neil talked a bit about downloading/trading bootlegs of live shows during his world cafe appearance earlier this year:
question: talk a little about you and the internet, you really embraced the whole wide open nature of this. you don't seem to be afraid of people stealing your music.
neil: not really, i have mixed feelings about it obviously. some of my songs have done well and if not for copyright i wouldn't have benefited from them, so i'm not knocking it, but on the other hand i think music is made to go around a few times. i think if you come overly precious about protecting copyright then you kind of lose sight of what it is that makes music a magical experience. it goes and has a journey out there and some of it is for free, and some of it, you get money. people pay to come to shows or they buy the official release, but then they'll go online and they'll download bootlegs from live gigs, because they're passionate about it and they'll spread it around. that process is all really good. obviously if people are doing it for profit and they're making hundreds of them, it's a different matter. i don't have a problem with people bringing tape recorders to the show if they want. they'll probably get stopped at the door, but i think the greatful dead had some pretty good notions about all that stuff.