He may be The Purple One, but Prince could be in the red very soon. His Royal Badness has been convicted by an Italian court plagiarism, which just ruled that he "borrowed heavily" from Bruno Bergonzi and Michele Vicino's 1983 track Takin' Me To Paradise for his 1994 song The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.
However, it could take years for a definitive ruling and/or settlement in the case, which has been ongoing since the 1990s and was on appeal following a 2003 ruling.
According to the new ruling, Prince must stop distributing the song on Italian territory. He also faces having to pay the royalties he has so far accumulated to Bergonzi and Vicino and their publishers - but only if a final hearing confirms the Italian songwriting duo was plagiarized.
(For a sentence to become definitive in Italy, a 'third degree' must make a ruling, a process which could take several years.)
Case has dragged on for 15 years
Speaking to Billboard, songwriter Bergonzi said, "Our song was first released in 1983, at the height of the Italian dance boom and it appeared on assorted compilations that were distributed internationally.
"When we first heard Prince's song we immediately took action, but this case has been dragging on for 15 years and it isn't over yet, such is the slowness of the Italian legal system. We only decided to go public with our story now."
So far, Prince and his publishers have yet to comment on the case - and we certainly don't expect them to do so.