What a short, strange trip it was. After the Grateful Dead angered some of its biggest fans by asking a nonprofit Web site to halt the free downloading of its concert recordings, the psychedelic jam b

What a short, strange trip it was. After the Grateful Dead angered some of its biggest fans by asking a nonprofit Web site to halt the free downloading of its concert recordings, the psychedelic jam band changed its mind and reversed its decision.

Internet Archive, a site that catalogues content on Web sites, has reposted recordings of Grateful Dead concerts for download after the surviving members of the band decided to make them available again.

Representatives for the band earlier this month had directed the Internet Archive to stop making recordings of the group's concerts available for download. But fans quickly initiated an online petition that argued the band shouldn't change the rules midway through the game.

"The Internet Archive has been a resource that is important to all of us," states the petition, which also threatened a boycott of Grateful Dead recordings and merchandise. "Between the music, and interviews in the archive we are able to experience the Grateful Dead fully."

Band spokesperson Dennis McNally said the group was swayed by the backlash from fans, which for decades have freely taped and traded the Dead's live performances. "The Grateful Dead remains, as it always has, in favor of tape trading," McNally said.

He said the band consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead, should only be made available for listening via streaming from now on.

The soundboard recordings are "very much part of their legacy, and their rights need to be protected," McNally said. The band markets select vintage soundboard recordings under the "Dick's Picks" banner online at Dead.net, as well as other live releases through traditional retailers via Rhino Records.

Representatives from the Internet Archive didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995 following the death of guitarist and lead singer Jerry Garcia. In recent years, surviving members have regrouped as the Dead, but are nowhere near as active as they were during Garcia's lifetime.


AP LogoCopyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print