Skip

Prince is an angry, angry man
June 28, 2008 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Fifty Norwegian artists (including the national symphony orchestra KORK), who recorded Prince covers in honor of his 50th birthday June 7, have been slapped with a lawsuit by the short-tempered star. For now, all 81 songs can be previewed free on C+C Records' website, and some are also available on MySpace in streamable medley form. Source.
posted by astruc (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The artist formerly known as tolerable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:21 AM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on, Prince. Do you have any respect for the very medium that you work in?
posted by LSK at 11:24 AM on June 28, 2008


Prince is 50? Holy crap that makes me feel old.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2008


Prince seems like sort of a dick.
posted by jquinby at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2008


i sometimes want to like prince, but he's just such a little bitch in his tiny little bubble of a life.

*sigh*

at least he's not michael jackson
posted by es_de_bah at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well that's pretty crappy of him

Purple Rain turns into Chocolate Rain.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2008


what a c*nt
posted by A189Nut at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2008


And before anyone else wastes precious time trying to figure out if they actually broke any rules, here's a statement from the producer.
posted by effbot at 11:51 AM on June 28, 2008




Prince is 50? Holy crap that makes me feel old.

Yes. This.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:53 AM on June 28, 2008


If you listen to only one of the covers, check out Kiss by Sverre Indris Joner & La Dscarga featuring Pepe Espinosa (second to last on the list). I can't decide if I love it or if it's completely awful. Some of them are sort of inadvertently hilarious.
posted by astruc at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2008


I would sue too. How unbelievably stupid not to seek permission or think that license fees were only related to profit margins. He's suing so that he doesn't set a precedent of giving the appearance of condoning infringement of his rights. He may or may not be a less than sterling character, but he was given no option here.
posted by peacay at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Circular 73” from the U.S. Copyright Office, on a PDF file, here.

The "Compulsory License" allows sales of covers of any song in the US, but not streaming.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2008




oops, here.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:57 AM on June 28, 2008


StickyCarpet -- you mean here? ; )
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on June 28, 2008


WTF? html error? here is www.copyright.gov/circs/circ73.pdf

(the Metafilter interface apparently doesn't like leaving out the www.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:59 AM on June 28, 2008


this is so, so Prince. I knew a guy whose best buddy played guitar for Prince for a while. they all had to live near Prince and had beepers. Whenever Prince had an idea, he'd page them and if they didn't show up, they'd be fired. This meant like 4 AM calls to his studio fairly regularly.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:00 PM on June 28, 2008


Peacay, yeah - this is part of why Copyright law is so confusing to some. See, you don't actually have to get the original artist's permission to record a cover version of a song. There is a system of compulsory licensing, since it usually is too cumbersome/expensive/involves too many lawyers/ to bother policing a system whereby every artist has to obtain permission from other artists to play their music/record their own take on a song. The cover artist still has to pay royalties on every copy of every song they sell, but that's the beauty/tradeoff inherent in compulsory licensing. There is no bad precedent being set here, since the predecent was set a long long time ago, and there is nothing Prince can do about it anyway even if he wanted to. As the guy who put this together said on one of those links, Norway participates in a compulsory licensing system that automatically pays into an account for Prince (or rather, Prince's label, or whomever owns the royalty rights to these songs). In fact, that's prolly what's got Prince's panties in a twist, since most of his back catalog doesn't belong to him anymore, thus the name change and all that...big time dispute with his label going back many years. Sucks for him that he didn't have a better lawyer when he was coming up.,,

On preview, what Stickycarpet said.
posted by piedrasyluz at 12:05 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


k.. I've read the producer's bit. I think this Fpp generally sucks. It's all based on a bit too much hearsay and "fuck the power, steal!!".
posted by peacay at 12:06 PM on June 28, 2008


...I withdraw that last phrase... sorry, v. early here.
posted by peacay at 12:12 PM on June 28, 2008


I agree that there is definitely a lot of the "let's steal!" attitude out there in internets land, and in Scandinavia due to the PirateBay, but the history of recorded music is replete with compromises made between artists, record labels, and fans - it goes all the way back to the days of the piano roll players and sheet music. Used to be the only way a piano player could make money was by learning the new hot tunes out there, and before the days of the phonograph, well, you had to buy sheet music, or learn the tune by listening to someone else play it. The whole point of sheet music was to get your tune out there so that a larger audience could hear it. If it was an original composition, and you didn't publish sheet music for it, the only people that could hear it would be the audience you played it for every night in the saloon. So along came mass-produced sheet music. But some artists wanted their tunes played only by particular artists, and not by others....I dunno. The thing is, it's nice to get the author's permission and all, because the stamp of approval from the person you are trying to praise/imitate is nice and all, but artists can be a prickly bunch. In the realm of the visual arts, if you wanted to learn to become a painter, all you did was make copies of the great masters. In classical music, all you do for years and years and years is learn to play the greats. Playing a cover song in pop music is very similar to that process - you listen to what pleases you, you attempt to mimic it, and then you put your own twist on it. Eventually you develop your own style, and put out truly original stuff.

I just think Prince has had a particularly bad time of it with his former record labels, and that is why he is so touchy. And you are right, too much hearsay - we don't even know if it is Prince himself that is behind all the litigiousness, it's likely his old label....
posted by piedrasyluz at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I quite like what i heard of the Fitts for Fight remix of When Doves Cry. Someone find me a place to download the full MP3 from, thanks.
posted by empath at 12:37 PM on June 28, 2008


The "Compulsory License" allows sales of covers of any song in the US, but not streaming.

On second thought, it may not be quite as straightforward as that, because radio airplay is allowed, and simulcasts streaming radio broadcasts are somewhere on the allowed side of a gray area.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2008


...we don't even know if it is Prince himself that is behind all the litigiousness, it's likely his old label....

You can bet that companies like Primary Wave Music Publishing would pursue legal remedy in cases where they were getting stiffed. Primary Wave has bought part of, and in some cases, the entire catalogs of songwriters (and original copyright holders) such as Gregg Allman, Hall & Oates, Kurt Cobain, Steve Earle, Quincy D. Jones, Henry Mancini, Steven Tyler, among others.
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on June 28, 2008


It's right there in the DMCA. The penalty for copyright infringement is getting your ankles nipped by a preening Jehovah's Witness guinea fowl
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:03 PM on June 28, 2008


jeeze...

I have been continuously losing respect for prince since he started talking all this music copyright mumbo jumbo. What about prince covering Radioheads "creep" at coachella? (link) When he had the videos removed from youtube for a song HE covered without asking Radiohead permission.

hypocrite.
posted by noriyori at 1:06 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Prince doesn't understand that he cannot have a giraffe at 3 in the morning.
posted by basicchannel at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


k.. I've read the producer's bit. I think this Fpp generally sucks. It's all based on a bit too much hearsay and "fuck the power, steal!!".

I posted it because I thought the music was interesting. I'm kind of surprised only one person's actually listened to it.
posted by astruc at 1:49 PM on June 28, 2008


I posted it because I thought the music was interesting

-Prince is an angry, angry man
-
posted by peacay at 1:56 PM on June 28, 2008


I didn't really give a lot of thought to that title. I was actually casting about for a song lyric to post there, but with his eagerness to employ his attorneys, I refrained.

But thanks, peacay!
posted by astruc at 2:50 PM on June 28, 2008


Clearly, attorneys representing corporate entities are doing the suing. It's too early in the demise of the (formerly) traditional music copyright industry model. [The term "music industry" has always been more than a little misleading seeing as the money has been in publishing for almost half a century.] These things will happen.

Speaking from a business perspective, Prince was a corporate-represented and ultimately owned brand artist. The dying beast that is the once-mighty and well-fed music copyright industry is simply seeking out any source of financial influx (nutrient stream) to which it can lay claim.

Prince, Michael Jackson, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Led Zepplin, et al. To be certain, copyright-related income from any mainstream artist of any genre pre-'00 is going to be fiercely guarded and defended like a mother's teat.

We are talking music copyright industry lawyers here. What's really going to be ugly is when they begin turning on one another in earnest. That's when things are going to get ugly in music copyright land.

This is like being a traveler from a really cool future watching dinosaurs from the past becoming extinct and fighting for scraps. In the end, I still have the Mp3s.
posted by humannaire at 3:08 PM on June 28, 2008


It's this kind of assholish behavior that made it necessary us to have a Fresh Prince.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:20 PM on June 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


In the past couple of weeks, we have removed about 2,000 infringing clips from YouTube," Giacobbi said. "We get them down and the next day, there are 100 or 200 more. Their business model is built on making money off other people's creative work."

This is the plain simple truth. Youtube makes tons of money from content people put up and pay nothing to the content providers. If YouTube would pay a royalty to EVERYONE whose original content drags users to their site, there would be lots more original conent.
posted by three blind mice at 3:28 PM on June 28, 2008


short-tempered

a ha ha ha ha ha! Miss ya, Ms. Astruc! Hope yer well!
posted by mwhybark at 3:47 PM on June 28, 2008


AIf YouTube would pay a royalty to EVERYONE whose original content drags users to their site, there would be lots more original conent.

And then everyone who makes money for their fifteen minute-to-lifetime of fame and fortune can pay YT a royalty back.

What a great way to undo all the advances we have made in the way of copyrighting and artistic freedom as a result of the internets!

[Calls artist/record label/movie studio attorneys to spread good news]
posted by humannaire at 3:50 PM on June 28, 2008


If YouTube would pay a royalty to EVERYONE whose original content drags users to their site, there would be lots more original conent.

Oh, screw it. I suck at sarcasm. This is not an idea, it's missing the point and advantage of YouTube—as well as the problems and disadvantages of the former content copyright model—in the first place.
posted by humannaire at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2008


short-tempered star.

short, tempered star.

FTFY.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:04 PM on June 28, 2008


remember when people used to muse about
the battle of Prince and The King of Pop?

well, Prince may be a copyright c*nt but let's
face it, when you look at Michael Jackson and
you look at him, you know immediately
who won.
posted by liza at 7:31 PM on June 28, 2008


I miss the Prince who got half naked and humped the stage.
posted by Riverine at 9:08 PM on June 28, 2008


The recordings took place in Norway. The label is based in Norway, and the sales are through a Norwegian web site that I presume is hosted in Norway, in Norwegian krone. The article doesn't specify, but I assume Prince will have to sue this lot in Norway. So while the USA's compulsory licensing scheme for covers is nice and all, what are the rules in Norway? Where is the suit happening? Anyone know?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:36 AM on June 29, 2008


So while the USA's compulsory licensing scheme for covers is nice and all, what are the rules in Norway?

Basically the same, from what I can tell. You can cover any published song, as long as you pay for it and don't make significant changes to the published material. Scandinavia isn't exactly a backwater when it comes to music business ;-)

Where is the suit happening? Anyone know?

There's no suit, from what I can tell. Just an empty threat from the publisher's US office, and the usual fan/zealot peanut gallery echo chamber that's blown everything out of proportion.

Quoting the producer, again:

"I hope everything will turn out fine. I still haven't heard anything from the publishers since June 10th. And I still haven't heard anything from Prince or his management. I'm quite sure that when (of if) he hears the cd's, or know what kind of people and artists who's behind this, we'll have a peaceful end to this.. I'm quite irritated because of the way media twists this case into a personal issue, where Prince AGAIN has to take the blame. So far I've heard from the publishers and no-one else. I assume they have been told to stop all unauthorized Prince-related material, and I'm quite sure that Prince, himself, has not been involved. It's not a crime trying to protect the songs he has written. We should give him some respect for trying to stand up against something that will certainly be the death of commercial music. Piracy kills music, and that's where the war has to be fought, and Prince does a brilliant job there. But attacking your own fans and fellow musical colleagues will only destroy more."
posted by effbot at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2008


How a prince became a frog
posted by A189Nut at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2008


« Older Vidovdan   |   I've Been Saying That Shit For years Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post