[incredible steampunk laptop pic (it even works!) from WordSoup]
Net neutrality advocates will be heartened to hear the words that came out of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's mouth in a recent interview with The Hill. The new boss at the Commission stated, pretty much unequivocally, that the FCC intends to proactively uphold the principles that protect the open internet.
"One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles," Genachowski offered.
Under previous leadership, the Commission investigated Comcast and found that the cable giant had, indeed, violated its existing principles of net neutrality. "Comcast's network management practices discriminate among applications rather than treating all equally and are inconsistent with the concept of an open and accessible Internet," read the official FCC statement, issued in August 2008.
Before Genachowski's confirmation, Acting Chair Michael J. Copps stated that the agency may add a "fifth principle" preventing internet service providers (ISPs) "from engaging in discriminatory behavior, prohibiting them from blocking or degrading competitors or prioritizing access to their content and services," according to Congress Daily.
A few weeks ago, we told you about the introduction of legislation in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), which would, among other things, compel the FCC to oversee the preservation of open internet structures and implement a system by which allegations of possible violations would be addressed.
Back in October 2007, Markey helped FMC kick off our Rock the Net campaign, which lets musicians and fans demonstrate their support for net neutrality. (Founding RTN artists include Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Ted Leo, OK Go and Kronos Quartet.)
One reason we think net neutrality is so important because it lets independent artists and labels compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies. All artists deserve the right to use the internet to cultivate listeners, and fans deserve to make their own choices of how and where to lawfully access content.
It's definitely encouraging that policymakers are now carrying the tune. But that doesn't mean we've won the issue. A handful of powerful telecommunications and cable companies are still keen on dictating how you use the internet. Which means we need to keep raising awareness about how net neutrality benefits musicians, fans and everyone in between.
That's why we're incredibly excited that Senator Al Franken (D-MN) will be joining us for our (eighth!) Future of Music Policy Summit, which takes place at Georgetown University on October 4-6. Sen. Franken will be giving a keynote address on. . . you guessed it: net neutrality.
You definitely won't want to miss that. Head here to reserve your spot at Policy Summit 2009 today!