Prince's Purple rage over YouTube

Prince sues eBay, YouTube and other Internet sites for copyright infringements and charges Web Sheriff to "clean up" the internet.

Prince has a right to protect his copyright, but he may be doing himself a disservice in suing Internet services such as You-Tube, says the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA).

The comment came in response to the star initiating lawsuits in the US and UK against a number of major Web sites, including YouTube and eBay. The suits will be played out over the coming months, as part of a campaign to combat copyright infringement.

Internet watchdog, Web Sheriff, is heading up the online component of the campaign and has overseen the removal of more than 2,000 presumably illegally uploaded videos from YouTube over recent weeks.

Web Sheriff managing director, John Giacobbi, told MediaGuardian.co.uk that the extent of piracy online has become "ridiculous", spanning videos, music downloads, bootleg merchandise and unlicensed mobile phone ring tones.

He also said the action was not intended to place blame on Web users, but that artists should have the right to control their own work, where it is experienced and how their image is portrayed.

A spokesperson for the Australian Digital Alliance, Laura Simes, said although the ADA agrees that artists are entitled to enforce their copyrights and prevent infringement of their works occurring over the internet, it is problematic when takedown notices are used to threaten or persuade people to remove content that is not in fact infringing.

"In matters like this, companies like Web Sheriff need to ensure that only infringing works are targeted," she said.

In the longer term, the ADA believes that new models for remunerating artistic and creative work must be developed. One example it proposes is a system based on traffic rather than existence of specific copies.

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Dahna McConnachie

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