WASHINGTON, DC—This week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to circulate his plans to preserve an open Internet where musicians, composers and other content creators can reach audiences without discrimination or interference from a handful of powerful Internet Service Providers.
According to news reports, the proposed rules include reclassification of broadband as a “telecommunications service”—a move that provides for sounder footing to protect content creators and consumers. The FCC will vote on these rules at its February 26, 2015 Open Meeting.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, CEO of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians and composers: read more
Here at FMC, we are always happy to shine light on principled positions taken by policymakers. To that end, we recognize Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who today issued a strong statement in support of net neutrality. Even cooler, he talked about why net neutrality is so crucial to musicians and independent labels: “an open and fair Internet guarantees that independent bands can get to their audiences at the same speeds as those on major labels,” says the congressman. And in the second paragraph, no less!
We also appreciate that Rep. Murphy is in favor of reclassifying broadband internet service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which would provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the light-touch tools it needs to ensure that the Internet works for everyone, and not just a handful of powerful Internet Service Providers like Comcast and Verizon.
From all of us at FMC and the broader music community, we say thanks for taking a stand. Let’s just hope the FCC is listening. The congressman’s full statement is below.
On Wednesday, January 21, as the House and Senate played host to back-to-back hearings on net neutrality, it was clear that there’s been a seismic shift from how these debates have played out in the past.
Where before we’d see allies of Big Telecom claiming that net neutrality was “a solution in search of a problem,” now it seems like almost everyone is eager to paint themselves as allies of the open internet.
This shift in the debate amounts to an accomplishment worth celebrating as it demonstrates the real power of dedicated activist work over the past year, with millions of Americans—including countless musicians and independent labels—speaking out.
But it also comes with real dangers, as many of the same allies of Big Telecom who once fought Net Neutrality outright were now arguing for a new bill that under the guise of a net neutrality “compromise” could actually strip the Federal Communications Commission of its ability to actually protect musicians and other creatives’ ability to connect to their fans without being put in the slow lane.
Lots of news in net neutrality-land over the past couple of weeks. In fact, there’s so much going on right now, that’s its kind of hard to summarize. But we’ll give it a shot.
As you may recall, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler recently revealed that the agency would bring new net neutrality rules to a vote on February 26. In a January 7 interview at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, Wheeler hinted that the rules would be crafted under Title II of the Telecommunications Act—something that FMC and our artist allies have pushed for because they offer the greatest degree of protections for musicians and other content producers, within the strongest legal framework.
That same day, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) reintroduced legislation—the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act—that would unambiguously authorize the FCC to issue net neutrality rules under whatever framework the Commission deems appropriate. (Check out the details in our legislation tracker.)
House Republicans are rumored to be crafting their own bill, which for the first time would recognize the need to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating against lawful online content. This is significant in the sense that it represents a sea change for a party that has long fought against any form of net neutrality. However, it is likely that the proposed legislation is really just a way to stall the FCC from doing what it should and must do: issue clear rules of the road under the light-touch regulatory framework that is Title II.
In other words, this bill might make ginormous ISPs like Comcast happy, but it’s not what is needed to ensure that artists and independent labels have a shot at reaching audiences on their own terms. If Congress is to write a law enshrining net neutrality—which has always been in its purview—the legislation would have to mirror what the FCC already has complete and total authority to do under Title II. So once again to quote Public Enemy: don’t believe the hype. (And tell your Congresspersons not to, either.)
Probably the biggest news this week is a letter to the FCC from mobile telecommunications provider Sprint saying that light-touch regulation under a Title II framework will not harm investment or deployment. This is huge, especially considering the misinformation that has been spread by other telcos about reclassification under Title II—including made-up stories about higher taxes that have been soundly and routinely debunked.
On Wednesday, January 7, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler made news by hinting that upcoming net neutrality rules would be stronger (and more legally grounded) than previous proposals.
Look for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to take action on net neutrality next month, if unnamed sources talking to the Washington Post are to be believed.
Last week, officials told the Post’s Brian Fung that FCC Chair Tom Wheeler informed the committee he will be giving them a draft proposal next month with approval to come shortly thereafter. An FCC spokesperson declined to provide any details on what the proposal might entail but confirmed the timeline.
On Friday, January 2, news broke that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be voting on its long awaited Net Neutrality rules in February. The regular FCC meeting in February is scheduled for February 26. As Brian Fung of the Washington Post writes: read more
How is it possible that a single company can be America’s biggest cable television provider, its largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) and also own a major motion picture and television studio (NBC-Universal)? What happens when that company is allowed to get even bigger by gobbling up another huge ISP and cable provider?
On December 23, 201, the attached comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its proceeding “Applications of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc. for Consent to Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Applications” (MB Docket No. 14-57).
As we pointed out in our initial joint filing, the merger will negatively impact creators across markets—from multichannel programming distribution (MVPD) to online video distribution (OVD) to Internet service providers (ISPs). Comcast’s existing onwership of a major motion picture and television studio (NBC-Universal), combined with its dominance in cable television and internet service, put it in a position to leverage its size and influence to discriminate against unafilliated programming, harm competition and reduce payments to smaller programmers and content creators.
The comments dismantle several of Comcast’s arguments for the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, including a flawed economic rationale used to tout vague and unconvincing benefits. The filing also suggests that DSL Internet service should not be counted as part of the current broadband marketplace, due to speed and other limitations that render it non-comparable to cable and fiber offerings. An examination of the actual marketplace for broadband reveals already troubling levels of concentration, which will be exacerbated by a Comcast-TWC merger. For this and many other reasons made plain in our filing, the merger is not in the public interest, no conditions will satisfy this interest, and the FCC must block the deal.