Despite once being considered an online innovator, Prince has more recently made a name for himself for being unafraid to confront the infringement of his work. Now, the artist has filed a hefty $22 million lawsuit against 22 Facebook and Blogger users for working in concert to steal his content.

Sign O' the Times

The case, filed as Prince v. Chodera in the Northern District of California, reads, "The Defendants in this case engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince's material." Only two defendants are named in the suit, however — the rest are listed as John Does, though eight do have the distinction of being regarded by their online handles. Nevertheless, Prince, based on "information and belief," alleges that each of the individuals worked together on Facebook and Blogger to conduct infringing activity, and lists extensively the mirror sites and blogs each used to distribute copies of his work. He has thus demanded $1 million with interest in damages from each of the defendants, along with a permanent injunction to prevent all of them from doing further harm.

This is only the latest copyright battle Prince has fought. Back in 2007, he was willing to take on YouTube, eBay, and The Pirate Bay on the same issue, believing that they facilitated the illicit copying of his music and movies. The case was eventually dropped. Still, there was a time when he was happy to experiment with his art and its distribution. In early 2009, singles from his triple album LotusFlower were released online on multiple websites devoted to hyping the release. Ultimately, though, the love affair ended in 2010 when he told the Daily Mirror, "The internet's completely over."