Andrew Raff recently graduated from law school with a major in Internet copyright and telecom law. So it was with natural interest, rather than a talent for song, that Raff took 20 minutes to record himself singing the notorious words of Senator Ted Stevens. The verse is as simple (and as cringe-worthy) as Stevens' notion of the Internet, which was delivered in a well-publicized congressional hearing last week on Net neutrality.
If you haven't heard it, the song goes something like this: "The Internet is a series of tubes. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes."
Instead of embarrassing himself by posting the song to his own blog, Raff said he turned to MySpace, under the anonymous profile, The Ted Stevens' Internet Fan Club. Thanks to some publicity of his own, the song was heard 2,500 times before MySpace sent Raff a notice that his profile had been removed because of a "credible complaint" that it violated MySpace terms of service. The site was down for two days.
News outlets like Wired picked up the story then. And onlookers, aware of the Net neutrality irony, talked about the potential dangers of an Internet controlled by special interests. After all, Myspace is owned by Republican Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp.--could the freewheeling social network be exercising editorial control over a political spoof?
We'll never know. Raff said he received only enthusiastic email about his song from fellow MySpace members, so he doesn't know who delivered the "credible complaint" to MySpace. And according to the company, it was merely a mistake. The site was reinstated Thursday after news outlets contacted MySpace. The song has been played now more than 13,000 times.
"The way MySpace works is as much as mystery to me today as it was a year ago," Raff said.