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In November 2005, access to all recordings of Grateful Dead shows on the Internet Live Music Archive was abruptly discontinued. Over the next nine days, the band, their fans, and the Archive argued the matter on a nationwide stage, before a compromise on access was reached. The controversy touched on issues of copyright, ownership, and the effects of the Internet on making fan projects more widespread and organized than ever before. This case study traces the history of the controversy and its implications through primary and secondary sources and an original interview.


This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published in Popular Music and Society, 2012, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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