The Grateful Dead’s Taping Guidelines and Copyright Information

Next, I will touch upon the Grateful Dead’s taping guidelines and how it ties in to specific copyright protections.  Their taping policy can be found here:  the Grateful Dead Taping/Transfer Policy.

It states:

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 follows:

  • 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.

The Grateful Dead was one of the first bands to ever compile a set of rules for taping & transferring of live performances.  They did so in the 1980’s, which changed bootleg recording and trading forever.  It gave fans of the band the legal right to tape, transfer, and trade their live performances freely for non-commercial purposes.

Below is a video clip of the song “Shakedown Street” performed in 1981 at Rockpalast (Rock Palace), which is a German music show broadcasts live on German television station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).  Enjoy!  🙂


~ by Jason Ewert on December 2, 2011.

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