"From The Snake Pit"

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - After July 12, 2003: "From The Snake Pit"
Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 12:06 pm:

I have just been asked to review a new CD for a UK magazine called `From The Snake Pit` apparently it is a US produced affair with photos in the booklet of the various Funk Bros, etc It contains Motown instrumentals. It was posted today 1st July, so am expecting it tomorrow. Can anyone throw any light on this? I assume i'ts a bootleg? Keith PS Will scan cover if anyone is interested.

Top of pageBottom of page   By HW ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 12:18 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 03:16 pm:

Keith, let us know if it is a good or not.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 04:51 pm:

If HW says it's a bootleg, keep in mind what that means...

In plain English - the Funks won't see a penny!

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By JoB ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:39 am:

...When I was about to buy the soundtrack to SITSOM, my boyfriend told me not to, that he could just download it for me for free, but I went ahead and bought it anyway, because I wanted so much to support the Funks and what they are doing (and have done)...so are you guys saying that there is no store anywhere (even online) that would be selling it? Only asking because this sounds like a CD that I'd really like to have (the instrumentals on the SITSOM soundtrack are the tracks that I listen to the most)...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:30 am:

Interesting or not, don't forget - this CD is an unauthorised release, and no-one will benefit from it but the bootleggers. Minimal production costs, no royalties or licensing fees paid and certainly not a cent to the Funks. I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't feel very comfortable about buying what is effectively stolen property.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:48 am:

What about the Motorcity stuff Ritchie? Nobody's getting paid there either. Do you recommend buying? Howabout Goldmine?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 09:56 am:

I think my feelings about Motorcity should be pretty plain from my earlier postings. As for Goldmine, good point. Yes, I admit - there are questions which now make me feel uneasy. (I know who visited Mr Roberts recently.) I don't want to get bogged down in semantics, but I'd rather "recommend" a CD which MAY be in a grey area, than one which is a bootleg plain and simple.

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:36 am:

I will ask this question:

Who here - BE HONEST - doesn't have a treasured bootleg or two in their collection???

Obviously, it is much more preferable to get an official release for ethical and quality reasons. However, bootlegs continue to exist because they obviously fill a need that the music industry is not addressing. Perhaps if the industry could better fill those "needs", bootlegs wouldn't be so prevalent.

Also, when it comes to royalties and being paid.... Do you think the Funk Bros. get any money from releases like the new Tempatations "Psychedelic Soul", Undisputed Truth" or any other legit UMG/Motown releases that they played on??? They should, but they don't......

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:00 am:

Good point Motownboy, most artists don't even get paid by the major labels unless they sue, which many don't do cause even that is no guarantee. I doubt if the Temptations will get any money from Pyschedelic Soul let alone the Funk Brothers. If they were they would promote it by going on a Psychedelic Soul tour with Undisputed Truth. Fat chance of that happening.

The musicians on the live Motown recordings have been upset for years because they don't receive any royalties from those albums, now CDs. Since the live dates weren't studio dates they were not paid studio time; they were only paid their regular salaries for the live gig.

And yes, I have bootlegs as does everybody else here who collects northern or rare soul.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:17 am:

Yes - I admit it. Every time I put a rare track onto a CD, I'm a bootlegger. My defence is - I don't then go off and sell it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:28 am:

Sorry, pal - speak for yourself.

I own no bootlegs of any recordings, vinyl or CD, and I make it a point to avoid these releases like the plague.

Also, Motown/UMG pays their legends royalties from the CD releases and reissues. Universal Music Group has done so for several years with their catalogs (Etta James said in her autobiography that she receives royalties from the Chess reissues Universal/MCA released when they acquired the Chess catalog).

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Back to the original question....

Keith, If you are asked to review a bootleg for a magazine, tell the magazine it is a bootleg. If they still want you to review it, then YOU decide what YOU must do......

If you do decide to review it, please let me know. I'd be curious to read it.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:53 am:

KevGo, I was speaking of diehard Northern Soul fans. I have many bootleg compilations of artists who never even had an album released. I got them from foreign northern soul fans or others who got them from these sources and burned me a copy or in the old days made me a tape. If you read some old or new northern soul zines you'll see these bootleg tapes and CDs offered for sale.

Point taken Ritchie. But a bootleg is a bootleg in my opinion if you distribute it to others because you never know what is going to happen when others get their hands on them. I know for a fact that some innocently made bootleg compilations that were distributed by northern soul fans among themselves have found their way in some small record/CD shops for sale. And some are simply burned on computers and sold to others.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Funkyone D J Dollar BILL ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:56 am:

I would imagine and perhaps HW can confirm,that he could posibly be working on a collection very similar to the "Snakepit" bootleg.Harry has never disapointed us yet and not only do the Funk Brothers deserve our support,Mr.Weinger does as well.I have thanked him many times for the experiences he has brought my ears and heart as many of them were first times,being a late comer to the world.Even when I was nuck dunk in da Funk,I had never heard James Brown's Live at The Apollo,because no one ever sells their copy of that and I was vinyl only at the time.Try to remember hearing that for the first time and even better the UMG/HW Dlx edit.!While of course James Brown is responsible for much of the joy that CD brought me,Mr.Weinger is responsible for delivering it to me.
I'm not saying I'm a angel in regards to boots or downloading,but I do have a great debt and sense of loyalty to The Funk Brothers and Harry Weinger.My guess is that all of you here do as well.While the equivilant of this "Snakepit" boot may not come out overnight,I think HW has been a excellent keeper of the flame thus far and the only complaints I've ever heard is the desire for more releases.The deluxe editions seem to be designed to show the powers that be that if you put out a quality product,people will pay a premium for what WAS just a catalog release,as opposed to downloading it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:27 pm:

I am also hoping that UMG/HW do put out an instrumental collection of classic funk brothers performances.

Also, just because someone has bootlegs, doesn't mean they don't support the legit releases. Check your own collections and look at your ratio of legit vs. bootlegs. Most collections are 98% (more or less) legit releases. In terms of actual numbers/pieces, it seems that the intense collectior (as opposed to the mainsteam buyer) is usually the one with the most bootlegs -- yet they also tend to have the most legit releases as well............

Top of pageBottom of page   By Funkyone D J Dollar BILL ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:32 pm:

I agree Motownboy.However if you already have a boot and a legit release comes out with the majority of the same songs,would you be as likely to buy the legit?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:37 pm:

Motownboy as I previously posted, anybody who got into northern soul in the mid-seventies like I did have numerous bootleg tapes and now CDS. People would compiled them then offer them for sales in northern soul zines (this was before the Internet). And you're correct in saying that bootlegs isn't the extent of a northern soul fan purchases. It's just that when somebody's not filling a demand somebody else will.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:53 pm:

Scratcher - with the greatest of respect, I was born in 1954, not yesterday and I've been a Soul fan since about 1966. So, yes - I know all about swapping reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes and now CDs. FYI I've always been very careful, and today, my own personal compilations are distributed - at my own expense - only to select friends, most of whom are SD Forum regulars. I think I can be fairly confident that any CDs I have provided David with will not be appearing on Glasgow market, nor will Sis be selling them on the street in Detroit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 01:24 pm:

I have a question I need to ask you - could you send me your email address (kevingoins@juno.com).
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratchers ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 01:37 pm:

As I stated Ritchie, with the easy technology today of burning disks you never know where they might end up. But at least you admitted to doing so. Many people buy their music from street vendors in major USA cities. All of their CDs and tapes are bootlegs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

Maybe a definition of Bootleg might help.

boot·leg [ bt lèg ]
verb (past boot·legged, past participle boot·legged, present participle boot·leg·ging, 3rd person present singular boot·legs)

1. transitive and intransitive verb deal in illegal goods: to make, transport, or sell illegal goods, especially illegally copied or recorded material

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 01:52 pm:

Sorry, what IS your point?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 02:03 pm:

The point is I don't think some know the meaning of the word bootleg. If they did they wouldn't be so quick at putting down others who bootleg when they're doing the same thing themselves. It's illegal and consider a bootleg to copy recorded material and give (or transport it) to someone else. Whether you selling it isn't the issue, though many of these are sold via northern soul zines and message boards. If you and anyone else is going to denounce bootlegging then denounce it all and stop doing it yourselves otherwise you come off as being hypocritical and protecting special interests.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 03:24 pm:

Don't worry - I'm fully aware of the law as regards copying. In fact, the relevant passage in the 1984 Designs, Patents and Copyrights act is linked to from my website.

Actually, "selling" or "not selling" is very much the issue. Making a copy of a recording without the copyright owner's express permission is a breach of copyright. Selling that copy is a criminal offence. Giving a copy away to a friend is still a breach of copyright, but it's a civil offence.

Where I draw the line is those people who make unauthorised copies and sell for profit, often at a ridiculously high price. Remember, their overheads are very low - no licensing fees, no publishing fees, no artist royalties. After the production costs are met, it's pure profit. This is criminal activity, profiting from stolen property. That's not about the music - it's about greed. I see no hypocrisy in taking that stance.

Those Soul sites who sell tapes or CDs of Rare Soul Tracks do not have my support. (Members of my Soul Group at Yahoo may remember that I banned a new member for linking to a pirate CD Forum recently.)

The fan who copies out-of-print singles to CD for pleasure is also guilty of copyright infringement, but any case would have to be a civil complaint brought by the copyright owner. Effectively that owner (usually the record company) would have to sue the "fan" and prove loss of income or some similar reason for complaint in court. With no profits being made by the evil infringer, the case for damages would be hard to prove, and I suspect may not have much popular support either.

I'll happily take one of my CDs down to the local Police station or the Trading Standards Office for them to examine. While they might enjoy listening to it, they wouldn't be very interested from a legal point of view. They are quite rightly far more interested in the guys at the Sunday Boot Fairs with market stalls loaded with Top 40 albums on CDR, or "The Complete U2 In MP3 Format". These are the true rip-off merchants, making easy profit from other people's work, and from fans' love of the music.

By the way, in the world of anti-piracy (in which - believe it or not, I am actively engaged) a "bootleg" refers to an unauthorised release of unissued material - such as a Live concert, or unreleased studio tapes. An unauthorised issue of someone else's previously-released material is a "counterfeit" or a "pirate".

Top of pageBottom of page   By FrankM ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 05:36 pm:

The snakepit bootleg went for £70 last week on ebay. Are they crazy?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 05:45 pm:

How much is L70, FrankM. I couldn't make that little symbol before the 70; couldn't find it on the keyboard. How did u do it?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 07:07 pm:

Anyone who can provide me with label, catalog number, upc code and copyright and license information as it appears on the label copy will be greatly appreciated by the Brothers. I have been trying to track down information on this release for several weeks and hesitated to mention it here only because I didn't want to promote an apparent bootleg.


Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:34 pm:

Hey Funkyone:

To answer the question you asked me which was:

"Motownboy, if you already have a boot and a legit release comes out with the majority of the same songs,would you be as likely to buy the legit?"

The answer is YES!!! For obvious reasons that it is the official release and that 99% of the time, it will be of much better quality than the bootleg. For me, it would be a replacement for the bootleg, and this has been the case a few times, too. However, if the same material on the bootleg had been officially available to begin with, I would have bought the official release instead.

One of the main reasons for bootlegs is to get stuff that is not officially available, yet highly desireable!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:41 pm:

The Radiants is one of my favorite vocal groups of the sixties. I had all their singles and had been wanting on LP and later a CD by them; been wanting for these items for years. I now have two CDs of Radiants songs that encompass everything they ever made; one CD even has the Maurice and Mac songs. Was I not supposed to buy these CDs because they're bootlegs, good quality I may add, when the tracks were not available anywhere else? Do I feel guilty? Not a bit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:50 pm:

Even though they are not legal, I don't believe that bootlegs necessarily take away from the legit releases. Most people into bootlegs buy tons of legit CDs - in general, at least more than your average Joe & Jane Q. Public..... Again, generally speaking, to buy a bootleg, you've gotta be a big fan of the artist, etc. One reason why bootlegs sell is that the buyer already has "all" the legit stuff already, yet still wants more.....

Recently, Pearl Jam released a big batch of individual concert performances from their concert tours on CD. I'm not sure, but something like 20 CDs or so different performances in order to thwart the bootleggers. If it were 20 legit concert CDs from a favorite artist of mine, I would buy many of them perhaps eventually snap them all up.......

Top of pageBottom of page   By Funkyone D J Dollar BILL ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:55 pm:

I think it is great that you and others would buy a legit release even if you already had all the songs,but unfortunatly there are many others with the got it,got it,need it mentality that wouldn't bother.Perhaps someday the I-tunes formula will be applied to any song ever recorded(not even released!) and you can pick and choose that way instead of waiting and hoping for re-issues.Or perhaps a easier way to licence product so that anyone could put together a comp and still have the royalties go to those who earned it,the artist.

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 12:23 am:

Funkyone -

If the major labels had half a brain, they would be putting all their catalog and as much good vault material as possible into downloadable files for legit retail .....A MAJOR undertaking to be sure, but eventually (a few years down the road) they are going to realize that most people would rather pay for a download of a particular album or single track knowing that they can reliably get it than go through trying to find it on line and having trouble downloading it from a mysterious source......

Imagine that UMG/Motown just put 100 vault tracks on line either not currently available on CD or previously unreleased!! If the price were reasonable - say $1 each (hey - they ARE vault tracks and not new material) I would download the lot - as I could afford them, of course...

With computers now almost as essential as oxygen to more and more people, the music industry will have to come to this conclusion eventually....

The other issue is that this would be an MP3 and not CD quality, although it appears that a 256 or 320kps rate yields results virtually indistinguishable from CD. Perhaps future technological development will produce an MP3- type file format that would sound even better than CD or SACD.......

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 11:03 am:

....we seem to be talking about two different types of bootlegs here.
Is "From The Snake Pit"
a) an unauthorized copy of a studio tape,
2) an unauthorized fresh recording of something, in the same way as all those Grateful Dead tapes, or the Rolling Stones San Diego concert from the late '60's? I've seen session bootlets recorded on the sly also.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 11:14 am:

It appears to be a collection of Funk Brothers rhythm tracks which somehow "escaped" from the Motown vaults. This is the blurb for the CD from a website that's selling it, and at £17 it's not cheap:

IN THE SNAKEPIT, a 19 track Motown instrumental cd. It includes �Pieces of my broken heart�,�I�ll always love you�,�Stormy�, �24 hours to find my baby� plus several standards and 4 previously unreleased tracks.

Harry has confirmed that it is unauthorised.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eddie Hubbard ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 04:30 pm:

Whatever the legalities of this release , I have seen it ,and it has obviously been compiled with a deep love and knowledge of Motown ,the sleeve notes are very informative and interesting , plus there are many great unseen photo's of The Funk Brothers .I hope Motown decide to make a similar effort , but to be honest , they'll have to go some to top this !! Ther are no real details of where it comes from , the sleeve simply says " printed in the USA " .Hope this helps ,Best ,Eddie.

Top of pageBottom of page   By ErikT.O.Loves That Stevie 74 Rainbow set ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 04:47 pm:

Sounds intriguing, maybe it will also motivate Motown to put out a live music box like one I think HW alluded to way back up this thread. Until this Funk Bros set, the only bootlegged Motown acts I'd heard of were Michael Jackson & Stevie Wonder...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 09:23 am:

Fred Thank you for your E mail re `In the Snake Pit`. I'm affraid I'm with Eddie on this one in both senses. Someone in editorial at the magazine bought the CD in good faith at a UK music venue and simply sent it on to review, I doubt if he even opened it let alone played it. There is absoloutely NOTHING other than `Printed in USA` to detrmine origin. There are no `house style` clues either. I recall the last time I saw something similar it came from Belgium. Re Eddie's other comment about it's `symbolism`' lets say. This is a mighty BIG pandora's box and I could really go to town with my views but must resist. But I would like to sketch in the basis of my views...until Harry W took up his present position, let's be honest, Motown cared little or nothing about its unissued material. Mainly because there wasn't any significant money in it. As far as I know, Tom DePierro was the first person to legitimately liberate gems from the Motown vaults. Then there was only a trickle here and there until Harry came along. But when you have been digging this music for as long as I have you can't help being resentful of Motown for depriving it's fans of the literally 10.000's of unissued tracks it is simply sitting on. I know it's their property and they have careful strategies about product sales, types, marketing, image etc but lots of Motown fans are not getting any younger. I'm cynical enough to think that it sometimes takes folk such as Mr `In the Snake Pit` to kick a bit of ass now and then. Would Motown have put such a CD out? This isn't a cynical question, it is genuine. I KNOW the Funks won't get a penny (or Motown) that is the only reason I won't be reviewing it for the magazine. I would suggest that this very site might not even be in existence had bootleggers (or Pressing as we say in the UK) not brought Northern soul to the masses. Some bootlegs sold in such high numbers that they could have made the top 50! Eddie Parker's `Love You Baby` for instance. Don't forget that this whole scene was an underground scene for a long time and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it before the `establishment`, BBC, cat food manufacturers etc decided to exploit it. These fashion victims come and go, the BBC for instance pretty well ignored Soul in the 60s and condescended to employing Mike Raven, a Pirate Radio DJ eventually. Check out Dave Godin's `Open letter to the BBC` in Blues & Soul magazine. Now the BBC even transmit live Northern Soul all nighters - that is good and hopefully will bring it to a wider / younger audience. I wasn't supposed to go on this long but I am an old, bitter and twisted Real Ale drinker and by the way you Yanks...the greatest show on earth starts today - Le Tour De France! and Texan Lance Armstrong will be out there riding his butt off. Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME9 ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 10:52 am:

avez vous un cuppa?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 10:56 am:

Mel It's a good job you've never seen me, especially after a few pints....I look just like one of those chimps! Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 10:58 am:

That makes 2 of us then mate.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 04:18 pm:

Mr Rylatt speaks 100% sense here. What is the world's greatest Earl Van Dyke or original Funk Brothers fan going to do right now that will get them some royalties? We've got the SITSOM soundtrack. We're going to buy anything else that comes out officially. They won't get a penny from vocal Motown tracks anyway. I have two bootlegs (neither of which bought knowing that was the case). One is a Belgian stereo version of THAT MOTOWN SOUND, which I already bought the vinyl of; the other is IN THE SNAKEPIT. If lots of people bought and played either one of them, everyone who heard them would become worshippers of the Funks. Maybe then MotownUNI would think it was worth releasing enough official material to feed the demand. As stated above, whoever put 'Snakepit' together loved and appreciated the Funks. Somebody made some money there, sure, but the 'escaped' tracks are the best evidence for the brilliance of the band. You can hear things you couldn't hear on the records and even people who never heard of the Funks before can appreciate the creativity and tightness they delivered on a day to day basis. It's over thirty years overdue and, like a free promotional CD, it can only do the musicians good in the long run IMHO.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 05:05 pm:

Keith and Eddie, thanks for the info (or mysterious lack of it) about the source of the bootleg. It looks like it is going to take some digging to get to the bottom of this.

While I understand the fan's viewpoint about the possible artistic value of a bootleg, and that it may represent a release of material otherwise unavailable (and I will admit to still having my copy of "Great White Wonder," purchased well before I learned the ways of the record business), a bootleg deprives the artists and writers of their due. To me, that is reprehensible behavior, especially when it is coupled with a professions of love and admiration for the creators.

Let's face it. It isn't hard to find the Funk Brothers these days. How much effort would it have taken to reach them and come to an agreement on a reasonable royalty?

In this specific case, where the bootleg recording is released with photographs of the Funk Brothers, it not only violates whatever rights they may have in the recordings, it also violates their rights to control the use of their names and likenesses. Again, there is no excuse for not playing by the rules.

I despise bootleggers, especially the hypocrites who claim to be fans of the artists they rip off. I'm no big fan of major labels, to be fair, but when they screw over my clients, at least I know where to find them. By hiding their identity, the folks behind "In The Snakepit" are cowards as well as being thieves. They have done nothing admirable by releasing this CD.

For those of you who either already own it or who will likely purchase it, I have a simple question: Would you present your copy to any of the Brothers to autograph?

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 05:15 pm:


As a writer and photographer who has been ripped off in similar ways, I have to agree with you about copyright and the fact that there was no justification for what went on here legally. The producers of this record should not have had the tracks, presumably, so would not have been keen to compound the overt by contacting the genuine owners. It's a tricky one and I would not have bought any CD I knew to be a bootleg, but I've been looking for good material since the 1960s and not much has come up.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Chad ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 05:33 pm:

Here's some ammunition Fred go get 'em.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

Thanks, Chad. I've written to the website to see if they can point me farther up the food chain.

Film at 11.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 08:55 pm:

Thank goodness Fred is on the case for the Funk Brothers.

It makes me sick that anyone could defend such a bootleg with the lame excuse that the Funks don't get royalties from vocal tracks, or citing "love of the music." How can you love the music and dismiss the economic exploitation of the artist who made that music?

But UMG/Motown would pay the Funks royalties on an album like this, unlike the creeps who put this out.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 06:23 am:

Mea culpa, Sue. I wasn't trying to condone or justify what's gone on here. I was scratching for some lame excuses for having bought it. I knew you wouldn't let me off the hook that easy, but I will try to be a better boy in future.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:47 am:

Fred & Sue You are both dead right about the morals and deprivation of royalties to the Funks. They are a (now) high profile band with international exposure, I suspect anyone on this site could make personal contact within 24 hrs, with a bit of digging. But as mentioned earlier, in the UK, even the original Soul scene in the 60s was served by some very dubious practices, bootleg labels, (a red & yellow one springs to mind), helped provide us with Soul & R&B. private importation of stuff was unheard of. And generally, the allnighter scene was also a very shady area, protection money from club owners, massive amphetamine abuse, gang violence etc and then in the 70s, drugs and bootlegs (but thankfully no violence) This was not a young gentleman's Polo Club, it was raw street culture, that parent's dreaded & the Drug Squad raided. Northern Soul was also equally known as Rare Soul and to try to understand this point might illustrate why bootlegs were / are an integral part of the culture. Someone on a different thread mentioned that there were 100,000 members of Wigan Casino, so when the DJ played the opening bars to Patti Young's `Head & Shoulders` on Ernstrat, the world went WILD! but with only maybe 500 / 1000 copies pressed, for local play in Detroit some 7 years earlier how else could they obtain it? Ernie Stratton & Rainbow were history. Fred, I am not condoning bootlegging in 2003 but I simply want you to understand a bit about their place in UK Northern Soul culture. We craved Detroit's finest but it was so often unobtainable. At 50+ I now have more knowledge. Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 12:08 pm:


I really do understand what you are trying to say. I was a fan long before I went to work for artists, and sometimes it is still hard to keep the old urges in check.

The tug-of-war becomes especially tough when I come across a bootleg of artists I work for. I buy two copies (if two are available). One stays in the shrinkwrap for potential evidentiary use, the other is opened for research purposes; looking for clues to the provenance. I usually play the CD only once, just to confirm that the songs on the disk match the label copy, but then it goes back in the jewel case and into my file cabinet. There are times when that makes me feel like an alcoholic working in a liquor warehouse.

I know that the Northern Soul scene has been fueled to some degree by bootleggers making rare records available, and that this practice has often benefitted artists by creating an interest and demand for live appearances in the UK. There are artists I know who are happily stunned to discover that there are large numbers of fans still out there, and while they will never see a penny from the bootleggers, the continued recognition of their talent and accomplishments is sometimes (at least) partial validation of their work.

What bootlegs really come down to is a choice between two philosophical positions. Which is more important, love of the music or respect for the artist? Most of the time, we can happily have both (and SD is living proof of that). Bootlegs are one of the few bright-line dividing points between the two.

I know which side I come down on, and I think I have made that pretty clear in this thread. I admit that a great deal of the foundation for my position has come from my personal contact and friendship with artists over the year, and I consider myself very lucky to have had that exposure. Many real and sincere fans, further removed from the human side of this issue, lack the perspective I have gained that puts me on the other side of this particular fence.

That doesn't make those fans evil, by any means. I know, and appreciate, their motivation, because I have it myself. There are some CDs in that file cabinet that I would happily keep in the CD player for weeks at a time, and I have some soundboard tapes that I would love to share, because they would blow the socks off everyone here (and if I ever get to the point where I can figure out who legally owns them and work out the dense thicket of permissions necessary to release them, you will know about it here). This is simply impossible because of the way I have decided to answer that question for myself. Everyone has to make the same personal decision. I am not looking to impose my opinion on anyone, but I hope my comments provoke some thought about the issue.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 12:31 pm:

As for the Radiants CDs I purchased from an online site I really don't know if they're boots or not. Somebody said they were but who knows if that info is right?

Consumers buying CDs from online sites like Dead Dog Records, an American company, don't have a clue as to whether the item is a bootleg or not and probably don't care. You surely can't tell from the actual CD. They have labels, catalog numbers, etc. Who knows whether the licensing was acquired from the rightful owner or not?

What I do surmise, however, is that whomever owned the masters and licensed them aren't paying the artists and writers anything. But then the Radiants never made any monies from Chess Records anyway. When All Platinum took over the Chess catalog I called Sylvia Robinson and practically begged her to released the Radiants' tracks on album and tape (no CDs then). She said she'll look into it but off the top didn't think there was sufficent interest.

What about the Tri-Phi/Harvey compilation on Tri-Phi Records? This CDs features all the Spinners Tri-Phi sides, as well as the tracks the Five Quails and Challengers III (Ann Bogan)cut for the labels. Is it a boot? I'm sure Harvey Fuqua knows about this release. Did he somehow get the rights back from Motown? And again, how was I, the consumer, to know this and the Radiants' CDs were boots?

The early northern soul boots are easily identified as boots, primary because of the packaging and the sound. But the CDs I mentioned are slick packages that sound good.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RODS ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 12:57 pm:

I thought I had no bootlegs in my collection but I do have the previously unreleased Detroit stuff Goldmine put out on 45. Could Ritchie enlighten me with regard to their status. I always thought they came via Murphy/Koppell/Brownie set up and were legit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 01:05 pm:


I traded emails with Paddy at the website Chad provided.

Paddy bought six copies of the Snakepit CD from a dealer while he was on vacation. He was surprised to discover it was a bootleg because of the quality of the packaging. He also believed it was a US product, but there is no evidence of any place of origin. He has promised to let his friends (and the folks at Blues and Soul magazine) know that it is a boot, but there is not much else he can really do.

Despite Paddy's belief that the CD originated in the US, I am quickly coming to the conclusion that it is actually from the UK. On the basis of my online search, there are no copies currently available in the US. Even a search on Gemm doesn't turn up anything, and if something was ever legitimately released, somebody there usually has a copy. My "usual suspect" online US bootleg sources also come up empty.

This all leads me to conclude that this CD is a small release (1,000-2,000 copies) bootleg being distributed a handful at a time by the leggers themselves. This is going to make it tough to track down, but I intend to pursue it further.

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulboy ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 01:21 pm:

i understand what Fred is saying and i realise it's all too easy to condemn the bootleggers and filesharers, but consider this without them a lot of music that we talk of on this forum would be consigned to musical oblivion.Wouldn't that be a waste also??Having a strict moral code on the issue of any unauthorised recording does have limitations, and could be detremental to the artists that we value so much, sometimes it is not such a clear issue as some people make out.
In this case if the 'from the snakepit' bootleg wins over one fan to the cause then we can almost guarantee that the one person will buy many more legit copies of similar product as a result.in my experience the music is that addictive.
It is also acts added incentive for the people at universal to match it with a similar product. please don't think i am trying to justify bootlegging and filesharing, but sometimes the issues are not as clear cut as they appear to be.
It is particulary sad that in this case the funks will not be getting any royalty directly, but i am confident that as a result of the exposure they achieve they will get more royalty through the legitimate channel.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 01:39 pm:

I'm sure I have a couple bootlegs that I am unaware of. But, I never purchase cd's from those guys on the corner, or in the foreign boutiques. I know those are pirates.

I purchased legal copies of the Dramatics' new live cd from LJ Reynolds at a reduced price, and I "give" them to my friends and family. I could have easily burned copies and given it to them. But I didn't.

Same thing with SitSom Soundtrack. I still have two new SitSom cd's that I purchased at the store, waiting to give to a deserving someone as a gift. Slutsky, you should have sold me those cd's at wholesale prices. :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 02:36 pm:

Whether the artist get paid or not does not determine if a record is a boot. Many masters' owners license their product to labels and keep all the money themselves, never paying the artists or writers.

45s were booted by distributers in the '60s when the record company couldn't come up with the product fast enough. The only way to know if the recording is a boot is to read the numbers and lettering in the shiny plastic, which most didn't do, and if they did, didn't know what they were reading.

Boots are sold in legitimate stores as well as online, through northern soul zines, foreign boutiques (all their recordings aren't boots) and American companies. There is usually no way for the consumer to know and the finger shouldn't be pointed in their direction. It's easy to denounce and try to shame the little guy; the people boot police should be going after is the people who make the records and the stores that sell them. All second hand CD shops like CD Exchange buy, trade and sell boots.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 02:54 pm:

Here's my 2 Cents,
I have no clue how to burn CD's or how to identify a CD as a bootleg. As a consumer, if I saw a CD that was the Funk Brothers, Marvin, Diana, Tammi or any of my favorites and it had songs on it that I never heard I'd surly buy it..If I found out later it was a bootleg I think I'd be sad that I did it, if I found out that there was a legit release out there that would pay monies to the artists, I know me and I would then go buy that CD too....
I don't do much online CD shopping. I go out and buy CD's at The Music Stores, Virgin, ect. I always buy Tammi's CD's and give them to people..I have yet to see a section for Tammi all by herself so I always raid the Marvin Gaye bin for all of the Tammi stuff. The local Virgin Mega Store has been out of any CD's of theirs for a while...I cleaned it out about a month and half ago and they have not stocked it back yet..
I check it often :)


Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 04:55 pm:

Come on, you know that the Funk Bros., Marvin, Diana or Tammi would be released on UMG/Motown, not on Fly By Night Records.

And European fans of Motown know that too. People make mistakes, but when it comes to the people who are rabid fans of soul -- they know what label is supposed to be affixed to a Funk Bros. release.

Are these guys putting out the bootleg CDs for cost, for "love of the music"? No, they're profiting from an artistic work that they had no part in creating. If they even sent checks to the Funk Bros. this "love of the music" business might hold some water.

I have a friend who bought a Joe Messina bossa nova album off ebay(From the Motown jazz workshop label), long out of print -- he'll burn me a copy of that. That's the extent of my adventures in burning CD-land.

All of you who use the "record company wouldn't pay them anyway" excuse -- what do you think the Funk Brothers think of bootlegs?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:10 pm:

Sue, I agree with you on some on the Motown bootlegs (i.e. Marginal Records). But for others, like the ones I mentioned, there is no way for the consumer to know if it's a boot or not; nor is it their responsibility.

Also, if the bootleggers are tracked down and made to pay, their obligation is to whoever owns the masters and the publishers of the copyrights, not the artists or writers. It is then up to the master owners and the publishing companies to pay the artists and writers; more often than not this never happens.

And many recordings that are called boots are not because the owner of the masters made a legitimate deal with a record company. That he inturn never pays the artists and sometimes the publishing companies is another story.

Sue, you've talked to G. C. Cameron. Did you ask him how many royaly checks he has received from so call legitimate recording companies. If you did then you know the answer is none. I'm sorry for being skeptical when people talk about it's about making sure the artists get their share cause after talking to more than 200 recording artists of all races who recorded all genres of music I know this is bullshit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

I didn't think the Funk Brothers got anything in royalties on the older recordings, even if it is used in commercials or movies. (With the exception of this latest cd.) I thought they received their money in the studio as salary, unless they have writers credits.

Of course I don't know that much about those things, but I have heard the Detroit artist and musicians complain about some of their regordings being bootleg. I've just recently learned by reading this forum, that some recordings had been licensed, and some have not. Can you imagine how someone feels when I tell them their recordings were released on cd 10 years ago, and they just found out when I recently complimented them on how good it sounded. They look at me like I'm the culprit. (LOL)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:19 pm:

I'm sorry but, again, record companies not paying artists in specific cases is no justification for making or buying bootlegs.

As for bootleggers not owing the artists they're ripping off anything -- I don't know, I tend to listen a little more to Fred on that. The bootleggers are using the Funk Brothers' name and image without permission to sell product and line their own pockets -- they certainly DO owe the Funk Brothers for that, not to mention the use of their musical talent.

And you're barking up the wrong tree, saying the consumer has no responsibility in this matter. I'm one of those freaks who buys union-made cars and doesn't shop at Wal-Mart. I check labels to see where the stuff I'm buying came from.

Thus I believe that the consumer DOES have a moral responsibility not to buy bootlegs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:32 pm:

Sue, the point is the average consumer doesn't know what a bootleg record is? And the term should be defined further as it differs in different scenarios.

Maybe Fred should chime in here as to the obligation of who record companies have to pay. In the case of the Snake Pit CD the Funks have a case in regards to their name and depictions being use without their consent to sell a product. But I'm sure they don't own any of those masters.

In no way am I justifying bootlegging, I'm saying the people that should be vilified is the bootleggers not consumers who don't have a clue. As for the early northern soul days everybody dealt in boots knowingly; many of my northern soul tapes and CDs are boots. Most, however, I didn't buy, they were given to me. But as I said before you can look at those and tell they're boots; you can't with some of the stuff nowadays; and it's unclear what is a boot and what isn't.

The average consumer don't know what recording company own the masters of such and such recording artist.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Musicchef ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:36 pm:

Personally, I would like to see artists/performers set up their own websites and have a donation button set up on the site. I would feel not one bit of remorse giving $$$ to the people DIRECTLY responsible for the music that I enjoy. Will someone PLEASE set up one for the Funk Brothers !!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulkikker ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:53 pm:

I'm interested in HOW these tracks could be bootlegged. Who has access to these vault tapes and is capable of releasing them on CD ? Isn't there a way to track down the possible supspects? Surely the number of people capable of this can't be that big, or am I naive?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 05:57 pm:

Well, I'm saying right now, I "aint" going to donate money to any artist just because I like their music. I buy their music if I like it. I pay to see them in concert.

However, if they were ill and needed money for expenses that's different. I would donate a dollar or two. But other than that its a no, no. :o)

I've read Ritchie's description of a bootleg on his site, but I still cannot recognize a bootleg if it's professionally wrapped. I will read his report again. What do you look for? etc. Previously, I never paid attention to the labels. I just started doing that within the past 3 years, since being on the web. (In the 60's, I did notice all the changes on the tamla, motown, etc labels because I was in Detroit.)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 06:50 pm:

Boot-leggers are bad people..the public that is fooled by them are not bad people...

I agree with Sis, you can't always tell especially if you get a CD online..I am not a hard core collector and I do not know what other record labels/companies that Universal may own..I was told the Spectrum release on Tammi was a Bootleg, then someone on this forum said it was legit....I felt bad for getting that for obvious reasons....When I found out Spectrum was legit I felt better about buying that CD online about 2 years ago..I have never bought a CD from anyone on a corner or shop like Sis is speaking of..I always go to major Music Store...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 06:58 pm:

I�m going to try to combine responses to several different posts here, so I need to quote the originals to make some sense out of my comments.

Soulboy said �consider this without [bootlegs] a lot of music that we talk of on this forum would be consigned to musical oblivion.�

I think you have to face the fact that, as much as we love the music, we have no God given right to own it. Is it unfortunate that we can�t own, or at least hear, everything we want? Absolutely. Does that provide an excuse for patronizing a bootlegger? I don�t think so.

�Having a strict moral code on the issue of any unauthorised recording does have limitations��

It sure does. It means I deprive myself of the enjoyment of those recordings, but, really, that�s all it does. That �limitation� I place on myself means I don�t put a dime in the pocket of a bootlegger and I doesn�t deprive the artists, writers and producers of a cent they earned by creating that music. I will go with 2 out of 3 on this.

��and could be detremental to the artists that we value so much��


�In this case if the 'from the snakepit' bootleg wins over one fan to the cause then we can almost guarantee that the one person will buy many more legit copies of similar product as a result.�

Do you really think �Snakepit� is going to reach an audience that doesn�t already know the Funk Brothers? The only places I have yet found it for sale are websites that cater to Northern Soul fans, and certainly no first-time buyer is going to gamble £70 on eBay on a group he or she has never heard before. �Snakepit� is purely a �smash-and-grab� small bore ripoff targeted at a knowledgeable audience that, unfortunately, has proven itself susceptible to bootlegs, and probably already owns the SITSOM soundtrack.

�It is also acts added incentive for the people at universal to match it with a similar product.�

I think you will find that boots often have the exact opposite effect by skimming the cream off the potential market for a legitimate release. HW can probably correct me on this, but I suspect UMG would be thrilled if a legitimate niche market release like �Snakepit� sold 30,000 copies. Profit margins in the business being what they are, the 2,000 bootlegs represent a substantial erosion of the potential for sales, possibly to the point of making it a doubtful entry on the release schedule. Hell, two years of eBay sales averaging nearly $100 a copy on Howard Tate�s Verve CD hasn�t convinced UMG there�s a market for a re-release. (Sorry, Harry, I just had to editorialize, and I know it's not your fault. :) ).

�It is particulary sad that in this case the funks will not be getting any royalty directly, but i am confident that as a result of the exposure they achieve they will get more royalty through the legitimate channel.�

First of all, as I mentioned earlier, the �exposure� argument doesn�t work in this case.

Second, we are still quite a distance from determining even IF the Funks are entitled to a royalty on these recordings. We have no idea where the came from or how they got to the bootlegger. Frankly, there is a better legal chance of me nailing the bootlegger directly on behalf of the Funks on the use of the photos than there is on royalties. I fully expect to have to turn over any information I find on the bootlegger to the Business Affairs people at UMG, who can then press the IFPI anti-piracy people to do something about the bootleg itself, and I will bug them until they do. That�s worked before for me.

RD is correct in saying that �if the bootleggers are tracked down and made to pay, their obligation is to whoever owns the masters and the publishers of the copyrights, not the artists or writers.� However, if I track down a bootlegger and turn my information over to the owner of the masters, and the owner takes no action against the bootlegger, I�ve just established a pretty good legal basis to void the contract on the grounds that the owner is willfully ignoring contractual obligations to the artist. You might be surprised to learn how much labels would rather not face the risk of having to give up the masters to the artists under these circumstances, and how agreeable they can be to raising current royalty rates, reducing or eliminating debit balances and taking other corrective action to avoid that possibility.

The fact is, not many bootleg pursuits result in finding any money for anyone. More than one time I have traced bootleggers to a specific location to find a vacant office or empty warehouse. Putting them out of business is often the most you can hope for.

RD goes on to say, �And many recordings that are called boots are not because the owner of the masters made a legitimate deal with a record company.� These are not bootlegs, whatever they are called. They are simply ripoff deals by the master owners. I don�t mind these as much, from a lawyer�s standpoint, because there is usually a paper trail that leads back to the source, and a contract with the artist that says royalties are payable. All I have to do in these cases is shake the money tree until the appropriate amount falls down. With a bootlegger, there is rarely a money tree to begin with.

As for consumers �not having a clue� whether a specific recording is a boot or not, that might be true for a pretty large portion of the population, but you can�t convince me that as knowledgeable a group as we have here, or just considering the Northern Soul community in general (who are as conversant with the music they love, if not more so, as blues fans), that ignorance of the source of a recording is anything but willful.

And it doesn�t have to be �Fly-By-Night Records.� Does anyone here honestly believe that Goldmine/Soul Supply legitimately licenses everything? That Charly only dealt with legitimate licensors? (Harry can enlighten you about the Chess catalog if you doubt me about this one.) That those Collectables CDs that have been obviously dubbed from vinyl are legit? The Snakpit CD has NO LABEL. NOBODY is advertising or promoting the release. How much clearer can it get?

Soulkicker asked �I'm interested in HOW these tracks could be bootlegged. Who has access to these vault tapes and is capable of releasing them on CD ? Isn't there a way to track down the possible supspects? Surely the number of people capable of this can't be that big, or am I naive?�

These are excellent questions, and the real goal of my current search. Either these masters came from the UMG vaults or they didn�t. At this point, there is no way of knowing. If the trail leads back to UMG, they�ve obviously got some housekeeping to do. If these tapes were spirited out of Motown before UMG acquired the catalog (and I am willing to bet this is actually the case), they may have passed through several hands in the ensuing years, but I am less interested in who had them then than who has them NOW. If they are Motown product, then UMG has a good claim of legal ownership, and I would love to have them do what they do best in these kind of cases and grind them into dust.

The one quibble I have with Soulkicker�s comment is that almost anyone is capable of releasing this CD, especially if, as I believe, the entire existing print run is under 2,000 copies. If the demand continues, it will be equally easy to make more.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 07:04 pm:

Sometimes it's very hard to tell whether a CD is a bootleg or a legitimate release. Take the example of Charly Records - at one time a respected reissue label, before they overstepped the mark by reissuing first and then (sometimes) asking for permission later. Their records (and then CDs) were well-packaged, often had extensive notes and discographies, and had an attractive retro house-style. Unfortunately, after striking a deal with MCA over some Louis Jordan issues, they then took the liberty of issuing a Buddy Holly anthology without the company's permission. MCA sued and won, and Mr Visser & co fled overseas. (According to a reliable contact, their abandoned warehouse is still stacked high with unsold product.)

The point is, bootlegs (unauthorised reissues) are sometimes indistinguishable from legitimate releases. In every way, they appear to be physically identical to legal reissues. The problem is - nobody bothered to pay (or even apply) for the right to release the material. At the top of the thread Keith said, "I assume it's a bootleg", probably based on the fact that it's on an obscure label and - if this was in the preparation officially, we might have heard about it in advance. (It's hard to keep the Soul grapevine from spilling the beans, when there's something exciting in the pipeline!)

The Marginal CDs are produced about as well as some budget CDs. People in the know now recognise them as bootlegs because we know the story behind them. Obscure issues from God-knows-where are sometimes less easy to positively identify as legit or bogus. Final note - I was dubious but intrigued by a compilation of the Volumes that I spotted on eBay recently. On arrival, it revealed its true colours - literally. The reverse of the CD is green. More professionally-produced boots can be much harder to spot. The Spinners Early Years... The Radiants Ultimate Collection..? I can't say for sure, but a niggling feeling tells me I should be smelling rodents.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 07:29 pm:

Fred your insight is very helpful....
I don't do a lot of shopping on line, but that's where people are fooled...I work for a big media company and they own other media companies, a consumer like me is not thinking about Bootleggers at all when they shop...I have been enlightened since I came into conact with Harry W. and I know that when he announces a relaese it's legit...But I am not hip to the other Harry's of the other labels...so I would not know
if I saw an Aretha CD if it was legit or not...most people like the artists, they are unaware of what label that artists was recording on ...


Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 07:58 pm:

Vickie - That's right, we don't look at the small print. We just look at the artist's name, and the title of the songs. Even if I looked at the small print, it wouldn't mean a thing to me. As I am not versed on the different companies either. But I am not the watch dog for the companies. They pay big bucks for that, I think.

I am however, looking for a part-time job in case anybody is hiring. I have great experience.:o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:25 pm:

My girlfriends ...
It's a moral/ethical issue. I can say it's "not my job" to be the watch dog for the companies. That's not the point.

I prefer to TRY to spend my dollar in as ethical a way as I can, in a way that doesn't exploit the good people. That's why I do things like shun Wal-Mart, and try not to buy boots.

Maybe it's hard to tell a bootleg from a legit release, but some hard things are worth doing.

Why should some Belgian or British guys make money off Joe Hunter's and Pistol Allen's and James Jamerson's and Earl Van Dyke's hard work? What did they do to deserve that?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:37 pm:

Oh I agreee with you Sue...
When I bought Tammi's CD I had no clue to all this stuff.
I've made up for my Tammi Bootleg by buying The Complete Duets and Millinium CD at least 20 times or more...Tammi does need her own CD though - all by herself...I have been waiting for that to come out and I have not bought another Marginal of hers since - just the one..

I agree....100%
but I didn't know when I bought it nearly 3 years ago it was a bootleg. I was fooled just as I know others are ...I am talking on line CD shopping only -

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:43 pm:

I get really worked up on behalf of the artists -- as Fred says, it's partly when you get to interact a lot with them and identify with their issues.

But it's also that I saw my own work used by someone online who is in business selling ads and making money for himself. I don't think it's right for anyone to profit from what I wrote except me and the guy who paid me for the work.

So when I hear musicians fume about seeing their work released in the U.K. or Japan, and they don't see a dime from it, I know the feeling.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:48 pm:

I understand Sue....

I doubt I'd come across another bootleg to be honest...I have the one I have because I needed Tammi's music and Tammi does not have her own solo stuff out there....

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:55 pm:

Interesting thread to read as I unwind from my July Fourth holiday. I agree with those who say it's not the consumers job to police boots for recording companies who rarely pay the artists themselves. That's like providing security for a thief.

Here's a link called Tips on Bootlegging


The people that should be targeted are publications like Goldmine (a USA publication) that has promoted bootlegging since its inception.

Bootin' is much bigger with rock music than soul. Most soul boots don't sell enough copies to even bother going after the bootleggers as the attorney here will soon find out. Why do you think Motown never went after Marginal?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:02 pm:

Most of the artists Fred deals with are "soul" -- I think he's got some experience in the legal side of this.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:04 pm:

Here's a more informative piece that includes a number to call to report bootleggers for those incline to do so.


Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:09 pm:

It is a moral issue Sue, I agree.
But how am I to know, especially if you buy it from a record store, and like someone said earlier, record stores do have them. I would not willing buy a bootleg. But I am not going to be looking for the signs of a bootleg. That does not mean I don't have morals. I wouldn't know what to look for.
I just don't get myself worked up about somebody else's financial problems. I do not feel guilty for not worrying about whether they got royalties, or that bootleggers beat them out of money. The companies lost more money than the musicians or artist. The artist cannot afford to sue, but the company can file suit. You best believe I am not worrying about the finances of a record company. That's for the legal system.

I do bid on Ebay, but it's usually something I had or know about, not a rare recording. I wouldn't be able to afford a rare recording on Ebay. I was outbid twice when bidding on my brothers 45 recording. (Shocked the heck out of me.) But I will assure you this, I will not do anything willinging, to perpetuate bootlegging.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:10 pm:

Notice the distinction between a bootleg and a pirated recording in the last link. What we're talking about here are pirated recordings not bootlegs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:12 pm:

LOTS of record stores sell bootlegs. You can buy those Fortune Records bootlegs all over Detroit.

And it's a trickle-down thing. You don't have to care about a multi-national corporation, but what's wrong with caring about the artist's money? And at least there are legal safeguards in place with the record companies so that guys like Fred can sue to get royalties from them for their artists. With the bootleg someone buys, there's no money tree to shake.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 09:24 pm:

Now, I've got to go and see what records are on Fortune. (LOL) So, I can see who you are talking about. I'm not being funny Sue. Honestly, I am ignorant on the labels. I did not study the labels or pay attention over the years. I'm paying attention now. I just know the top artist who performed on Motown. I've learned who went where from Motown back to Motown within the past couple years.

I've looked at my Four Tops recordings, and I swear, I never noticed those different labels until the last year or so, when it was pointed out on the forum. Sure enough, that group sang so good, I purchased their recordings without realizing they had changed companies and had different labels on those fantastic songs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ron Murphy ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 10:29 pm:

Here's the deal on Goldmine stuff the first one they did with the detroit labels was just copies off the records and I told Martin Koppol that would come back and cause him trouble which it did, now I put together 3 cd's from master tapes I had / Now the Groovesville, Thelma and that stuff is legit I helped Koppoll work out a deal with Don Davis and we went thru the tapes stored at United Sound to come up with all those cd's, he also licensed some things from Mirasound likwe Jackie lee;s The Duck and a few other;s that I know of. Goldmine paid a nice advance to obtain all the Don Davis now as far as other royalties (artists and etc.) that's up to the owner of the masters to work that out because those old contracts were for phonograph records.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ron Murphy ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 10:35 pm:

remember that Motown obtained the Harvey- Tri-Phi masters in 1963 so things like that not thru Universal can't be legit

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 10:42 pm:


Greyzone are very good at their business, as several of my songwriter clients will readily attest, on the basis of their work nailing a couple European pirates.

Whether you call them boots or pirated recordings, it is a distinction without a real difference, both are unauthorized releases for which the creators receive no compensation. If you thought I was simply referring to bootlegs as defined by Grayzone, you were mistaken.

Limiting the concept of "boots" to unauthorized recordings of live performances, I agree with your earlier comment about the economic realities of soul "boots." For reasons that have, I think, a lot to do with the state of the (surreptitious) recording art when they were made, there are few true soul boots that are actually listenable. Offhand, I cannot think of one I have seen in the last ten years that was originally recorded less than 25 years ago, probably on a cassette recorder.

Soul "pirate" recordings, on the other hand, are very attractive products. The Northern Soul experience has proven there is a ready, substantial market and even an established, if informal, distribution system. A thousand units can be moved in a matter of a few months, and it is almost pure profit. This was the market I was referring to in my earlier comments.

As for Marginal Records, Motown didn't have to chase them because IFPI did on behalf of all the labels at once. The label folded when the owner committed suicide after discovering he was the focus of an IFPI investigation for massive copyright infringement.

So, tell me. Would you ask a Funk Brother to sign a CD you know to be a pirated recording?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 10:44 pm:

BankhouseDave - Could you tell me who wrote the liner notes on From The Snake Pit?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 11:32 pm:

Yea Ron but did Harvey Fuqua get the rights to those masters reverted back to him when Berry sold the company? I find it hard to believe that Harvey and Gwen don't know about the Early Spinners compilation. The company selling the CD is located right in the Los Angeles vicinity, they're not in Japan or Belgium. The tracks on the CD are not moneymaking copyrights, only "That's What Girls Are Made For" had any success.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 03:12 am:

I think we're due for a volume two of this thread! In the meantime... I doubt that the rights to the Tri-Phi and Harvey recordings would have "reverted" back to Harvey Fuqua when BG sold the Motown catalogue. And - I'd dispute the claim that the early Spinners cuts are less valuable copyrights than TWGAMF. Surely the very essence of "rare tracks" is the fact that they were unsuccessful on their original release? Had they been major hits, they would not be "rare", and therefore not collectable as rarities. The bootleggers know full well that the diehard fans want the "rare stuff" - not just a rehash of their favourite artist's hits.

Regarding Goldmine (the label, not the magazine) one of the issues at present is the fact that at least a couple of their licensing deals have now expired, but tracks included in thse deals are still being reissued on new compilations. Ace now have the rights to the Mirwood catalogue, but a handful of Fred Smith tracks just appeared on a new Goldmine release. It's matters like that which cause me to to feel a little uneasy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Carl Dixon Lodon ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 04:11 am:

Boy this is complicated. This weekend I have travelled to and from work and listened to what I think is a reggae/soul pirate radio station. They have played a selection of music I would not usually hear on mainstream stations in London. Should I stop listening to it or should I continue? If I had a reggae composition, should I give them a copy hoping they may play it and give it that valuable, but illegal exposure I need? I know the pirate radio ships in the North Sea in the 60's, were playing records and indeed Motown illegaly until 1967, giving consumers/listeners that something different, that made the difference, to a generation! When they played the jinge 'the station with the happy difference' - they were different and completely illegal by 1967. But, these records sold in thousands and the rest is history. At my level, I have no idea what is a bootleg, but am learning through this site. As indeed if I buy a consumable, I have no idea whether it has been manufactured somewhere in the world using cheap labour or illegal products. This is a tough one, but I respect all the comments and am learning.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 06:24 am:

Ritchie by valuable copyrights I mean money earned by the songs as far as mechanical and performance monies. None of the copyrights on that album other than TWGAMF has made much if any monies. None of the Quails, Challengers III or Early Spinners recordings have been played much on the radio or recut by other artists to date, thus the songs are not significant in the eyes of whoever is in control of Jobete or Stone Diamond Publishing.

The Early Spinners is probably the type of deal Fred talked about where the masters' owner made a deal with no intention of cutting the creators in. Why would it had been put on the Tri-Phi label with its label colors and design used had not Harvey and Gwen known? Why aren't they or Motown squawking?

And for all we know those songs other than TWGAMF and "I's Been A Long Time" may not have been in the original deal when Harvey and Gwen sold out to Motown. None except those two ever came out on a Motown label. The Elgins redid "Been A Long Time."

Also, deals like the one Harvey and Gwen made often have a reversion clause that states if the copyrights aren't exploited by such and such date all rights revert back to the original owners.

I wouldn't be so quick to label something a bootleg or in this case a counterfeited or pirated recording unless I knew for sure. What proof do you have that these recordings were used without the consent of their owner?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 07:46 am:

To be precise, I have never claimed that the Early Spinners CD definitely IS a pirate issue, just that I suspect it may be. I have no proof, which is why I haven't stated it as a "fact". As far as I am aware, the Harvey and Tri-Phi masters are still the property of Universal Music, circumstantial evidence of other early HF masters leads me to believe the material still comes under UMG's control. The Spinners CD has all the hallmarks of a pirate release - no writer credits, no publishing details, no copyright notices on the packaging or CD "label", and no barcode on the inlay. There is also no IFPI reference on the CD itself. Why are Harvey and Universal not kicking up a fuss? I suspect it's probably not considered worth the effort and legal expense of trying to shoot down a small-run CD of arguably limited appeal.

The fact that Motown didn't exploit the HF masters they inherited doesn't necessarily suggest to me that they were not available. Motown also never exploited the Anna, Check-Mate or Golden World catalogues that they acquired. I'm more inclined to believe they locked up the tapes and hung up the key, just in case anything might come in useful one day.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 07:59 am:

Sorry - I missed a point there. Why release the CD on "Tri-Phi"? Because that's the label the songs are associated with. The tracks were never issued on Motown, so faking a Motown label would be quite illogical. Even the Marginal CDs studiously avoided using the word: "Motown". The subtitle to the awkwardly-titled "Detroit (Rare Tracks From)" series states: "for Motortown Collectors".

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulkikker ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:07 am:

For the sake of discussion: If it's not "ethical" buying a bootleg, how about buying an orginal acetate? Both are not released commercially/legally. In both cases authors nor performers are paid.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:52 am:


1. You don't know the details of Harvey and Gwen's merger with Motown it wasn't reported. It wasn't made public what was acquired, or if acquired, for how long. Often, entire catalogs and artists rosters are not required, only certain titles and artists.

2. You don't know what Harvey got back when he left Motown.

3. You're surmising what you think occurred without a shred of evidence or any concrete facts.

4. The point of the logo is that by using it you bring in another legal issue. Why would a bootlegger do that?

5. Dead Dog Records (who sells the CD) is located in Los Angeles. They wouldn't be hard to track down; isn't Universal there too? Deaddog has their email, address and phone number on their website.

6. You're right about the missing writers' and publishing credits but I chock that up to bad liner notes.

7. Whoever owns those copyrights and masters would have been more than happy to license that material to someone for exploitation since most of those songs haven't made a dime for anybody.

8. You don't know if Universal/... owns those songs right now or not. Where's your proof of this? None except for TWGAMF and "It's Been A Long Time" has ever appeared on a Motown label. Motown may have once control these songs, but what makes you think they still do now. Only TWGAMF appears on the new Essential Spinners CD.

Once again, bootlegs and pirated and conterfeited recordings are hard to ID by consumers and even some music historians because you don't know the legal details behind deals; nor should you.

I'm not saying whether the recording is a bootleg or not: I'm saying I don't know and neither do you.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 09:51 am:

By the way, Gwen Gordy passed on, so I doubt that she knows about any reissues.

She and Harvey went to Motown because they didn't have the wherewithall to promote and distribute what they had.

None of us have access to the contracts, so you are surmising as well. But the weight of evidence is on the opposite side. Ritchie surmising that the masters did NOT revert to Harvey and Gwen is absolutely spot-on. When did Berry Gordy ever acquire something only to let it go without substantial financial remuneration to himself?

That's what made him the businessman he was/is. And "faking a Motown label would be quite illogical." Hello? Edwin Starr?? The stuff Edwin did for Ric-Tic is folded right into his Motown greatest hits collections. "Faking" the Motown label in that case.

How can you talk in such detail about falsifying labels and then say you couldn't possibly tell a bootleg from a legit release? Come on, it's not that hard! As Ritchie said, no credits or publishing, or liner notes is usually a clue.

Repeating your statement that you don't know if that CD is a bootleg and you don't have to know doesn't make buying it a decision an ethical consumer would make.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 09:54 am:

I agree with your last sentence, because I have nowhere stated "this is a bootleg." I have simply maintained that I suspect it may be, for the reasons I outlined above.

Incidentally, bootleggers who counterfeit genuine records usually make a point of using the original logo, and the label copy, and the inlay artwork, complete with all the copyright notices. That's why they're referred to as "counterfeits". And, I'm sorry - I have no idea who Dead Dog Records are, so I can't comment.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:40 am:

Sue you're backing Ritchie on something that he admitted he doesn't have a clue as to whether the recording in question is a bootleg or not. He just think or surmises that it is.

I've seen legitimate recordings without writers and publishers credits--again bad liner notes.

Until somebody comes up with some concrete evidence as opposed to something they read in some Motown book maybe the boot stigma should be taken off this release.

I believe Gwen was alive when this recording first came out.

I know members of the Five Quails, Ann Bogan and Harvey (not as well, but I know many of his Cleveland friends from way back), I also know his nephew Kenny Stover (ex Motown writer and singer). Stover, the Quails and Ann Bogan all live in Cleveland. I told them about this recording and they purchased it off the Dead Dog website. Many of them didn't even have copies of the original recordings. There was no animousity from them about this recording.

Dead Dog Records is the only place you can buy this recording, the two by the Radiants and some others. Their contact info is: www.deaddog.com; 5051 E. Orangethorpe, #E-150, Anaheim, CA 92807. 714-970-8105; 714-970-8105*51 (fax). Email: dead-dog@pacbell.net. I believe the owner license these recordings from the master owners.

Instead of backing somebody whose argument is based on nothing but surmises try to find out the truth yourself.

And BTW, I admitted I didn't know in every instance if a record was a boot, pirate or conterfeit. And for you to say you can recognize a boot, pirate or counterfeit is just plain ridiculous. Please post details about how to do this. Since you're the only person I know that claims to be dead sure about the identifying process.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 11:23 am:

You're not reading me. Your opinion is based upon surmises as well. And you just haven't convinced me.

I'm looking at the evidence and opining that it looks like a bootleg, based on the evidence available to us thus far.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 11:44 am:


To be honest, and with the greatest of respect, I'd enjoy this discussion a little more perhaps without the patronising tone I detect. "Clues" are exactly what I base my appraisal upon, so I would suggest that I do "have a clue" - several in fact. Incidentally, I found the CD for sale on several websites, including www.doowopshoobop.com and a well-known online UK Soul retailer. The deaddog.com link was a dead end, as were all the variations I could think of. I'm not sure what use you suggest I make of their email link... "hello, could you please tell me if this CD is a bootleg?" (I think anyone without any knowledge of the subject could hazard a guess at the most likely response to that question.)

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 12:18 pm:

Ritchie: I didn't know about the other sites, when it first came out it was only available via Dead Dog and that lasted awhile. I wasn't being condescending towards you. We both seemingly have come to the conclusion that we really don't know one way or the other.

Sue: I'm not trying to convince you of anything. Did Fred convince you that some of your earlier disagreements with me were wrong? Probably not.

If you read my posts you'll see that I've said more than once that I didn't know whether the recording is a pirate or not. How is that taking a side or trying to convince someone one way or another. Being a journalist I'm sure you know that it's not credable to support something without any concrete facts. I don't think people should go around saying a recording is a boot or pirate when from the evidence on the table there is no way to know.

Pirates and counterfeits were much easier to identify when vinyl was the medium cause you had the pressing plant markings as a guide. In some cases with CDs it's virtually impossible to know for sure unless you have the legal paperwork in front of you.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 12:20 pm:


this is deep....

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 12:24 pm:

OK--Philosophiccal question.
"Bootlegs" traditionally have released material not destined for "legit" issue. Where does this put the record--er, CD--buyer who'se looking at historical material that may be unobtainable from any other source?
...you're right.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:10 pm:

Some useful info here :o)


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:38 pm:

More useful info on how to spot a pirate CD:


Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME9 ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:47 pm:

always look for the Jolly Roger
when looking for any pirates

Top of pageBottom of page   By Capn Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:54 pm:

Aye, aye Matey!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:57 pm:

Nah, it's not deep. Motown releases generally aren't on labels with names like "Marginal" ...and Berry Gordy didn't allow bits and pieces of his empire to walk away.

RD I agree with Ritchie, I think we can discuss this without getting heated.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 02:16 pm:

when you say names like Marginal, that means nothing to me..cuz names like Spectrum are legit...these names are not a tip off to a consumer just looking for a CD of their favorite artists...

Innocent by stander on a topic much too deep for me..

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 02:17 pm:

Another good clue -- can you buy it anywhere else? If you can't get it on amazon.com, I smell something of the rodent species.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 02:19 pm:

fred, i'm impressed and humbled by your energetic efforts on behalf of a highly noble cause, a cause worth fighting for, and i wish you boundless success. the music world needs more people like you.

on the other hand, while it's heartwarming to see how moral/ethical so many folks in this forum are, i think some of us are being a little naive when we assume that even a legit reissue means the "artists" are getting paid. yes, there have been instances where historical record-label chicanery has been uncovered and redressed, but the truth is that for most of the obscure artists a lot of us here cherish, the money from any reissue done through "proper channels" is still going to end up in hands besides theirs. kevgo, with all due respect, did the bates sisters see a penny from your label's totally legit wardell quezerque "60 smokin' soul senders" package? (please set me straight if they did.)

i put out a cd compilation of previously issued material a few years back. the label and i tracked people down, got permission to use tracks, paid royalties. in a few instances, though, where we thought it was justified according to our own moral compasses, we bypassed labels and publishers and dealt directly with the artists themselves even though their legal claims to "their" material were at best unclear. so although we felt warm inside for giving fans a chance to hear some great, little-known music and paying a few deserving musicians for their work (paying them enough that our label was forced to fold almost immediately), we are in effect bootleggers.

in a world that's so obviously imperfect in so many ways, this is one area in which i'll continue to transgress by occasionally buying bootlegs. knowingly and willfully. i doubt i'm enriching any bootleggers by buying their limited-edition CDs. i'm helping cover their costs and putting a few pennies in their pockets, yes, but mostly what i'm doing is enabling myself to hear music that there's no chance in hell i'd ever be able to hear otherwise. selfish, yes; unethical, perhaps, but so be it. i live for this music and refuse to deprive myself of it.


Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

I'll try to tone it down a lil' bit.

Sue, many legitimate recording companies and book publishers don't advertise on Amazon for two reasons: They don't like Amazon's share of the proceeds and they don't like the fact that Amazon offers for sell used and new/never opened, read or listened to CDs and books (at reduce prices) in the same section they list the new item. The companies and creators make nothing from these sales.

A guy in Cleveland whose famous for hair products for African-American won't stock his products in chains like Walmart, CVS, etc. because these establishments copy products and offer items similar to best selling brand names under their own labels at half the price. Does that make him not legitimate? He supposedly invented the product used for the cold wave perm.

If you know for a fact all the tracks on Early Spinners are still under Motown's control I would like to see or have you post some proof cause I don't know this for a fact. I don't know and never knew whether Harvey and Gwen signed over all of their master recordings. I know Motown copped the copyrights to the songs but what about the masters? Did Motown get all the Golden World stuff?

Nice post Matt. I've talked to many artists who had releases on "legitimate" labels that never saw a dime of royalties.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 04:04 pm:


BG did indeed gain the rights to the Golden World recordings when he bought out Ed Wingate. I understand that all but a few of the original masters are in the UMG vaults, being carefully preserved along with the Motown gold. I recall that among the "missing" tapes mentioned are some early Parliaments tracks, though they would better be described as "AWOL" ;o) (They have been in the hands of another label for some years now. All enquiries to Todmorden, UK.)

By the way, picking up on an earlier point, that's not entirely unrelated to this discussion.... So, can you answer a burning question at last? Who were the Five Quails? Of course I know who the Five Quails were, historically speaking - but no-one I've talked to over the past few years can name the members...

Top of pageBottom of page   By RODS ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 04:39 pm:

When I got those first lot of unreleased Motown on tape in early 80's I cut acetates so we could play them in the clubs. Ok I didn't own them but I figured they were great and needed to be heard. It took 20 odd years for Motown or whoever to make them available on CD.I made no money from them at all as I didn't sell them.
No idea who Harry Weinger is but I hope he's not as braindead as the guys in charge of back catalogue for past quarter of a century!! Where's the Barbara McNair CD. You ain't doing your job mate. "Baby a Go-Go" is booted and if the idea was for certain djs to have advance copies of tracks to be included on the CD I dont really think a build-up is necessary. We're gonna buy it.
On a different topic I noticed KevGo [is it?] saying he was working on back catalogue for Brunswick and yet didn't occur to him that maybe Tyrone Davis was a great soul singer!!
If the people with access to this stuff aren't on the ball then bootleggers will jump in. I suggest Universal find out who is responsible for Funk Bros. and hire them. They can pay their ill-gotten gains back out of a regular salary.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 04:53 pm:

First of all, I'm quite aware of Tyrone Davis and his massive talent, thank you. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have coordinated the reissuing of his original Dakar albums here in the USA. I also wrote the liner notes for Tyrone Davis' Greatest Hits when Brunswick issued the CD in 1998.

Want proof?

It's obvious that you haven't read many of our posts here on the Forum. I suggest you go back and re-read them - they are archived. You will find out what folks such as Harry Weinger have to go through to reissue even one Motown anthology.

Next time - do you homework before you make such statements. I do.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 05:50 pm:


The problems artists have getting paid for legitimate releases (and this is very well plowed ground in these parts) is hardly a justification for knowingly buying pirated recordings.

As I said about eight yards up in this thread, each individual has to decide which is the stronger argument; love of the music or respect for the artists. You make a cogent and unapologetic argument for your personal choice. Obviously, I disagree, and using "the other guy is worse" doesn't really help your case.

The story of your own experience with the compilation shows that it is possible to put something out that does both. I recently had a similar situation in which a licensee did a neat end run around the licensor (who happens to be well known in the industry for not paying artists at all) to make payments directly to artists on a compilation. The amounts involved weren't large, and the licensor grumbled a bit, but no one took him seriously when he claimed the artists involved still owed him money, so nothing ever happened. I would love to see more of that in the future, but realize it is unlikely.

I will take issue with your math, however. The "Snakepit" CD is selling for approximately $24 US on more than one website. Even with the apparently high-quality booklet, the cost of production is probably no more than 10% of that. Even if the sites selling the CD are doing so with a 50% markup, because the pirate isn't paying royalties or rights, has no marketing or promotion costs and appears to be distributing out of the trunk of his car, he's clearing $8-10 per copy. That's a lot of gravy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 05:56 pm:

Ritchie the Five Quails on Mercury (1957) were Billy Strawbridge, Billy Fulgham, Art Kirkpatrick, Donald Brown and James Williams.

Willie Woodall and Clarence Williams (no relation to James) also served time as a Quails.

The Five Quails on Harvey were Strawbridge, Harold Sudberry, Curtis Robinson, Kirkpatrick and Williams.

Curtis Robinson is deceased and James Williams recorded a solo "Let Me Down Easy" as Jimmy Love. Sudberry was an original but missed the Mercury session and a tour with Chuck Willis because of the Service.

Sudberry says they recorded at Hitsvilles and Junior Walker and the All Stars backed them in the studio.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 06:05 pm:

RD - thank you. That is brilliant! - and it's only taken me about twenty years to find this out :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 06:40 pm:

fred, your points are well taken, and you obviously have a thoroughly informed, reasoned and consistent stance on these matters.

one issue that troubles me, and it's been brought up by others here, like rd--and you've addressed it yourself--is that whatever product you buy, you really have no assurance that the "right" people are getting paid, that no one's screwed anyone else, etc....i mean, if i had gone to my local record store in 1964 and bought a perfectly legitimate-looking 45 that had the name morris levy in the writing credits, i'd have had no way of knowing the real deal. just as i have no way of knowing it now.

i don't think any of this is as black-and-white as you and others do. and i'm not just being cynical here and using this as an excuse for my own occasional purchases of bootlegs, which, as i've said, i'll live with the ethical grayness of.

and that scenario where the artists get paid directly: while you and i both think it's preferable, it happens to be neither strictly legal nor the norm, and so when we buy legitimate product we can be assured that this is NOT what's happening with the money.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:31 pm:


There is no question about it. Even the legitimate record business is often a ripoff for artists and writers. It was that way 50 years ago and it is still that way today. And just as with Morris Levy's writing "career," there are producers and others taking credit (and compensation) for creators' work.

Would an average consumer know that Levy didn't write "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," or that Alan Freed didn't write "Maybelline?" Not at the time they were released, certainly. Did subsequent knowledge of the real authorship stop anyone from purchasing either record? Probably not to any noticable effect.

It should be noted, however, that in both of those cases, and dozens more I know where credit was stolen, legal action ultimately corrected things. Lawyers have become, unfortunately, an essential component of the industry, but, as of now, they are the only mechanism to see that the "right" people get paid the "right" amounts, and those goals are achieved on a regular basis. When it comes to boots, the only guarantee you have is that the "wrong" people are getting paid.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RODS ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:36 pm:

To KevGo
Ah, but I did read the nominations for best soul singer. Jackie Wilson and Aretha wasn't it. Don't think anyone mentioned poor Tyrone who must have one of the most recognisible voices and styles
in soul. As you say a massive talent. Wouldn't have hurt to give him a plug. I dont have the CD as I have his albums.
As for the Motown I think you are in USA. I heard the McNair tracks on radio here about 4or 5 months ago and certain tracks in clubs so why are they not out. I think Jazz FM played around 16 different cuts, enough for a CD. I surmise that whoever advises Universal over here has fed 'em a line about building demand.
Apologise if I upset you. By the way if you know this Weinger guy has it ever occured to him that in the UK it's all about 45s. A nice box set of unissued stuff could sell very well. Motown did that here for 25th. Anniversary with hits but included unissued Marvalettes and Kim Weston.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:51 pm:

Fred are you sure of your numbers regarding the sales of northern or rare soul boots/pirates? The numbers with vinyl were higher than they are with CDs cause the CDs are burned and distributed among friends. And while the vinyl sales figures were better they were nothing to write home about. 500 to 1500 CDs seems to be the range, anything over that is a super hit. I once read where the best selling Goldmine compilation has sold about 3,000 units. If anybody knows anymore please chime in.

FYI, I've never asked anybody for an autograph or asked anybody to autograph anything in my life. Never have, never will. Somebody's name on something other than a check made out to me means zero here.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 09:19 pm:


There are numbers all over the map, depending largely on how big the pirate operation is as well as how attractive the CD is to the intended audience. My sources, which I consider credible, estimate this one in the 1-2000 range. Given the professional appearance of this one, I think we are looking at the high end of your 500-1500 range, maybe higher, as there are some substantial costs to be recouped beyond the jewel box and the disc itself.

Your answer to my autograph question begs the issue. As a professed non-autograph seeker, would you even TELL a Funk Brother that you bought a bootleg?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:01 pm:

I got most of the Funk Brothers' autograph on a small sign entitled "Reserved" which was on a table at the Roostertail after the Detroit Premiere. Including Allan Slutsky, Paul Riser, and Dennis Coffey. :o) After each individual autographed it, I gave them a hug and said "I love you!"

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:15 pm:

Sis, I doubt if Scratcher would hug each Funk Brother and tell them he loved them. That doesn't seem like his style.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:30 pm:

LOL, I didn't hug them because I am a woman and they are men. This was my chance to express my admiration for them. They are my heros. I hugged Annie, Millie and Susan also. (LMAO)

Some men hug each other and say "Love you man." Brotherly/sisterly love!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:19 am:

Just to lighten up thing here guys and to try to illustrate the comlexities of bootlegging, how does the `moralist` camp on the topic stand on this aspect - If you own vinyl 45s, there is a reasonable chance that you have broken the law and have purchased an illegal product. I would recommend that you all buy a copy of `John Manship's Guide to Bootlegs & Counterfeits`, it makes sobering reading. I know there is a difference between knowingly and accidentally buying a bootleg but if folk are so passionate about the morals and fairness of the situation, surely they should become more informed. I would hazard a conservative guess that well over 100 Detroit 45s have been bootlegged, some crudely but some VERY cleverly. Let's say you have just bought Eddie Parker's `Love You Baby`, Melvin Davis' `Find A Quiet Place`, Johhny Hampton's `Not My Girl`, J T Rhythm's `My Sweet Baby` etc.You would have to be pretty clued up to determine the fake from the real thing. What would the `Moralists` do if they had just bought these for a few hundred dollars at a record show?? When Edwin Starr's `Agent O O Soul` suddenly smashed big time, Ed Wingate was simply over whelmed, he had been delivering his fledgling product in the trunk of his car and then, bang, calls from the South, New York, the West Coast...all wanting the record in quantity. Amidst the panic folk tucked away in LA or New Orleans were printing vaguely look a like labels and sticking them on boots, by the 1000. I know of 5 different Ric Tic label designs on that release. Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:24 am:

Thanks I Keith, I said as much in an earlier post, many 45s from the '60s were counterfeits and people purchased them unknowingly, often even the recording companies' owners didn't know that there product was being pressed and sold under their noses. Small companies couldn't keep up with the demand of a hit record and distributors didn't want to lose the sales of a sure thing.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 09:25 am:

Ah, so those of us who oppose bootlegged product because the artists don't get any money are "moralists," eh, Keith?

Keep rationalizing, guys ...

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:06 am:

Fred, unless you and other organizations intervene 30 years down the road and sue recording companies do the legitimate recording companies usually pay the artists any money? And isn't it true that some of these organizations who worked in behalf of the artists take 50 percent of the monies received for life? Why do some here still operate under the false belief that so call legitimate recording companies pay royalties when in fact they pad the artists' accounts with expenses to keep from paying them anything? Isn't Brenda Holloway still in the hole with Motown Fred?

There is one famous rock band that encourages its fans to copy their live shows and sell the recordings.

If the "legitimate" recording companies operated with some integrity and paid closer attention to what the public wanted there would be no need for boots, pirates or counterfeits.

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME9 ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:40 am:

I would love you in my corner if I ever got done by the feds.
your the real deal(andthensome)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:08 am:


In the 50s and 60s, if you were buying small label 45s some distance away from the home of the label, the odds were fair you were buying a counterfeit, especially if you bought it shortly after it was released. The public was completely unaware of the practice at the time, and the sellers passed off the fakes as legit. Unless you were armed with matrix numbers and other indicia of true origin, you had no way of knowing the provenance of the disc in your hands. You were an "off the street" buyer with a buck or two in your hands. If, today, you shell out "a few hundred dollars at a record show" for those same 45s without making any effort to determine if the records are legit, you are either terribly naive or have more money than you know what to do with. You don't even have to carry a copy of Manship with you, just take the questionable disc over to a seller you trust and ask him or her.

If my daughter, who is not a record collector, wants a copy of Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" (a record she grew up hearing and which she loves), she is not going to fork over $10,000 for a near mint Chess 45. She's going to find it on a CD. I sure as Hell am not going to burn her a copy, but that's a different story.

All that being said, I find it hard to accept the argument that the existence of counterfeits justifies buying pirated recordings by a knowledgable consumer. I've made my choice on this issue. You've made your's. I just don't find this argument to be a valid reason for your choice.

Intimating that my position is "moralistic" and therefore removed from the reality of the marketplace is unwarranted. I simply cannot get myself to where I am comfortable hating bootleggers and loving bootlegs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By MzMusik ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:13 am:

I don't know about that cd but I just came across an album called: That Motown Sound Earl Van Dyke and the Soul Brothers. I haven't listened to it yet but it has all the motown songs that I remember.


After I listen to it, I will let you know how it sounds. I wonder if the Soul Brothers are actually the Funk Brothers?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:14 am:

And I'm supposed to be comfortable and loving toward the major recording companies when every artist I've ever talk to has been taken to cleaners? Most don't even get an accounting; at least they account to B. Holloway and let her know how much money she still owes. Personally, every freakin' major can go bankrupt for all I care.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Mz Musik

That's a great album, and the "Soul Brothers" are indded the Funks. Berry Gordy didn't like the name "Funk Brothers" used in public, so he substituted "Soul" instead. (By the way, it's not strictly an Earl Van Dyke 'solo' album - he and Robert White overdubbed their parts onto existing Funks rhythm tracks.)

PS - just a reminder that the CD that couples this with the Choker Campbell album is not a legitimate issue.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:44 am:

fred: it was keith, not i, who used the term "moralistic."


Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:48 am:


I think I addressed a lot of the points you raised in my recent answer to Keith, and we've done the issue of royalty recovery nearly to death recently. I simply fail to see how industry royalty practices justify bootlegging. That the record industry lacks "integrity" in dealing with artists is a copout for bootleggers and pirates.

Do you really believe that bootleggers are motivated by the fact that artists are screwed over by their labels? I don't. I believe that bootleggers are motivated by the opportunity to make an easy and profitable score. If they were really motivated by love of the music and the artists, wouldn't that be better demonstrated by selling boots at cost, or even giving them away?

I do know people who have been involved in bootlegging who are motivated by love of the music. In some of those cases, usually involving unauthorized live recordings, when they are contacted by the artist's representatives, they have been more than happy to cooperate, and if the recording is of decent quality, the artist has endorsed it (and shared in the income).

And yes, as you note, there are artists who even encourage live recording at concerts. The key words in that sentence are "artists" and "encouraged." I have yet to meet an artist who encouraged out-and-out piracy for profit. Furthermore, the standard record contract gives the label ownership of all recordings made by an artist during the term of the contract. This includes live recordings. Groups like the Dead and Phish that encourage recording at concerts have negotiated exceptions to the standard language, as have the dozens of bands signed to indie labels who encourage taping.

There will always be boots, pirates and counterfeits. If there is a buck to made on the cheap and on the sly, it will be made. The way labels treat their artists have nothing to do with that.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:50 am:


Apologies for the misattribution of "moralistic."

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 12:19 pm:

Point taken Fred, but if a major can keep from paying royalties on gold and sometimes platinum CDs by padding expenses to keep the artist in the hole it would be even easier for a bootlegger or pirater to not pay on sales on 500 to 1,500 units (hell lets say 10,000)even if they set up accounts to legally pay the artist. Whatever royalties due to the artist would be eaten by promotion, mastering, etc.

My point is the sales of these recordings in regards to soul and rare soul music are so small that a boot or pirate recording is in essence a promo piece for the artist and his/her catalog with a major.

Recording companies give away far more product than a boot or pirated record sells. Recording companies gave distributors something like 150 free records (which no payments were made to the artists and writers) to distributors for every 600 they invoiced. My figures may be off but you get the picture and know what I'm talking about. If a major sell 500,000 CDs they probably gave away 50,000 or more units, on which no royalties are paid.

This is probably why the majors don't get too uptight about boots or seek legal action at the drop of hat cause its free promo for their artists and the copyrights are being exploited.

I see it from your point too. You can extract something from a legitimate company if something is due but with a boot it's the old you can't get blood from a turnip adage. But, there's not much blood or money to get from these boots and pirates anyway because they don't sell many copies of any particular CD.

Another point, when a recording company becomes insolvent to the point they have to taken over or sold to another company the artists contracts should either be redone or cancelled and the masters should become the artists to exploit as they please.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim G ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:00 pm:

Classics records in France has issued hundreds of CDs comprising older jazz and blues material.
I understand that European copyright laws allow 'legal' issue of any recordings over 50 years old. I'm sure only Classics makes any money from the issue.
It won't be too long before 60s soul music hits the big 5-0 and can thus be 'legally' issued in Europe.

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:10 pm:

I have been reading all of these postings on bootlegs and I have to say I DO have some bootleg tapes of some performances and would not have the resources to get them anywhere else.

Sue I agree with a lot of what you are saying but I have to take Freds side. Most of the people who get this stuff dont know that its a bootleg and a lot of artist (the great Morris Levy) for example have been ripping people off until the end of time and poor Frankie Lymon and company have not seen a cent for years. Sue I admire your tenacity but if it were not for certain bootlegs (that I didnt know were 45s and CD;s)some of the Northern Soul people I wouldnt have even known about. Sue I appreciate your tenacity and although I DO agree with a lot of your statements if it were not for some of the bootlegs I wouldnt have known about some of the obscure artists. The reason I take Fred's side is because unless you are a writer, artists even TODAY dont make much from their records they make it from the live performances. Even Whitney and Mariah (well Mariah wrote a lot of her stuff so I cant include her ) but MOST artists make the big money from performances. If Etta james and Edwin Starr and Mary Wilson and other artists didnt perform live there is no way they could LIVE off of record royalties. I hate to say it and I may get some flack for this but the bootlegs have helped the obscure artists get an audience and have fans.
If Im wrong someone can correct me but this is what I have seen. Im not saying long live bootleg but Im glad they were out or some of this stuff would never have seen the light of day..

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:15 pm:


In answer to your question from awhile back, the liner notes are not credited, though whoever wrote them is knowledgeable. The booklet says printed in USA and there is no other provenance info.

I have to point out that I didn't buy it from the website but from someone I thought could be trusted and who is a personal acquaintance of some of the people involved. He sent details of some new titles available as an attachment to an email. When I saw the title, I figured it was one I should have. I had no reason to imagine that this guy would be passing on ripoff material.

Following the revelations on SD, I am endeavouring to contact him to confront him with the situation and to get an explanation of why he stuck me with this.

You and others here know how important the Funks are to me. I (albeit foolishly) believed that if this guy was involved the tracks must have been made available in a legitimate way. There was some kind of blurb that suggested the CD was of US origin, but I don't recall the actual wording.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:36 pm:

I think you have to reread some posts. Fred and I are on the same "side" -- Keith calls us "moralists," against bootlegs.

Top of pageBottom of page   By keithsally50@hotmail.com ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:41 pm:

Sue Just got in from work and I appologise profusely for offending you, or anyone else for that matter who is anti booleg. I was trying to use one word to catagorise those who oppose the practice.

Fred. Re recognising boots, in Europe, not so much Britain there are a lot of new, young people getting into Northern Soul and yes, they are gullible and nieve. As 99% of the Northern boots were made in the US BUT for the UK market, exactly for the reasons you pointed out, until John Manship's guide came out, US dealers had very little idea. `Crazy Baby` by the Coasters on Atco is an example of disc with several legal variations in character. Please don't think that I am pro bootlegging, but there are exceptions, how else would anyone obtain Gwen Owen's `Wanted & Needed` on Velgo as 99.9% were destroyed because of a pressing fault? keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:55 pm:

May I add one point in reply to Jim G's posting above..? The "50 year" rule is not absolute. The copyright in a work can be renewed by its owner for a further 50 years, if the property is still considered of value. If the copyright is not renewed, the work then comes into the public domain.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:56 pm:

It'll be interesting to see what if any royalties the Funk Brothers get from their CD and DVD that legit companies issued. I'm sure Fred will enlighten us.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:34 pm:


The costs to a bootlegger are minimal beyond the costs of the physical product. They don't do any promotion, they don't do any marketing. They really can't take the risk of visibility.

They don't do any mastering beyond what it may take to convert an analog recording to digital, and that may take no more than a patch cord from a turntable to a PC. Distribution is either straight from the pirate to the Mom and Pop retailer in a straight cash transaction on delivery or by mail or internet direct to the end purchaser (who pays the shipping and handling). There's no overhead for maintaining production facilities or inventory. There isn't any A&R cost, or any for Business Affairs. There's no video budget or tour support. What expenses are a pirate going to pad?

The "boot as promo" argument doesn't fly, either. What are they promoting, and who are they promoting to? The audience for boots wants those specific recordings.

Here's a reality check: You have some rare recordings of artist "X" in your possession, for which you have no legal right to reproduce and sell the copies. You run into "X" and offer him a deal. You will print up 1000 CDs of the recordings and sell them, but you won't pay him anything because he should consider them "promotion." Is X going to agree?

Despite your belief to the contrary, legitimate labels do get "uptight" about pirate recordings. The RIAA and IFPI have squads of people to find them and stop them. Within the last few months, there have been numerous busts at flea markets and record shows around the country, as well as regular raids on retail outlets selling pirated recordings. They don't always get headlines, but they happen. Check that Greyzone site for a rundown on the biggest busts each month. There will probably be over a million counterfeits and boots confiscated this year.


Furthermore, I don't understand your point about "the copyrights are being exploited" as a justification for pirated recordings. Do you think the bootleggers are paying for the use of the copyrighted material? Who do you think they are paying? Exploitation without payment is really nothing more than theft.

Comparing bootlegs to free goods is disingenuous. The royalty deduction for free goods is covered in the contract between the label and the artist. Pirates don't negotiate anything with anyone.

Legitimate free goods go to retailers so they will stock the recording where a consumer can find them, and buy them. They also go to radio stations and reviewers in the anticipation that exposure will increase sales. None of this applies to pirate recordings.

Specifically dealing with legitimate reissues of older recordings and distribution of soul catalog items, free goods are really irrelevant, for the simple reason that these specific recordings are not the ones being given away for free. Retailers want the new stuff for free, and get it. With few exceptions, there are no free copies given out of a recording after six months in the market, and rarely even that long, if ever, for catalog reissues.

The labels keep taking the deduction, for sure, but that simply demonstrates what the deduction is intended to do in the contract in the first place, just reduce the actual royalty rate to something they are comfortable with. The fact that labels don't pay recording artists for free goods doesn't justify bootlegging.

Furthermore, there is no free goods deduction on publishing. The label is obligated to pay publishers and songwriters from disk one. Pirates don't even pay that.

In the best of all possible worlds, an artist should be able to recover the masters if a company goes bankrupt, but that flies in the face of 50 years of record contract law and bankruptcy practice. The standard contract (unless you reach superstar status) transfers all rights in the masters forever to the label. It the Devil's deal, to be sure, but one that thousands of artists signed on to without a gun to their heads. Unless the label breaches the contract in some egregious and fundamental way, those masters are beyond the reach of the artist for all time. It may be a lousy business practice, but it is completely legal. A bankruptcy trustee is obligated by law to achieve the maximum return for the sale of assets for the benefit of the creditors, so he or she is not in a position to do what's "right" by the artists by simply returning the masters to them.

Once again, it comes down to the fact that whatever a legitimate label does to its artists, I still don't see how that in any way justifies bootlegging.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:36 pm:


This is the last place I would discuss my clients' business. I assure you, however, that all necessary and appropriate steps will be taken to insure that the right amounts are paid at the right time.

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME9 ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:54 pm:

Hey Keith
in your opening post you said you would scan the cover of the cd's
any chance please
nothing to do with the above subject
did you see the opening tor de france then?
I think a few of our chimp friends were amongst that pile up.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Keith said:
"Please don't think that I am pro bootlegging, but there are exceptions, how else would anyone obtain Gwen Owen's `Wanted & Needed` on Velgo as 99.9% were destroyed because of a pressing fault?"


I wish there was some way for me to convey in type the tone of the following questions but there isn't, so I have to expressly say at the beginning that it is sincere, and asked without anger or accusation. I am sincerely interested in an answer and am not looking to offend you in any way.

What right do you have to possess any particular recording? Is that right superior to the rights of the creators to be compensated?

There are some situations that fall into the "just too damned bad" category for me, and the unavailability of legitimate releases of particular recordings at a reasonable cost is one of them. I don't think we have a God given dispensation to have everything we want because of our passion for it. If I am reading this wrong, let me know.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Well put, Fred. A very succinct "reality check" :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:01 pm:

fred: you wrote
>Legitimate free goods go to retailers so they >will stock the recording where a consumer can >find them, and buy them. They also go to radio >stations and reviewers in the anticipation that >exposure will increase sales.

try telling that to your friends at the riaa, who just bullied the nation's noncommercial broadcasters into a contract that requires them to make exorbitant payments for webcasting...the idea of exposure increasing sales, the traditional symbiotic relationship between the record industry and broadcasters, doesn't seem to apply anymore. you want to play music over the web and you have more than 200 listeners? you "owe" the riaa a fortune.


Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:15 pm:

fred: you wrote
>What right do you have to possess any particular recording? Is that right superior to the rights of the creators to be compensated?

how do you apply this thinking to the more basic act of our merely buying "used" records? i go to a store, i see the gwen owens on velgo, i pay 50 cents for it (this actually happened!). it's now mine. or "mine." which is it? if gwen owens comes along and says she wants it, or, weirder, says i can keep it but she doesn't want me ever to listen to it or play it for anybody, where does that leave me? does she have any right to do that? what if it's the only surviving copy? i assume she made some money from sales of the record the first time around, but she certainly doesn't make anything on "resales." should she? how does a lawyer view resales? i realize this is off the subject; i'm just curious about your thoughts, and i'm not being facetious.


Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:27 pm:

An artist asked me "How can they sell our recordings on Ebay, and we haven't given them the ok? Shouldn't we get something?"

I offered to him that the 45 purchased now belongs to the guy who purchased the recording and that 45 is his to do as he wish. He can throw it away, give it away, or auction it off on Ebay. The high bid was $108 for a 45. This particular artist was sick because he wasn't paid anything when he recorded it, even though it was a national hit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:31 pm:

Sis - I guess you'd get the same response if you asked Dennis Edwards about his "I Didn't Have To/Johnny On The Spot" 45.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:32 pm:


1. I truly have no friends at the RIAA.

2. What has webcasting got to do with bootlegs?

3. Last month, SoundExchange (which is governed by an executive board made up of representatives from labels, publishers, songwriters and artists) reached a negotiated settlement with non-commercial webcasters which permits those webcasters to continue to broadcast recorded music for the payment of annual fees ranging from $200 to $500, with an additional $50 fee for an exemption from truly hideous reporting requirements. These fees are applicable through 2004. They are retroactive to 2000, but everyone knew that was the situation going in.

This settlement represents a marked decrease from the fees that would have been payable had the previous Library of Congree schedule gone into effect, which would have cost non-commercial webcasters about $1400 a year.

The groups representing non-commercial webcasters, including college stations, are satisfied with the settlement as a temporary solution to the fee problem, and expect to seek a more permanent resolution in Congress in the coming year.

I take it that your tone of outrage means you would have preferred that artists and songwriters not receive any compensation at all from radio play. It should be remembered here that every terrestrial broadcaster, from the 10 watt college stations up through the Clear Channel monsters, pays an equivalent license fee (albeit not to performers, only to publishers and writers), so the mere existence of a fee arrangement hasn't had much impact on the promotional use of radio there.

What's your point?

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME9 ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:36 pm:

Well said Ritchie.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:55 pm:

fred, admittedly, this was off the subject. i just have a strong negative reaction whenever i see the abbreviation riaa. you probably have a fuller understanding of this than i do, but from what i know, independent webcasters were basically fucked in this deal. traditional songwriting/publishing royalties weren't the issue here; these are performance royalties we're talking about, no? and while the fees you cite don't sound like much, they go through the roof above the 200-listener level. that's not a typo: more than 200 listeners and you start paying on a per-listener basis. i don't know the exact figures, but they're unduly burdensome to say the least.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ron Murphy ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:02 pm:

seen something on this topic earlier I want to correct, it's about the Anna and Check-Mate material. Other than the two Barret Strong releases which were licensed to Anna because of their deal with Chess for distribution all of those two catalogs are in the Chess catalog which I guess is also controlled by Universal which a few years ago a friend of mine inquired about licensing we were told it would cost them more to draw up the paperwork then out they could get out of the deal.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:25 pm:

There's another element that throws a bit of a curve into this. Sometimes the urge for us fans to hear unreleased and neglected artists is equalled or overtopped by the need for those artists to be heard. Many of them - including those whose work originated this thread - were paid a flat fee for the original work. No artist wants his work left in a vault when it could be on display.

Things have changed utterly for the Funks in the last few years but they all suffered horribly from lack of recognition and exposure in the past and Dr Licks had more than ten years of uphill struggle to bring them back to public notice.

This collection might be an anachronism in that respect. As has been pointed out, it isn't going to make anyone rich. Only real dyed in the wool Funk Bros fans would have bought it and now they'll mostly be put off.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:49 pm:

I don't know you and you seem like a nice dude, but Ritchie why are you sticking up for these thieving lying recording companies? Do you think most recording artists are siding with you on this one? There is no love for recording companies from recording artists. Do you fully understand that recording artists are unmercifully ripped off by these companies you're trying so hard to protect from something that isn't even a pimple on their butts? Like RD said they give away more records then are bootlegged and the artist get nothing from that activity.

Fred wrote that songwriters' royalties are paid from the first record sold. Excuse my English but that is Bullshit! It's suppose to work that way but almost never does.

Morris Levy and some others didn't pay any mechanicals. Ask Sam Dees if he ever got any mechanicals for all those early southern soul hits he wrote before finally earning some money from his songs later on. If the songwriter was in a group or recorded solo for the label his writing income was cross-collatorized with his recording expenses. And companies didn't pay a dime until the recording expenses were recoup, which was never. If a writers song was played on the radio he could look forward to a little check from B.M.I.

This is why Smokey kept performing with the Miracles four years after he wanted to go solo because as he once stated and I paraphrase: "I have my salary as an executive at Motown but working on the road is their (the Miracles) only income."

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:49 pm:

Scratcher - I'm not sure how trying to alert people against buying stolen property equates with sticking up for the record companies. In the same way, if I were to foil an attempted bank robbery, would I be then accused of sticking up for the bank? Bootleggers are not the musical equivalent of Robin Hood. Maybe they do in some cases steal from the rich, but they make damn sure they keep the profits. I'm not aware of many bootleggers who donate the proceeds to the Artists' Benevolent Fund. While record companies have ripped off artists over the years, I can't see that third parties ripping them off for their own profit is some kind of recompense fro the wrongs done to others.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:50 pm:

You're quoting ancient history, my friend. What Morris Levy may have got away with during his heyday no record executive today would even try to pull without having a lawsuit smacked in their face.

Your right about Smokey but keep in mind that he tried to get the Miracles involved in other aspects of entertainment besides being on stage, from songwriting to production. Ronnie White co-wrote "My Girl" while Bobby Rogers & Pete Moore co-authored "Ain't That Peculiar". So, working on the road should not have been their "only income." He also stayed in the group because "Tears Of A Clown" became their first ever #1 Pop single and they had to promote the record.

Also, stop & think why songwriters may not, in your opinion, see their royalties. If their publisher gave them an advance (which in many cases they do)you can bet the publisher wants to recoup their advance before paying royalties. If they weren't given an advance, then yes - they would see the royalties come in.

Finally, granted there are artists that may not like their record companies but dammit who told them to sign the contract to begin with? Also, not all artists hate their labels the way you describe. It's a two way street when dealing with a label - artist provides music, label provides means of getting music to public.

This is why artists should start their own labels if they are not happy & release music through the internet or whatever means of distribution that works for them.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:10 pm:


You may want to look at the following two sites regarding small webcaster rates. The first is the Federal Register entry for the June 6 settlement:


And this is from the Student Press Law site explaining it:


200 listeners IS the break point for the minumum fees ($200 for colleges under 10,000 enrollment, $250 for non-educational individual broadcasters), but the calculations are based on having 200 theoretical listeners listening 24 hours a day (or 400 listening 12 hours a day, etc.) The annual aggregate listening hours you have before you hit the surcharge (which is about two-tenths of a cent per song per listener) is 146,000 in a year. The college webcasters involved in the negotiation thought this was a fair solution, especially as the issue will be revisited for 2005 and thereafter. Everyone involved realized the minimum listenership numbers will have to go up as webcasting increases, but for now the current limits don't seem to be upsetting anyone about their stringency.

It is absolutely true that the webcast rates are the first ones in US broadcasting history that recognize performance royalties, and I say it is about time! Now all we have to do is catch up with the rest of the civilized world and recognize performance rights on all broadcasts (hell, Togo approved them in June).

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:27 pm:

Kevin do you know what percentage the various Miracles received for writing those songs with Smokey Robinson? Do you assume it was 50 percent or the shares were split evenly? Did you know that one of the songwriters on "Please Mr. Postman" gets 1 percent? 1 pecent! The Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong collaboration was far from 50/50.

What Morris Levy did is still going on today. Most artists can't afford to hire lawyers to fight these companies. Tell him how much an audit cost Fred. Ask some of the recently ripped off artists if what I said is ancient history.

As for artists starting their own labels many have done this but I don't know of any that's been successful. But even the ones who aren't like the control they have and the fact that they see what money if any is generated. Most artists don't even know how many recordings they sold on individual songs.

Ritchie what ever small amounts the bootleggers and piraters rip from artists and writers is pocket change compared to what the legitimate record companies are ripping from them. If you got the bootleggers to pay the artists and writers royalties that money would go to who ever owns the masters and most of these creeps wouldn't pay the artists or writers one thin dime. Most of these artists don't even know their product has been reissued and is on the market.

You think you're supporting and sticking up for the artists but you're really backing the thieving recording companies. Fred has stated his opinion of record companies on this forum many times and they're similar to mine, maybe even harsher.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:29 pm:


Kevin's got it straight. You haven't had publishing income cross-collateralized against record royalties for at least 35 years.

And publishers and songwriters DO get credit from record one, and since those mechanical fees are collected in advance, they get paid. (Yes, I know about the Record Club lawsuit, but its pretty clear the songwriters are going to win that one and collect tons of money for the scam the labels ran).

Bootleggers don't tradionally apply for mechanical licenses either, let alone pay the fees, so how does all this justify bootlegging? At best, they are just as bad as labels that cheat their artists, and because they are so hard to track down, sue and recover from, they are, in a practical sense, far worse.

Hating bootlegs does not automatically translate into love for the record industry. I'm living proof of that. You want to buy bootlegs? Fine. Just don't pretend you're doing the artists any favors or respecting their right to be paid for their work.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

fred: unless i'm misreading it, it's 146,000 aggregate listening hours per month, not year. if a noncommercial station (many of them operate on a shoestring, as i'm sure you know) hopes to attract large numbers of web listeners and grow, the price quickly becomes exorbitant. and not everyone thought it was a fair solution.

i always thought the music industry benefited from broadcasts of its artists' music because listeners are potential buyers. this agreement suggests that the riaa no longer sees things that way.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:42 pm:

When did I say I was doing the artists a favor by buying bootlegs? I don't think I'm doing anybody any favors except myself. I don't question the origin of the new car I purchased either, I like it, I bought it.

I know mechanical fees are collected and paid to the master owners or record companies, my point is the artists aren't then paid their share. Lawsuits and threats of suits have to be started to get them to even consider paying.

Fred I'm beginning to think you're as naive as some others here. You know full well that most record companies don't pay willingly and that most artists aren't receiving any money when these new licensing deals are cut. For them to do so, people like you have to intervene, that should tell you something is wrong with the system, which I know you know.

How much royalty money is due on a CD that sells 1000 units for christsakes? The reason companys use organizations like the ones you mentioned to go after bootleggers and piraters is because it's not worth it to them to put high paid attorneys on the cases. You're talking 500 to 1,500 CDs per title, companies distribute far more than that as freebies. You're going to find that this fight is not worth your time and effort.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:55 pm:

i never thought i'd hear myself say this, but maybe we should drop this discussion...i sense that no minds are being changed and some feathers are starting to get ruffled.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

No minds are being changed because some of people defending these record companies work for them either directly or indirectly. I wouldn't expect them to bite the hand that feed them but please don't think everybody is stupid.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 07:12 pm:

Well, whatever happens, I'll be out of it for a day or so. I'll be offline till late Thursday. I'm sure there are a few folks around here who can testify as to where my loyalties lie - and what I try to do to support artists - at my own expense. Bob Davis got it all wrong, (for those who might remember that little farce of two years ago.)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 07:22 pm:

Ritchie, I know your heart is in the right place, you just don't know the whole story. For that I blame many of the victims who have been too quiet for too long.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 07:52 pm:

Trust me...after what I've been through out here, I've learned not to get my "feathers ruffled" even by a comment I may find ridiculous.
Scratcher & I have disagreed before and may do so until we're old & gray.

Do YOU have access to Motown's accounting books?
I don't nor do I pretend I know.

Do YOU know what percentages Smokey & the Miracles earned for the songs they wrote? From what Smokey wrote in his autobiography and said in prior interviews he wanted to get the Miracles involved in the "business" end so that they wouldn't have to rely on touring alone. It may not have worked then but given the value of Motown's publishing now these guys should be looking at some decent residual income.

Name me at least two CURRENT artists or acts that have been victim to "Morris Levy-type" politics. With our current court system leaning so strongly toward the rights of the artists I doubt any record executive worth their ilk would even try one iota of what Levy may had committed during his years (hell, I know of one songwriter who turned to Levy when her publisher wouldn't pay her royalties that were due. Levy bought out this writer's publishing and not only paid the royalties she was owed, he even advanced her monies when she needed to support her family).

Just because I work for a record label and has started my own doesn't mean I'm a "slave to the system." My own boss even commended me for sending the RIAA's Hilary Rosen a letter blasting her for filing a "friend of the court" brief in the Phil Spector/Ronettes case that was completely on the side of Spector.

Artists do have friends here at the labels. You can bet I count as one of them.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:11 pm:

Rights have to be inforced and that takes money. It's not something that automatically happens, you have to make it happen.

I don't need to have seen the accounting books I've seen some of the songwriters' performance rights statements (the percentages are listed for each writer) and have talked to many. The band Switch had many Akronites as members and before that they recorded, sans the Debarge Brothers, as White Heat for RCA Records, Barry White produced their LP.

I also personally know of a case of an Akron group that recently (in the last year and a half) recorded for small company in Cleveland. Their contract was worded so that even if the CD was unsuccessful, and it was, they were personally responsible for the expenses involved in making the recording. The owner of the company actually tried to go after them in civil court.

A contract is an agreement between two parties, don't tell me that some haven't put cross-collatorizated clauses in recent contracts when I know it has happened.

I resent your snide comeback. I tried to be civil in my reply to you. I was involved in this business before you were born; I personally know victims of these companies you uphold so self righteously. Do you want me to talk about some of the Brunswick artists I've spoken with over the years? Should I start with Jackie Wilson?

From your post can I surmise that you're a fan of Morris Levy?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Raynome ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:17 pm:

Scratcher knows everything, he doesn't have to see account books, didn't you know?

Oh and that's "enforced," Scratcher.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:19 pm:

I know when I hear BS Raynome. And I get my information from the sources, not Motown Books, album covers and CD booklets.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Raynome ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:21 pm:

Andr-- oops I mean Scratcher ...is an angry guy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:37 pm:


You're right about that 146,000 hours being a monthly maximum. That's 200 people listening around the clock for a month. I would think for most non-commercial webcasters that is a a safe ceiling for the time being. That limit only stays in effect until the end of 2004, when everyone agrees it will probably be raised based on the experience we gain in the interim.

You're also right about the way the industry views broadcasting in general and radio in particular; as a promotional tool. The residual fear felt by the industry over webcasting, especially small webcasting, is that they could not control it, so they tried to snuff it out. Grass roots dissemination of music is antithetical to their business plan, and they had allies in the commercial webcasters in the initial rate setting hearings before the Library of Congress. It took some last minute intercession from Rep. Sensenbrenner to stop that and save the small webcaster from immediate extinction.

I am convinced that there will always be non-commercial small webcasting now. There is too much light on the subject for another wipeout attempt. It isn't going to be free, but I am confident that it will remain within reach of the serious hobbyist.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:38 pm:

I have learned more about this topic than I ever thought I needed to know..Thanks to Fred..
Keep doing what you are doing cuz those artists need you....


Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:40 pm:

KevGo, I hope you do, do right by your artists. Believe it or not most people that get into the business have that intention. They change when they start getting F over by the distributers and shook down by radio stations. When they get calls from distributors asking for more records and they haven't been paid for the ones they have already sent these distributors. When these same distributors bootleg their recordings and send them the records they sent them back saying they couldn't sell them; never telling them about the bootlegs or paying them anything. When they don't have any money to press any new records because they're tapped out and nothing's coming in. And the artists can't get gigs cause their record isn't big enough but is played on a lot of stations and they're constantly in your face looking meaner and meaner thinking you've stole their money. Welcome to the record business Dude.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:40 pm:

My "comeback" (if you're referring to the "old & gray" comment) was not intended to be snide - if anything it was to inject some humor into this conversation that was getting to be a little heavy for some folks out here.

This started out as a civil debate that has escalated to unnecessarily heated proportions. We can have a debate without getting hot under the collar.

Now, the case of this small label in Cleveland - did this label pay for the studio time? Did they advance the artist any monies? Did the label offer to promote this record? If the label did and the record failed, someone is gonna pay for it and if the label did all that I mentioned then it will come out of the artists' pocket. If that wasn't the case, I would not have signed such a deal in the first place.

Am I an admirer of Morris Levy's? I never said I was. I said that the "days" in which he ruled are gone and behind us. The anecdote I brought up was only to show that there are "two sides to every story" - something your posts haven't reflected.

I'm glad you have spoken to Brunswick artists over the years. So have I and many others (including Robert Pruter, author of "Chicago Soul"). No, I have not spoken to Jackie Wilson (I wish I had since I admire his work)yet I'm aware of what he went through. I'm not blind, Scratcher - I just know that the "bad ol' days" are no longer and artists today have more opportunities available to protect themselves and their interests.

Instead of focusing on how someone got ripped off, let's focus on what can be done to rectify that matter (for the artist who got burned) and ensure it doesn't happen again.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:54 pm:

Apology Kev.

The expenses for the recording always come out of the artists share if there is a share to take it from. It's highly unusual, however, for a company to go after somebody personal assets to recoup the monies. The group members in question were late teens at the time; their parents made them quit and focus on other endeavors before they got them (the parents) even more in debt. As for advanced money, I'm sure they got some, not much, but a little, most of these expenses were uniforms, recording sessions, photograph sessions, etc.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:59 pm:


You are just flat out wrong on mechanicals. They are paid to publishers and songwriters, not to record companies and artists. Record companies PAY mechanicals, not receive them.

Now that I have provided evidence that the industry chases bootleggers, which you denied, you seem to find some reinforcement in the fact that the labels don't do it individually. That is precisely what trade associations are for. One police force is a lot more efficient than if every citizens hires their own cop. In the old days, a label would simply let Morris Levy know there was a pirate. This way is a lot cleaner.

On the lost royalties from a bootleg, the math is simple: At $15 retail and a 10% rate, 1,000 sales generate $1,500 in royalties. A couple months rent is nothing to sneeze at.

Your friends in Akron got screwed royally on that contract, and there are ripoff artists at every level of the business. Not even Morris Levy or Don Robey ever got away with making artists personally liable for unrecouped recording costs. Either your buddies had no lawyer or one with no experience (and no access to Passman).

I would love to know where there is a publishing cross-collateralization clause in a recent contract. It certainly isn't with a major or an established independent. Anyone who signed an agreement with that clause in it today has grounds to have the contract voided strictly on lack of mental capacity to handle their own affairs.

And I ask again, what do record industry practices have to do with bootlegs, which is what we were discussing?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim G ( on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 09:08 pm:

When the record industry and radio were just becoming ingrained into American culture, record viewed radio with much distrust.
Conventional Wisdom was that playing records on the radio would hurt sales. Live broadcasts, or broadcast of previously recorded transcriptions, however, were seen as good promotion.
Older musicians in Detroit were leery of making records because they felt jukebox play of those records would cut down job opoortunities.
And they were correct.
Mechanical royalties for 'non-licensed' play of those records didn't come into being until the end of the Musician's union strike of 1942-44. Mechanical royalties, paid by any record company which recorded union members, went into a musician's trust fund as insurance.

Before the strike, the record industry was controlled by a few huge companies like Victor, Decca and Columbia, and (presumably) royalties, sales, etc. were easier to track.
After the strike, hundreds of labels appeared virtually overnight, and many of them were shady operations which didn't have their artists' interest at heart (the major labels had a very mixed record as far as honest dealings with their artists).
The musician's union was strong and probably had much more clout with record companies than it does today, or even twenty years ago.
Perhaps if the American Federation of Musicians union was stronger today bootlegging (a prohibition-era term) would be less prevalent.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:33 am:

Mechanicals are paid to publishers, If I said differently I was misunderstood or didn't explain fully. The problem is the publishing companies most writers signed with in the '60s and '70s are merged or administered by bigger or different publishing houses and nobody contacts the writers and tell them. The writers with hit songs that earns a steady income know who these new owners are when they get their mechanical and performance royalties. But most writers don't get regular checks, many have never got one, and some only a few in 40 years. For instance, Don Davis doesn't administer his publishing anymore.

Often these new publishers don't pay the small fry writers their small fry checks. They give excuses like couldn't find 'em, no info on file, and what they don't know won't hurt them.

Writers of songs 30 years old that haven't done much in those 30 years aren't expecting a mechanical royalty so it's not like they're looking for it in the mail. I've known writers who have heard their obscure songs use on television shows; in these cases when they contacted the administering publisher, said publisher usually pays up but if they hadn't located the publisher they wouldn't have gotten paid. Often the writer don't know who holds the publishing after all these years and many aren't savvy enough to contact B.M.I. or ASCAP to get the info. Many times the original publisher has passed and never made any deal with anyone to administer his publishing company.

Those guys were not my friends I just know of the situation. If I give too much info some here will know the group and the record company owner. It's one of those groups that in a short span of less than five years have had, I found out, nearly four 75 percent lineup changes, one guy is a constant like Otis Williams. The young Akron guys was their most exciting lineup, not the best singers, but the best lineup visually.

Recording industry practices is what breed bootlegs Fred. If I seem like I'm painting the industry with a broad brush, I am. But I do know many recording companies and publishers who make every attempt to pay creators.

If recording companies really wanted to go after the bootleggers and end the practice they would put the top civil lawyers on the case and not grassroot organizations.

I also don't understand your royalty calculation. It's too simplistic. Deductions for expenses are going to be taken from that $1.50. Padded expenses, and it won't take many to erase a $1,500 royalty account and put it back in the red with the paperwork (receipts) to back up the expenses. And what if the price drops to $6.99 at some outlets like the Funk Brothers CD did, do the artist still get $1.50? I don't think so.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Raynome ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:59 am:

Blah, blah blah. Nothing permeates the fog.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 01:25 am:

Amazing, there is two Raynomes. The first was Stubass who was obviously joking like he always does and the second under a different ISP: was the person on this forum who for some reason has an axe to grind with me. If you have something to say to me post it. Don't hide behind Raynome (Stu thought of that one anyway, pick your own), your ISP and them "Blah, Blah, Blah's give you away. I hope you've learned something about bootlegs, pirates and counterfeits from this thread because prior to it you knew nothing.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 01:43 am:

Scratcher said:

"I also don't understand your royalty calculation. It's too simplistic. Deductions for expenses are going to be taken from that $1.50. Padded expenses, and it won't take many to erase a $1,500 royalty account and put it back in the red with the paperwork (receipts) to back up the expenses. And what if the price drops to $6.99 at some outlets like the Funk Brothers CD did, do the artist still get $1.50? I don't think so."

You asked what the royalty would be on a CD that sells a thousand copies. Noted further up the thread, a bootlegger is not going to have any of the expenses to pad (no promotion, no marketing, etc,) so the argument that there will be paperwork to back up exaggerated expenses is just ridiculous.

We've been around the horn here on the question of what price a royalty is based on, so simply let it be restated that an artist royalty is based on a price established in the contract, either stated in dollars and cents or as the "Suggested Retail (or wholesale) Price." The royalties are calculated based on that set standard regardless of what the final retail price is. The final retail price is irrelevant.

Of course, even a legitimate licensee isn't going to pay royalties to the artist. They will flow first to the licensor who has the contractual relationship with the artist. If you read the older standard contracts carefully, you will note that third party use licenses are often not subject to any packaging or free goods deductions (for the simple reason that the licensor isn't doing any packaging or distribution). I have had decent luck pointing this out to labels and getting these deductions added back in to the royalty balance due. I may have to do it again the on the next statement, but each time there is less of an argument about it, and if one ten minute call puts a couple hundred bucks back in my client's pocket, he's well ahead of the game.

On 90% of the legitimate licenses issued on catalog material, the only money that the licensor sees is the advance. This is because the licensee has a pretty good idea how many copies he can sell and the deal is struck based on that number. (Soundtracks are the biggest exception because it is difficult to predict when one of those will become a big seller). These days, most licensees play it straight when negotiating the license for the simple reason that there are so few legitimate sources for these recordings you can't afford to screw around with one of them for fear of getting cut out, so the number of copies covered by the initial license, and the advance, pretty much covers the entire run. If an artist has a contract royalty rate of 10%, he has every right to expect 10% of the license fee. Sometimes he gets it without a problen and sometimes he doesn't and it takes a little poking and provoking to force the full payment. That's where I, or another artist rep, come in.

You can claim all you want that labels aren't interested in chasing bootleggers because they let IFPI and RIAA do the heavy work, but it just isn't so. A bootleg investigation is closer to a criminal case than it is to civil litigation. Both the IFPI and RIAA anti-piracy operations are run by ex-law enforcement types (I know IFPI's chief is ex-Interpol, and I think some ex-FBI agent runs the RIAA shop now), and the staffs are experienced. These guys are pros, and specialists. With so much bootlegging being international these days, some lawyer at WEA HQ in New York is completely unequiped to run a anti-bootlegging operation. I realize it is somehow important to your argument that the major labels ignore bootlegging, but that is simply a fantasy. It just ain't so.

In regard to who gets mechanicals, this is exactly what you said:

"I know mechanical fees are collected and paid to the master owners or record companies, my point is the artists aren't then paid their share. Lawsuits and threats of suits have to be started to get them to even consider paying." I am not sure what is there for me to have "misunderstood" or what you could have "explained fully." This is just wrong.

The problems you recount with writers getting paid is more their own fault than anyone elses, and easily rectified. If nothing else, a writer can always check the Copyright Office (for free) to see who has been assigned the copyrights on his compositions. BMI and ASCAP also have pretty accurate records. Most publishers will pay up without an argument if there has been a problem in the past.

And what does all that have to do with justifying bootlegs, anyway?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 02:31 am:

Fred I know mechanicals are paid to the publisher. I simply mistyped. Thinking one thing and typing about another.

What I've discovered, however, is that you are seriously dedicated to helping artists get their monies. After all, in the artist case, 50 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing. I'm not saying you take 50 percent but I do know some others do. But like you, they earn every penny and I do mean pennies.

You are to be commended and I commend you. You've found your niche. I say this because I've worked with attorneys in my lifetime and other than Workers Comp grabbers and ambulance chasers I never knew any civil lawyer worth his salt who would bother with these little piddly sums of monies you're talking about. They go after multi million dollar suits and settlements; malpractice, hot coffee spills, etc. If an artist came to them seeking fifteen hundred dollars from some bootleg company in Holland that artist would be shown the door. But not if they knocked on your door Fred. You would help them even if they only had $73.47 coming.

So kudos to you and others like you Fred. Somebody has to do it. Stand tall, stick your chest out! You've earned that right.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 04:30 am:

Jeez. What a can of worms.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 10:31 am:

KevGo and Fred:

About the group Scratcher talked about, what happened was their manager and label owner spent a lot of money on them. They were the groups� third edition. The previous six members--there is one constant-- bailed because they didn't feel they were getting anywhere and had to make livings.

After a few months and a lot of this guy�s money the three new members had an attorney send a letter to him stating they wanted out. The CD (thousands)had just been delivered with the new guys and the constant depicted all over it. It's not a full CD but a CD single with three or four songs. When I saw the CD at the company's office I was struck by how young these new guys were: all high school age, and I was told, from Akron. The previous members were late twenties early thirties.

The new guys desire to break their contract prompted the manager/owner to try to recoup his expenses. I doubt if he did, he probably just used it as a ploy to try to keep the guys onboard. If so, it didn't work, the group is still around with new members, but don�t ask me who, I lost track long ago.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:19 am:

So Fred,
It looks like you finally got through!

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:10 pm:

sue, your sniping little comments certainly aren't "getting through" at all. if you're just going to be a cheering section, it might be better to be a silent one.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Fred ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:20 pm:


Thanks for the details on the Akron group. From what you say, the attempt to recoup the expenses was as a result of the members trying to break the contract and not because the recording contract included any personal liability for recording costs. That is a completely different situation than the one I first apprehended, and one not entirely unique in the business.

Top of pageBottom of page   By matt ( on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:36 pm:

this discussion veered (and it's partly my fault) from its original focus on bootlegs. despite the arguments of fred and others (and the impressive expertise and knowledge fred has demonstrated), i still don't think this is a strictly black-and-white, legitimate-releases-are-good-for-the-artists, bootlegs-are-bad issue. i am all for artists' getting paid, as we all obviously are, and i have assisted individual artists in getting their hands on money many times over the years. however, i will still without guilt buy bootlegs occasionally. as for fred's argument that i have "no god-given right" to hear this music, well, i don't believe in god. but i do believe in music!


Top of pageBottom of page   By Common ( on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:30 pm:

Hello everyone,

This is a short but interesting web article about the Mayalasian gov't plan to lower CD prices to prevent piracy:

MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT DEMANDS LOWER CD PRICES: They say move will give buyers little reason to go bootleg.

(Jul. 10, 2003) *If you think you're not feeling the price of CDs here in America, then you haven't asked a Malaysian how they feel about it.
The country will force down prices of original film and music discs to win a battle against cheap fakes. Despite U.S. caution the move could backfire, a Malaysian minister said on Tuesday.

"What is suitable for us, we do that way," Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia's minister for domestic trade and consumer affairs, was quoted as saying by the state Bernama news agency. Malaysia is pressuring copyright owners to lower prices, a move that would give consumers little reason to buy pirated goods.

An original music CD or movie DVD in Kuala Lumpur costs between 40 and 80 ringgit ($11-$21) compared with illegal clones available on the streets for between five and 20 ringgit. Copyright owners, including international recording houses, were surprised recently when the government ordered them to come up with more affordable prices.



Top of pageBottom of page   By Common ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 04:52 pm:

Here is the CD in question. It is up for bid on ebay:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 05:19 pm:

And the problem is, unless someone in authority reports it as a bootleg, eBay will let the auction run, and someone will make a handsome and ugly profit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 06:21 pm:

The other problem....
....if this turns out to be what it is reported to be, there's some classy stuff here.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 04:33 am:

I don't know about classy - much of the material on the CD has been knocking around for ages. While the packaging may be professional-looking, it doesn't sound like much effort was put into the sound quality. The scratches from the acetates are still clearly audible, and there are tape drop-outs indicating multi-generation copies. Basically, it's a home-made compilation, pressed up and distributed in fancy packaging.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 04:50 pm:

Having lit the blue touch paper on this little bundle of fun, it recently occured to me that, if we are discussing illegallity, unfairness, cheating etc. let's look back to when the Funks were under contract to Berry Gordy and THEY were the ones to cheat him and written agreements etc. Why didn't Gordy get any money from their moonlighting? Will they pay him money that they gained from re issues of `Cool Jerk` etc? Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim G ( on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 07:05 pm:

Tell me, Keith, does your forthcoming book about Detroit music contain further revelations about those nasty musicians?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 04:33 am:

Jim. I do hope that your question is humourous, my comment isn't supposed to be a revelation in anyway, or imply that the Funks are "nasty" it just struck me that Fred is out there batting for the Funks, trying to track down who ever is making illegal money from their endevours. But back in the early 60s, when they freely signed contracts to Berry Gordy but knowingly broke them on a regular basis, recreating the MOTOWN sound not only for rival Detroit recording studios but in Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis etc. If Fred has been professionally instructed to do a job then he must but I can't help identifying a similarity between the DJs who are playing (for payment) unissued Funk Brothers acetates, CD bootleggers producing them and the 60s Funks effectively reproducing (for payment) the Motown sound that Gordy contactually owned. Jim, sorry if my comment appeared anti Funks, it was more to try to illustrate the unfair turmoil associated with most commercial, money making ventures. keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Barry Sheffield ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 12:42 pm:

I read all of this post in one read, and like Vikki I agree at times it was "heavy" - I am sure as "true" music lovers none us would want to rob any of the musicians/artists that we Love!

In my Radio DJ's I built up an LP collection of 6,000 plus, but any I liked when it came to having a cassette copy for the car I went out and bought it, the same when CD's first appeared, now I buy a second CD for the car if it is something I really like or love!

But it is so difficult when classic albums will never made it to CD, I have every FOUR TOPS CD Album that has been released and official cassettes of most of those not on CD, the one I am mising is "On Broadway" - will that ever be released, if someone offered to CDR me a copy, I have Never heard the album, would I be able to say No - VERY HARD!

Music is the Message! - it has and is My Life like Many others - we love it - John

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 02:54 pm:


So the way the Funks played their instruments was "owned" by Berry Gordy? Keith, maybe for your definitive history of Detroit music, you need to listen to more Ric-Tic, Golden World and Westbound. All the different variations of Funks line-ups were able to play great R&B period, in or out of the Motown studio. I don't think even Berry Gordy would have presumed to have taken credit for Jamerson's bass style or Benny's setups.

I have to say, you have a unique perspective on Detroit music.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim G ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 03:03 pm:


I just don't agree with your sentiments at all.

Motown didn't own the "sound". Pistol always laughed when someone called it the "Motown sound". He'd tell whoever said it to go buy a lead sheet for a Motown tune and get the "Motown sound" from it.

I think that musicians are usually exploited by label and club owners. There are exceptions to the rule but not too many. I know a couple of record label owners in Detroit who treat musicians fairly.
Perhaps the musicians on this Forum can speak to this.

The relationship between musicians and label owners, and club owners, has historically been difficult. The music business is so mutable, so unstable, that musicians learn early on to 'get while the gettin's good'. Have you spent any time with musicians, especially jazz or blues musicians?
Impossible not to pick this stuff up if you have.
How many acts or musicians had to sue Motown to get any of the royalties from their efforts?
I've been told stories about the 'funny business practices' at Motown from musicians who did, and did not, work there.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SteveS ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 03:27 pm:


You've made quite an inductive leap there. You imply that because the Funks did outside dates in the 60's, the remaining Funks performing in 2003 somehow justifies bootlegging. I just don't see that. If Berry Gordy felt that he had been wronged by the reformed Funks, he could have stopped the SITSOM project cold. Instead, he gave them unprecedented access to the material. What bootlegger or DJ ever asked for (and received) access to the Motown catalog?

Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B ( on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 03:53 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 08:52 am:

Sue. My forth coming book isn't claiming to be definative, that would take a full time researcher, preferably living in Michigan, a life time. I simply intend to introduce a wider audience to what we all love as I am unaware of any book on Detroit.

Re listening to more Ric Tic etc records, that was the basis for my entire point, Berry Gordy employed all of the various permutations of the early Funks because he liked, respected and needed their skills. As far as I understand, the first `generation` of Funks signed pretty tight contracts, they were free to play live where they wished but were not to play sessions for recordings. Gordy certainly didn't assume ownership of anyone's musicianship but the point I was trying to make was that the chemistry that Gordy brought together, the musicians, the studio, producers etc etc created a very successful product, artistically but let's face it financially too. So when folk such as Ed Wingate wanted a piece of this action, he asked the Funks to moonlight and he certainly didn't say "Hey guys play in this German Polka style for me" he asked them to reproduce the Motown sound, the success sound. No way did Gordy assume to teach the funks anything about playing music, they taught him but he did teach everyone about getting a successful package together, a package that everyone wanted to recreate and the only guarenteed way was to get the originators in, the Funks, illegally. Dennis Coffey told me that very soon after the first, very tight contracts were negotiated, subsequent ones were much more open because of agrovation the initial ones caused, Dennis was able to do session work quite freely and legally. Re: "a unique perspective on Detroit music" my point would apply to any similar situation, would a journalist, contracted to a newspaper group get away with working for a rival publication?

Jim Apart from ownership of the Motown Sound, I agree with your points. Pistol was quite correct, the West Coast version of the Motown Sound just doesn't hold a light to the `Jamerson` version. But when permutations of the early Funks got together on sessions prior to Motown, may be some Da Co, Puff or Ge Ge sessions, there just wasn't that tight, distinctive sound that Gordy facilitated and presided over at United and eventually W Grand Blv.

SteveS Two wrongs don't make a right, I agree but in the "difficult" world that Jim so rightly identifies it will never be perfect. As I mentioned a few weeks ago on this thread, certainly in the UK anyway, the whole Soul scene has always had a colourful and checkered history, it was a street level scene, operating away from the establishment and I suspect that there would not be the excitement of this ever evolving scene if these periodic maverick interventions were to be sanitised and brought to order. What would really call my bluff would be if someone in the US were to call me and tell me that my book has been bootlegged in the states and because in the past I had cut a few corners professionally, I deserved it!! Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 11:09 am:

Pass the bottle over mate(hic,burp)
Moonshine Mel!

Top of pageBottom of page   By M.I.E.Ville ( on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 07:10 pm:

I must confess I got this 2 days ago & I love it. The booklet, those instrumentals, sorry Motown couldn't be bothered to put something even remotely like this package out between Tempts & 'Tops compilations, I would have bought it knowing the Funks weren't getting paid by Berry & I would have & did buy it knowing some it was some other guy who wasn't paying the Funks. I'll go see the Funks again & I'll buy more licensed merch & frankly I think the Funks should put out their own package with or without Motown's assistance or input. Loving those instrumentals!

Top of pageBottom of page   By HW ( on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 09:30 am:

Why assume Motown wasn't/isn't attempting to do something?

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 12:42 pm:

Would you be teasing us there, Mr Weinger?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Me again ( on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 04:25 pm:

We can only hope! HW, I'll buy at least 2 new copies if such a package comes out officially & cajole as many more people into buying it as possible. When I play them some of these thumping tracks I'm pretty sure they'll be convinced. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but seriously, how long has Motown had to put out more interesting cd's like this? If they expected to sell so few, couldn't they lease a bunch of tapes and let some other company do the leg work and take a chance? In my cd collection I probably have more liner notes by HW than any other single reissue researcher/ writer, I have a lot of respect for the work you do (HW) but for all I know Motown is in no greater rush today than they were 10, 20, 30 years ago to put this out.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 05:13 pm:


This is the real thing!!

Well done Mr W and Andy S

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