[Excerpt from my guest post over at Tubefilter.com]
A lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court Thursday by representatives of Prince’s Estate alleges that Massachusetts-based Kian Andrew Habib, known on YouTube as PersianCeltic, committed copyright infringement by uploading six live concert videos to YouTube.
The videos appear to be bootleg recordings from a December 2013 limited three-night run at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The songs at issue in the lawsuit include: “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “Take Me With U,” “Glam Slam,” “Sign o’ the Times,” “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and “Hot Thing.” Habib has less than 500 subscribers on YouTube at the time of the lawsuit, but has amassed over 25,000 followers on Twitter under the same PersianCeltic username where he frequently tweeted out links to the live concert videos between 2013 and 2017, many of which have now been deleted.
His Twitter timeline also revealed he attended the concert on December 27, 2013, in another deleted tweet sharing “On the way to see the legend Prince tonight!”
The exact timeline is not yet revealed in the December 7th court documents, but it appears that the Prince Estate, represented in the lawsuit by Comerica Bank & Trust, N.A., recently issued takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) requesting that YouTube remove the videos on Habib’s channel under the basis that they infringed the musical composition copyright ownership of the Estate. YouTube allegedly complied with the request and removed the videos, passing along the takedown notice to Habib as required by statute. Upon receipt of the notice, Habib allegedly issued a counter-notice to contest the removal of the videos which prompted the Prince Estate to file the lawsuit.
“[T]he Infringing Videos were posted for commercial purposes, at least because Habib received or attempted to receive advertising revenue associated with views of the Infringing Videos by others,” alleges the Estate in the complaint. “Each of the Infringing Videos negatively impacts the market for authorized uses of the Prince Works, for example, by directing YouTube viewers and associated advertising revenue away from authorized videos of the Prince Works and towards the Infringing Videos.”
Federal laws called “anti-bootlegging statutes” are in place to protect artists against anyone in the crowd illegally recording a live musical performance.