Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

47 Federal Communications Law Journal 611 (1995)


Entrepreneurs have manufactured unauthorized sound recordings since the'turn of the century. At first, most of these recordings were counterfeits and copies of existing recordings. Starting in the late 1960s, a new genre of unauthorized recording, the "bootleg," found eager listeners, particularly among fans of rock music. Bootlegs offered music that was unavailable elsewhere such as concert recordings and unfinished studio recordings. The widespread availability of compact discs and ever improving recording technology means that some new bootlegs sound better than ever.

This Note explores the history of bootlegs and how copyright law has tried to come to grips with the phenomenon, both in the United States and abroad. Ultimately, it is apparent that the market is too vast to combat completely through law enforcement. The only effective solution is for the record companies to offer their own archive recordings of their artists, a practice that many companies have already successfully embraced.