Protecting a Senator? Or Just Enforcing Copyright Law?

By Frank Ahrens
Sunday, July 16, 2006

Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Ted,

a glib senator, always talked 'til he was red.

And then one day he was ranting on the Hill,

and up on the Web went a nifty little trill.

A song, it was!

A parody!

On MySpace!

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, delivered a long, rambling expostulation on net neutrality on June 22. The speech offered, it's safe to say, highly novel explanations of how the Internet works. Something about a series of tubes and dump trucks. It was widely lampooned, chiefly on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

"Ten movies streaming across that Internet and what happens to your own personal Internet?" Stevens asked. I'm guessing it was a rhetorical question. "I just the other day, got Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why?"

"The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart answered: "Because you don't seem to know [anything] about computers or the Internet? But that's okay. You're just the guy in charge of regulating it."

Of course, the Internet is full of really smart and smart-alecky people with time on their hands. Andrew Raff -- a self-described "underemployed law graduate" in Brooklyn with an interest in the Internet and intellectual property -- set the words of Stevens's jeremiad to a folky tune. Raff created a page called the "Ted Stevens Internet Fan Club" and posted the song there.

Three days later, Raff got an e-mail from the MySpace administrator, saying the song had been removed because of a violation of My Space's terms of service.

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