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Zero Tolerance For (Public Domain) Bootlegs

November 20, 2007 | Music
Ernst Jorgenson, driving force behind the ‘Follow That Dream’ releases, leaves no doubt about zero tolerance for bootlegs. In the latest FTD newsletter to FTD sellers he writes:

"Unfortunately Sony BMG’s legal department has informed us about several of you selling illegal records, and apparently there is more to come. As the guilty ones know, it’s both unpleasant and expensive to be caught, and for the future there will be a ”no tolerance” policy. Any customer getting in trouble with the authorities on this issue will automatically be dropped by FTD.
One of the key reasons for the development of FTD was to give the fan clubs legal product to sell in order to substitute the sales of bootlegs that escalated in the nineties. Not only are these illegal activities potentially hurtful to your business, but they also put the whole future of FTD in jeopardy.

We have heard many absurd excuses over the years for selling product that wasn’t legal (Czech republic releases is just one example), but all of you are experienced Elvis dealers, and it is your responsibility to know if the product you are selling is legal or not. As some will know, the so-called P.D. releases in many instances are not P.D. at all. Original masters recorded AND released more than 50 years ago are public domain (free for all), but masters and outtakes released within the 50-year period are not automatically P.D. Selling illegal P.D. recordings is exactly the same as selling bootlegs. Don’t let yourself down!!"
Source:Follow That Dream
Mississippi-Flash wrote on November 20, 2007
Hmmm....the mainreason why FTD excists is the fact that the bootleggers (Madison, DEA, Baxter and Bilko) had great succes with their products. As long as FTD is producing better quality releases they don't have to be afraid. There is room for both...
jean michel wrote on November 20, 2007
the only competion between FTDs CDs & boots is that boots are cheaper !
Matt W wrote on November 20, 2007
Well done Ernst!
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on November 20, 2007
Well if Ftd would make better products they would have nothing to worry about,fact is they dont care to give you booklets and there choose of material they release is a bit strange at times,im guessing that 9 out of 10 people who buy imports also buy Ftds',.and you know what some of the so called bootlegs look more like so called official releases than the officials releases,talk about excuses,ernst has them for everything,just take On Tour for example not to mention being coy about the label,i know many will disagree but Ftd doesnt always resemble a collectors label.and i dont see how imports could bother the sells of Ftd,no he know just as well as anyone,they at times put out far better products!
jean michel wrote on November 20, 2007
is this zero tolerance also aiming the Memphis recording service products ?
marco31768 wrote on November 20, 2007
Mississippi-Flash, you're totally right!!!
Matt W wrote on November 20, 2007
mature_elvis_fan75 - throwing in a 16 page booklet with these bootleg releases hardly qualifies as making "quality product". 'Hot off the press, the latest audience recording... featuring a 16 page booket' Woopty do! FTD release fine product within their budget and actually make sure the musicians and the royalties are paid. Bootlegs do NOT have this overhead. Have you missed the 7" classic album series with deluxe packaging and informative booklets? Re the MRS question - sure does, thankfully.
wmarkj wrote on November 21, 2007
Are we to believe that Ernst does not have his own stash of the best bootleg copies (e.g. Bilko, Madison, Fort Baxter) that he breaks out and listens to now and then?
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on November 21, 2007
I am not talking about audiance recordins,. im talking about the many quality soundboard releases,and yes i know of the classic series,but whats wrong with putting booklets in with the regular ftd releases,Ftd has releases some great shows but stick it in a digi pack and give very little info,and they could sell more if they would stop poor mouthing themself and advertise,as for ernst having imports theres something else youll never know,that the way mister secretive is,hes there to make money and also get his name as one of the ones brought down the bad old bootleggers,and it is funny that u can pick up quality imports for around the same price and they offer better artwork liner notes and more dedication.and isnt it funny that ernst has talked about a best of the boots set.i guess they need to use aother people's ideas,there are Ftd's that i like very much,but if only they would be put all this effort into every release not just the ones they choose to,as for musicians i dont think you should get payed when someone owns the tape,they get there money from the other releases!
Matt W wrote on November 21, 2007
mature_elvis_fan75 – it doesn’t matter which bootlegs you are referring too, the fact remains FTD has legal overheads it needs to cover – a point you have chosen to ignore. Bootleg companies do NOT pay royalties and do NOT pay the musicians on the recordings. FTD on the other hand DO pay these fees and thus this comes out of their production budget. Consider this next time you decide to chastise FTD for not including booklets with their regular releases. Also bear in mind it is only fairly recently that bootleg released have regularly included 16 page booklets. Most of the BEST classic bootlegs from the 90s came with 16 page booklets. Also note that Ernst works for a multinational recording company and it is most likely them that have requested Ernst send out a letter. With regards to your comment on musician payments – your vision is blurred.
Matt W wrote on November 21, 2007
Correction: Most of the BEST classic bootlegs from the 90s came without 16 page booklets.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on November 21, 2007
No nothing blurred, just my oppion,if you can include booklets with some Ftd's why not all of them? the other thing is Ftd started becuase of the popularity of Imports,imports do not hurt the sale of Ftd,only thing that might hurt the sales of Ftd's is the lack of qaulity and content of some of it's releases! remember its my oppion,nothing more or less!
Greg Nolan wrote on November 21, 2007
I agree that this is probably aimed at the Memphis Recording Service ("MRS") label releases and if they have slipped and included things that don't fall under public domain, then they may have to account for that. Any BMG exec paging through some of the British rock and music magazines seeing huge, glossy color advertisements for the "Tupelo" and now the "New York" set is surely not going to take it lying down, no matter the mostly public domain status. As for audience recordings, I think Matt W. needs to be specific about what releases he's panning so casually. Something from the widely-acclaimed folks behind "Straight Arrow"? If so, say so, but it other labels have started to jump on the "16 page booklet" phenomenon, bully for them - it does add to the product. Granted, audience recordings are not always easy listening, but factor in the historical content and uniqueness of some of these shows (never mind the deluxe booklets...) and surely one must conclude that they add to the Elvis riches we have today. If this is not true, the millions who until recently listened to music on AM band radio in the USA -and still listen here to news and talk (and occasional music) with little complaint -are totally deaf, because a lot of AR's are often akin to what passed for music on AM radio. As long as Elvis is the star on such tapes, many will line up for it. (Incidentally, I find hearing AR's in the car sometimes the best place to hear them, as I still here AM radio, complete with a fading signal, crackles, pops and drop-outs, roughly akin to the low-fi and audience instrusions of the AR's....!) That said (and getting back on topic) I'm not surprised Ernst (or his superiors) have issued the words of caution. If they have any legal angle, then they're entitled to use it. They're not running a charity. For the record, while I've occasionally missed the extras and the liner notes on many of the FTD digipaks (many of us would volunteer in a heartbeat to pen a paragraph or two of context), the classic album series (inclucing the soundtracks) have more than made up for this previous loss with their booklets, by and large. FTD, if pricey in the USA, remains a bonanza for those of us who remember the bad old days of the '70s and '80s. Reading in between the lines, I don't think this statement from Ernst is a rant against the better import labels, but rather the rather boisterious gang behind the mostly -popular MRS series.
Matt W wrote on November 21, 2007
I'm not casually panning anything, merely making the point that 16 page booklets as nice as they are, don't make the release and I've not missed them for any of the FTD regular releases. FTD work to a strict budget and I don't doubt the revenue from some offset the higher costs of the others. mature_elvis_75 clearly doesn't understand the boundaries FTD operate within with his uninformed comments towards FTD.
jean michel wrote on November 21, 2007
don't you think this sudden anger is caused by a frustrated Mr Jorgensen not being able to put out his own SUN project so far ? Most of the fan clubs/fanzines/Elvis shops I know around the world do sell both FTDs & boots because there is a demand for both of them. Deprive them of boots & a lot will have to close down.Then FTDs will be in real jeopardy cause there won't be anymore dealers to distribute them !
jean michel wrote on November 21, 2007
honesltly ,would the FTDs series be less successful than it is now without the boots? Mr Jorgensen wants to get rid of competition but competition creates emulation whereas monopoly kills it .What "jeopardy" is he talking about ? Instead of threatening -fellow- european bootleggers ,Mr Jorgensen should try to attack the chinese market where counterfeit if king.
Tony D. wrote on November 21, 2007
Jean Michel, Anger and frustration? Ernst 'not able' to put out his Sun project?!?? The reason it hasn't surfaced yet is because research is still ongoing. The search for correct dates, information, photographs and lost recordings is still ongoing. There is no rush for this project. It will be far and away the definitive Sun release. Also, I believe Ernst is referring to individuals who are making CD copies of FTD releases and selling them at Elvis discos and other such events.
jean michel wrote on November 21, 2007
Hi Tony , thanks for your reaction. First off , I did write "...so far" & I will be more than happy whenever this SUN project finally comes out. Ok now , if Ernst was happy about the boot situation ,why would he bother & launch this new zero tolerance policy. About the frustration , well , this project was announced some 2 years go , right ? Don' t tell me he did not feel then a little disapointed (to use another word) when the first mrs product came out soon after. With the zero tolerance , I thought he was refering to "real" boots , not copies. Even if I am wrong , the copies would not exist if the original were cheaper.
Lefty wrote on November 21, 2007
Haven't we all heard this kind of threat before? I remember when FTD was launched and the rhetoric surrounding it. I was sure then that the end of the bootleg market had arrived. Boy, was I wrong. It's just as strong as ever. New bootleg titles and re-releases abound. I'm not so sure that this is strictly about the MRS label? If it was, Ernst wouldn't have put one over the bow of Memory Records (Czech republic). The key here is whether or not FTD/BMG is going to make good on their threats. If this is just a bluff, and I expect that it is, everything will continue as normal. I love great Elvis releases. I of course want to buy everything from FTD, but that hasn't stopped me from buying from other dedicated producers. The key to all of this is product. Put an end to bootlegs by out producing them. Why is that such a hard concept? Compete boys. Be the best!
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on November 21, 2007
Hey Ernst Crawl back into that hole you came out. Zero tolerance what do you think you are the LAW. your nothing.
elvis5677 wrote on November 21, 2007
Jumpin J what the heck? If it wern't for Ernst we'd still be buying crap like "Elvis sings for Children and Grownups Too!"
Mr Scrapbook wrote on November 21, 2007
FACT: If it is public domain then it is NOT a bootleg. I think that Ernst could just be feeling the heat from the M.R.S. products...... too bad I say. Nuff said.
JerryNodak wrote on November 21, 2007
I bought an import (read: illeagal bootleg) years ago and was burnt badly. Learned my lesson the hard way via my wallet. Never again. If I were wealthy on the order of say, Bill Gates, I'd spend a large portion of my fortune helping to put those S.O.B.s out of business. Go get 'em Sony/BMG.
wayup wrote on November 21, 2007
Jerry Nodak: yes ageeeee. Best will be if they will get'em all, then torture them by 100 hours of non-stop playing of all takes of Queenie Wahini Papaya at highest possible volume - and then shot all of them into head, using dum-dum bullets.
wayup wrote on November 21, 2007
Mr Scrapbook: it is hard to stay 'cold' if for example TUPELO'S OWN (with soundtrack taken directly from 1984 Golden box) released by MRS sold 3 x more copies that recent FTDs.
Mofoca22 wrote on November 21, 2007
the only bootlegs i have ever bought are dvds taht mgm, and cbs, or madison square garden wont release. yeah i said elvis on tour, elvis in concert and madison square garden i bought as bootlegs and im proud of it. but i will never buy a bootleg cd even though it is tempting. but i will not screw rca/sony/bmg or ftd over if i dont like what they sell i just dont buy it and wait till they release something i have to have. im sure someday theyll release all the stuff the bootlegs have done and may be in better condition. im proud of you ernst please take back what is elvis's and release legally for all to enjoy in the best quality you give us
Matt W wrote on November 21, 2007
Jumpin Jehosaphat - your comment is both thoughtless and moronic, why don't you take your own advice? Tell me, do you own any BMG CDs released between 1988 and now? Oh, I bet you do.
JimmyCool wrote on November 21, 2007
I've always wondered where does bootleggers get their tapes... some of the were unreleased and some of them sounded sooo darn good...
schemies wrote on November 22, 2007
Well, I guess the legal/illegal facts speak for Sony/BMG, and Mr. Jorgensen is right. But sometimes bootlegs are very attractive and the content is not to find somewhere else, even not on FTD. So here is the message to Mr. Jorgensen: Give us more soundboards, and the bootlegs are out. What about the "regular" FTD release for October 2007 ? And for January 2008 ? Another important point: Why do we not get the remaining 3 concerts from Elvis On Tour recorded by RCA in April 1972 ? Again, the bootlegs are out then. There is a discussion about those concerts to be released "in the future", but: Tomorrow never comes ! So If Sony/BMG or FTD is not releasing this stuff for 35 years (!), no wonder others do it, because it is totally clear the fans want it. There is always something to improve with yourself, Mr. Jorgensen. BTW: The kind of comment by Jumpin Jehosaphat is not suitable for this message board. It is not the opinion, but the way: the same could have been said in a very different way.
Tony D. wrote on November 22, 2007
There is just no point in releasing everything at once. EVERY Elvis fan seems to want something different to what is being released!!!
Greg Nolan wrote on November 25, 2007
Jerry Nodak: we have agreed from time to time but you once bought a bootleg and "got burnt" and now you right off the entire line of unofficial product? You must be kidding! That's like a novice buying the "Paradise Hawaiian Style" soundtrack and then writing off anything Elvis ever did! I can't believe you weren't kidding. Sheesh! As for the "controversy," I believe that it's been established that the memo is driven by the fact that higher-ups want such actions taken. (I"m catching up on the subject... but it seems very plausible.) In which case, don't hold it against Ernst, who is as big a fan as any of us -and also an employee of a multinational corporation that cares only about profit.
Myluv4Elvis wrote on November 26, 2007
It is well known in certain cirlces that Ernst is directly responsible for more bootleg sources than anyone. If this isn't calling the kettle black then I do not know what is.
king al wrote on November 30, 2007
FTD, release what we want! Then we won't buy bootlegs anymore!
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on December 02, 2007
I am a collector of elvis 45 's from around the world along with my cousin we have close to 5000 thousand in our collection from 1954 to 1988, and are still collecting. We dont like Ernst because we feel that what he is is giving is material that has been done and paid for and being re-sold at twice the price of what a CD should sell for, thus taking advantage of the collector. when you collect elvis presley 45's you have the real thing the way it was ment to be seen and heard CD's are just "Money Makers" for BMG (Buy My Garbage) and the people who collect them most were not around in the beginning as i and my cousin mystery rider were. My material is mostly from the far east and his is from throught out Europe Plus of course the usa. Many duplicate copies inclusing 10 each of the sun material 45 and 78 which we has locked in a safety deposit box in Brooklyn NY The material was obtained during or Navy days (mine) and his Army days also from friends who traveled later. we have no boot leg material. We also consider Ernst a bootlegger kind of like a whiskey pedddler but only they gave him a license to say Stick em up and pay my high prices.
Steve V wrote on December 03, 2007
Well said Jumpin and I am in agreement with you. Ive stated on this site many times that the classic album series from FTD is just another way of making us pay again (and more) for stuff we have bought from the beginning. All these albums were out on CD already. But guess what. People still go crazy for them as if hearing this music for the first time. Amazing.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on December 03, 2007
Several points here,(those who dont like my comments please look away)ok how many times do we need to hear the dont you remember the 80's line? ok theres way more releases than then,but that doesnt make everything perfect or not in need of improvments,and steve i agree again but it doesnt matter fans are more than happy to buy movie soundtracks that have 5 new outtakes and pay double the price for it,and in some cases the bootlegs still hold the more enjoyable outtakes, so why dont the movie soundtracks have 2 cd's but the classic series do?why go all out on some releases and sleep walk through others? and um why dont you put booklets in with your releases? as for bootlegs who is saying there great because of booklets? i surely dont think that,yes a nice booklet is nice but if the cd is crap it doesnt matter,but many boots have great sound and have great shows,Ftd's choose of soundboards boggles the mind,its again an attemt to clean out the closet,and who said release everything at one time? but yes a On Tour show is wayy overdue,but these arguments never get much attention because theres far more people who give Ftd a free pass on anything you argue because there just glad to have Ftd no matter how its run and what it produces!
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on December 04, 2007
But still FTD double the price of standard CD plus the old slap in the Face Shipping and handling charges so then there is also a profit on the shipping costs, when will they stop picking our pockets and why is this stuff not available in the local shops throughout the world. Why the tight market? money better spent by not spending and boycotting future issues until the material is available locally and NOT at the pleasure of BMG (Buy my garbage) Im sure you could live without the next issues, and show (By My Garbage) who is the Boss, and its not Ernst. its your money dont let them live high on the hog on it, i'm sure they are laughing all the way to bank on the profit margin on a product that was paid for 40 years ago.