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If your ability to earn a living as an Indie Filmmaker is not a big enough issue to catch your attention, how about considering that your freedom is at stake? What if you knew that the principal and practice of free speech was at risk, would that wake you up? How about if you knew that corporate interests were once again being favored over those of the people? Well, today is the day that all those things are happening, so whachagonnnado?
The FCC meets today and proposes regulations that could seriously undermine net neutrality. It generally appears that corporate interests are being looked after, and we are headed towards a tiered internet where providers can favor some content over others. Prepare to get really upset. Prepare to do something to fight back and protect a free and open internet.
Al Franken says it is the most important free speech issue of our time. VC fund, Union Square Ventures, recommends prohibiting “application-specific discrimination”, and that seems to make good sense.
Thankfully, Taylor Hackford recognizes that the film industry needs to wise up and educate itself on piracy. He and I agree on that. And I think we agree on the goal of it all, but I suspect we have completely different approaches to solving the problem. And that is where I am really concerned. To solve it, Hackford seems willing to sacrifice greater principles in the service of business, and that is a shame. I hope I am wrong.
Mr. Hackford, president of the DGA, was recently speaking at the Content Protection Summit and Variety reported on it. Reading the article I remain unclear as to what Hackford’s point is about piracy beyond that it is bad and we need to make it a real concern of the industry. He seems to be saying that if we want to protect our content, we have to be willing to give up on a free and open internet. He claims groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press as enemies. Shutting down a free and open internet is not the path to solving the piracy problem; it is the path to a closed society that favors a class or capital over access and opportunity — and that is the antithesis of what we need to do.
We can not create a system that favors the powerful, the connected, or the well capitalized. [...]
Troma’s mastermind Lloyd Kaufman is quite a serious man. Seriously. He puts in a great deal of time and passion trying to preserve and enhance the life of Indies everywhere. He most recently penned a good rallying cry for Net Neutrality that you should not miss.
The Internet, the last free, open and diverse democratic medium, is under attack. Net Neutrality, which provides that no content is favored over any other, and that content creators have an equal opportunity to freely disseminate their information, is being imminently threatened by media mega-conglomerates and their vassals. It is urgent that we fight those who would sacrifice our freedom for a profit. Net Neutrality will be the savior of independent art and commerce if we preserve it.
Today’s guest post is by John S. Johnson. The Harmony Institute, a research group that John runs, is offering a free new guide to help combat the Telecom’s tales in their efforts to end net neutrality. Here he explains a bit of the why and wherefore you need to download it (for free!) and read it NOW.
In 2010 it’s easy to forget how profoundly the Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, interact and access information. When you logged on this morning to check your email, bank statement, or local news you may not have noticed that there are very few limits placed on the sites and services you have access to. While some people must crash the couch of their best friend to catch the latest HBO release, since he’s subscribed to all premium cable channels while they’re still stuck with rabbit ears on their TV, no one has an edge over anyone else when it comes to what we can access on the Internet.
Yet this principle of net neutrality that allows all sites, services and applications on the Internet to have equal access to consumers, and vice versa, is being fundamentally threatened. Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to revise rules that have kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) at bay for decades. These companies, like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon, would love to become the gatekeepers of the Internet, reserving preferential bandwidth for those sites and services that make them the most money.
And I can guarantee you HopeForFilm is not one of those sites. [...]
Yesterday’s Federal Court decision is a serious setback for net neutrality and the efforts to maintain equal access to content on the internet. It is a setback for both consumers and creators, and a threat to innovation in general. It also underscores the importance of court appointments. In short, it seriously curbs the FCC’s power and its ability to set the agenda for an open and free internet and the hope of media democracy.
The NY Times reports:
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law. The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites to deliver their content faster to users.
Wondering what you can do?
The FCC needs to “reclassify” broadband under the Communications Act. In 2002, the FCC decided to place broadband providers outside the legal framework that traditionally applied to companies that offer two-way communications services, like phone companies.
That decision is what first put Net Neutrality in jeopardy, setting in motion the legal wrangling that now endangers the FCC’s ability to protect our Internet rights.
But the good news is that the FCC still has the power to set things right, and to make sure the free and open Internet stays that way. And once we’ve done that, the FCC can ensure that Comcast can’t interfere with our communications, no matter the platform.
SaveTheInternet has a good overview here that links to a letter you can send to the FCC.
Media traditionally has gained its profits by owning distribution. Cable carriage, network airwaves, newsstand distribution and printing presses: all very expensive, so once you employ enough capital to gain them, it’s damn hard to get knocked out.
The web changed all that and promised that economics in the media business would be driven by content and intent: the best content will win, driven by the declared intent of consumers who find it and share it. Search+Social was the biggest wave to hit media since the printing press. And the open technology to make better and better experiences has been on a ten year tear: blogging software, Flash, Ajax, HTML 5, Android, and more and more coming.
Read the rest of the article here. I look forward to reading more of him in the days ahead.
We are in a battle where the hope and promise offered by a free and open internet is challenged by the traditional drive for total control by excessive capital.Tweet