Keeping it Real (Grateful Dead)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Article in NYTimes

I liked this one a lot:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/03/arts/music/03pare.html

"Suddenly, after all these amicable and profitable years, Dead representatives are talking about "rights" to those concert recordings. It's lawyer talk, record-business talk, and entirely valid on those terms; the Dead do hold copyrights and are entitled to authorize or withhold permission to copy their work. (So, incidentally, are those who own the copyrights to Dead concert staples like Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." )

(cut)

The Dead had created an anarchy of trust, going not by statute but by instinct and turning fans into co-conspirators, spreading their music and buying tickets, T-shirts and official CD's to show their loyalty. The new approach, giving fans some but not all of what they had until last week, changes that relationship.

No doubt it will sell some additional concert downloads in the short run. But by imposing restrictions, it will also encourage jam-band fans - a particularly Internet-savvy demographic - to circumvent those restrictions, finding the soundboard recordings through unofficial channels. The change also downgrades fans into the customers they were all along. It removes what could crassly be called brand value from the Dead's legacy by reducing them to one more band with products to sell.

Will the logic of copyright law be more profitable, in the end, than the logic of sharing? That's the Dead's latest improvisational experiment."

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