A few somewhat random Grateful Dead insights I'm learning from Phil Lesh's book, "Searching for the Sound," which I had been curious about ... :)
On fans taping the Grateful Dead, "the tapers," and the GD's taping culture:
"... an entire tape trading culture was to grow from these tentative beginnings. The technology became more and more sophisticated and networks of fans sprang up who were dedicated to trading the tapes of their favorite bands - those who would allow taping that is. Our philosophy was, as usual, expressed most pithily by Jerry: "As soon as we play it, we're done with it. Let 'em have it." Actually we weren't done with it. We made our own tapes, starting early on... and we would frequently audition them to mine ideas from the jams. Many of these tapes would somehow be disseminated into the trading stream. And later we would also authorize our sound mixer to feed his board signal to selected tapers, in the interest of clarity. It's interesting to speculate about the influence of these trader networks on the programmers who designed such file-sharing, peer-to-peer software as Napster, Limewire or Kazaa, software that does the same thing digitally." (Phil Lesh, 2005 - beginning around 3:05:45 in the audio book).
Jerry Garcia's book also looks good, which you'll find a reference to here - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Grateful_Dead - in a recently updated page, in addition to Gans' interviews with band members of the Grateful Dead. The GD syllabus I mentioned is still posted here as a reference, but is inaccessible now, as far as I looked, and is not by the GD's Bobby Weir, but by a historian who is developing the field of Dead studies. :)
I'm finding listening to this book somehow liberating :)