But no sooner had Raff's tune gone viral did MySpace swoop in and cancel his account. Their explanation: They had received a "credible complaint of your violation of the MySpace Terms of Services," according to a story in Wired.
The site went dark for several days until the publication of the Wired story. Soon after Wired published, MySpace reinstated Raff’s page claiming it was "deleted in error." You can now listen to the disputed song here:
In their original cancellation e-mail to Raff, MySpace referenced a number of prohibited activities, including trademark and copyright violations. But Raff's singing of the Alaskan senator’s words didn’t violate any copyright laws, and he wrote the music to the song himself.
Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge questioned MySpace's timing, "noting that News Corp. [which owns MySpace] has interests in the telecommunications bill put forth by the Senate Commerce Committee that Stevens heads."
Further complicating things is an issue of money. Since 2004, News Corp – headed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch – has been Senator Stevens' top corporate contributor.
About the incident, Raff wrote on his blog that "in the brave new world of a discriminatory Internet, it could be possible for internet providers to make it difficult or expensive for individuals to publish media." For Raff the real question is "whether the Internet will continue to be a medium fostering speech and creativity by individuals or will Congress allow large corporations to turn it into a one-way distribution network for the benefit of those few companies?"
Stevens’ bewildering June 28 explanation of why he opposed Net Neutrality became an instant Web sensation, spawning a frenzy of blog posts, T-shirts, and other songs remixing the Senator’s tubular comparison.
But the craze didn't really hit the media mainline until Wednesday night, when comedian Jon Stewart aired a Daily Show segment on Stevens. The electronic firestorm over Stevens was subsequently reported on by the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times and other mainstream newspapers.
It's debatable whether MySpace had malicious intent as gatekeeper to Raff's site. Either way, this odd disappearing act adds another chapter to Senator Stevens' strange trip down the "tubes."