Grateful Dead “Reversal” on Fan-Recordings is a Smokescreen

Boing Boing: Grateful Dead “reversal” on fan-recordings is a smokescreen: “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” — Jerry Garcia

So the Dead are being hailed as heroes once again for reversing their greedy decision to take their music off of the Internet Archive. Not so fast though says Boing Boing:

“So why is this being characterized as the Grateful Dead changing its position? They’ve reversed on a minor point — that freespace recordings may be traded — but they’ve stuck to the main point: recordings made by fans with the blessing of the Dead and the admonition to share them far and wide are no longer to be shared without the explicit blessing of the band’s surviving rightsholders.

It’s clear why these rightsholders want this. The Grateful Dead is famous, and lots of people are interested in buying GD recordings, merchandise, and tickets to the successor band, The Dead. The Grateful Dead’s fame is the direct consequence of the goodwill they exchanged with their fans when they adopted their liberal policies for recording and sharing of shows.

Now the rightsholders want it both ways: they want to profit from the goodwill that fans retain for the band due to its generosity, but they want to revise that generosity downwards. They want to change the deal so that fans continue to do just as much evangelizing, spend just as much money on shows and shirts, but get less in return.”

I’ve purchased lots of Grateful Dead official recordings in the past. In addition to their studio albums I’ve also purchased many of their GD label live recordings as well. Somehow I doubt I’ll be spending much money on their recordings in the future.

“Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills, One man gathers what another man spills.” — Jerry Garcia