Pop icon Prince is stirring controversy again — this time, going after fans for posting alleged bootlegged copies of his performances online.
Under his full name, Prince Rogers Nelson, the “Controversy” singer filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of California on Jan. 16 against 22 individuals for $1 million each — for a total of $22 million.
“The Defendants in this case engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material,” the lawsuit, obtained by ABC News, reads.
The lawsuit lists two people by name, Dan Chodera and Karina Jindrova. According to the court papers, Chodera and Jindrova operated a Facebook page, kristynafanpage, with numerous videos of Prince performances, including “Let’s Go Crazy.”
According to court documents, Prince sent “take down” notices to Facebook and Facebook complied, but Chodera and Jindrova objected to having the material removed.
To avoid Facebook reinstating the content, Prince filed his lawsuit. But efforts to serve Chodera in France and Jindrova in the Czech Republic have so far been unsuccessful, the lawsuit said.
Reached by email for a comment, Chodera and Jindrova responded with “We love Prince!”
The other 20 defendants are listed by their online user names, including “TheUltimateBootlegExperience.”
Some of the names are Prince related — “PurpleHouse2,” “PurpleKissTwo” — suggesting that they may be longtime fans of the superstar.
“Defendants rely on either Google’s Blogger platform or Facebook, or both, to accomplish their unlawful activity,” the court papers claim. “Rather than publishing lawful content to their blogs, they typically publish posts that list all the songs performed at a certain Prince live show and then provide a link to a file sharing service where unauthorized copies of the performance can be downloaded.”
According to the suit, some of the material dates back to a 1983 concert but most of it is recent. Prince’s lawyer claims that there were 363 illicit links on one website alone.
Prince is no stranger to fighting piracy. In 2007, he went after fan sites that posted copyrighted images of the singer but did not file a lawsuit. The same year, he unsuccessfully sued file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.