The rock group Pearl Jam is raising concerns about AT&T cutting out some comments about George Bush during a webcast of a weekend concert. The band registers its frustration with the censored version of the concert and notes that it highlights the need for net neutrality legislation.
Update: Video version here.
Update II: This wasn't the first time – the Chicago Sun-Times reports that AT&T has cut out comments critical of Bush on at least two prior occasions.
What a ridiculous leap to call this a net neutrality issue. In the wake of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, corporate sponsors have the right and will take steps to protect their image. AT&T’s website ([ link ]) apologizes for an over-zealous, near real-time deletion. “We screwed up on Sunday night…”.
But the error could have equally happened if FEDEX, or Coors or any other company had been the sponsor of the event.
If you want content for free, then the sponsoring company gets to choose what gets delivered. That isn’t net neutrality. It is reality.
Kind of a ridiculous leap to associate Janet Jackson’s nipple with anti-Bush lyrics, no? It wasn’t an error – it was just a ham-handed attempt to silence political disagreement.
I think Pearl Jam didn’t connect the dots enough in their expression of concern about net neutrality, which is mostly about variable content delivery speeds and making customers pay more for equal access. Though they’ve confused the issues, I think they’re in the right to be upset with the philosophy that apparently governs AT&T, which is to shoot first and apologize later.
I watch the concert and it came with a disclaimer, saying viewer discretion advised, I can’t recall the exact wording. but my point is there should have been any censorship being done on the web cast as viewers were warmed of language. As well a few cuss words made it through uncensored.
What is important to note about this issue is that the sound and audio on the webcast were excellent, but as soon as Eddie said the word George or Bush, audio troubles seemed to happen, that to mean seems fishy.
It seems even more fishy, when the statement from AT&T says they will never, ever censor political speech.
All and All it was an Excellent show though 🙂
I watch the concert and it came with a disclaimer, saying viewer discretion advised, I can’t recall the exact wording. but my point is there SHOULDN’T have been any censorship being done on the web cast as viewers were warmed of language. As well a few cuss words made it through uncensored.
Todd: You still haven\’t addressed the question – would you be calling it net neutrality if the sponsor had been FEDEX not AT&T?
I don’t think it is about net neutrality, and said PJ didn’t make a good case for connecting them. I think they probably equate outright censorship with unequal access. I don’t agree with that take, though I think anything but net neutrality is seriously bad for the Internet as well as being immoral.
Regarding AT&T, they’re a company that has an trend of acting without principal when it comes to currying favor with the White House. There is a difference between being a sponsor and a carrier. AT&T, as far as I understand, was carrying the webcast. It would be like FedEx ripping pages out of a book it was delivering from Amazon because it thought the political views were wrong.
AT&T was the sponsor – through its Bluenotes concert series.
Todd – Your metaphor of FedEx ripping pages our of a book is the wrong fit. As the sole sponsor of the broadcast, it is more like a major sponsor of a TV show asking to review the final edit before letting their brand get associated with it.
The only difference is that this was near real-time.
If the sponsor was Gillette, or Coors and the same thing happened, would people still be shouting “net neutrality”?