Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
-Johnny Rotten, January 14, 1978
January 14, 1978 was the last official gig by a band many would consider the original punk act: the Sex Pistols. That day was a disappointment for fans of unbridled rock ‘n’ roll. And today—Jan 14, 2014—is likewise a letdown for musicians and everyone else who uses the Internet.
Earlier this morning, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s rules meant to keep the internet open to free expression, entrepreneurship and innovation. By overturning the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, the court in one fell swoop undid almost a decade of YOUR efforts to preserve a level online playing field.
The FCC’s rules were the only thing keeping Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from picking winners and losers online. Musicians and other artists depend on the ability to compete alongside the biggest companies; we know what it’s like when just a few powerful corporations control our access to audiences. That’s why thousands of musicians and independent labels have gone on record in supporting basic rules of the road preserving “net neutrality” via the Rock the Net campaign.
All of your energy made a difference. The FCC’s Open Internet Order wasn’t perfect, but it did show that they were listening to your concerns. Unfortunately, prior a decision at the Commission going back to the early aughts means that the courts aren’t buying the FCC’s rationale for keeping the Internet accessible and open to everyone.
If you think today’s ruling isn’t a big deal for artists, think again.
We’re currently coming up with new ways for you to get involved. For now, our friends at Free Press have a portal for you to tell the FCC that they need to act, because the Internet belongs to EVERYONE.
(Photo: Sex Pistols in Amsterdam, courtesy National Aarchief, used under a Creative Commons license)