Pearl Jam Censored At Lollapalooza By AT&T

If we really needed proof that the Big Telcos are lying through their teeth when they celebrate themselves as defenders of free speech and open access, we couldn’t do better than this. AT&T, the sole provider for the webcast of Pearl Jam’s performance at Lollapalooza, and noted opponent of Network Neutrality, cut out politically charged portions of the band’s performance. I’ll let them tell it via their website:

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. [Ed: Save the Internet has clips of both versions of the song here]

Most telecommunications companies oppose “net neutrality” and argue that the public can trust them not to censor.

And if you can’t trust a giant, multinational, consolidated, communications conglomerate like Ma Bell, who can you trust? AT&T has shown that they cannot be relied upon to manage vital national resources like the Internet. They want to own it and constrain its use to the sole purpose of enriching themselves and shaping public opinion to their liking.

Don’t let them do it because, as Pearl Jam says…

This Is Not For You!
“And you dare say it belongs to you…to you…
This is not for you
This is not for you
This is not for you
Oh, never was for you…fuck you…”