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Is Prince pushing fans too far with his $22-million lawsuit for copyright infringement?

Prince in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 2000

AFP

Update: TMZ reported late Wednesday that Prince has decided to call off all legal action against the alleged content-nappers.

How far will a 55-year-old pop star take the fight for creative control? When the artist in question is Prince, he's willing to take it to court.

BBC News reports that Prince fans appear split in their reaction to the musician's decision to launch a $22-million legal action against 22 people for posting copies of his live performances online.

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Filed in early January, the lawsuit specifically names the individuals who Prince claims distributed bootleg recordings via Facebook and blog sites.

Prince's bold legal action asserts that the Facebook group, as well as the website WorldOfBootleg.com, featured more than 363 copyright-infringing music file links to performances from his concerts and demands the perpetrators pay up.

The legal action specifically names the blog sites and Facebook profiles where live renditions of eighties-era Prince hits such as Purple Rain and Little Red Corvette could be downloaded, or where links to the songs could be found.

According to the court documents: "The defendants in this case engaged in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince's material."

The lawsuit also requests a permanent injunction to stop the parties named from further violating any copyrighted material.

No question Prince is finicky in regard to protecting his music.

This is the man, remember, who initiated a legal battle with a young mother back in 2007 for uploading a 30-second YouTube video of her baby dancing to his hit Let's Go Crazy – and six years later, that case is still ongoing.

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But will Prince's latest legal action impact his legions of famously supportive supporters? Early signs indicate his devotees are of opposing opinions.

"Doing things like this is making him lose more and more fans," wrote one Prince follower on the popular fan forum Prince.org.

The same forum also elicited feedback from diehard Prince supporters.

Said one fan named Javi: "I don't wish for the infringers to be ruined. But I wish they do get punished enough that this becomes a lesson for others. I appreciate Prince's music and Prince himself enough to be against people who go against his rights as an artist."

Meanwhile, reaction to the Prince lawsuit was more to the point on Twitter.

Like this tweet from @MazMEDEA: "Well, that's one way to Pi$$ off your fan base."

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Or this observation from @mikea71: "Bet the biggest complainers about Prince's lawsuit will STILL be the first to give him money the next show or CD goes on sale."

And in the final analysis, it's likely that Tanasio Loudermill (@ThatOneFunkKid) was prescient with his tweet: "I think we all know how Prince is. While this lawsuit thing is unnecessary and a bit aggravating, he's gonna do what he wants in the end."

Prince recently announced he will headline an upcoming series of London concerts and will release a new album titled PlectrumElectrum later this year.

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