Akamai Fires Engineer Who Spoke Out Against Music Tax

Akamai engineering manager David Barrett, who spoke on the record as being opposed to the Warner Music sponsored music tax (more) last month, was fired on April 25, sources say.

Barrett criticized the proposed music tax in an interview with Portfolio Magazine. The relevant text:

David Barrett, engineering manager for peer-to-peer networks at Web content-delivery giant Akamai, says he’s opposed to it on principle. Griffin’s plan, he says, is tantamount to extortion, because it forces everyone to join. “It’s too late to charge people for what they’re already getting for free,” says Barrett. “This is just taxation of a basic, universal service that already exists, for the benefit a distant power that actively harasses the people being taxed without offering them any meaningful representation.”

Warner Music is an Akamai client, and we have heard from one source that they “leaned on” Akamai following Barrett’s statements, and threatened to terminate their business relationship.

We’ve confirmed that Barrett has been terminated, but we have not yet had a chance to speak to him or Akamai about the details of the termination. The timing is certainly suspicious though, to say the least.

Barrett joined Akamai last year as part of the acquisition of Red Swoosh.