FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has taken a stand on AT&T’s censorship of Pearl Jam’s anti-Bush remarks at Lollapalooza, reports ArsTechnica.
In an interview with OpenLeft.com’s Matt Stoller, Copps supported the idea that there’s a link between AT&T’s deletion of Vedder’s political comments from the concert webcast and the network neutrality fight.
An AT&T spokeswoman initially characterized the sudden audio edit that silenced Eddie Vedder’s lyrics “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush, find yourself another home” during Pearl Jam’s performance in Grant Park last Sunday as “an unfortunate mistake” and “an isolated incident.”
But Copps is not buying it.
Michael Copps: “If you can do it for one group, you can do it to any group and say ‘Well, it’s not intentional,’ and things like that. But nobody should have that power to do that and then be able to exercise distributive control over the distribution and control over the content too.
Matt Stoller: Is there anything preventing a company like AT&T from doing this to content generally or generically on the internet?
Michael Copps: Well not really. We have to have some guarantees for how this technology is going to be utilized. Keeping it open, keeping it accessible to everyone. That doesn’t imply any excessive governmental control over anything, it just means having some rules of the road to ensure it remains that small ‘d’ democratic platform that it has become. We are seriously in danger of going down another road…
AT&T’s Webcast edit of Pearl Jam’s performance last week was not the first time the telecommunications giant has silenced political statements by musicians, reports the Sun Times. AT&T confirmed that other, unspecified political comments have also been cut from its Webcasts.