Prince, the world’s biggest Prince fan, has a reputation for maintaining a tyrannical hold over his music, even going so far as to sue his own devotees for using his songs and likenesses in their worshipful websites, and also take them away from toddlers. Now he’s out to extend that imperial control even further, saying during an interview on George Lopez’s Lopez Tonight that he’d like to see the laws changed to ensure that no one can cover one of his songs. Remarking on the compulsory licensing of copyright that allows artists to rework other artists’ hits, Prince said, “That doesn't exist in any other art form, be it books, movies. There's only one version of Law And Order. There's several versions of 'Kiss' and 'Purple Rain'."
Of course, there are a few things about this to disagree with: 1) Compulsory licensing does exist in other media, such as in cable television. 2) There are dozens of versions of Law And Order, and likely there will be at least one or two more by the time you finish reading this sentence. 3) Prince covers other people’s songs all the time, whether it be his version of Radiohead’s “Creep” that briefly pissed off Thom Yorke, or that Super Bowl performance of Foo Fighters’ “Best Of You”—which came only after he’d blasted Foo Fighters for covering his own “Darling Nikki” and told them to “write their own tunes.” Yet on the other hand, for all his queeny selfishness, Prince is still Prince, and thus eternally fucking awesome. And if his crusade ensures we’ll never hear anything like this Limp Bizkit version of “1999” again, hey, more power to him.
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