Our purple friend is at it again. This time, his sights are set on Norway’s C+C Records, who organized a tribute box set made up of 50 artists doing covers of Prince tunes. Tip # 1, C+C Records: next time, don’t contact Prince’s people to try to send him a free copy. Odds are he won’t say “Thanks.”….
In a rare defense of the purple one, how wise is it really to put together a box set of Prince tunes without making any legal arrangements at all? Even if you are giving it away for free?
Eliot at Wired’s Listening Post blog has the story:
Fifty artists who recorded Prince covers in honor of his purpleness’s 50th birthday on June 7 have been slapped with a lawsuit by the short-tempered star, whose lawyers demand that all copies of the tribute, which had reached number eight on Norway’s album charts and received several popular reviews by the Norwegian press, be destroyed.
It’s perfectly legal to record and sell cover songs of someone else’s material, so long as you pay the compulsory licensing fee of about ten cents per song. To sell their five-disc set of 81 Prince cover songs, they would have to remit around $8 per unit sold to Prince under a compulsory mechanical license.
However, Norway’s C+C Records distributed 5,000 of the box sets for free earlier this month, and claim that no one made any money from the giveaway. As a result, they didn’t think they owed Prince anything except maybe a free copy.
C+C Records owner and Prince fan Christer Falck contacted the purple one’s people to try to send one to Prince, and that’s when the trouble began [bold text by Ickmusic], according to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (now offline, via Daily Swarm), one of many publications to post positive reviews of the collection.
When this giveaway first began, there were 5,000 copies of this compilation in circulation. Thanks to Prince’s lawsuit and the publicity it will generate, we expect that number to balloon significantly in the coming weeks.