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Prince Targets His Biggest Fans in New Copyright Suit

Prince Targets His Biggest Fans in New Copyright Suit
Image credit: fabhouse73

The question of artistic ownership has long vexed the recording artist Prince -- who once changed his name to an unpronounceable ‘Love Symbol’ as a result of trademark disputes with his record label.

Now, the notoriously litigious star is taking aim at a rather unexpected group of defendants in a copyright suit filed last week: his own fans.

Prince is demanding $1 million each from 22 different website owners and Facebook users whom he alleges have shared bootleg footage of his concerts.

While only two defendants were referenced by name, others were mentioned in court papers by the names of their blogs. With titles like PurpleHouse2 and PurpleKissTwo, it is likely that some of the defendants -- who allegedly shared live concert footage that in some cases dates back to 1983 -- are among the artist’s biggest fans.

This isn’t Prince’s first attempt at clamping down on the online piracy of his works. In 2007, the singer unsuccessfully threatened legal action against YouTube, eBay and torrent sharing site The Pirate Bay for copyright violations. This time, however, he has bypassed the sites to target the bloggers and social media users themselves.

Related: Legal Basics: What You Need to Know About the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Geoff Weiss is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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