On March 9, 2011, Billboard chart-topping band the Decemberists sent a letter to Oregon members of Congress in support of public radio and open internet access. The Portland, Oregon band has sold more than 1.25 million records worldwide, in part due to their ability to reach fans via the internet and non-commercial radio.
Dear members of the Oregon Congressional delegation:
We are writing to you as members of the Decemberists, and also as proud citizens of Oregon. We wanted to inform you, as representatives for our state, about a couple of issues of utmost importance to a segment of your constituency: musicians and other contributors to Oregon’s creative economy. In order to continue doing what we do, our community requires access to the internet and a supportive broadcast media. We are concerned with recent Congressional activity around these crucial platforms, and urge you to consider the impact of your decisions on the creative sector.
Looking forward to spring? We are too, and not just because of the cherry blossoms here in DC. FMC is gearing up for a busy season, with events and other goings-on that we’re excited to tell you all about. So let’s skip the long introduction and get right to it…
[This post is by FMC Policy Intern Adam Holofcener, who bravely attended the Students for Free Culture Conference (Feb. 19-20), and furnished this report.]
This past weekend, Students for Free Culture (SFC) held their annual conference at New York University. The event was loaded with lamentations about the current state of copyright, complemented by youthful exuberance for a future based in access and innovation. (We might add compensation for creators to that list.) read more
A refresher: Back in December 2010, the FCC voted to adopt its Open Internet Order, which takes important steps towards keeping the internet accessible to everyone, including musicians. The Order set forth basic rules to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from picking winners and losers online and interfering with access to legal content, sites and services. read more
Late Thursday, House Republicans voted to bar the FCC from imposing net neutrality guidelines on broadband providers. As part of an amendment attached to a larger spending bill, the FCC would be prohibited from using federal funds to force ISPs to comply with various access requirements.
This is a highly contentious issue, and ISPs have serious legal challenges against these rules. But groups like the Future of Music Coalition and A2IM are squarely in favor of net neutrality regulations.
And, so are many artists. The following is a letter to Congressional leaders mailed this week by R.E.M., Rebecca Gates, Kronos Quartet, Jill Sobule, Erin McKeown, Thao Nguyen, Alex Shapiro and Charles Bissell. read more
Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released letters from a diverse group of organizations voicing their opposition to Republican plans to reverse the FCC’s new net neutrality regulations using a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.
“I join with these organizations in expressing my opposition to any Republican effort to nullify the FCC’s new rules on net neutrality,” said Rep. Waxman. “These regulations are necessary for not only protecting consumers but also promoting an open and robust internet that can spur technological innovation and economic growth.” read more
Washington, D.C.— On Wednesday, February 16, the Congressional Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on the FCC’s recent Open Internet Order, and whether to invalidate rules to preserve access and innovation online through a little-used procedural maneuver.
In anticipation of these events, Future of Music Coalition (FMC) — a national nonprofit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians — has joined individual artists and arts service organizations in urging Congress not to undermine essential protections for creative entrepreneurs on the internet. read more
Since its inception, the internet has represented a powerful tool for the exchange of information and ideas. In recent years, it has also contributed greatly to the emergence of novel platforms for the dissemination of creative content. It is as members of the arts community who have come to depend on these structures that we write to you today. read more
Within the music industry, the response is rather muted. Representatives of independent and unsigned artists want Net Neutrality in place to ensure up and coming artists have just as much access to the Internet as superstar artists backed by major labels. The RIAA supports Net Neutrality so long as the rules don’t prohibit ISPs from taking action against pirated content (should they choose to do so). read more