The EDLIS Who Has Which Boot Agency exists
to help you avoid sacrificing your ethics in this den of thieves.
It also functions as a self help group where you can
talk with people have sunk even lower than you.
Others will take bootlegs off your hands to assuage your guilt.
In an open letter to tape collectors Clinton Heylin addresses
the "snobbery of some tape collectors" regarding bootlegs.
Compiled: October 27, 1996
Last revised: June 14, 1997
As a long-time Dylan fan (when I was a little kid I liked songs like Tombstone Blues and Ballad of a Thin Man because they reminded me of Hoppety Hooper and Rocky and Bullwinkle), I've been consistently surprized by how much discussion focuses on bootlegs.
I know some people just love to collect things, and I often feel with Dylan collectors that they might just as well be collecting stamps as BD boots. Some people I know have boots in their collection that they haven't even listened to!!!
I admit to having a couple in my collection, but really, doesn't an artist have the right to control his output? An artist decides what he/she wants to put before the public. It's not up to us to raid their stash.
If, for example, I was able to get my hands on some discarded chapters of a novel by a living author, would I have the right to copy and distribute them? If I could get my hands on a book that a writer had finished but decide was not good enough to publish, would it be a fair thing to print a shit-load of copies and sell them?
I don't believe it would. Because I think song writing is as valid an artform as any other (particularly when it is done as well as Dylan does it) I think song-writers/performers deserve the same rights as other artists.
Dylan is often very frustrating for his listeners - leaving good songs off albums, and producing cobbled together ones like KOL and DITG. but then, that's down to him isn't it? You can't go up to a Picasso painting and say, "Pablo had this great little stick figure in here which he studily painted out - let's just stick it back, shall we?"
The whole thing troubles me.
Firstly I do think there are series ethical problems.
Secondly it reduces much Dylan chat to a kind of swap meeting - footy cards or DB boots, take your pick.
Bruce Williams (email@example.com) writes: >An artist decides what he/she wants >to put before the public. It's not up to us to raid their stash.But a tape of a live show is something he already HAS put before the public! It's out there for us; why should we not listen to it?
Of course studio outtakes do not come under this logic.
Bruce Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes: >You can't go up to a Picasso painting and >say, "Pablo had this great little stick figure in here which he studily >painted out - let's just stick it back, shall we?"I don't think anybody has suggested altering the existing Dylan studio albums in a way that they would be damaged or defaced. These are very different media and I don't think your analogy holds up. (Although Paul Williams would appreciate the Picasso reference!)
>I know some people just love to collect things, and I often feel with >Dylan collectors that they might just as well be collecting stamps as >BD boots. Some people I know have boots in their collection that they >haven't even listened to!!!But many of us do listen to and love listening to everything we get. I do agree that the phenomenon of collecting boots and not listening to them is puzzling. You also mention that you don't like the level of discussion on RMD because it sounds like a swap meet. Well, I think there is room here for all interests relating to Dylan. You may believe that there are ethical problems and that the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt, and that is valid. I personally don't think it's so clear cut, especially when we are dealing with live material. My advice is for you to make sure that the kinds of threads you prefer flourish by starting them yourself as often as possible!
I always feel like I want to give Dylan some royalties every time I get a bootleg. Anybody know how much Sony pays him per CD sold? Maybe I'll start mailing him twice that amount every time I get a boot.
So, I guess this means you won't be wanting to make any trades, Bruce? :-)
Bruce Williams (xpertnet@OCS1.OCS.MQ.EDU.AU) wrote: >I admit to having a couple in my collection, but really, doesn't an artist >have the right to control his output? An artist decides what he/she wants >to put before the public. It's not up to us to raid their stash. ... >Firstly I do think there are series ethical problems. >Secondly it reduces much Dylan chat to a kind of swap meeting - footy >cards or DB boots, take your pick. > >Any comments?Yes, it is unethical. I've never understood all the rationalization to pretend that buying bootlegs it's not unethical.
Yes, you may send me those boots you have to get them off your hands and assuage your guilt.
No, you won't respond to the above line. Rather you will keep those boots you have and continue to enjoy them inspite of what arguments are presented in response to your question. But perhaps you'll be able to feel a little better knowing that at least you know it's wrong.
Yes, you will acquire more boots in the future.
Now, has anyone heard any more details on that 15 cd box set due out from Great Dane? I'm ready to cross that ethical line yet again for reasons quite obvious to any Dylan fan.
* * *Unethical, hell! Immoral, illegal, & fattening! The proverbial rock & a hard place for the severly afflicted Boboholic.
That's why it's so important to check with the EDLIS Who Has Which Boot agency & contact those who already own a boot for an opinion before one sacrifices his/her ethics & parts with hard-earned cash.
-- Joe Cliburn email@example.com "Obviously, I'm not an IBM computer any more than I'm an ashtray." - Dylan
John R. Weikart (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: * * * : But many of us do listen to and love listening to everything we get. I : do agree that the phenomenon of collecting boots and not listening to : them is puzzling. You also mention that you don't like the level of : discussion on RMD because it sounds like a swap meet. Well, I think : there is room here for all interests relating to Dylan. You may believe : that there are ethical problems and that the swap meets around here are : getting pretty corrupt, and that is valid. I personally don't think it's : so clear cut, especially when we are dealing with live material. My : advice is for you to make sure that the kinds of threads you prefer : flourish by starting them yourself as often as possible!Of course it is criminal to buy a boot and not listen to it! But check that they did not buy the boot and then register it with EDLIS
so that others could have tapes of it. You see if you are opposed to the bootleggers trade this helps to stamp it out. You buy the CD. You refuse to listen to it on moral purity grounds. You register it with Joe. Others who might go out and buy such a thing, profiting the bootleggers, instead trade tapes with you. If that doesn't defeat 'em I don't know what will. Try it and see!
And THEN you could trade tapes with them so you could actually hear the music...
: I always feel like I want to give Dylan some royalties every time I get a : bootleg. Anybody know how much Sony pays him per CD sold? Maybe I'll : start mailing him twice that amount every time I get a boot.There are many labels which do deposit royalties in accounts for the artists in order to avoid being classed as bootleggers under local law. You could restrict your purchases to those labels. Equally you could ask the bank for the account numbers and deposit royalties for all the boots you purchase.
Music Magic S.r.l. wishes to notify to the members of the group as on the back cover mentioned that when this record has been issued, meanwhile has been deposited in their behalf, or to whom it may concern, a sum per each printed copy, as an adequate remuneration according to art. 80 ff. L. 22/4/1941 nr. 633. The sum has been deposited on a saving account to Banc Toscana, Via A. Manzoni 16, La Spezia and shall be at the disposal of the owners of the rights Music Magic S.r.l., Via Canonica 40, 19100 La Spezia.is an Italian notice for example, that of Papillon Records. Much the same is also stated in Italian.
Joseph Cliburn (email@example.com) wrote: * * * : Unethical, hell! Immoral, illegal, & fattening! The proverbial rock & a : hard place for the severly afflicted Boboholic. : That's why it's so important to check with the EDLIS Who Has Which Boot : agency & contact those who already own a boot for an opinion before one : sacrifices his/her ethics & parts with hard-earned cash.I have always felt that Joe's agency is like one of those self help groups where you can talk to people who have sunk even lower than you have. Joe can give you contacts who have spent money on the very boots which tempt you. You e-mail these outlaws, most of whom are not presently in prison, and they will tell you the mess their lives are in, why their loved ones abandoned them, what it is like to live on the street with a DAT machine but no money for tapes, why they lost their jobs and how long it is since they last had a bath or fought over a cup of coffee. They will persuade you not to waste money on CDs, then they will offer you tapes of boot CDs just to test your nerve, moral fibre and resolve. Don't fail the test, refuse to listen unless its got that Sony sheen!
Of course bootleg CDs, vinyl and tapes are immoral, illegal and
unethical. If it wasn't theft then why would Sony use the word
"stealth" to describe their tiny battery operated DAT machines?
Craig [Hmmmm, wonder what happens if I press the "random .sig" key at the same time as the "annotations in footnotes" button. It is said to give a "Nate Smith" tone according to the manual... :-)] -- Ah, you never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns When they all did tricks for you You never understood that it ain't no good You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat Ain't it hard when you discover that He really wasn't where it's at After he took from you everything he could steal...  Mr Dylan is here referring to the unhappiness of Rolling Thunder Revue members who were not making it onto the boots.  Mr Dylan is pleading with you not to depend on mainstream suppliers of his music.  This is an early reference to a preference for metal over chrome tape.  This is a reference to a song and dance man "carrying" a large oriental recording company.  Royalties, but there are no kings inside...
* * *Are Bootlegs Ethical?
You are in a den of thieves. There is only one way out.
By the way you want a Picasso homepage and some nice art software if you are planning to display your "new" Picassos with the stick men you have found. There will be lots of interest.
Don't football card collectors go to football matches? Even play football themselves? Would they not be a good first source on football?
I remember the first time I went into the university library in Tirana Albania, and was fascinated by the reflection of politics in the accessions over the years, Russian books in large numbers at one time, Chinese at another, but the one language that came in consistently -- but only on one subject -- was English books on football. An apolitical subject which never went out of fashion. American song and dance men were not well represented. So if you want a place to send your Dylan duplicates...
I got two cards lookin', Lord They seem to be handmade, handmade, They seem to be handmade. I got two cards lookin', Lord They seem to be handmade One looks like it's the eight of diamonds, The other looks like it's the ace of spades. sadiejane (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: : I thought it was time for me to sound off regarding all the hoo ha over : divorced mid-life crisis men getting the Dylan album collections...I have : had a certain amount of experience with this not-so-rare species of mammal : NO ONE touches my Dylan Bootleg collection. If a Dylan-bootleg robber held : a gun to my saintly mother's head and told me to hand them over I would : have to politely decline.Tricky one. I think EDLISian ethics would suggest you look at how many mothers there are in the world and look at how many Dylan boots there are, and make your decision from that perspective... If you restrict it to saintly mothers then you must restrict the boots to 9/10 audio quality too.
Is a Dylan-bootleg robber what we know as an FBI agent, the Feds?
Makes me think of "revenuers". I was staying at a remote farm at an undisclosed location on the North American continent, set well back from the road, and they'd just finished building a new extension to their rather fine stone built 19th century farmhouse. Now places like this set my imagination towards Motorpsycho Nightmare and the like, and I knew for one reason or another the people who lived there were not, shall we say, authority friendly. Everyone was out and I was alone in that big old farmhouse.
A knock came to the door. A man in a suit said, "I've come to assess the house for taxes."
Now I didn't know what to do. I knew they did not have planning permission or whatever, and they'd quietly built the extension themselves. And I wanted to fit in with local customs. Was I supposed to send him away, insist he made an appointment? I said no one was home. He said, "You're home" and smiled. I said I was visiting only and didn't want any trouble. I thought that sounded good, nice and ambiguous if repeated at any trials or inquests... I wondered if I was supposed to get the shotgun and yell at him and say we don't take kindly to revenuers round here, stuff like that.
I made him a cup of tea and told him I thought the house was already overtaxed. I'd closed the door to the new extension. He asked if he could look around and before I answered he went through the door into the new extension, measured things and made notes. Then he left.
The family came home, and I quietly asked the youngest son if they were worried about the tax people discovering the extension? He said no, an inspector would call and the taxes would go up, inevitable. I told 'em what I'd let happen. They were glad I had not shot the gentleman. We had a cup of tea and put an interesting CD on.
: The only exception to this would be if Dylan asked me to marry him. I : would probably then give all my bootlegs to the EDLIS archives :+}This is more common than you might expect!
Not Bobby Dylan asking young innocents like Sadie Jane to marry him. Giving to the EDLIS archives.
I never know how to bring the subject up. I mean you cannot just say, you know when you die that spouse of yours is gonna put a lot of very interesting stuff in bin liners for the dustmen can you?
But people really have mentioned EDLIS in their wills, and it is appreciated. I am not sure of the legal status of all this, but if you want advice just ask. If surviving parties support it it seems not to matter what the legal niceties are. At present our advice in a nutshell is to describe what you are leaving and to make it clear we can dispose of duplicates as duplication causes difficulties...
So if you're one of those people who reckons you might die one day, and you've had good use out of EDLIS and its services, feel free to mention it in your will!
What we have had from people now deceased has been fascinating, some most unexpected.
Just a thought.
Craig -- Well, I'm standin' on the crossroads Tryin' to flag a ride. Well, I'm standin' on the highway Tryin' to bum a ride, trying to bum a ride. I'm standin' on the highway Watchin' my life roll by... Bob Dylan: Like that? Cynthia Gooding: Yes I do. You know the eight of diamonds is delay...and the ace of spades is death. Bob Dylan: Yeah [false laugh.] Cynthia Gooding: So, that sort of goes in with the two roads, doesn't it. Bob Dylan: I learned that from carnival. Cynthia Gooding: From wh- Bob Dylan: From carnival. I used to travel with the carnival...
Below are some thoughts from a private e-mail conversation, which my correspondent and I thought might be appropriate for the newsgroup.
My feelings about bootlegs are very ambivalent - as I think Dylan's himself probably are. He may feel flattered by the attention (still the most bootlegged artist, after all these years), but annoyed by the loss of creative control. Then again, how much creative control does he get with Sony? The last two albums may be an indication - unless he does it all himself, how can he control the 'product'? Some of my most treasured Dylan albums of the last decade are bootlegs - and I only really started collecting two years ago. Before that I had the old double vinyl 'Rare Batch of Little White Wonder' and a tape someone had given me. For my money, 'Deeds of Mercy' beats 'Oh, Mercy' hands down, and many of his best songs have been left off albums - would we have ever got the 'official' Bootleg Series if the business of bootlegging didn't exist? Would we have ever heard 'Blind Willie McTell' or 'Series of Dreams' - surely two of his greatest compositions? 'Every Grain of Sand' would count as one of my all-time favourite Dylan songs, and to have the 'demo' version with Dylan's dog barking, as well as the 'official' take with the fantastic harmonica solo - well, I think that sums up what people are seeking through bootlegs, and Dylan sanctioned that release. We want the whole story, I guess, and sometimes I think that's being greedy, other times I think it's only natural. Nobody carps about literary detectives tracking down every last shopping list or memo made by famous writers. Dylan's still around and hopefully will be for a long time. He's not only the greatest writer of 'popular songs' of this century, but incredibly prolific (who knows what will be 'discovered' to have been written these last few years? Leonard Cohen is not about to give up on Dylan's muse, and neither am I!) Now I'm rambling, sorry. Just to finish, these arguments will, IMO, NEVER convince those who take the high moral ground on bootlegs as an abuse of the artist's rights, and, ILLEGAL. In many ways, their arguments cannot be countered - it is illegal, it is an infringement of the artist's rights. It's a conundrum. But don't take away my 'Deeds of Mercy', my 'Melbourne 1966' or my 'Royal Albert Hall'! I confess to being bad in wanting these things. I'll just have to live with it. Like Dylan said, we're all sinners. And confession is good for the soul.
I'll just add that, whatever bootlegs I may buy, they are not 'replacements' for official product, but additions. I read the Pareles article after I wrote this, and he makes several good points on the beneficial aspects of bootlegging, to the music industry in general and to artists.