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More Dead recording issues

December 2, 2005

Apparently things aren’t quite as rosy as they appeared yesterday in the ongoing saga of Grateful Dead recordings on the Internet Archive.

Boing Boing: Grateful Dead “reversal” on fan-recordings is a smokescreen

However, it appears that all the talk about “communications SNAFUs” was a smokescreen for a half-assed compromise that leaves the highest-quality recordings available only as streams, meaning that they can no longer be simply downloaded from the Archive and traded on.

The spin on this is bizarre — see below:

He said the band consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead, should only be made available for listening from now on.

What, exactly, is the Grateful Dead’s “legal property?” The media on which the recordings reside? No, those belong to the fans and/or the Internet Archive. Rather, the thing that the Grateful Dead controls is the copyrights in the performances. But they control the copyright in the non-soundboard recordings every bit as much as they control the soundboard recordings.

So much for fast learners…

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