The Internet is too important to creators to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to pick winners and losers online. Artists of all backgrounds rely on the Internet to reach audiences, build businesses and exercise their rights to free speech. Without basic rules of the road preventing ISPs from favoring content from big money cronies over everyday creators and Internet users, artists and fans will lose.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC), Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) are pushing back against a powerful group of ISPs that is seeking to invalidate the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 order protecting an open Internet.
In an amicus brief filed today, the three organizations are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to uphold the FCC’s order and reject the challenge brought by the United States Telecom Association and its industry allies.
“For nearly a decade, thousands of artists and independent labels have gone on record in support of strong net neutrality rules that ensure their ability to compete alongside the biggest companies online,” said Future of Music Coalition CEO Casey Rae. “Now, this same community is urging the court to uphold the FCC’s Title II framework. Without these light-touch, enforceable rules of the road, creators and fans alike will be left behind in the evolution of our digital networks.”
“The open Internet is expanding opportunities for writers, musicians and other artists to reach an audience,” said WGAW Senior Research and Public Policy Director Ellen Stutzman. “Without theFCC’s rules and the authority to enforce them under Title II of the Communications Act, Internet service providers will have both the incentive and ability to interfere with online content distribution.”
Key arguments from the Brief:
-The Open Internet Order serves the public interest by protecting the ability of citizens to express opinions and hear from a diverse range of speakers online without interference from ISPs. Without these rules, the openness that fosters democratic discourse and innovation on the Internet will give way to oligopoly and corporate control of speech, which are the hallmarks of traditional media platforms.
-For artists, the low entry barriers of the open Internet have produced unparalleled opportunities for free expression. Internet distribution stands in contrast to traditional media platforms, where access has narrowed as a result of corporate consolidation. The Internet has created space for independent and diverse content often missing from traditional media.
-The open Internet has allowed the introduction of numerous video and music services that now boast tens of millions of users. The growth of competition and choice benefits both artists and consumers.
To read the full amicus brief click here.