A barrage of high-profile artists have joined forces to present a unified voice in defense of net neutrality, issuing a statement in advance of the May 15th vote at the Federal Communications Commission. The proposal aims to open the floodgates of tiered access and restricted dissemination online, driven by the likes of Comcast and Time Warner Cable to jack up fees from websites for faster download speeds.
The proposal has met a tidal wave of backlash, resulting in FCC head Tom Wheeler making topical amendments to the plan in hopes of getting it approved. Now artists such as Eddie Vedder, Michael Stipe, Neko Case and more are vocally rejecting the idea that the companies who profit on the very access in question would set the rules of the public’s internet experience.
“The open Internet’s impact on the creative community cannot be overstated,” reads a letter signed by Fugazi, Jeff Magnum, Tom Morello and many others, including the aforementioned artists. “The Internet has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences. It has eliminated the barriers of geography and taken collaborations to new levels. And it has allowed people — not corporations — to seek out the film, music and art that moves them.”
The letter was organized by Future of Music Coalition and Free Press, two nonprofit advocacy groups who claim Wheeler’s plan would allow telecom giants “to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications.”