Net neutrality. It’s an issue that impacts musicians, which is why FMC is so on top of it. By now, it’s obvious that today’s artists rely on the Internet for practically every aspect of their lives and careers. Net neutrality simply ensures that we can reach audiences and grow our businesses without discrimination from big companies like Comcast and Verizon.
That’s why musicians and other creative entrepreneurs celebrated when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) produced basic rules of the road to ensure that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can’t choose winners and losers online by discriminating against lawful content. These rules went into effect in June 2015. Unfortunately, net neutrality still faces some very real challenges. As we expected, ISPs are suing in court to overturn the rules. But the FCC chose the best legal path to preserve the open Internet, and we’re confident that these protections will stand.
And that’s probably why Comcast and their cronies are throwing their considerable weight around in Congress. But you have the power to send them packing.
There are currently two separate efforts in the House and Senate to prevent the FCC from doing its job to protect creators—and all Americans—on the most vital communications platform of our time. These bills would eliminate the FCC’s ability to uphold net neutrality by eliminating the funds necessary to do so. In defiance of an overwhelming number of Americans who support net neutrality—including a majority of republicans and countless musicians—legislators are attempting to thwart the FCC through too-clever-by-half language in a must-pass appropriations bill.
If this legislation passes, it would force President Obama to make the difficult decision between allowing the FCC to prevent ISP discrimination against lawful online content and funding the federal government. We don’t say this often, but it’s a totally jerky move.
Meanwhile, other members of Congress are attempting to craft net neutrality legislation that would be more to the liking of Comcast, et. al. Led by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), this legislative effort is being touted as a compromise between defunding the FCC and giving away the store to the cable and telecom behemoths. The fact of the matter is that this legislation isn’t needed. The FCC has already described its approach under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, and it includes “forebearance” from any regulation not required to prevent ISPs from blocking, degrading or otherwise discriminating against lawful online content based on their desire to squeeze more money from content creators (you know, like musicians).
Now is the time to contact your representatives and tell them to let the net neutrality rules stand. First off, there’s the court process that needs to play out. Second, small businesses and creators rely on the open Internet to reach patrons, sell their wares and express themselves. It’s time for the legislative branch to realize what the rest of America already understands: the open Internet is where it’s at.