To copy, distribute and generally profit from something illicitly; that is, without the owner of the (intellectual) property also getting due compensation.

In more broad terms, to distribute something in contravention of a law or bylaw against it. Bootleggers during Prohibition snuck booze into the US - bootlegging is nicer than calling them smugglers, and generally carries a more lenient punishment. Pirates bootleg software and traffickers bootleg narcotics.

There are bootlegs and then there are bootlegs; this is why some bands (The Grateful Dead, The Black Crowes) allow audience recording.

Ripping a legal CD and distributing it in mp3 files is on an ethical borderline at best (though I'll grant that it's probably the vast majority of "bootlegging" activity), but that has little to do with bootlegs of unreleased material. Bootlegs like that always cost more than legal releases -- often close to double -- and they almost invariably sound a lot less "user-friendly". Nobody is buying these things instead of the legal records. Obsessives and fetishists buy bootlegs after they've got everything legal, and they want more. Normal people don't get off on listening to undoctored live recordings, nor to rehearsal tapes with incomplete songs and whatnot. If there were any market for rehearsal tapes, they'd be released above-board. If "live" albums are retroactively "fixed" with overdubs and "production", that's because most people would rather hear a slightly ragged studio album than an actual rock and roll band in its natural environment. In the absence of alcohol, noise, sweat, and a crowd, live rock and roll is an acquired taste.

The only legal recording from the Stooges' hematemetic final years is the disastrously ill-produced Raw Power Lp; if it weren't for bootlegs, we would be left guessing how much raw flesh that band really ate. The abortive post-Raw Power material would never have been heard at all. (The Iggy "remix" version, by the way, is no great improvement over the Bowie mess; I've got bootlegs with pre-Bowie rough mixes that'll tear your head right off and stomp on it). If something is available only on a bootleg, what can you do? Not every band is as obliging as Stereolab in releasing rarities.

It's also a fact that some bootlegs are made from tapes sold illicitly by band members; for example, Grant Hart is said to have sold off a lot of Husker Du tapes to fund his heroin habit.
Bootleg is the title of a comic book from White Lightning Productions.

The first issue was released in August, 2000 and features many short pieces by various artists including a parody of Jabberwocky with the cast of the webcomic Wendy by the original artist, Josh Lesnick.

This is an adult title, not for sale to minors. The original price is just under $5.00 and it is 48 pages long.

Musical Bootlegs -
Do they harm the music industry or do they bring more musical diversity to the world; or both?

Illegal copies of music present a very clear cut case, it is illegal and results in a loss of revenue for the music industry. However not all bootlegs are of this nature, there are many made that are mixes or synergies of two or more different tracks. For a brief interpretation of the law I quote Shro0m "Derivative works of copyrighted material are still illegal unless they fall under fair use or parody... so um ... mixing two or more different tracks is illegal without the consent of the copyright holder."

I have been listening to Prodigy Vs. EnyaSmack my bitch up the Orinoco flow and it sounds excellent. The resulting sound is a lot more diverse than Prodigy and much more vibrant than Enya. Is this really wrong? BBC Radio 1 doesn’t seem to think so, since they often play interesting new bootleg mixes. However, do the record companies share this liberal opinion, probably not!

In my own (admittedly ranting and unqualified) opinion ‘New’ bootlegs are not going to turn any record company financially on its head, much the opposite. If a particularly good 'illegal' mix comes out, sales of the original are sure to increase. I also believe that a this form of expression increases musical diversity and inspiration which cannot be a bad thing.

Is bootlegging wrong? Well it depends on how it is done!

Aside from being used to refer to pirated material, such as DVDs from China or CDs from Mexico, "bootleg" has another accepted meaning among the music fan community. Specifically, it refers to the practice of smuggling tape recorders into concerts and recording the live shows. Even when these live recordings are specifically allowed by the bands in question and thus legitimate, by tradition they are still often referred to as "bootlegs," or "boots."

Though the practice may not have originated with them, the practice of legitimate bootlegging is by now indelibly associated with The Grateful Dead, who made a practice of allowing fans to tape and trade their shows. Many acts, including Big Smith, Cowboy Junkies, Guster, Rusted Root, and Toad the Wet Sprocket, currently allow this sort of bootlegging. In its early days, Metallica also encouraged live taping and trading of its shows—which was part of why Metallica fans felt so betrayed when the Metallica/Napster controversy broke.

By now, the art of legitimate bootleg taping and trading has become quite high-tech, aided by the development of digital audio recorders, computer audio editing systems, and broadband Internet service. Fans record live shows via DAT or minidisc decks, often through a tap from the band's sound board or, in some cases, a separate mic system set up expressly for that purpose by the band's sound man. They mix them on their computers, and prepare them for upload using lossless compression that reduces the size by approximately 50% from WAV without sacrificing sound quality (concert traders insist on CD quality and eschew any lossy form of compression such as mp3). And then they upload them to FTP sites or burn CDs to send each other.

The main organization in support of trading these legitimate bootlegs is called etree.org. etree is collaborating with Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive at www.archive.org to make hundreds of bootleg concert recordings available, with the permission of the acts in question, to the general public via FTP and BitTorrent. For anyone interested in listening to these live shows, this is an excellent place to start.

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