Bob Dylan hates them.

"Outrageous," he says in the liner notes to his recent "Biograph" anthology. "If you're just sitting and strumming in a motel . . . you don't think anybody's there . . . and then it appears . . . a cover that's got a picture of you that was taken from underneath your bed and a striptease-type title and it costs $30. Then you wonder why most artists feel so paranoid."

Bruce Springsteen despises them.

"Out-and-out theft," his manager, Jon Landau, has said.

What Dylan and the Boss don't like are bootleg records and tapes -- and with good reason. Dylan (whose recent five-record iograph" has had to compete with a 10-record boxed boot, "Ten of Swords") and Springsteen (whose fabled live concerts, not available on any legitimate releases, are represented on more than 100 bootleg collections) are among the most heavily booted artists.

Dylan has been fighting boots for the better part of his career. Indeed, when Rolling Stone magazine reported on "Ten of Swords" last March and CBS Records temporarily withdrew its advertising in protest (claiming that the article was endorsing an illegal product), the confrontation had many familiar echoes. The same parties had faced off in 1969 when the first important public bootleg, "Great White Wonder," appeared in Los Angeles and was written about extensively in Rolling Stone.

"GWW" launched a pirate cottage industry that has continued to bedevil record companies and artists even as it has satiated hard-core fans and collectors.

Now as then, bootlegging is illegal, and it raises serious ethical and artistic questions. "We consider the release of this record an abuse of the integrity of a great artist," CBS stated in 1969. "The sellers of this record are crassly depriving Bob Dylan of the opportunity to perfect his performances to the point where he believes in their integrity and validity. They are at one time defaming the artist and defrauding his admirers." That's pretty much been the battle line ever since. Dylan has since been "booted" some 500 times (there's even a widely available book titled "Bob Dylan: His Unreleased Recordings," discussing them in critical detail). Yet there has never been any real dialogue between record companies and artists seeking to maintain control over their creative works and those enterprising collectors who think their fanaticism xl xr exempts them from legal niceties. think their fanaticism exempts them from legal niceties.In fact, those fans will buy and produce bootlegs despite the pleas and criticism of the very artists they so admire.

Just look at Springsteen, also a CBS artist. He too has inspired a 10-record set ("All Those Years," covering his work from 1971 to 1982), as well as many four- and five-record concert sets -- in part, no doubt, because he has yet to release an album of his long live performances, which many of his fans consider his most powerful medium. There are at least a dozen "Born in the USA" tour sets out right now. Before the end of Springsteen's three-day run at England's Wembley Stadium last July 4, high-quality cassette tapes of the opening concert were available on the streets of London.

Other heavily bootlegged artists include the Beatles (800 titles), the Rolling Stones (600), the Who, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. Most boots are of rock acts with commercial or cult followings, ranging from the aforementioned dinosaurs to youngsters such as R.E.M. and U2. There is no market for Kenny Loggins or Melissa Manchester, and there are virtually no bootlegs of popular black artists, even those with large crossover audiences, such as Prince and Michael Jackson. The average collector is a young white male rock fan.

Most boots originate with concerts, radio and television broadcasts, demos, rehearsal tapes and studio outtakes. Thousands of bootleg albums exist (and there's an emerging wave of bootleg videos), but you're not likely to find them in your local record store. Given the small sums of money to be made (most boots have runs of only a few thousand), it's usually not worth risking prosecution or disruption of service by annoyed wholesalers. Still, some stores have been known to sell boots to regular customers, sort of like bars saving their quality booze to their regular clientele.

Record companies, of course, see bootleggers and their customers quite simply as thieves hurting the artist (who gets no royalties), the public (which is exposed to material the artist wishes to keep private) and the record company (which says it loses sales even though buyers of bootlegs tend to already own all available commercial releases).

For their part, fans seem willing to put up with high prices (up to $30 per disc) and inconsistencies in quality (while some bootlegs have excellent audio, they are more often atrociously recorded and pressed) for the sake of historical completeness, which may explain why collectors' stores are more likely to carry boots than regular retailers are.

Hard-core fans are willing to overlook the ethical questions as well. They claim priate anything that validates their commitment -- including concerts and broadcasts, which are presented in the open air, as well as private tapes never intended for public exposure.

It is the latter that provokes the strongest response from musicians. Ralph Gleason, writing in Rolling Stone in 1971, insisted that "the artist has the right to work at and to make his music come as close as possible to what he envisions for it. In the instance of making phonograph records, this includes the right to reject performances in favor of other performances and he should not have to suffer the indignity of hearing his rejects on some underground radio station just because the public is insatiable in its lust for him."

The bootleg phenomenon may have put on a public face in the late '60s, but its origins date to the turn of the century, when recorded music meant piano rolls and cylinders. The first bootlegs, according to Goldmine, the record collector's magazine, were made by Lionel Mapelson, the librarian at the Metropolitan Opera, who recorded highlights of the 1901 season and made them available to colleagues.

Bootlegging, taking its name from the Prohibition practice of hiding alcohol in the leg of a high boot, has become an all-purpose term for the production, transportation and sale of illegal goods, yet within it there are distinctions to be made.

*Counterfeiting -- the manufacturing of exact copies of albums packaged to pass for genuine releases -- is a major problem for the record industry. Not only are there indications of organized crime's influence in this area, but it ranks with home taping as the most serious drain on the industry's continued growth and prosperity. Counterfeits sabotage real sales, costing manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then there are "pirated" versions of officially released tracks (singles, B-sides) reassembled in new order or packaging. And finally there are the bootlegs drawn from unreleased material and concert or radio broadcasts. In none of these cases do pirates have to pay for recording, production, promotion or royalties.

As far back as 1905, the Victor Talking Machine Co. urged Congress to enact laws to end unauthorized copying of its product. (Compositions were protected, but the recording was not, so a bootlegger who paid royalties -- as some did, anonymously -- was theoretically within the law.) But nothing happened until legislation passed in 1971 finally extended copyright protection to recorded materials, saying that any commercial recording of an original record for public distribution or sale made without a manufacturer's permission violated federal law, and that to duplicate or sell these records was illegal, whether or not royalties were paid.

For seven decades, as technology evolved from cylinders to 78s to long-playing records to cassettes, bootlegs had been the province of collectors and scholars, mostly in the jazz, country and classical fields (the first complete Wagner "Ring" cycle appeared as an 18-disc bootleg in 1954; unfortunately, it was not being performed by the artists heralded on the cover, creating a credibility problem that has recurred in various guises in the intervening years). Tapes and the occasional vinyl boot were traded more than sold, usually within tight circles of enthusiasts who remained convinced that esthetic values transcended legal considerations.

Surprisingly, rock 'n' roll was not considered a fertile territory for bootlegs until the late '60s -- possibly because before then, it was perceived as merely a teen phenomenon.

At that time, the counterculture portrayed record corporations as exploitative Sheriffs of Nottingham and bootleggers as merry-prankster Robin Hoods. Some insisted that the artists, who tended to be extremely popular, had already gotten enough royalties. One group even called itself the Rock and Roll Liberation Front and stickered its releases with the slogan: "This album is a step towards reclaiming the people's music from filthy capitalist record companies."

Those were the days, my friend.

"Great White Wonder" was put together by a couple of Dylan freaks in Los Angeles who had gotten access to private tapes, including recordings made in Minnesota in 1961, before Dylan had signed with Columbia, and ones from 1967, when he'd recorded what eventually came to be known as "The Basement Tapes" with the Band in Woodstock, N.Y.

The Woodstock tapes, though of mediocre quality, contained some outstanding songs and performances; Rolling Stone editorialized in 1968 that "the Basement Tapes should be released." Dylan and CBS did not agree, and soon "Great White Wonder" was out: a double record inside a plain white cover with no identification, notes or song titles. The two entrepreneurs who pressed it had to borrow a car to deliver it to record stores on a cash-and-carry basis. They insisted they'd done the project because of the music.

Not only was "GWW" reviewed in Rolling Stone, it was given extensive air play by Los Angeles radio stations (something that would never happen now except at the college radio level). Legitimized by this exposure, the album ended up selling something between 50,000 and 100,000 copies -- exact figures are hard to come by, of course.

Poor Dylan! Even his telephone conversations with eccentric Dylanologist A.fs,1 J. Weberman were bootlegged.

*CBS, Dylan and his publishing company brought pressure on stores that carried "GWW" and instituted suits aimed at manufacturers and distributors, calling the album "a simple case of piracy of Dylan's private musical performances for defendant's profits and a brazen disregard of the copyright act provisions respecting record licensing, copyright royalties and elementary fair play." That language remains at the core of legal actions today.

*So, with the law closing in on them, the "GWW" entrepreneurs moved on to another area of capitalist endeavor: They fled to Canada and opened a gas station with their profits. When one of them returned briefly to Los Angeles, he found that "GWW" had itself been bootlegged.

bat10 Bootlegging is in many ways analogous to dealing dope. It's built on a network of nameless underground operators and purchasers dealing with middlemen. It's cash up front, no guarantees, no returns, no standards of quality. There is also little honor among thieves: Bootleggers often steal from existing bootlegs, putting on new covers, hinting at different material, taking the sound quality down another notch by copying copies. That's true not just of the music, but of the catalogues as well: "Springsteen -- The Bootleg Bible" was put out by a fan who soon came across it in another town -- photocopied and at a lower price.

"GWW" opened the floodgates, and if people thought bootlegs were cylinders to 78s to long-playing records to cassettes, bootlegs had been the province of collectors and scholars, mostly in the jazz, country and classical fields (the first complete Wagner "Ring" cycle appeared as an 18-disc bootleg in 1954; unfortunately, it was not being performed by the artists heralded on the cover, creating a credibility problem that has recurred in various guises in the intervening years). Tapes and the occasional vinyl boot were traded more than sold, usually within tight circles of enthusiasts who remained convinced that esthetic values transcended legal considerations.

Surprisingly, rock 'n' roll was not considered a fertile territory for bootlegs until the late '60s -- possibly because before then, it was perceived as merely a teen phenomenon.

At that time, the counterculture portrayed record corporations as exploitative Sheriffs of Nottingham and bootleggers as merry-prankster Robin Hoods. Some insisted that the artists, who tended to be extremely popular, had already gotten enough royalties. One group even called itself the Rock and Roll Liberation Front and stickered its releases with the slogan: "This album is a step towards reclaiming the people's music from filthy capitalist record companies."

Those were the days, my friend.

"Great White Wonder" was put together by a couple of Dylan freaks in Los Angeles who had gotten access to private tapes, including recordings made in Minnesota in 1961, before Dylan had signed with Columbia, and ones from 1967, when he'd recorded what eventually came to be known as "The Basement Tapes" with the Band in Woodstock, N.Y.

The Woodstock tapes, though of mediocre quality, contained some outstanding songs and performances; Rolling Stone editorialized in 1968 that "the Basement Tapes should be released." Dylan and CBS did not agree, and soon "Great White Wonder" was out: a double record inside a plain white cover with no identification, notes or song titles. The two entrepreneurs who pressed it had to borrow a car to deliver it to record stores on a cash-and-carry basis. They insisted they'd done the project because of the music.

Not only was "GWW" reviewed in Rolling Stone, it was given extensive air play by Los Angeles radio stations (something that would never happen now except at the college radio level). Legitimized by this exposure, the album ended up selling something between 50,000 and 100,000 copies -- exact figures are hard to come by, of course.

Poor Dylan! Even his telephone conversations with eccentric Dylanologist A.fs,1 J. Weberman were bootlegged.

*CBS, Dylan and his publishing company brought pressure on stores that carried "GWW" and instituted suits aimed at manufacturers and distributors, calling the album "a simple case of piracy of Dylan's private musical performances for defendant's profits and a brazen disregard of the copyright act provisions respecting record licensing, copyright royalties and elementary fair play." That language remains at the core of legal actions today.

*So, with the law closing in on them, the "GWW" entrepreneurs moved on to another area of capitalist endeavor: They fled to Canada and opened a gas station with their profits. When one of them returned briefly to Los Angeles, he found that "GWW" had itself been bootlegged.

bat10 Bootlegging is in many ways analogous to dealing dope. It's built on a network of nameless underground operators and purchasers dealing with middlemen. It's cash up front, no guarantees, no returns, no standards of quality. There is also little honor among thieves: Bootleggers often steal from existing bootlegs, putting on new covers, hinting at different material, taking the sound quality down another notch by copying copies. That's true not just of the music, but of the catalogues as well: "Springsteen -- The Bootleg Bible" was put out by a fan who soon came across it in another town -- photocopied and at a lower price.

"GWW" opened the floodgates, and if people thought bootlegs were being done strictly for artistic reasons, they were proved wrong when producer Bob Johnston told Rolling Stone in 1971 that he'd been offered $200,000 for unreleased Dylan tapes.

Among the big sellers of the '70s: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Wooden Nickel" (which quickly forced an official live release, "Four Way Street"); the Beatles' "Kumback" (the unmixed, pre-Phil Spector version of "Let It Be"); and the Rolling Stones' "LIVE'r Than You'll Ever Be," recorded at the Los Angeles Forum and Oakland Coliseum and released a year before "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out."

Sometimes bootleg concert albums forced companies to release their versions, as with CSN&Y and the Plastic Ono Band's "Live Peace in Toronto." On the other hand, despite the success of "Great White Wonder," CBS didn't release "The Basement Tapes" until 1975 (generating a stream of negative comparisons with the bootleg version). And boots of Elvis Presley's early appearances on "Louisiana Hayride" and various other television programs were in circulation for years before RCA decided to release them.

For a few years, bootlegging was a thriving if risky business, and some bootleggers, such as the legendary Rubber Dubber and Trademark of Quality, became counterculture heroes. But in the late '70s, as prosecutions increased and record companies cracked down, bootleg albums became less visible -- though a new twist arrived in the form of a huge network of tape collectors and traders, who didn't actually enter into production or sales.

Not surprisingly, the Beatles remain the most booted group of all time. One guide, "You Can't Do That" (published five years ago), listed 612 Beatles titles and 200 solo boots, with an awful lot of repetition, repackaging and ripping off reflected in those numbers. Of course, there were relatively few Beatles concert recordings (those that exist are marred by the persistent screams of their fans, which not only drowned out the music but kept the musicians from playing in tune). Capitol and EMI have regurgitated their catalogues endlessly, but bootlegs offered genuine rarities like the group's weekly BBC series from the summer of 1963, the Decca audition tapes (Decca turned them down), Christmas messages sent to fan club members, and so on.

The most recent addition to the Beatles boot library is "Sessions," an album of alternate takes and previously unreleased songs that was supposed to have come out officially last year but was reportedly nixed by Paul McCartney. The European version features a cover and liner notes that were supposedly stolen right out of the EMI offices; the American version is not quite as fancy.

Bootlegs, incidentally, come mostly from the United States, Germany, Holland and Italy, but with fewer being pressed stateside in recent years, the costs have gone up. And boots, which may have runs as low as 200 copies, tend not to be around for long.

Despite their increasing cost and short life span, one suspects that bootlegs will be a part of the music scene for a long time to come. Both artists and record companies try to minimize opportunities for raw material, but it's hard to do, not only because of the number of people involved in most major productions, but because of the devious means bootleggers have developed for obtaining material (audience tapes are the norm, but some of the high-quality productions sound as though they've been taken directly from a sound board mix). As if to certify the permanence of the phenomenon, there's even a 352-page all-artist discography, "Hot Wacks: Book 11," which has researched bootleg claims (as to performance dates and locations) and corrected them for consumers. (It's available for $11.95, plus $2 postage, from Blue Flake Productions Inc., Box 2666, Station B, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2H6N2.)

Still, efforts to combat bootlegging continue. "The artist is owed the right to protect his creations and not be subjected to out-and-out thievery," says Bob Altshuler, a vice president at CBS Records. "The best judge of an artist's statement as to what he would like to see preserved and released as a recording made available to anyone who wants to buy it in the long run is the artist." Many states have passed laws making it illegal for concert-goers to use tape machines without artists' permission.

Which brings us to the Grateful Dead.

San Francisco's favorite sons have always tended to go against the grain, and they do so in the bootleg arena, as well. Although the Dead have spoken out against vinyl bootlegging, they have not only tolerated but encouraged their fans to tape their concerts and trade those tapes among themselves. In recent years, they've gone so far as to set up Tapers' City -- an area, usually located behind their sound board, reserved for fans who want to tape. The only rules: no reel-to-reel and no taping outside that area, in deference to nontaping fans. (Tapers have been known to shush their neighbors "because I'm taping, man!")

The Dead see these tapers -- and there may be 500 of them at a single concert -- as historians. Some have vast collections: One has a library of 1,200 concerts. These fans are not interested just in a quality of sound, but in a quality of experience. The Tapers' City system probably won't be in effect when the Dead perform here July 6, however. Seems they're sharing the bill with Tom Petty and a guy named Dylan who would probably freak out if he looked out into the audience and saw hundreds of tape recorders and microphones pointing in his direction.

Then again, who could blame him?