Jambands To Teach Copyright Law

The heated discussions concerning live music sharing happening here and elsewhere in the online arena recently led me to this excellent and extremely thorough case-study/article published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. It’s the definitive statement on the subject of taping, trading, file-sharing, music fans, and how they all relate to copyright law. It’s a fascinating insight into this unique world that few really understand. Unlike the recent online debates, it’s 70+ pages from a pleasantly unbiased perspective with fully documented notes for the assertions.

There are obviously many passionate opinions on the subject and this post is not intended to inflame or start another debate, but is instead to hopefully inform and foster more understanding to both sides of an extremely complicated issue.
Cheers, Phil

FEAR AND NORMS AND ROCK & ROLL:
WHAT JAMBANDS CAN TEACH US ABOUT PERSUADING PEOPLE TO OBEY COPYRIGHT LAW

By Mark F. Schultz†
Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law.
published by the Berkely Technology Law Journal

Among fans of popular music, there is one group that is far more likely than most to respect copyright law. These fans scrupulously observe re-strictions bands impose on the copying and distribution of their music. They keep track of these rules and make sure their fellow fans are aware of them. If they find fellow fans stepping out of line, they quickly scold them. They even cooperate with bands’ lawyers to enforce the rules. Who are these responsible, rule-loving fans who embrace authority? None other than the fans of the Grateful Dead and their descendants in the jamband community.3 Notwithstanding their stereotypical image as laidback types with little taste for rules or authority, jamband fans are extremely suppor-tive of the rights of artists to control the copying and distribution of their work. Therein lies a story that is interesting in its own right, but which also tells us a great deal about law, social norms, and persuading people to comply with copyright law.

The jamband community is a vital and growing movement in popular music that includes some of the top-grossing touring bands in the country. The original jamband was the Grateful Dead, but the label now applies to bands from many genres—rock, jazz, country, folk, bluegrass, and even gospel—and includes major acts like Phish, Widespread Panic, and the String Cheese Incident. What defines a jamband more than anything else is its policy regarding intellectual property: jambands allow their fans to record live shows and to copy and distribute the recordings freely. Jam-bands have enjoyed great commercial success in distributing music via the internet in forms that other bands have not dared to try. They explicitly attribute their success to the bond of trust they have with their fans.

Jambands can trust their fans because the fan community has developed social norms against copying musical works that jambands have designated as “off limits.” These restricted works typically comprise studio recordings or certain live releases sold commercially. The community enforces these norms internally and externally, sometimes even reporting violations to the bands’ attorneys. The jamband community has also developed its own file-sharing applications which respect copyright holders’ rights.

Complete article here

  • I think it’s great that bands want to share music that they own the copyrights to with fans and allow fans to record it if they want too. No one has a problem with bands giving away music that belongs to them. It’s their music and they can do as they please with it. I’ve never seen anyone debate THAT issue. The issue I’ve seen debated is taping and distributing music that the bands DO NOT own the copyrights to. They have NO legal right to authorize taping and disributing of music they do not own. Just because a band buys a license to record and/or perform a song does not give them ownership. They agree upon purchasing the license to pay royalties to the songwriter/publisher for every cd sold and every public performance. Obviously if they are performing songs they don’t own copyrights to and are not paying for every recording and performance they are breaking their aggreement and showing total disrespect to the writers and publishers. Sadly some people will never understand or appreciate that. In short giving away thier songs…that’s great…giving away someone else’s songs…that’s just plain wrong and there is no way to make it right!

  • nashphil

    Apparently, Dennis didn’t actually READ the article.

    This isn’t the “Is Taping or Trading Legal” debate again.
    I think that’s been covered already.
    Instead of regurgitating the same old crap that has been posted here before by the same half dozen people saying the same things over and over, why don’t we have a different sort of debate with some NEW blood sharing their opinions. I think it’s clear how Jon Weisburger, Kip, Meghan, Brad, Joe, and Dennis feel by now. If there is to be a debate, I would like to see others chime in regarding what the article is actually about and the points the article makes. It was published by the Berkely Technology Law Review, so the legal or illegal aspects have been thoroughly researched and vetted, unlike some of these “opinions” that surface in the online blogosphere.

  • Jon Weisberger

    I look forward to reading this article. In the meantime, though, with respect to Phil’s claim that it constitutes “the definitive statement,” let me offer a quote from Phil himself, written just a few days ago:

    that article about myspace that I posted was just an article and was an opinion held by that writer. It is not fact or law, it is simply an opinion.

    “It is not fact or law, it is simply an opinion.” The same’s true here.

  • Apparently, Dennis didn‚Äôt actually READ the article.

    Once again you have proven your ignorance in these matters NashPhil.

    Instead of regurgitating the same old crap that has been posted here before by the same half dozen people saying the same things over and over, why don’t we have a different sort of debate with some NEW blood sharing their opinions

    That would be GREAT NashPhil! Let’s see if you can be a man of word and stop “regurgitating” the same “crap” you always do when NEW posters happen to understand the concept of that Tape Trading is Illegal.

  • Jon Weisberger

    Having read the article now, I’d have to say that I think Phil would benefit from reading it, too – because he pretty clearly hasn’t. The piece is crystal clear on the basic premise that trading unauthorized recordings is against the law; what it argues is, at root, this:

    The most efficient and effective way to persuade people to comply with copyright law is to convince them that it is the right thing to do.

    However, past discussions have made it clear that Phil *objects* to any effort to convince people that compliance with copyright law is the right thing to do. In the first place, he denies that it’s the right thing to do, at least with respect to those who hold copyright on songs, and he then goes on to dismiss any and all efforts to convince people that it’s the right thing to do as the “same old crap.”

    The article itself makes several interesting and productive points, though it suffers from the defect of focusing exclusively on artist copyright holders, and fails to address the different *practical* position (but identical legal position) of song copyright holders.

  • nashphil

    If anyone has taken the interest and time to actually read this article (before posting about it’s content), then you also would understand that the article/case-study isn’t actually about whether taping/trading is legal or illegal.

    I suppose that with the same vehement people repeating the same vehement comments, it will always be about that for them.

    This article directly addresses that attitude and why it’s this very behavior that will ultimately inflame the problem instead of offering a real solution to everyone on both sides of the issue. The article is intended to educate and shine light on all aspects and perspectives of the copyright dilema.

    While this article is obviously an opinion, this thorough and pleasantly unbiased case-study carries ten times more weight than any “opinion” given on this blog regarding the subject. Written, researched, and fully documented by a team of lawyers and published by the well respected Berkeley Technology Law Review, it is the definitive study and statement on this extremely complicated issue.

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the article or points made within, just posting the article for those who are interested in the subject.

  • nashphil

    I see the angry and hateful personal attacks will unfortunately continue on this thread too. It appears to be impossible to actually debate a subject around here without making it personal.

    As I said before, it would be fantastic to have some new blood discuss these issues instead of the same vehement people dominating the discussion. I can fully understand why others want no part of this discussuion. When you have someone like Jon Weisburger posting every 15 minutes to dispute anything anyone ever says about any subject, it’s completely pointless.

    I suggest anyone interested in the subject to ignore Weisburger, Dennis, or any other vehement post and just read the article for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

  • OriginalMe

    Phil,

    It’s an interesting artice. I think the more widely applicable point that Jon and Dennis are missing is that working with the fan base can result in a win-win situation for all the stakeholders (i.e. copyright holders (including songwriters), fans and associated business).

    The current model — using band permission to determine whether taping/trading is OK — clearly doesn’t cover the songwriters but how can we change the model to cover everyone? If we focus on that question, maybe there is a solution. Here are a couple of possibilities:

    – start tracking both band permission and songwriter permission. Taping/trading could be done on a song level instead of a performance level. Or performances could be released with edits, i.e. the tapers would remove those songs that have not been released before seeding a recording

    – a “recordable CD” tax could be included in the cost of each CDR sold. This would be passed on to ASCAP/BMI/etc. and distributed to songwriters based on their analysis of the taping/trading scene. A similar model has existed in Canada since the days of cassette tapes.

    If you don’t like those models, come up with some other suggestions. Let’s stop the attacks on both sides and figure out a solution. Without that, both sides lose!

    _Ian G_

  • nashphil

    Excellent post Ian! That’s the spirit of solution oriented discussion that I was hoping for.

  • Zach

    Hi, my name is Zach. I guess you could consider me the new blood to this discussion. I have been silently reading every post of the other thread, making up my own mind about all the issues being discussed.

    First of all, I am a singer/songwriter in the bluegrass genre. I have no significant commercial success to speak of as of yet. I have been involved in the bluegrass community for only two years or so, but in that short time I have completely immersed myself. I have a deep respect for the music, and for all those that help to further this music within the community and outside it. I listen to all types from Monroe to Hartford and Rice to Del and Hot Rize to LRB.

    Secondly, I suppose you could say that I am a former member of the “jamband” community. For a few years of my 22 here on this earth, I spent a lot of my time and energy collecting live recordings of Phish, SCI, and the Dead. I also spent most of my money on tickets and trips to see Phish from the midwest to Vermont and Florida. I bought all these bands official releases. I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this, but to say I have traded many shows and also spent a large amount of money supporting these acts in other ways. I am grateful for my collection of live recordings provided by many tapers.

    Like many, I grew out of that scene into the acoustic music scene, particularly bluegrass. I have live recordings of Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, and others. Did I think that these were illegal when I got them? Of course not. Do I now see that the songwriters of “1952 Vincent” and other songs are not getting their legally deserved royalties for the distribution of these recordings? Of course I do. There is no denying it.

    In regards to the most recent article about which this thread was started, I don’t believe that it sheds much new light on the subject, at least for me. It reinforces my belief in the right of the copyright holder. It goes into detail about how the jamband community believes and respects the right of the copyright holder. I do believe this is true, but I feel that most of those in the jamband community don’t realize that they are violating copyright law when they trade copies of Phish playing Tim O’Brien’s “Nellie Kane” or SCI playing Vassar Clements’ “Lonesome Fiddle Blues.” If they knew, they wouldn’t do it, according to the article.

    Jon’s attempts to explain copyright law have been very accurate and seem to abide by a philosophy that exists in the article that states “the most efficient and effective way to persuade people to comply with copyright law is to convince them that it is the right thing to do.” (p. 15) There has been no fear-mongering, with threats of lawsuits that I can recall.

    The article is very insightful, and goes into great detail about how and why taping/trading works in the jamband scene, but not in the “mainstream” A question I have asked myself is, where does bluegrass fit? To me it is definitely neither. Bluegrass is it’s own music industry that branches out into others, but is a largely niche community. The article discusses at great length the societal norm that exists in the jamband community that makes taping/trading possible. What will the societal norm of the bluegrass community be? I believe that as people read about it themselves, the norm will be to respect the rights of the songwriter.

    Phil, you may choose to smear me and call me a hypocrite because I own recordings given to me without the songwriter’s permission. But, I did it unknowingly, and discontinued trading a few years ago anyway. Is it my duty to throw away all my recordings that have someone other than the copyright holders’ songs on it? That I am unsure of. However, I do feel it is my duty to do what I can to let the bluegrass community know that trading live recordings of songs without the songwriter’s permission is violating their right. And here is one more person who will not trade without the consent of the songwriter.

  • nashphil

    Ian and the article bring up an interesting point in that many artists AND songwriters also disagree with each other regarding permissions for recording and sharing of that music.

    In addition to the many artists who allow taping/trading, there are also many songwriters that feel allowing the music to be shared publicly leads to more exposure and ultimately more fans and more dollars in the pocket. Obviously, many artists and songwriters disagree too.

    Despite how any of us (fans, artists, songwriters) personally stand on the legal issues, a sensible and workable solution must appear that both allows for approved taping/trading of live concerts and also compensates all of the interested parties in some sort of feasable way. Otherwise, very little will change except that both sides will become more entrenched and more openly hostile towards each other. That is a key point brought up in the article.

    I appreciate Zach’s candor in his post. I agree with some of his points, which were also made in the article. Namely the part about songwriters not being compensated. Despite many attempts to mischaracterize, myself and many of my fellow tapers/traders don’t feel that songwriters should not be compensated. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I just don’t feel that threatening lawsuits, intimidation, fear, and judgemental name calling is the way to go about it. (such as thief, burglar, immoral, ignorant, etc..)
    The article makes that part very clear.

    With regards to the fan-based taping/trading issue, the current royalty model is impossible to implement, impossible to regulate, completely inneficient, and isn’t being prosecuted on any level. That’s why any attempts to change that model without participation from all interested parties is doomed to fail. That’s what the article asserts and what I have been saying since I got into this debate a few weeks ago.

    Depsite what anyone has claimed, myself and many others firmly believe that taping and trading of artist approved live recordings is absolutely legal, beneficial, and essential to building a grass-roots fanbase. When fans are openly allowed and encouraged by these very artists and venues to make and share their own recordings, then I believe the responsibility is on the copyright holders to work out some sort of sensible dialogue and feasible compensation scheme that will satisfy their owed royalties and bring all of those loyal fans into the fold.

    To me, that’s what this debate and this article is all about. Not if or why taping/trading is illegal, that could be debated for another 50 years and people would still disagree. The real question is how these two distinct battle lines can coexist peacefully and eventually find a way to work together on a sensible solution so that everyone can go back to actually listening to the music.

  • OriginalMe

    Hi Zach,

    Thanks for acknowledging the problem, but what do we do to fix it?

    My belief is that if songwriters take a hardline stance and try to kill the taping/trading community it will have effects:

    – they will give up any additional income they might receive through new fans being introduced through the taping/trading community and being their products.
    – ethical tapers/traders will exit the community since they don’t want to violate songwriters rights, leaving the field to un-ethical ones who don’t care and removing any policing effect they have had.

    Like I said, both sides lose in this case.

    FYI – while I get your point about SCI or Phish playing Tim O’Brien or Vassar Clements, you might want to change your examples. Both Vassar and Tim were OK with taping/trading their shows. Based on that, it probably covers their songs as well.

    _Ian G_

  • Zach

    Phil,

    Thank you for your response. I truly appreciate your statement:

    “I agree with some of his points, which were also made in the article. Namely the part about songwriters not being compensated.”

    Acknowledging that there is a problem (unpaid/unconsenting songwriters) in the current taper/trading philosophy is the first step toward reconciliation. I don’t have a specific idea to solve the problem, but I agree that there must be one. If nothing else, Ian’s solution of deleting the songs from the distributed recordings would work. However, that option benefits no one in the end. That is one way to go about it though, where no one rights would be violated. And that is the goal, I believe.

    Depsite what anyone has claimed, myself and many others firmly believe that taping and trading of artist approved live recordings is absolutely legal, beneficial, and essential to building a grass-roots fanbase. When fans are openly allowed and encouraged by these very artists and venues to make and share their own recordings, then I believe the responsibility is on the copyright holders to work out some sort of sensible dialogue and feasible compensation scheme that will satisfy their owed royalties and bring all of those loyal fans into the fold.

    I agree with much of this statement, but think it to be flawed in two ways.

    1. I do not think that one can claim absolute legality on this issue if you are distributing recordings of songs without the songwriters’ consent.

    2. The responsibility does not solely lie on the copyright holder, but on everyone involved. This “If they want their money, let them figure out a way to acquire it” attitude does not serve the music. However, “sensible dialogue and a feasible compensation scheme that will satisfy their owed royalties and bring all of those loyal fans into the fold” is surely necessary, and it is up to all of us in the music industry, consumers included to work towards a solution.

    I do believe that the problem right now is that the PRO’s have no way of collecting royalties from this. And it seems to be a very slow moving process to get them to do anything about it. Perhaps a master list could be compiled somewhere of songwriters that do and don’t allow their songs to be distributed freely. If they don’t allow it, one would have to honor that and go ahead and buy the mechanical license. I’ve heard of buying that license from the Harry Fox Agency in duplications of 1000 or so, but not in smaller numbers. There could be a way to track all the sharing and then somehow pay the songwriters. That gets into details that I am not sure of. But we live in the computer age, something has to be able to be done about this!

    Ian,

    I previously already stated that I don’t know explicitly how to fix this problem.

    My belief is that if songwriters take a hardline stance and try to kill the taping/trading community it will have effects:….

    I agree with the first effect you believe, however if a way to be compensated arises, then everyone will win. In the second case, I don’t see how un-ethical tapers would have any way to trade their recordings on a large scale (ala bluegrass box). Thus, the problem would not be solved, but be greatly reduced. I may be off base with this, but I am not sure of any policing effect that ethical tapers have had.

    FYI – thanks for getting my point about Tim and Vassar, but perhaps these examples (albeit non-bluegrass) would suit your fancy. I have copies of Phish playing “Loving Cup” by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, as well as SCI playing “Ring of Fire” by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore. If these artists allowed tape trading please let me know, and I’ll look through my collection and find some more examples. Either way, the point still stands, and a solution needs to be found. Until one is found (and I pray that it may be sooner rather than later), I do not think that there is any alternative other than to cease the trading of unapproved recordings.

  • Jon Weisberger

    Let me point out a couple of things.

    1. It is a fact that even those traders who exercise a good deal of care with respect to obtaining permission from artists to distribute recordings have not been exercising similar care with respect to songwriters. One searches sites that have long lists of “taper-friendly”/”taper-unfriendly” artists in vain for similar lists of songwriters. Whether this arises from ignorance of the fact that many performers do songs they didn’t write themselves, or a simple lack of concern (perhaps shaped by the fact that, whereas there’s a direct sort of relationship with an artist, there’s only an indirect one with an “outside” songwriter) is a separate issue.

    2. As the article points out in numerous places, violating copyright is illegal. Unfortunately, while it devotes a lot of attention to bringing about greater compliance with respect to *artists*, it says virtually nothing about songwriters. Basically, the article suggests that the way artists can obtain greater compliance is by creating conditions for what the author calls “reciprocity” – that is, encouraging an ethical approach to trading by, among other things, giving permission for trading and engaging more directly with fans, a/k/a building community. Unfortunately, the author devotes no attention at all to the question of how songwriters fit into that picture, and how writers who are at one remove from the fans are supposed to build community and foster reciprocity isn’t at all clear.

    3. On the bright side, and Phil’s statements notwithstanding, it’s actually pretty easy to handle songwriters’ copyright issues. Distributing a recording of a song doesn’t require obtaining permission from the song’s copyright holders, and never has (though it’s a theoretically viable path). The basic mechanism for licensing songs (as opposed to recordings) has been in place for decades; it’s called a mechanical license. The copyright holder has no choice in deciding whether to grant the license or what the rate of payment is; these are written into law. All anyone who wants to distribute a recording of a song needs to do is to obtain a mechanical license from the publisher – and in most cases, this can be done in an automated manner through the Harry Fox Agency, which is the licensing arm of the National Music Publishers Association. Go to http://www.nmpa.org for details – basically, they’ve got a “small run” process that’s just about fully automated.

    4. As the author of the article says, convincing traders to act ethically is preferable in many respects to efforts to enforce compliance with copyright through litigation. And the jamband community he describes, with its self-enforcement, incentives for ethical behavior, etc., sounds like a wonderful thing – and possibly one that could be broadened out to include concern for songwriters’ rights, too. That is why it is so dispiriting to see folks like Phil arguing so persistently that they have no ethical obligation to songwriters, that compliance with copyright is “debatable” when it comes to songwriters, that any effort at convincing traders to act ethically with respect to songwriters is the “same old crap,” etc. The entire premise of the article – that people will tend to behave ethically when given the opportunity – is undercut by that kind of approach.

  • Cranky

    To record and distribute 500 copies of a Tim O’Brien show that has 3 copyrighted songs (other than public domain and those that Tim wrote and presumably waived compensation for) would cost $166.50 (500 units/downloads x 9.1 cents x 3 songs, + $10 per song processing fee). Sound about right?

    http://www.harryfox.com/public/songfile.jsp
    http://www.harryfox.com/songfile/faq.html#faq1

  • nashphil

    The lengthy process involved in aquiring licenses from all the respective copyright holders, is actually not that simple and is extremly expensive for any sort of recording. It’s unreasonable with respect to the limited or fair-use of fan-based live recordings. As the article posits, if it were reasonable, the fans would do it willingly.

    The process is this:
    You can register the song online through a company like Harry Fox for a flat fee of around $10 (per song) plus various usage fees depending on the amount of copies made. A concert may easily have 20-30+ songs, so let’s say that a conservative estimate would be $300 per concert recorded. That would actually only permit a few copies and additional copies would cost significantly more. At that point, it would essentially become an official release and would possibly induce more royalty fees for the artists, musicians, and record labels involved. That would in effect make tapers/traders their own record label, which would probably insure more fees somewhere else. The legal obstacles are enough to make your head swim. That’s the most basic reason why it isn’t being done.

    All of these fees add up quickly and it’s ineffective and (more importantly) unrealistic to ask loyal fans to go through that sort of process and pay that kind of money to aquire permissions to record and share live performances that were (in their eyes) already approved and encouraged by the very artist and venue they have already paid to see.

    That model will not ever work for fan-based live recordings.
    How many times can you bite the very hand that feeds you?

    If the live taping/trading situation is to change regarding songwriter royalties, and unfortunately I don’t think it ever will because of the deeply entrenched battle lines having already been drawn, a simplified and reasonable model for copyright compensation will have to emerge that allows everyone to get their fair share of the pie and allows those interested to benefit from the excellent opportunities that taping and trading can provide.

  • Among fans of popular music, there is one group that is far more likely than most to respect copyright law.

    Apparently, Dennis didn’t actually READ the article.

    Apparently I did read it Phil because my post is entirely in response to the article and copyright infringement and not to you. Though your name was not mentioned in my first post you felt obligated to start with your usual insults and personal attacks instead of responding to what someone says. As far as saying someone who steals is a thief I say if the shoe fits wear it.

    ZACH, in the beginnig of the digital revolution I don’t think anyone felt like they were doing anything illegal. Only through songwriters speaking out have people began to realize it’s the problem. It clearly caught the music industry with thier pants down and they have been slow to react but they are getting around to it. According to the article above even the Grateful Dead even have lawyers on hand to go after folks who violate thier copyright rules. The problem now isn’t that someone has a tape collection that they view at home. The problem is when one person tapes a show and sticks it on the internet and all the sudden there is a thousand copies that can be duplicated over and over. The money involved may be insignifcant in the begining but since copyrights last for decades how many times could the song be duplicated over that period of time. The truth is that every time it’s duplicated the songwriter/publisher should have gotten paid 9.1 cents by the distibutor. Over the lifetime of a song the amount of money could be very significant. You ask how do we stop it? As explain in other post the laws are already in place. The system is already in place to collect royalties. The only problem is some people continue to ignore the laws and continue to record and distribute the songs illegaly online.

    Like I stated earlier. If a band owns the copyrights to thier songs and they give permission to folks to tape and distribute them there is no problem. If the band does not own the copyrights it is illegal and is stealing from songwriters. It really is that simple.

  • Zach

    Dennis,

    I’m not sure why the bulk of your post was written to me. I agree with you on this issue and what the problem is, distribution without consent, therefore illegal distribution without royalties for the copyright holders. A songwriter has every right to their royalties, and to not comply with the “taper’s rules” of artist approved distribution. Why do I feel attacked? Why are you so angry?

  • nashphil

    The current compensation model has proven to be unrealistic for taping/trading, and it’s ridiculous to suggest that tapers/traders are just going to stop what they’re doing, destroy all of their past recordings, and now start paying a license fee of $10-20 per song to listen to the millions of live recordings they can already download for free on one of a thousand different websites. Taping/trading isn’t going to just stop, go away, or decrease in it’s importance or prominance. It will continue to grow by leaps and bounds over the next ten years and the sooner the opponents realize that the best method is to actually embrace and engage these fans in the process, the faster a workable solution for compensation could come into being. Until then, it’s back to the tree falling in the woods analogy.

    At this current rate of technology expansion and with the music industry being completely asleep at the wheel, all music could be virtually free in a matter of five or ten years.

    Despite the repeated mischaracterizations, I firmly believe that ALL artists, musicians, AND songwriters should be fully compensated for their music and songs.

    The point is not what I believe or what Jon believes, but what is the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. Jon, Dennis, and others can keep blindly hoping that fans will actually shell out $300+ a piece to license a live perfomance. The very same recording that the artist/songwriter is actively encouraging these fans to freely record and share with their friends to spread the word. Jon, Dennis, and others can keep labelling these incredibly valuable and loyal music fans as thieves, burglars, immoral, ignorant, unethical, illegal, and so on. As I have stated before and as the article also makes clear, with that sort of misguided approach, things will not change for the better and will in fact become much more rampant and lawless. You can’t exactly make friends, affect change, or convince others of your position while you are simultaneously calling them an immoral thief. That’s where this debate goes flying off the tracks every time.

  • Dennis,

    I’m not sure why the bulk of your post was written to me. I agree with you on this issue and what the problem is, distribution without consent, therefore illegal distribution without royalties for the copyright holders. A songwriter has every right to their royalties, and to not comply with the “taper’s rules” of artist approved distribution. Why do I feel attacked? Why are you so angry?

    Zach, I’m not angry, just stating the facts straight as straight forward as possible. I appreciated your first post being honest and open very much.

    I’m sorry about the way I structured that post and I can see how you weren’t sure who I was talking to. The first half of it was in answer to Nashphil’s post ealier in this thread. The second half was in response to your post in which were questioning what should be done to make tape trading fair for songwriters. The answer of course is for people to stop recording and distributing music does not belong to them. Songwriters are already at the bottom of the food chain in the music buisness. Now they have to deal with people who record their songs and send them out over the internet for free for the taking. Most songwriters spend years learning music and the craft of songwriting, they pour thier hearts and souls into thier music for the most part only hoping to re-coup their cost..it’s very sad that people think they have the right to record and distribute those songs without respect to songwriters. Saying you respect a songwriters rights is fine and dandy but means absolutely nothing when those same people record songs and puts them on the internet giving them away for “free”. Well it’s not “free” because it cost the songwriters a lot.

  • Jon Weisberger

    As Phil’s posts have made clear, with their misstatement (deliberate or otherwise) of what would be involved financially in paying songwriters what they’re legally due (yes, Cranky, a recording of a show that included 3 covers would require, legally speaking, a payment of $166 to cover 500 distributed copies, not the “$300+ apiece” Phil avers) and their “we’re going to evade our moral and legal obligations and you can’t stop us” standpoint, he falls into the category of what the article’s author calls “free riders” – those who take advantage of an otherwise potentially ethical system and thereby create problems for those who are conscious of their legal – and, equally (if not more) importantly – ethical obligations. Which makes me think, again, that he didn’t bother to read the article he recommends to others.

  • nashphil

    Jon’s last post is unfotunately more shameful posturing, purposely twisting and confusing in another attempt to mischaracterize what I have repeatedly said and more importantly misrepresent the key points of the article.
    Read the article for yourselves and come to your own conclusions.

    Jon’s personal attacks, misrepresentations, and manufactured quotes still don’t address any of the conflicts of interests, contradictions, obstacles, or obvious flaws within the system he swears to be defending. The article does actually addresses all of those points in addition to offering a solution.

    Nowhere has Jon offered any such solution. Just blame.

  • nashphil

    Since Jon is the self-proclaimed expert on copyright law and licensing fees, please answer this specific example:

    A Bluegrass Artist plays a 25 song concert.
    Of those 25 songs, only 5 were written exclusively by him, the other 20 songs were either co-writes or covers. Now, let’s say he approved live recording and a fan wants to make copies for his friends. The fan goes online to Harry Fox to register those songs, what would be the total cost he would incur to make 500 copies?

    The $300 per concert example used in my previous post was based on this sort of example. 20 songs x $10 plus the usage and copy fees equals a minimum of $300. It would actually be more based on the above example or for any other average concert performance. That doesn’t even address the additional issues that arise with artists, venues, labels, and other aspects of the royalty and permission issue.

    The point the article makes and that I have also asserted repeatedly is that it’s not that tapers/traders don’t want to compensate copyright holders, the reality is that it’s unrealistic and virtually impossible with the cuurent model.

    Those wanting that practice to change should consider implementing the steps the article suggests to create a different sort of environment of cooperation and understanding between all of the interested parties and bring everyone to the table to find a reasonable solution.

  • nashphil

    Concerning the example I gave, according to the Harryfox website, it’s $10 per song to register the license and another .091 cents per song for each copy made.

    20 songs x $10 = $200
    20 songs x $.091 = $1.82

    That’s $201.82 for the first copy and $1.82 per copy made thereafter. For 100 copies it would be $382.00
    If you wanted 500 copies, the total would be $1110.00

    This still wouldn’t account for any other issues that would arise with the artists, record labels, and venues since this is now an officially licensed recording. What other legal issues will arise if people decide to license, release, trade, and then sell these officially licensed recordings.

    If you unreasonably apply the very same rules and laws that govern official/studio/commercial releases to unofficial fan-based live recordings, they would lose their distinction and all become official releases. This would allow any person to register the songs and then commercially market the recordings. This is one of the reasons those laws cannot ultimately apply to unofficial live recordings. The artists and their record labels would lose control and would never approve of such a thing. Artists would not accept that the songwriters are the only ones entitled to compensation for the Artist’s own live performances. Labels wouldn’t allow the Artists or Fans to market and sell their own live recordings without the labels also being compensated. The venues wouldn’t allow the Artists, Labels, or Fans to market and sell live recordings made at their venue without them receiving compensation as well. The Artists and Record labels don’t want things to change because as long as they are allowed to approve live recording/trading of their own performances without any sort of regulation, they remain in complete control.

    It’s an incestuous conflict of interest.
    It’s unfortunately not as simple and straightforward as just registering the songs and then distributing freely, as some have claimed.

    An example of this in action is a company like digitalsoundboard.net or livedownloads.com which offers artist/venue approved live recordings professionally mixed and officially licensed.

    In addition to the individual song licenses, they need to have contracts and negotiations to determine what percentage is given to the artist, venue, musicians, record labels, etc..
    They can’t just register the songs and start allowing downloads.

    I’m sure it’s different for each company or recording contract, but in the case of a recent company offering official live festival downloads, the reported split was 20% share for the artist, 20% share for the venue, 20% share for the outsourced hosting company providing the downloads, and the remaining 40% share going to the company, minus the song licenses and per copy charge as assessed by Harry Fox. That’s after they had to negotiate all of these details and contracts with the artists, venues, and record labels. The hour long recordings were selling for around $20 each. That’s clearly not a feasible or viable alternative.

    Here’s a possible solution if anyone is listening:

    By using the existing enthusiasm that tapers/traders have towards collecting new and unheard live music, why not find a way to assess some sort of usage fee per concert that is a reasonable amount for a limited use license.
    Such as $3 per master recording. Copyright holders could effectively collect $3 on every master recording made, at the time it was made, and if that money was pooled into a special fund and then distributed fairly among copyright holders, that would be a substantial source of legitimate income. It would certainly amount to significantly more income than is currently coming their way from unofficial live recordings.

    One way to assess the fee could be in the form of a special ticket for tapers that has the $3 fee already included. Another way would be to charge a $1 fee per concert downloaded. A solution such as this would legitimize the entire practice of live taping/trading and move it’s valuable and extremely loyal fans comfortably into the mainstream.

  • I apologize for any comments that appear to be getting held for moderation. They actually aren’t, moderation and spam filtering are two different things. The spammers seem to have gotten energized and we are getting hit pretty hard. The spam filter is doing a great job of stopping them, but unfortunately it’s also occasionally stopping a legitimate comment.

    I know it makes it difficult to carry on a conversation. I’m checking them all before deleting the spam, but at times I may be asleep, or in a recording session and so it might take me a couple hours to get to them.

    Please be patient. The spam filter is learning and is getting better.

    Maybe after ya’ll solve this taping/trading issue you can get a posse together and go after the spammers?

  • You and I both know fully well that you didn’t read the article
    before making that first post. If you had, it would have had a much
    different tone. You just lashed out and repeated the same old crap,
    trading is illegal so traders can f*** off. You should read the
    article, you might actually learn something that you can use to
    promote your own music.

    You have got yourself an obvious anger problem Dennis Duff, so maybe
    take a minute or two to breathe before making any more angry and
    embarrassing posts.

    Above is a copy of an email I received this morning Phil Harris . I did edit one four letter word.

    This is aboslutely ridiculous. I post that I have read something and recieve and email calling a liar.

    I’m posting this for all so everyone can see that Phil has some serious personal issue’s and should be encourged to seek professional help.
    I also must say to the moderators that you have a problem. It is this kind of thing that will drag the B down and make it fail. Others with much to offer have obviously already decided not to participate here any longer knowing they will be barraged with personal attacks. I love reading Bluegrass Today but trying to have reasonable disscussions on the B has become impossible and is a total waste of time.

  • nashphil

    I guess Dennis doesn’t understand that it’s considered poor taste to post private email conversations to any sort of public forum, especially when you take, edit, and post them completely out of context of the two-way conversation.

    Ah, whatever though….. I feel honored that Dennis felt so passionate about something that he felt the need to lash out and attack me. I must have hit a nerve.

    Dennis Duff probably should take his own advice and take a deep breath before posting more angry comments aimed towards me, Zach, Ian, or anyone else.

    Dennis is a songwriter, so he obviously has a big dog in this fight. Although, he seems to also be mysteriously upset with the bluegrassblog for allowing this conversation to take place. That I don’t understand.

    I really do hope this conversation will not only change the debate and get it heading in a more positive solution-oriented direction, but also to eventually convince passionate opponents like Dennis and Jon that tapers/traders aren’t thieves, but are actually hardworking, honest, and loyal music fans.

    Depending on your perspective, these music fans could be a tremendous asset or liability. I hope this colossal and virtually untapped fanbase is eventually viewed as an asset and part of the many tools at your disposal within the music industry.

  • OriginalMe

    Here are a few major points that I think are either being ignored or are not understood by some of the people posting here:

    1) We acknowledge that songwriters have the legal right to control/benefit from their copyrights.

    2) This is not a commercial enterprise. This means that the only revenue stream associated with it is the money being used to by blank CDRs. Any model that tries to get money out of this except from something like a CDR tax or by using this as a marketing tool to increase sales of existing product is probably not viable.

    3) You can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. This is what the RIAA and MPAA are trying to do with very little success. The problem is that it is you versus thousands of tech-savvy and innovating teenagers/young adults located all over the world. They will find a way around any barriers you put in place whether they are legal or technical.
    4) The issue of songwriters rights in the taping/trading issue is a new one. As far as I know, no one had thought of this issue in this context until Megan Lynch brought it up a few months ago. For example, the Grateful Dead have been doing supporting taping/trading for years even though they perform cover songs. Everyone thought they were doing the right thing and that it was legal. To criticize them for ignoring songwriter rights is simply ignoring historical context.

    Given #1, songwriters have the right to say “no taping/trading of any of my songs unless I get paid up front”. But given #2 and #3, the result will be ethical taper/traders leaving the market and being replaced by un-ethical tapers/traders. Anyone who thinks this couldn’t happen, please look into the current situation in software or movie piracy.

    So how do we fix this problem? My suggestions are in an earlier post. I think the best idea is to try to get the ball rolling by trying to get taper/trader friendly bands like Yonder Mountain, String Cheese Incident, Dave Matthews, Tim O’Brien, etc. make an explicit statement about whether or not they are OK with people taping/trading not only their live shows but any live shows where songs they have written are performed.

    There are other possible solutions. Jon, Dennis or Zach – do you have any opinions on these ideas? Any other ideas on how we can create a win-win instead of a lose-lose situation?

    _Ian G_

  • Zach

    First of all, I would like to say that I am sick of the hateful rhetoric (more suited for a TN senate race) coming from both sides of this issue. Tempers have flared on all sides, and that is not good for anyone.

    The way I see it, these are the facts. Tape trading, though widely accepted for many years when artist approved, does not take into account the songwriter. Now that this has been brought to light, live taping/trading without songwriter consent must stop. The songwriters possess intellectual property, and have every right to refuse the permission to distribute that property without compensation.

    While some might believe it would be in their best interest, songwriters do not HAVE to work together with the taping community towards a “sensible” solution that would benefit both sides. We can sit here and throw out idea after idea of how compensation could be acquired by the songwriter, but it will make no difference unless the songwriter, or those who represent them (PRO’s? Publishing Companies?), want to change or create a new system that would exist solely for the live unreleased recording revenue. As of now, songwriters have every right to refuse their songs’ distribution unless a mechanical license is purchased through Harry Fox. It could be that they would not want their songs on any unreleased recordings ever, and that is within their right if no mechanical license is purchased. It might mean the end of artist approved unreleased taping/trading, but we as a bluegrass community must respect the rights (especially when they are legal rights) of everyone involved, including the songwriter.

    If a new system is desired on both sides, I think talks with more than the people on this board are necessary. Perhaps the publishing companies, PRO’s, and songwriter organizations. A larger more organized statement might be able to get the voice of the taping/trading community heard by the industry which might give them a chance to present their ideas. However, the industry could choose to stand with the songwriters against taping/trading, and it would be well within their legal right to do so.

    I believe that it would be up to the taping/trading community to convince everyone involved on the industry side of the benefits of unreleased live recording distribution. The benefits to the songwriter and publishing companies must outweigh the hard work it would take to build a separate system from the current to work with only live recording mechanical licenses. That is a tough task, I believe. On the flip side, if a songwriter believes it to be a great advantage for their songs to be distributed on live recordings at lower than the statutory rate (9.1 cents/copy), they could lobby to have a system put in place that would facilitate that. Then again, they could be fine with leaving things as they are and have every right to stand beside the current system. It’s hard to change something that’s been in place for as long as the current system of songwriter royalties has been.

    Either way it goes, the songwriters’ intellectual property rights must be respected.

  • jpecorino

    it seems to me that this discussion is composed of folks who are looking for a solution, and folks who are pissed of and want to make everyone else feel bad. the best option is to create a viable solution. to reiterate another post: it is next to impossible for you to “put the genie back in the bottle.” its out, now lets look for a way to use it to our/your advantage.

  • nashphil

    Hey Zach, while doing a youtube seach for Station Inn shows, this video clip popped up as the first search result. It’s a nice clip of Zach and his young band, The Farewell Drifters, performing The Beatles classic “Ticket To Ride”. Excellent version with tight harmonies, some great pickin’ too.

    I personally think it’s great the video clip is up there promoting your band and giving folks a chance to check out your sound. I wouldn’t have heard it otherwise.

    However, given the current conversation happening here and your feelings towards the issue, I thought you might not know it was online.

    Cheers, Phil

  • So how do we fix this problem? My suggestions are in an earlier post. I think the best idea is to try to get the ball rolling by trying to get taper/trader friendly bands like Yonder Mountain, String Cheese Incident, Dave Matthews, Tim O‚ÄôBrien, etc. make an explicit statement about whether or not they are OK with people taping/trading not only their live shows but any live shows where songs they have written are performed.

    There are other possible solutions. Jon, Dennis or Zach – do you have any opinions on these ideas? Any other ideas on how we can create a win-win instead of a lose-lose situation?

    _Ian G_

    I think you are exactly right in saying the issue should be brought to the bands by anyone and everyone who wants to do the right thing. They are able to speak to thier audiences and let folks know there is a problem. I think that there are a lot of people who simply are not aware that what they are doing is illegal or that songwriters are getting short changed. Also, let me say clearly again that not all tape trading is “illegal”. If the band owns the copyrights to the songs they are performing then they have every right to allow recording and distribution of those performances by thier fans. The whole key to the correcting the situation is getting the word out. There will always be those who will continue to take what does not belong to them, but I believe that most folks simply do not know it’s wrong…once they do know they will stop distributing tapes that they know are illegal.

    I think Jon has done a terrific job here of explaining the issue. Anyone who is “really” interested in understanding the issue can read his post and get a very clear picture of the issue. If they continue to trade “illegal” tapes after reading his post they really have no excuse.

    I think I’ve said everything I want to say on this matter with the exception of one thing that needs to be clarified for all.

    NASHPHIL said:

    I guess Dennis doesn’t understand that it’s considered poor taste to post private email conversations to any sort of public forum, especially when you take, edit, and post them completely out of context of the two-way conversation.

    Let me say what Dennis does understand very clearly.

    He understands that Phil is a pathalogical LIAR! Nothing in Phil’s statement quoted above is true. Not one word.
    There was no “two-way” conversation. He went to my website and got my email address. He sent me the email I posted above exactly “as is”. He called me a liar and says that I made statments I did not make, then has the gall post here and tell me I have poor taste! His email was cut and pasted “as is” with the exception of the profanity which I partially edited because I don’t use that word. That one edit was duly noted in my post. Nothing was taken out of context. I have sent him an email and I never responded to this one.

    I posted it so everyone here could see what kind of person he really is.

    I have the email. I have a record of his visit to my site. I have his I.P. number to prove it.

    I apologize for the tone of this post to all those who have tried to speak to the issue at hand and I wish I had your patience but I can’t not respond to such blantant lies stated towards me personally. Since the moderators have chosen not to censor personal attacks I can do nothing but respond in this way.
    All a person has to do is read this this entire thread and the other thread on “illegal” tape trading and it becomes very clear Phil has tried to intimidate and bully everyone who has disagreed with him with lies and personal attacks on thier character. With that said I’m removing my name from the “B” as I do not wish to be a part of anything that has to do with people like “phil”.

  • I have sent him an email and I never responded to this one.

    This line should read: I have NEVER sent him an email and I never responded to this one.

  • OriginalMe

    FYI – I was reading this interesting post on copyright law (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcopyright1.htm) and I realized that Dennis posting Phil’s email here is probably a violation of copyright.

    I doubt Dennis will read this, since he has deserted the B, but I think it is an interesting illustration of how silly copyright laws can get and how easy it is to violate the letter of that law without any intended malice.

    Like a lot of the other posters, I think the usefullness of the debate on this comment thread has reached its end. Any real progress on this issue will come from bands and fans who believe in creating a viable and legal taping/trading scene finding ways to make this work.

    _Ian G_

  • Zach

    Phil, thank you for your compliments of the Farewell Drifters. Very kind. I did know that video was online, though I was not the person who posted it. I suppose that as soon as I can, I will request it be removed, unless you’d like to do it for me. Right now, I am at work where sites like youtube are blocked. Fortunately, bluegrassblog is not! Aside from Phil’s insight into my situation, I suppose this debate is done. No one seems to have anything to say about my lengthy post made yesterday suggesting action on a larger scale than an internet board discussion. Thank you all for the thought provoking dialogue. I enjoyed myself, and learned a thing or two about the law and people as well. Since it’s already been started, I’ll go ahead and say that you should check out this for more information about my band, the Farewell Drifters. Keep an eye out for us…we’ll be around. If anyone ever sees me out and about I’d like to meet you in person. Until then…I’ll say farewell, music lovers.

  • nashphil

    Whoa, I love you too Dennis!
    Dennis Duff might seriously want to take his own advice and take a really deep breath before posting more emails or angry rants. Apparently, Dennis doesn’t know he has a link to his website on all of his blog posts, it’s http://www.graceyhollermusic.com and it mentions that Dennis Duff is a terrific songwriter. Sure, I went to the website, no secret there, nice website.
    Dennis actually sent me his email address when he posted his very first post. When you start a topic on the B, all responses are sent via email to the topic starter. I just responded to his email with another private email, which he then edited, took completely out of context, and then angrily posted publicly. Way to go Dennis.

    I really liked Ian’s joke about the email copyright violation.
    Should we contact the RIAA?

    Seriously Dennis, I understand the anger but I think it’s horribly misdirected. I am passionately defending legal taping/trading and feel very strongly that it should be allowed, encouraged, and enjoyed. There are millions of fans, artists, and songwriters that also feel the same way. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me and there are good people on both sides of this issue who feel just as passionate about their opinion. In that sense, it’s just like politics or religion. Once you express that opinion, there are plenty of folks out there that will find something to disagree with you about, or resent you for even expressing it. It just comes with the territory, especially on the internet. I’m sure someone will take offense to this post too.

    It’s not disagreement, but the tone of the conversation that throws these type of debates off the tracks every time. When you have judgemental name calling, hostile attitudes, repeated characterizations, and nasty personal attacks, it makes it very difficult to have any sort of reasonable or civil conversation about anything.

    I would prefer to actually discuss the issues surrounding taping/trading instead of having to clarify or correct the repeated mischaracterizations and misrepresentations that the die-hard opponents have been throwing around against tapers/traders for the last few months surrounding this debate. I will always defend tapers/traders against this type of uneducated and dishonest posturing. Like I said, when you start delving into these type of 3rd rail topics, the temperature gets awful hot.

    For me, the whole point of this debate is to educate those who don’t understand what taping/trading is really about and how/why it can be incredibly beneficial. That’s what the article is all about. It’s agreed that finding a solution to the songwriter issue is critical, but it’s impossible to convince anyone to buy into the unrealistic royalty model as it applies to fan-based live recordings. At no point in the past have these unofficial live recordings ever been held to the same standards as commercial releases.
    It’s misleading to call them illegal, when it hasn’t been proven so in any sort of court ruling nor has ever been prosecuted. You have 50+ years of accepted history and precedent supporting the practice of live taping/trading. You have dozens of conflicts and contradictions to the laws and practices themselves. You have serious and unresolved conflicts of interest between the songwriters, record labels, artists, and venues when you start talking about fans independently licensing unofficial live recordings. Don’t forget that these recordings aren’t being sold and no money is ever changing hands, so it’s literally blood from a stone. You can’t feasibly or logically collect money from recordings that are given away for free.

    You can label tapers and traders as immoral, illegal, unethical, thieves, burglars, or any other horrible name, but none of that will do any good or fix anything. It only alienates and inflames.

    If what the taping/trading opponents really want is to solve the problem and create a system in which the songwriter can actually receive compensation from these free recordings, then they have a long way to go to bring these fans back into the fold and convince them of their argument. There is no way to effectively enforce any sort of copyright infringement on free live recordings that fans can download from thousands of different websites, without the fans and artists being directly involved in the process.

    The thing I find most frustrating is that the opponents to taping/trading have this intense anger completely misdirected. They should be taking up this issue with the venues, artists, and publishing houses. It’s foolish to blame music fans for wanting to listen to free music, especially when it’s music that can’t be found anywhere else and the artists are encouraging them to do so. It isn’t the fans responsibility to acquire extremely expensive songwriter licenses for FREE recordings that were approved, encouraged, and supported by the very artists, record labels, festivals, and venues they have already paid their hard earned money to support. If the songwriters want to collect these unpaid royalties, they only have three choices: work out some sort of sensible dialog and friendly arrangement with the fans themselves or follow the RIAA model and just file lawsuits against all of the fans. The 3rd option is to put the pressure on the artists, venues, and publishing houses to change the current model, and establish a new and reasonable system that everyone will gladly accept. Otherwise, nothing will change except that taping/trading will become even more prevalent and widely accepted, and the songwriters will still be angry.

    I truly hope the two sides can come together at some point in the future, cooperation is in everyone’s best interest.

  • NASHPHIL…For some reason my email to the moderators this morning asking that I be removed hasn’t been carried out yet..so…on last thing..an automatic email sent out by Bluegrass Today notifying you that I posted on this thread is not an email to you from me..get real.

    I have never sent you an email and never will so please stop sending them to me. I have nothing more to add to this thread.
    You go your way and I’ll go mine.

  • nashphil

    I think the moderators and the rest of us are still waiting for you to actually go your way.

  • nashphil

    Actually Dennis…..

    “you go your way….and I’ll go mine”
    is from a Bob Dylan tune of the same name.

    It’s actually illegal to post lyrics publicly without prior consent or the proper licenses from his publisher. Bob Dylan doesn’t allow taping or trading, so you might want to ask the moderators to erase that post too before Bob Dylan decides to file a lawsuit.

    I’m just kidding!

  • this is relevant…

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2006/tc20061116_439093.htm?campaign_id=bier_tcv.g3a.rss1116g

    dig into the article and see what other areas of the entertainment industry are doing about copyright violation.

    kip

  • Cranky

    Kip, you had to post again, didn’t you? 🙂

    What I got out of that article was that big corporations might sue each other over something that thousands or millions of people are doing. One important difference between the YouTube battle and our pleasant, even-tempered, well-mannered completely polite and respectful discussions is that YouTube makes money (through advertising) off of the copyrighted material, where the taper/trader is performing his “service” free of charge or more likely, at a loss.

    Here are a couple of thoughts:

    1. Have artists that support taping/trading, when negotiating licenses for recording/performing works written by a third party, include language that allows for the legal dissemination of those copyrighted works. If, as the pro-taper movement believes, artists derive a benefit from allowing trading of their live shows, then they ought to have little problem with increasing compensation to the songwriters when paying for performance and mechanical licenses. I’m sure something fair and equitable could be reached. But the current model of 9.1 cents a track per unit (plus other fees) is not realistic as these recordings are not being sold, and no one is making money off of them. Perhaps if an artist allows taping, they pay a fee (based on attendance?) for each performance that allows recording (this fee could be recouped from slightly higher ticket prices, or selling “taper-only” tickets at an increased rate if the artists doesn’t want to pay for it out of pocket). That fee then goes to a fund from which songwriters can be compensated.

    2. Expecting tapers/traders to a) fully understand copyright law and/or b) jump through the hoops necessary to comply with the law is folly. Yes, someone could start a campaign to educate and cajole tapers into following the strict letter of the law, but I don’t believe it would be terribly effective. If trading shows is outlawed, then only outlaws will trade shows.

    3. While I agree that tapers that disseminate unauthorized recordings of copyrighted material are probably breaking the law, most do so unaware of their transgression, and I believe it is a victimless crime because the recordings are not sold, and no one is profiting from their distribution (with the possible exception of the artist who gets free marketing). What I haven’t heard is that the artists permitting taping are breaking the law as well, or are at least responsible for tapers breaking the law, as they are giving permission for the tapers to tape. I would think that any substantive movement to limit taping has to focus on Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, Yonder Mountain, and the dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of other acts that permit or encourage taping and trading of their shows, and not on the tapers. The vast majority of tapers/traders are ethical upstanding people who genuinely love the music and are some of these acts’ biggest supporters. To target them for prosecution or civil liability will benefit nobody.

    4. All record company executives should have their salaries slashed by 20% and the resulting funds should go the artists, performers, and songwriters that they have stolen from over the years. OK that’s a pipe dream….