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|Pearl Jam Censored - Friday, August 10, 2007 at 00:15
|Anti-Bush Pearl Jam lyrics were cut from a live webcast of their performance at Chicago's Lollapalooza music festival Sunday. As the band have stated on their Official site:
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."
According to the Chicago Tribune, AT&T are claiming this is an honest mistake, and that they don't have a policy in place to censor. However the band has brought up some very good points about the importance of Net Neutrality:
Most telecommunications companies oppose "net neutrality" and argue that the public can trust them not to censor..
Even the ex-head of AT&T, CEO Edward Whitacre, whose company sponsored our troubled webcast, stated just last March that fears his company and other big network providers would block traffic on their networks are overblown..
"Any provider that blocks access to content is inviting customers to find another provider." (Marguerite Reardon, Staff Writer, CNET News.com Published: March 21, 2006, 2:23 PM PST).
But what if there is only one provider from which to choose?
If a company that is controlling a webcast is cutting out bits of our performance -not based on laws, but on their own preferences and interpretations - fans have little choice but to watch the censored version.
The band has a very good point. While it is entirely possible that this was an honest mistake and likely AT&T itself had no intention to censor anything (although whether the individual censor did it deliberately for political reasons we may never know), this still sets a really bad precedent for freedom of speech.
The band plans to post an unedited version of the performance on its website, and AT&T hope to put the unedited version in their archives (which is a nice move on their part at least).
I've never really been a fan of the band myself, but I definitely support them in this one.
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