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Prince’s label says video of fans singing 'Purple Rain' is copyright infringement

“This is very disturbing"

  • Harrison Williams
  • 27 July 2018
Prince’s label says video of fans singing 'Purple Rain' is copyright infringement

Universal Music, the record label that owns rights to Prince's 'Purple Rain', has issued a copyright infringement lawsuit against a reporter who filmed a crowd of people singing the iconic track after the legendary artist died in 2016.

When Prince passed away in April of 2016 at the age of 57, thousands took to the streets to grieve together and mourn the death of the beloved musician. This resulted in many singing a selection from Prince's catalogue of noteworthy and influential tracks. In Minneapolis specifically, the crowd erupted in a chorus on 'Purple Rain'. Naturally the spectacle was filmed.

While there is likely a plethora of videos of this specific moment, Universal Music has singled out Star Tribune reporter Aaron Lavinsky with a lawsuit, claiming that the footage violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

According to City Pages, this law specifically allows “intellectual property owners who believe their copyright is being infringed to file a takedown notice with an internet service provider or a website hosting the content. If the ISP or site immediately removes the content, they can’t be sued.” As a result, Twitter has removed Lavinsky’s original post to avoid being targeted.

After being issued the lawsuit Lavinsky responded on Twitter to express his concern: “This is very disturbing: Universal Music filed a DCMA takedown on a video I shot of thousands of Prince fans singing Purple Rain the night of his death. This was clearly fair use and UMPG and Twitter are in the wrong.”

If Lavinsky chooses to fight the copyright law, he can claim the content constitutes “fair use”. Viral videos have been known to win cases like this in the past, but it is unclear whether Lavinsky will choose to take action.

Read Lavinsky's Tweet below.

In other Prince related news, Jay-Z is producing the next Prince album featuring never before heard material that will apparently be released on the artist's 60th birthday. Also, another copy of Prince's rarest and most expensive album of all time was found and is to be believed as the only Canadian copy. Listen to a previously unheard version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' here.

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