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Channels: digital music : file sharing : gnutella: napster
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Commentary/News Analysis by netwebly

The surviving members of the Grateful Dead are unhappy with the idea of other people making money off unauthorized versions of their music in cyberspace, according to a report which ran in USA Today last week.

Eric Doney, the attorney who handles piracy problems for the legendary Bay Area band, told the paper that a staff of four spends about twenty hours a week scouring the web for illegal web sites and copyright violations.

The Dead are often cited as an example of musicians who made it by allowing fans to freely make and distribute copies of their music - the same sort of formula some Napster fans think may work to the advantage of musicians on the Net.

While the Dead were still touring, special sections were set aside for taping at concerts - an unusual approach in an industry where a single flickering camcorder light can provoke a flood of security guards.

When MP3 became an issue, the Dead decided to continue the official policy - but said they would crack down on web sites that tried to make money off the bands recordings without official permission.

So far the Dead have remained silent on the Napster issue, a situation that is likely to change if the file-sharing company ever works out a deal with the labels and starts charging real money for the bands recordings.

Some fans speculate that lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995, might have taken a more active role in the debate over free music - a possibility anybody who ever saw an interview with the twinkly-eyed Garcia can probably easily picture.

For the USA Today story click here.

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