Email 15th July 1998

Subject: Fish 98 Bootlegs and Piracy on the High Streets

Dear Freaks,

Well I was going to hang off on this but after all the messages and after coming down off the ceiling when the steam finally left my ears from Dan's post I thought I'd apply some reasoning and send a broadside.

Dan how did you get Sound board tapes when I couldn't get any? As the artist I hire all the PA equipment and sundry gear on the night including DAT rigs on the effects racks. By admitting you have these tapes from the desk in your possession you at least admit possession of stolen property if not theft itself. It is illegal to tape an artist without their permission and illegal to sell/trade those tapes of any material under copyright protection. Full stop. No argument. That is law.
I appreciate that fans will seek out and buy bootlegs and that any fan who buys bootlegs will as you have done buy all the relevant existing material. You however go onto the list and admit to not being interested in getting 'Tales from the Big Bus' as you have the material already on you're illegally acquired DATS which you say will be going onto CD's if I've not been mistaken. Forget it!

I won't stop bootlegging but I refuse point blank to advocate it. Why should I allow others to make financial gain from my performances with no recompense to the writers of the material through publishing payments, the performers of the material or the owners of the copyrights. What is the point of coming to a live show and spending the entire night concerned with LED levels and optimal stereo balance? It's a bit like finally getting the date with the prom queen, getting her into the sack and spending all the time filming her on her own so you can go back home and 'congratulate' yourself on your performance. You miss the whole point of the Live experience!!

The fact you are DAT'ing suggests a far more sinister approach. Why the professional hardware? Are Cd's your ultimate aim? I don't like the 'innocent' aspect of trading. There are too many people willing to take advantage of 'real' fans and further on down the line there will be someone out of the circle who decides to make a wee bit money because he knows someone that knows someone who has the facilities to turn the show into a commercial proposition. I know this all too well!

A story! A couple of years back the German fan club were very upset when a 'Private' tape emerged on CD bootleg. They followed the source back 3 stops on it's distribution chain and were told by a gentleman in Munich that if they persisted in their questions they would be badly hurt!

Bootlegging is a criminal activity. That is a fact! Don't glamorise the issue and don't play the innocent victim.
I don't like tape trading. That is my opinion. I don't believe bootlegs are the primary introduction to the band as some have suggested. Some of you may have heard them first but in general it's bullshit. In France the first wave of fans came from the Import sections as Script was widely available after Market Square made an impact in a very underground fashion.
Somewhere in that Tape Trading circle a stranger will get access to the material and eventually it will be in the hands of unscrupulous individuals. I don't trust the argument of 'it's just the fans'. It's a naive perspective.
I'm not going to come down on anyone tape trading but I don't want it rubbed in my face.

If you want to, do it in private. I don't want to see sites blatantly pushing this ideaology under the guise of innocent 'consumer demand'. It's illegal!

I don't want to see DAT machines or recording Walkmen at my shows.

Anyone seen and caught with a device will have the tapes arrested and batteries removed and any further attempt will have them jettisoned from the venue.

I am performing a show not providing a free ride to some tosser who has no respect for what I'm trying do either on or off stage!
Dan's attitude I found grossly insulting and totally arrogant and after visiting the site I became aware that this is a tip of a very ugly iceberg. Dan; Geoff Downes, John Wetton and the boys are good friends of mine and it's going to be very interesting next time we meet discussing your 'tape trading'. If I ever discover your involvement with selling bootleg CD's you can rest assured that I will not let the matter rest and hand over all my findings to the relevant interested authorities. Treat this as a very friendly warning.

Fellow freaks I have no intention of pursuing a thread that will lead nowhere but into a sordid well of recrimination. My point is made, I am pissed off Big Time but I appreciate I won't change attitudes overnight if at all. If anyone wants to flame me do so.

Love Onkel Fish
Currently not on tour! :-)
 

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