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What is a 'bootleg'?

An unofficial recording (audio or video), usually offered for sale outside of mainstream channels. No permission nor license was granted for these recordings to be made.


In most parts of the world, duplicating and/or selling of illicit recordings is a breach of copyright. Discussing bootlegs is completely legal, or at least that's what our lawyers tell us.

Princepedia ( policy

No bootlegs are to be offered for sale, trade, copy, exchange, etc. in any shape or form. This includes posting links to sites where recordings could be downloaded, or any other pointers to sources of these recordings. We are not at all interested in fostering the trade of these illegal recordings. We do, however, realize they exist, and are an important part of the Prince experience for many fans. As such, we allow their discussion. If you do enter information about bootlegs, please do not upload any cover art which you believe might use Prince's copyrighted images.

Prince's stance on bootlegs

He doesn't like them. No, I mean he really doesn't like them. Prince seems to believe that bootlegs deprive him of revenue, or control of material's release, or both. To some extent, this is very likely true. Historically Prince has encouraged law enforcement to seek out bootleggers and shut down their businesses.[citation needed]

"Official" bootlegs

Prince has attempted to defuse (confuse?) the issue by offering up material that was previously bootlegged, or that he didn't want to release with major label deals, and labeled the recordings as 'bootlegs'. These are not "true" bootlegs in that they were officially made and released; the term is used mostly as a marketing device, or to refer to the status of recordings of the same material, previously available from illicit sources.

to some extent, this is also the case with