Phish’s Taping Guidelines and Copyright Information

In this post, I will outline the taping guidelines for the band Phish, and how it ties in to specific copyright protections.  Their taping policy can be found here: Phish’s Taping Guidelines.

It states:

This policy was last updated in August of 2010, so please read closely. This policy applies to Phish and the individual band members. Audience taping is permitted at all shows. Guest performances with other artists will be governed by that artist’s policy. When performing at a festival or other event featuring multiple bands, that event’s policy may override Phish’s customary taping policy. When performing in Ottawa, all bets are off. That place is cuh-razy.

All taping is audio only with microphones only (no soundboard patches, no video) in the taping section. At most shows, a designated taper’s ticket is required in order to bring recording gear into the show. The bearer of a taper’s ticket is permitted to bring ONE audio recording device and ONE microphone stand/set of microphones into the venue. No video devices are ever allowed.

To record a show that is entirely general admission, a taper’s ticket is not required. In an amphitheater with a reserved pavilion and general admission lawn, the taping section is usually located behind the mix position in the pavilion and a taper’s ticket is required. In an arena or theater with a general admission floor and reserved stands or balcony, a general admission floor ticket is required. If there is reserved seating on the floor, a taper’s ticket is required. Tapers’ tickets are marked on their face with the text “taper.” Tapers’ tickets are usually sold only by Phish Ticketing (formerly Phish Tickets-by-Mail); they are not available from other outlets unless we specifically announce otherwise. Anyone found taping in violation of the above policy will be removed from the venue and unauthorized recordings will be confiscated.

Entry to the taping section at general admission shows is first-come first-serve; taping will be permitted on a space-available basis with any ticket. When the section is full, no additional equipment will be allowed into the venue. You have the best chance of getting a spot in the section at a general admission show if you are in line to enter when the doors open.

The enjoyment of the audience at a show takes precedence over recording efforts. This means that tapers should not require others to be quiet or otherwise interfere with their enjoyment of the show. If your neighbor coughs his way through “Tweezer,” consider it extra percussion.

Regardless of format or source, all participants in audio recording exchange acknowledge and respect the copyrights and exclusive ownership of the music and performances by the performers, writers and publishers.

All taping must be for personal use only, which may include trading (via tape, CD, or digital file transfer). Recordings may be traded only for an equivalent amount of similar media (pre-recorded or blank). Regardless of any expenses incurred, no money may ever be exchanged as part of a trade; however, stamped, self-addressed envelopes may be included with blank media. In addition, the media by which audio trading is publicized may not be commercialized. Therefore newsletters, web sites or any other communication forum facilitating audio trading cannot accept advertising, offer links for compensation, exploit databases compiled from their traffic, or otherwise derive any commercial proceeds in any form.

Officially released recordings of any kind (live or studio) in any format may never be copied or otherwise traded or offered in whole or part as compilations, online streams or other methods of distribution. Compiling one or more officially released files or combining official releases in whole or part with other material is prohibited (ie “Matrix” mixes or Mixed Tapes and Compilations). Videotaping is not allowed. Recently the practice has grown, and videos are too often synced with unauthorized copies of official releases. Copying or trading video violates the spirit if not the letter of this policy. And you do not want to violate or in any way provoke the spirit. Stores, businesses or web sites may not duplicate or offer to duplicate any Phish recordings for customers or sell or otherwise provide media containing unreleased Phish music for any price including a loss.

There is a no-vending policy at and around shows to stop the sale of unauthorized merchandise bearing Phish and band members’ trademarks and copyrights. To fairly enforce the no-vending rule, we must assume live CDs, tapes and videos being displayed at or around shows are for sale, not trade. Like other items distributed at shows bearing Phish intellectual property, CDs, tapes and videos may be subject to seizure if displayed.

Audience taping at Phish concerts is authorized for non-commercial purposes only. Unauthorized sale, duplication and/or distribution are strictly forbidden. All Phish performances and recordings are the exclusive property of Phish. All rights reserved. The privileges to record Phish performances set forth in this policy constitute an express, revocable license. We reserve the right to withdraw our sanction of recording, tape trading, and/or non-commercial digital audio file transfers on a case specific basis or in general, as we deem necessary. No waiver of any copyright or trademark right is intended. “Phish” as used in this policy includes the four band members of Phish.

You may inform us of violations of this policy by contacting web@phish.com.

A statement of compliance with this policy must be clearly posted on all web sites engaged in trading activity. It is the responsibility of the site host to remain informed of the current list of officially released recordings and to maintain their site according to the taping policy.

Audience taping at Phish concerts is authorized for non-commercial purposes only. Unauthorized sale, duplication and/or distribution are strictly forbidden. All Phish performances and recordings are the exclusive property of Phish. All rights reserved. The privileges to record Phish performances set forth in this policy constitute an express, revocable license. We reserve the right to withdraw our sanction of recording, tape trading, and/or non-commercial digital audio file transfers on a case specific basis or in general, as we deem necessary. No waiver of any copyright or trademark right is intended. “Phish” as used in this policy includes the four band members of Phish.”

So, as you can see, its pretty straight-forward.  Audience recordings are allowed to be freely taped and distributed in non-commercial form between fans and music listeners alike.  Most bands that allow their live performances to be taped Phish’s taping guidelines fairly closely, being that it is a similar representation of the Grateful Dead’s taping guidelines.

Below is a video that I shot with my Canon PowerShot SD850 IS at Phish – Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI on 8/14/10.  I started recording half-way into a jam which originated from a song called “Down with Disease”.  At the 4:15 mark, they segue into a song called “What’s The Use?”.  Enjoy!  🙂

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~ by Jason Ewert on December 2, 2011.

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