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.
On May 12, 2015, Future of Music Coalition filed the following reply comments to the Federal Communiations Commission (FCC) in the agency’s review of commercial broadcasters’ petition to eliminate on-air disclosure of paid programming.
Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington D.C. 20554
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.
Today, a federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lacks the authority to enforce its Open Internet Order, issued in December 2010 and challenged by Verizon. The rules were established to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from choosing winners and losers online based on business or other preferences. The court pointed out that the FCC’s lack of authority is a result of its decision in the early 2000s to reclassify broadband as an “information service” as opposed to a “telecommunications service.”
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians. read more
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, it was announced that Gigi Sohn, President and CEO of Public Knowledge as well as one of the organization’s three co-founders, is stepping down from her post to take on the role of Special Counsel for External Affairs in the Office of newly-appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians.read more
The internet is at risk today as the Senate debates a resolution that would strip the FCC of its rulemaking authority to preserve its openness. S.J. Res. 6, similar to a House measure passed in April, needs only a simple majority to pass. The vote, expected Thursday, November 11, is likely to be very close. read more
TV and music content creators and their broadcast distributors are on the same page when it comes to opposing the FCC’s indecency enforcement regime, but differ on how the Supreme Court should approach its review of those regs. read more
THELEDE: Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm, filed a brief on Thursday asking the Supreme Court to strike down the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency policy as unconstitutionally vague.
The Supreme Court already ruled in the case, upholding the FCC’s fine on Fox for airing expletives during the Billboard Music Awards in 2002 and 2003. But the court only addressed whether the FCC’s fine was arbitrary, and sent the case back to a lower court to determine the policy’s constitutionality. That lower court struck down the FCC’s policy as violating the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has agreed to re-hear the case. read more
This case is based on televised expletives aired on the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts. Originally, the FCC determined that the utterances, whether intentional or not, were indecent after a slew of complaints were sent to the commission. During such an evaluation, the FCC queries whether the utterances “depict[ed] sexual or excretory organs or activities.” Fox appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court held that the FCC’s ruling should stand because it was not “arbitrary and capricious” (in non-legalese that just means the FCC didn’t act crazy). When the Supreme Court sent the ruling back down to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, those New York-based justices declared the indecency policy so vague that it unconstitutionally restrained speech. On its second trip up to the highest of high courts, we should get a final answer as to whether the FCC’s indecency policy will stand.
Like FMC’s previous amicus briefs from July 2008 and September 2009, this filing demonstrates the “vague and arbitrary” nature of the FCC’s current indecency policy. The result of this policy has been a chilling effect on creativity on the public airwaves, due to broadcasters’ fears of getting fined for airing “offensive” content. For example, Ken Burns’ WWII documentary “The War” was aired in two different versions to satisfy PBS affiliates worried about possible FCC sanctions. Creators are left guessing what constitutes indecent material, which leads to self-censoring and ultimately deprives the public (and artists) of access to a variety of worthwhile content.