Friday, December 02, 2005

Grateful Dead Download Controversy Timeline


By SLC Library Boy:

Tues. Nov 22 –
· Archive.org posts a statement saying “Based on discussions with many involved, the Internet Archive has been asked to change how the Grateful Dead concert recordings are being distributed on the Archive site for the time being…” and only offers streaming of Audience recordings.

Wed. Nov. 23 –
· The petition is generated and begins collecting signatures.
· David Gans defends the decision on his blog, blaming financial problems for the change. “I have sympathies on both sides of this issue…I think it is worthwhile to ask ourselves if there isn’t some greed on the other side of the equation.”

Tues. Nov. 29 –
· Rolling Stone reports that there would be an official statement from GD “in the next few days” and quotes Dennis McNally: "David Gans' comments were dead -- you'll pardon the expression -- on."
· BoingBoing quotes John Perry Barlow. “You have no idea how sad I am about this. I fought it hammer and tong, but the drummers had inoperable bricks in their head about it. This is just the beginning of the backlash, I promise you.”

Wed. Nov. 30 –
· The New York Times quotes Dennis McNally: “it was the band's conclusion, after a long discussion with [the Archive], to request that they change their policies…The idea of a massive one-stop Web site that does not build community is not what we had in mind. Our conclusion has been that it doesn't represent Grateful Dead values.”
· Phil Lesh posts a message on his website: “I was not part of this decision making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled. I do feel that the music is the Grateful Dead's legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it. I have enjoyed using Archive.org and found it invaluable during the writing of my book…Your concerns have been heard and I am sure are being respectfully addressed.”
· The Associated Press reports on the story.
· In the afternoon, Relix reports that audience shows would be back for download and quotes Dennis McNally saying they had been removed because of “a great communication snafu.”
· The New York Times reports that Barlow said the new policy was driven by Weir, Hart, and Kreutzmann and that Hunter did not wish to get involved in the public debate but supported his position. They also quote Dennis McNally: "The band has not fully made up its mind…Things have already changed, and God only knows if they'll change some more."

Thur. Dec. 1 –
· The Boston Herald reports that Dennis McNally said that Audience shows were back on the Archive because the group was swayed by the backlash from fans.
· Archive.org releases another statement: “We at archive.org now realize that our mistaken attempts to move quickly were based on what we thought the Grateful Dead wanted. For this we apologize both to the Grateful Dead and their community.”
· The Official Grateful Dead website posts a link to Phil’s statement and Archive’s apology.
· Rolling Stone quotes Dennis McNally: "At this point, all I've been asked to communicate is, 'Go look at the archive.org Web site.'"
· Robert Hunter is quoted: “The more I learn the more there is to know about this remarkable public relations meltdown. All you saw was the mushroom cloud. My best hope is that by the time its reported in this Sunday’s NY Times’ entertainment section it will be ancient history.”

Fri. Dec. 2 –
· Articles appear on CNN, Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, Reuters, the BBC and others. The BBC and Reuters quotes Dennis McNally: "There was a consensus to address this issue and it got addressed…We are confronting an entirely new set of circumstances with moving new music around, and we are struggling with it like a lot of others."
· Mickey Posts a statement on his website: "I am posting this message due to the fact that despite news stories to the contrary, I have been one of the earliest backers of the taping and sharing of Grateful Dead music...I stand united with the taper community and always will notwithstanding anything in the media to the contrary. Efforts have been made by Grateful Dead Productions and archive.org to rectify the situation and I hope our loyal fans, friends and family will continue to enjoy and participate in Grateful Dead music."
· Bobby Talks on KBCO, Boulder: "We had to cover our asses...We had no choice...We need revenue...so we can digitize all of that stuff...We had to go ahead and do the right thing"
Sat. Dec. 3
· Christian Crumlish of Uncle John's Blog fame talks about the issue on CNN's On the Story.

2 Comments:

Anonymous HeyNow said...

This is all about an effort to sell the rights to the vault to Rhino Records. The biz-heads (certainly not Deadheads) at GDP are tying to protect/promote the value of the recordings in the collection by removing the from all public domain.

According to Lesh, allowing the taping and trading of shows was "the best decision the band never made". He credits a lot of the band's early national popularity growth to this practice.

While the shows are formally GDP property, the business ought to appreciate all folks who spread the word (and revenue) when they lived on and vended grilled-cheese sandwiches for 3 months just so they could buy tickets and tape on tour.

It's clear that Garcia (and Lesh) shared a penchant to value the distribution of art over the distribution of money.

Shortly after mastering software and fast internet distribution became viable, GDP clearly decided to honor the interests of the Rhino deal over the interests of its lifelong deadicated supporters. Comes a Time.

Thursday, July 13, 2006  
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010  

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