Prince's career has been frought with erratic zigs and zags, but over the last few years, it has also taken on the whiff of blatant hypocrisy. Prince's production company just sued (another) fan,
- the operator of an Internet site that allegedly offered pirated recordings of the rock star's live performances from his "Xenophobia" concert series in June.
Paisley Park Enterprises, based in Chanhassen, Minn., filed the copyright-infringement lawsuit in federal court Wednesday.
Prince names Matthew Lankford of Seattle, operator of http://FreeMyHeart.com -- a Web site devoted to singer Me'Shell Ndegeocello.
The lawsuit alleges that Lankford broke federal copyright laws by allowing Web users to download Prince songs that included "specific information describing which day the unauthorized recording of the 'Xenophobia' concert took place."
Lankford denied violating the copyrights and said he doesn't think he's done anything illegal.
"What he's claiming is that I put up files on my Web site. What happened is I put up links to other Web sites that had files on them," he said Friday.
Lankford said there's no mention of Prince on the Web site now and there won't be any in the future.
"One of my favorite artists is coming after me for promoting him on my Web site," Lankford said. "For him to seek $150,000 per song to try to ruin me for doing nothing more than promoting him is ... overdoing it."
Besides "overdoing it," the suit is in flagrant opposition to Prince's own writing on the subject of P2P (please forgive the Prince-speak):
- What is 4 sure, however, is that, in spite of its many claims 2 the contrary, the recording industry has yet 2 provide evidence that P2P is actually detrimental 2 music making as an artistic endeavor, and even as a commercial venture. It is worth remembering, 4 xample, that sales of music CDs actually increased when Napster was at its peak, and declined after Napster was abruptly shut down. Even economists who thought that file sharing "should b" hurting the recording industry r now xpressing their doubts, based on what they say is simply not happening.
More importantly, many well-respected artists have sided with Internet users against corporate greed and actually use the Internet 2 promote alternative ways 2 distribute their music and reach out 2 a non-captive, legitimate audience of authentic music lovers.
This does not mean, of course, that all 4ms of file sharing r equally innocuous. There is little doubt that, when people use the Internet as a substitute 4 radio, i.e. as a way 2 discover new music, it can help promote the work of artists. But when a young junior high school student downloads tracks off the Internet and makes CD-R copies of them that he then sells 4 $5 in the schoolyard, it hurts sales of the original CD and it's disrespectful of the artist - regardless of how small a cut of the actual CD price the artist actually gets after all the xecutives and the middlemen in the recording industry have taken their piece of the pie.