U.S. pop star Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major Web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to “reclaim his art on the Internet.”
The man behind hit songs “Purple Rain,” “1999” and “When Doves Cry” said on Thursday that YouTube could not argue it had no control over which videos users posted on its site.
“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success,” a statement released on his behalf said.
YouTube responded by saying it was working with artists to help them manage their music on the site.
“Most content owners understand that we respect copyrights, we work every day to help them manage their content, and we are developing state-of-the-art tools to let them do that even better,” said YouTube chief counsel Zahavah Levine.
“We have great partnerships with major music labels all over the world that understand the benefit of using YouTube as another way to communicate with their fans.”
In addition to YouTube, Prince plans legal action against online auctioneer eBay and Pirate Bay, a site accused by Hollywood and the music industry as being a major source of music and film piracy.
The legal action is the latest bid by the music industry to wrest back control over content in an age where file sharing, mobile phones and video sites make enforcing copyright increasingly difficult.
But it is believed to be rare for an individual artist of Prince’s stature to take on popular Web sites, while some up-and-coming performers actually encourage online file sharing to create a fan base and buzz around a record.