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In the mid-1970s, Paul Edmond Dowling and William Samuel Theaker ran an “extensive bootleg record operation.”1 The two men made unauthorized “phonorecords of unreleased [Elvis] Presley recordings. . . [using] material from a variety of sources, including studio outtakes, acetates, soundtracks from Presley motion pictures, and tapes of Presley concerts and television appearances.”2 Dowling was a huge Elvis Presley fan, so he “handled the ‘artistic’ end of the operation, contributing his knowledge of the Presley subculture, seeking out and selecting the musical material, designing the covers and labels, and writing the liner notes.”3 Theaker, who lived in Los Angeles, handled the logistics of the operation. He “had some familiarity with the music industry, took care of the business end, arranging for the record pressings, distributing catalogs, and filling orders.”4

In the pre-digital era, their bootlegging was difficult work that required access to expensive equipment and a distribution network. Dowling and Theaker’s operation required them to contract with a record-pressing company—first in Burbank, California, and later in Los Angeles and Miami, Florida.5 In addition to the operation being quite labor-intensive for the infringers, discovering infringers was equally difficult—more difficult than merely doing a Google search, finding infringing works on Youtube, or obtaining the Internet Service Provider6 addresses of people who have performed unauthorized downloads from Napster.7 For Theaker and Dowling, it was a large operation that still required a two-year FBI investigation to gather enough evidence to support an infringement action, and even then, the bootleggers were able to evade authorities for several years before they were caught.8