Lawyers for Prince have ordered several of the superstar’s biggest fan sites to remove any image that bears his likeness, prompting fans to form a group to fight the demands.
Three websites, housequake.com, princefams.com and prince.org have come together to form ’Prince Fans United’ in response to the situation, which even sees demands to remove images of fans’ own tattoos.
In a statement on princefansunited.com, the websites’ owners believe that it is an infringement of their right to freedom of speech.
“It is our opinion that these threats are not made in an attempt to enforce valid copyright asPrince alleges in his threats, rather we believe they are attempts to stifle all critical commentary about Prince,” they say. “We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of the freedom of speech and should not be allowed. Prince claims that fansites are not allowed to present any artwork with Prince’s likeness, to the extreme that he has demanded removal of fans’ own photographs of their Prince-inspired tattoos and their vehicles displaying Prince-inspired license plates.”
It goes on to say: “The law clearly provides for displaying of images of a celebrity’s likeness for newsworthy events or matters that are considered to be public interest. All three websites feel that the photographs and/or likeness displayed on their websites clearly fall within the public interest category. Additionally, the use of photographs is legal based on the fair use doctrine, i.e. the displaying of album cover art, or the collage headers created by website members using a variety of different photographs.”
–By our New York staff.