Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why Corporations are Assholes: Reason 4957

One final old man moment for now...

I grew up with Pearl Jam, and a fair few images I could directly site the as influences for early in my career. It's good to know the people over at AT&T corporation are keeping us safe from their lyrics. Of course, mainstream media won't ever cover things like this going on. Would be nice though. There's nothing that I hate more than censorship.

Bear in mind this corporation says "Trust us" when it comes to net neutrality and on censorship issues.

Direct from Pearl Jam:



After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the "Blue Room" Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

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.

AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

Aspects of censorship, consolidation, and preferential treatment of the internet are now being debated under the umbrella of "NetNeutrality." Check out The Future of Music or Save the Internet for more information on this issue.

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 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.

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.

The complete version of "Daughter" from the Lollapalooza performance will be posted here soon for any of you who missed it. We apologize to our fans who were watching the webcast and got shortchanged. In the future, we will work even harder to ensure that our live broadcasts or webcasts are free from arbitrary edits.

If you have examples of AT&T censoring artist performances around political content, it's a good thing for everyone to know about. Feel free to post examples on the official Pearl Jam Message Pit.

No comments: