The ‘Dead: Fantastic Free Bootleg Collection

While surfing Archive.org in search of a copy of Fahrenheit 911, the Michael Moore political film I came across a treasure trove of Grateful Dead bootlegs on their servers. The Dead are part of a US phenomenon of ‘jam bands’ – people who make their money by touring and sell just enough records for to keep them in the public eye. They did a multitude of cover versions and their concerts were a home from home for acid casualties from the 1960’s.

The Dead took a farsighted attitude to the nature of the copyright of their live concerts:

The Grateful Dead and our managing organizations have long encouraged the purely non-commercial exchange of music taped at our concerts and those of our individual members. That a new medium of distribution has arisen – digital audio files being traded over the Internet – does not change our policy in this regard. Our stipulations regarding digital distribution are merely extensions of those long-standing principles and they are as follow:

No commercial gain may be sought by websites offering digital files of our music, whether through advertising, exploiting databases compiled from their traffic, or any other means.

All participants in such digital exchange acknowledge and respect the copyrights of the performers, writers and publishers of the music.

This notice should be clearly posted on all sites engaged in this activity.

We reserve the ability to withdraw our sanction of non-commercial digital music should circumstances arise that compromise our ability to protect and steward the integrity of our work.

Rock on!