back to article B3ta served DMCA notice for Photoshop Prince challenge

Lawyers acting on behalf of Prince have sent out a flurry of US copyright infringement notifications to individual members of a popular UK website which encourages its community to create satirical images of well-known stars. A number of users of have been slapped with DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) …


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  1. Dabooka Silver badge


    What a tosser; this is going to be a running joke now on B3TA rather than waiting an extra day for the comp to finish and it will have been forgotten about.

    Seems he believes all that bullshit, and do the muppets at "Websheriff" do; check out their site! It beggers belief how far up their own arse they are!

  2. Matt Kemp

    New image challenge

    Photoshop Websherriff so far up an 'unidentifiable' arse as possible.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good grief

    So US lawyers are threatening British citizens with a law that doesn't apply to them?

    All this proves is that as well as making crap music (I think opinions are still legal?), Prince has no sense of humour either.

  4. Alan Foster


    Please don't give oxygen to the obviously (rightly) media starved!

  5. Haku

    Taking the piss

    If one short-arsed, ego-bruised American can weild the power to stop people taking the piss out him IN OTHER COUNTRIES, where will this madness stop?

    Radio & tv shows have been taking the piss out of politicians, pop-stars, celebrities and the general public for decades, so why can't we?

    I haven't received any takedown notices yet, so...

  6. Jach

    Have I learned wrong?

    I thought you couldn't be sued for copyright infringement if it's satire. Hence MadTV/Saturday Night Live getting away with all sorts of stuff.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    dmca not in uk

    If a UK citizen is sued in a US can't they just ignore it after all they are just a rebel. colony . So GWB when he visits next should be tried as a traitor for witch the death penalty was never revoked .some in US may like that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's not prince....

    I am not afraid of Prince's lawers (much) so I will host a picture of

  9. system


    Although U.K courts may not make allowance for parody, U.S courts do.

    They allow for parody as fair use, but not satire. Considering the talk is of potential prosecution in the U.S, U.S law would apply.

    For case history, you can probably use

    If the work is a parody, transformative and none commercial, chances are it'll be found to be fair use.

  10. lglethal Silver badge

    And Freedom of Expression takes another hit...

    Deplorable situation. The Right to Freedom of Expression gets flushed down the crapper once again... Just a few more examples of it being trampled over

    1 - those stupid bloody muslim cartoons

    2 - the pope's reciting of a 14th century king saying islam is evil.

    3 - the Romanian parliament passing a law making it illegal for journalists to release video of Romanian politicians taking bribes

    4 - Murder of russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya

    5 - The 2 cartoonists fined for parading the crown prince of spain this week

    6 - Numerous murders, imprisonment and torture of journalists and bloggers worldwide

    When will someone in power finally stand up for this right, which took so long for us to obtain in the first place! :(

  11. dave


    Spitting Image, all the political cartoons (which enjoy a long and colourful history), sundry impressionists - are they all to fall by the wayside, trampled beneath the hooves of litigation and celebrity?

    Where next for humour?

    "q: What did a human say to another human?

    a: <answer removed for legal reasons>"

  12. yeah, right.


    If it's a valid parody, then the DMCA has clauses that allow a counter-suit for filing a false take-down request. Personally, hope this tosser gets burned really badly on this particular campaign of his. Maybe give others pause? HAH! Yeah, right.

  13. Daniel B.

    The solution is easy...

    Set up a server in Antigua. Then host there your photoshopped Prince contest ... and when the DMCA sends its take-down notice ... give 'em the finger. Added bonus: make it impossible to get user's information, so even individual users can't get sued. ;)

  14. Someone

    A good roasting

    Someone gave me their free Prince CD from the Mail on Sunday. Mistakenly, they thought I was hip and groovy, and would appreciate such a thing. I finally know what to do with it. I can ceremonially burn it.

    Why Web Sheriff? I heard on the news that, after Norway, the UK’s officially the most expensive place to get anything done. Trawling the Internet for infringing content and firing off all those aggressive letters and emails must take a lot of time. The Internet is, after all, a fairly big place. Not only is Prince ensuring he gets no future income, he’s going to be bankrupted by Web Sheriff invoices. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible to look for an outfit in Mumbai?

  15. Simon Harvey

    Satire/Parody - something that the Yanks (and Websheriff) don't understand?

    am not a lawyer so don't trust me - yadayadayada

    Did a quick google and found this question on MeFI - If you can argue that b3ta is a work of parody then you're protected from these fsckwits under US law:

    To be considered parody, the work must "reasonably be perceived as commenting on the original or criticizing it, to some degree" (U.S. Supreme Court, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music -

    Criticising Prince, of course, should be enshrined in law as a human right anyway.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    The artist currently known as P****

    I was a teenager in the 80s and we really liked Prince. His work was new; It was fresh and it pushed boundaries. I positively acknowledged his recent CD give-away.

    Now he's started bullying people by filing PR/CK and T055er forms outside of any country where they're legal all my respect for him has gone. I wouldn't even take his CD if you gave it to me now.

    Sad... very sad... Pass me my coat please.

  17. Jón Frímann Jónsson

    Someone sue Price

    I recommend that someone, EFF or someone with enough power of for just being fed up with Price so him for abusing the DMCA law and other copyright law. In in the case he gets sued, I hope he gets 100.000 years worth of jail time. He should give him a plenty of time to think about his own stupidity.

  18. ryan

    To sum up...

    Did I follow this right?

    Laywers are using a US law to attack a UK website for doing something that might be illegle in the UK but is likely legal in the US?

    It makes ones head spin.

  19. system

    RE: counter-suit

    "If it's a valid parody, then the DMCA has clauses that allow a counter-suit for filing a false take-down request."

    The problem is that it has to be done knowingly. I doubt Web Sheriff knows the first thing about copyright law, or fair use exemptions in particular, so you may have problems proving knowledge that the claim was false :-P

  20. Nordrick Framelhammer
    Paris Hilton


    This latest outburst is proof that ego is inversely proportional to height raised to the power of talent.

  21. Adrian Esdaile

    Artist formely called Pr1ck

    Sorry, I really meant 'prince', ny middle finger must have slipped.

  22. tony trolle

    the arse(st) known formally know as Prince

    remember that little swirly art that he wanted to be known by, a W____r (someone who plays with their willy) on a tree branch

  23. JMcL


    Hmmm.... name rings a bell. Is he the weird little guy that used to go out with Sheena Easton years ago?

  24. Alan Donaly

    We need a really nasty one,

    to put on all the sites we control, a little SEO magic some mutual linking, and next thing you know every Google result for "Prince" is a picture of him he doesn't like. It has to be a good one though Perhaps a picture of him taking a lick off that cup, or the goatse guy.

  25. Ben Gibson
    Thumb Up

    I think Prince is right

    Lets stop parodying, talking about him, listening to and posting anything with his music in it. Fading out of the public mind is probably the best thing here so he can be forgotten.

  26. kevin elliott

    Even Easier

    There's a great way forward & b3ta should consider replacing the competition - but as follows:

    Get someone/people to draw a few reasonable likenesses of whatever he's called now. Images could be hand drawn, painted, or created using a drawing package. Further they could ask people to donate images to the competition on which they hold the copyright

    Offer these as source images on b3ta for parody/satirical purposes

    Relaunch the competition, with the restriction that only the papproved source images may be used.

  27. Chris Matchett

    US vs UK law

    The UK may not have specific exclusions for parody but the US does. And the UK does not have the DMCA but the US does.

    So why would B3ta be worried about defending themselves in a UK court of law when they would be heard in a US court and can use US based arguements?

  28. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    But why ?

    Why are we still talking about this nutcase ? He's a moron and attacks his fans, got it. Can we sweep him under a rug now ? Maybe lock him in an attic where he belongs ?

  29. Chris Morrison


    THE DMCA is the worst piece of legislation in the world. It has totally failed to work as planned and now just gives the big (for big read rich) guys all the power over what anyone does.

    Fair play to the guys at b3ta agreeing to cease and desist, considering any money they have for lawyers is probably a 100th of what prince would spend if it went to court. But people need to stand up to these guys, what we need is a good lawyer to get bitten by them and to drag them over the coals. A few defeats and hopefully they'll get the message.

    From a legal stand point what happens if you are sued in the USA and you go on holiday over there or something?


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Celebrity is a popularity contest.

    Prince is building his own punishment; the death of his floundering career.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I might be wrong....

    The reason they arent allowed to photoshop the images of Prince is because the images are copyrighted.

    Imagin your a photographer and a newspaper reprints your images with a slight change to them, you'd be pissed.

    Using freedom of speech as a defence against copyrighting has failed before in America, I dont see how this is any different.

    However, I doubt Prince owns the copyright to all the images taken down. That might be against the use of the DMCA in some way?

  32. Charles Spalton
    Black Helicopters

    Re: DCMA not in uk @ Anonymous Coward

    Sorry - our Glorious Leaders abolished the death penalty for treason back in 1998. Something about protecting their own backs after their time in office was over or something like that...

  33. Steven Foster

    @yeah, right.

    Hope someone does. I just ignored Prince before all this, now I think he's a complete tosser. I'd be surprised if he has any fans left.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The really sad thing ...

    ... Is that b3ta capitulated and took it down.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Get more coverage!

    Acts like this show people up for the humourless twats they really are. It's one bloody week and then it's all forgotten. At least he's guaranteed himself months of piss taking now.

    I don't think there is really anything Prince could do about it since it would be tried in the US and parody is fair use there. However, setting aside the legality of the DMCA request since it would be very expensive and time consuming to defend, I can't see how a positive spin can be put on stifling free speech like this.

    This sort of thing should be reported by more media (no offense intended reg, but your readership is likely to know about this or at least know about the DMCA and B3ta anyway) so that the whole country gets to see what kind of an fsck'er Prince is.

    We *NEED* proper free speech laws in the UK, what's next - no private eye, HIGNFY, etc. etc.?

    Oh, BTW, there seems to be some speculation regarding if WebSheriff are even legally entitled to send DMCA notices. I haven't got time to dig but some enterprising reporter may wish to look into it...

  36. Peter Lee
    Thumb Down


    I'm a Prince fan but he's really become an insufferable cock over the last few years, and his current fetish for lawsuits is the icing on the cake. His fan sites such as and are now turning against him because he's served writs against them because forum visitors sometimes posted pictures they had taken at concerts, and in response to them joining together forming a group called "Prince Fans United" he released a song called "PFUnk" which was basically an attack against his fans.

    I saw him three times at the O2 earlier this year and had a fantastic time, but after all this would I go again? Maybe he'd sue me for clapping, or not averting my eyes from the stage. Would it be safe?

  37. Anonymous Coward


    So they're using an American law, under which it may well be legal anyway, to threaten users in the UK (i.e. not in their jurisdiction), in order to try to force a website (which doesn't belong to those users) hosted on a US server to comply with British law?

    I'm confused.

  38. Ian McNee

    Time for El Reg Standard Measures Dept. to step in

    Clearly Vulture Central is lacking a critical unit of measurement, exposed by this take-down of the much loved and highly esteemed B3ta site. We need an accurate description of the size of an ego.

    My opening suggestions are the Prince (Pr) as the standard unit of ego and the pompous (or petulant) Prince (pPr) to signify the more highly-developed and esoteric celebrity-related property: the super-ego.

  39. Smallbrainfield

    Well I'm sickened by this turn of events.

    It took me most of the week to think of something vaguely humourous about the humourless bastard.

    Todays board should make interesting viewing. I imagine Rob will be watching through his fingers.

  40. Mary

    As a long-standing member of the b3ta community...

    I've been photoshopped (not always in a complimentary way) on b3ta, and found it to be on the whole entertaining.

    It's a fairly regular event for b3ta members to be 'done' in this way.

    So much for WebSherriff's claim that we wouldn't like it if it was being done to us.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    tosser. he loves hyping up how bad everybody's behaviour is to serve his own ends:

    "There's poking fun and there's poking fun and people are clearly taking it too far and crossing over the boundaries of what is acceptable."


    "if i didn't talk like this, no-one would take what i do seriously enough to employ me to issue petty threats."

    as for:

    "I don't think the people who posted them would like to be on receiving end of that kind of treatment."

    ...errr. it's called a sense of humour, mate. i'm sure you don't understand. or, you do but if you admitted you did, you would get less work. utter copper nanotube.

  42. DrXym Silver badge

    Where is their backbone?

    B3TA should have stood up to the jerk. The DCMA has no standing in the UK. Let them sue. Let them look like asses as lawyers try to explain why a chihuahua artistically shitting out the prince symbol is not obvious satire.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    welcome to web2.0

    B3ta currently has well over 100,000 members world wide. I'd like to see the bill for litigation against all of them. Incidentally a certain "Websheriff "is listed one of its newest members. Not very subtle.

    Same thing happened a while back when an attempted viral campaign by a certain beared smiley rich guy backfired in a spectaular way. Fortunately that time the individual concerned knew how to use a calculator and realised it would take the assets of a small tropical island to do anything about it.

    Perhaps some one would like to explain Web2.0 to Messers Nelson and "Sheriff"

    there's a nice little video on Youtube which would help - especially the last 20 seconds (and the soundtrack is better than anything the purple one has ever come up with)

  44. Dunstan Vavasour
    Thumb Up

    Good for b3ta

    They did exactly the right thing. Pulling the competition a day before it closes with a straight faced take down is far more abusive to Prince than any other course of action would be.

    And the delicious irony is that he and his lawyers don't realise this.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal tosspots

    The last lot of people I'd want to piss off are the B3tards, I fully understand why they've complied with this nutty request, but it is a shame. It should be pointed out that they have also been of the receiving end of people taking their images and sticking them in magazines and newspapers - did they sue? No and credit to them. They did however have an image competition of the owner of the newspaper in question...

    Also, the reason they have to back down under threat of US law is that if the court case is successful the creators of the infringing images would never be able to go to the US again, without paying fines/doing time. (Maybe not going to the US is a small price to pay?) I am not sure if this is extraditable though, I can't imagine it is.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Jolyon Ralph

    Cost of infringement

    Not that I really care one way or another about the self-overhyped dwarf, but surely it costs close to bugger all for people to put up a photo of His Shortness somewhere on the web, and it will cost him presumably a certain amount per legal letter for them to get removed.

    Continue this game until he runs out of cash. Sorted.

  48. Stew Wilson

    Cry Havoc!

    And let slip the magenta knobs of war!

  49. Keif Gwinn
    Thumb Down

    The artist formly known as "I've got too many hits" prince

    I did actually go see a show during his recent stint at the o2, why not I thought, someone had gotten the tickets and he supposedly does a good show. I've never really followed his music and was surprised by how many I recognised.

    But half way through the show when he spent 20 minutes playing about 30 second intros to his songs whilst constantly harping on about 'having too many hits' I realised he's just a tosser.

    He also 'gave away' his most recent album because it made him more money that way then the direct sales of his previous album. He got something like half a mill from the papers he sold it to in each country, when his last album only had 50,000 sales in total.

  50. Dave


    Had the person referred to as the son of a king, let it lie, it would be old news now, then forgotten.

    Now its going to run for years and years and years.

    As for Memes he's just made himself one. Also I don't recall the members of status Quo objecting to their likenesses being used this way. I suspect they think that if they take it in good humour, the result is good publicity. They are right


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