The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince reveals himself to be Currently Known As Humourless Choob

Fresh from his campaign to sue his fans (way to go on the marketing front, Your Purpleness), the Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince has decided to have a go at b3ta.com.

The British user-generated-content site (woo, feel the Web 2.0) is a sometimes hilarious source of puerile humour and, in this vein, ran a competition for users to submit amusing images of said light entertainer (and that’s all Prince is by the way, despite what his ego tells him).

Cue much mockery (some of it in less than delicate taste). But then the following message appeared on the b3ta homepage:

Under threat of legal action from Princes legal team of “potential closure of your web site” – We have removed the Prince image challenge and B3ta apologises unreservedly to AEG / NPG and Prince for any offence caused. We also ask our members to avoid photoshoping Prince and posting them on our boards.

Two things strike me about this ridiculous situation:

1) Surely a bunch of cheeky images on a daft website are too petty to be worried about by a big star like Prince (though he is just a light entertainer, remember).

2) Is there a not an issue of freedom of speech here? I understand that TAFKATAFKAP wants to protect his copyright but how exactly is that harmed by images of him being caricatured? It’s not as if b3ta was trying to pass these images off as genuine Prince merchandise. In what way was the Purple One been materially damaged by this?

Knowing b3ta, I understand that there might have been some images that were particularly offensive. But then why not just have these removed rather than getting the whole competition stopped?

Prince is concerned about protecting his image online but actions like these on his behalf simply make him look ridiculous, which I suppose doesn’t matter because he is, after all, only a light entertainer.

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