August 8, 2007

Net Neutrality? Who Cares? (updated) [6:14 pm]

How about Pearl Jam: Lollapalooza Webcast: Sponsored/Censored by AT&T? [via Machinist]

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.

During the performance of “Daughter” the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” but were cut from the webcast:

  • “George Bush, leave this world alone.” (the second time it was sung); and

  • “George Bush find yourself another home.”

This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

[...] What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it’s about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band.

Later: AT&T works the fallout: AT&T errs in edit of anti-Bush lyricspdf

Lyrics performed by Pearl Jam criticizing President Bush should not have been censored from a webcast by AT&T Inc., a company spokesman acknowledged Thursday.

[...] AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said that the silencing was a mistake and that the company was working with the vendor that produces the webcasts to avoid future misunderstandings. He said AT&T was working to secure the rights to post the entire song — part of a sing-along with the audience — on the Blue Room site.

[...] Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition [their blog entry], said that although net neutrality wasn’t being violated in this case, it still raises questions about whether AT&T and other service providers can be trusted not to hurt artists.

[...] AT&T and other providers would like the ability to charge more for transmitting certain kinds of data, like live video, faster or more reliably than other data but have insisted such premium services would help, not hurt, consumers.

Coe said, regardless, the issue of net neutrality is entirely separate from the mistake during the Pearl Jam show.

“This was our own Web site,” he noted.

I see — nothing to do with net neutrality, nothing at all — that’s crazy talk. Move along, nothing to see here.

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