the lawsuit if they re-post. I’d call that a take down notice with consequences; something we have been missing all along.

    Clueless? I think not.

    • GGG

      Bootlegged shows is an interesting topic.

      On the one, bigger hand, Prince and team explicitly (I’m assuming) forbid taping and distributing of shows, so they have every right to bring the hammer down if they want. So yes, that can be end of story right here.

      BUT, if you get upset about people sharing (not even selling) non-professionally taped live shows, release some damn shows. Your own stupidity and/or stubborness is leaving money on the table. That lawyer’s statement is fine except I can’t find anywhere to buy live Prince stuff. It’s not like people who download these shows are doing so in lieu of buying something. They can still buy official records. And it’s not like anyone will say “well, I have this kinda shitty recording from Prince in 1986, so I don’t need to go to his show anymore.” From my 30 seconds of research, Prince has 2 official live releases, from post 2000, not even his prime. And this isn’t some guy whose mediocre talent is hidden by crazy visuals so he’d be afraid to release live shit. He’s a phenomenal musician that translates to tape extremely well, and puts on incredible shows. To me, this, and instances like it, are closer to fans saying “here, take my money! Oh, you won’t release stuff…ok….” than it is to malicious piracy.

      Dave Matthews Band allows taping and almost every single show is. And they still sell into 6 figures for live shows, 50+ official releases later.

      • Yves Villeneuve

        Maybe he only wants professional recordings in the hands of his fans. He can’t make money from bootlegs and if there are too many out there it will be harder for him to sell his professional live tapings. i.e. over-saturated market and people will say bootlegs are better than professional product.

        • GGG

          That’s what I’m saying, put out professionally recorded live shows, it’s obviously in demand. I’ve never talked to anyone about Prince without the discussion going to how good he is live. His fans would buy live releases. And as DMB, Phish, Pearl Jam, etc have proven, you can still sell well mixed/mastered live recordings no matter how prevalent bootlegs are. Mainly because they will never sound as good as a full mix.

          • FarePlay

            GGG, I think you’re missing the point. You are making an argument based on what you believe are best practices from a marketing perspective. Prince is simply trying to control what he considers to be his work.

            Wouldn’t you agree it is the choice of the creator to decide what happens with their work? And isn’t that at the core of the piracy debate?

          • GGG

            No, I’m not, hence why I said this whole thing: “On the one, bigger hand, Prince and team explicitly (I’m assuming) forbid taping and distributing of shows, so they have every right to bring the hammer down if they want. So yes, that can be end of story right here.”

            My thing is I’ve grown up listening to artists, including your man Springsteen, who have had their shows readily bootlegged, legally or not, and it hasn’t hurt their careers at all. Prior to about ten years ago it would make sense to sue since people did actually profit off them by selling them at indie record shops. But nowadays nobody profits off bootlegs (unless there’s some suckers out there). Plus, you could just officially release a show (and have more reason to sue) but a lot of those people would still buy it. Tapers have great gear, but even tapes of bands that allow it aren’t as good as a mixed soundboard recording. So I can’t even imagine how crummy Prince bootlegs are.

            So yes, I do agree it’s his choice, but I also think it’s silly to react this way about something that isn’t legally available anywhere, probably isn’t great quality, is done out of love for the music/show, etc. A better reaction would have been to release a better copy of one of the more DLed shows. Then it becomes a real reason to sue if people keep trading the bootleg or official release. Kill two birds with one stone; make money and stop the practice you don’t like.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Having professional live recordings might cannibilize sales of studio recordings, which are more likely to receive higher sales/shipment certification i.e. Gold, Platinum, Diamond. Hearing a live recording doesn’t make me want to buy the studio version… I assume it’s the same for the average music consumer who heard the live version first. Offering every product under the Sun does not necessarily optimize revenues and profits… Marketing 101. It’s not black and white the way you explain it.

          • GGG

            Who cares if they cannibalize? You’re not losing money, you’re making the same exact amount. Not to mention, at this point, if anything, sales of Purple Rain or something would go up if a great 1980s recording with those songs was released. Not because live releases normally entice people to buy studio albums (they might, I don’t really know) but most people who buy the show will already have that album, so any Price newcomers might be enticed to delve into him if they hear the live show. The worst case scenario of this is Prince makes money.

    • Anonymous

      He’s been able to “send a message” to whoever was named in the suit. Unfortunately, it did nothing to reduce the availability of the property in question. In fact, it’s probably led to more people searching for, and downloading it. But of course, it’s his music and he has the right to try and control it.