This article originally appeared in the MAYDAY issue of Metroland
A little over two years ago we beat back SOPA/PIPA,
legislation that would have allowed Big Media to control the internet.
The defeat was stunning.
The bills were flying through corrupt and
know-nothing Congressional committees, and the bills had (until the very end) the
support of the Obama administration. It looked like the fix was in.
The legislation died because of an
unprecedented deluge of emails, letters and phone calls made to legislators on
the eve of final votes on the bill.
SOPA/PIPA’s most ardent opponents were shocked at the power of an agitato
and informed public.
time go back, Jack, and do it again.
hit last week that the FFC is going to announce proposed regulations that, if
enacted, would kill net neutrality.
regs have been described as allowing internet providers (Time Warner, Verizon,
etc.) the ability to negotiate with big internet users (Netflix, iTunes,
Amazon, etc.) for better and faster service than everybody else.
The FCC has
twice issued real net neutrality rules, and twice these rules have been struck
down by the courts, which have held that such rules exceeded the FCC’s
This is sticky stuff, but it
appears that if the FCC just declared that the internet was a “public utility” it
could make net neutrality rules stick.
But the FCC is afraid of making such a ruling because that would end up
in courts with more lawsuits from Big Internet and Telco companies, with the
full support of their Republican enablers.
You see, making the internet a “public utility” (which it absolutely is)
smacks of regulation
and that smacks
and that smacks of Obama wants to take our guns away
FCC is still all a-scared of calling the internet a rose by any other name, and
so it totally caves.
On Tuesday, the
Chairman of the FCC issued a ridiculous defense of the to-be-issued regulations, stressing that the FCC was dedicated to an “open internet”, that
the regulations were merely being proposed for public comment, that everything
was still on the table, and that the proposed regulations would be tough and
that the FCC would make darn sure everything was done fairly.
internet” is not the issue here.
that these large companies will get preferences, at the expense of everybody
Another way of saying this is that these
companies will get a “fast lane” and we’ll get the slow lane.
It’s hideously anti-competitive:
no one will be able to compete effectively
with fast-lane companies without the added expense of paying tribute to Big
It’s hard enough for a
start-up company to enter a mature market; this will only make it harder.
ultimately going to pay for the fast lane?
You are, when the big companies that buy fast lane access pass the costs
on to you in the form of higher prices and subscription fees.
pisses me off here is that we have in this country some of the worst
internet in the civilized world.
Access to real broadband is
Because the Big Internet companies are some
of the most dishonest and duplicitous corporations on the planet.
They gouge customers and break the promises
they make to government.
They don’t exist
to provide what is increasingly being recognized as a vital service on par with
electricity or telephones.
They exist to
maximize shareholder value.
And they are
So we have
this the FCC is going to REWARD them and simultaneously wreck the internet?
It’s totally insane.
The FCC is supposed to issue the
new proposed regulations on May 15, and the public (that means YOU) will have
the opportunity to comment.
seen a number of online petitions and portals to contact Congressmen, etc., but
I’m not sure those things will be as effective as directly contacting the FCC,
which has the ultimate authority here.
I’d like to
think that this is just more Obama-style rope-a-dope: send up a trial balloon,
wait for the public to go batshit, and that will give them cover to do what
they wanted to do in the first place.
We’ve seen him do it before.
The Obama administration
has been frustratingly wrong on so many internet, privacy and intellectual
The FCC Chairman tried
to rationalize the proposed regs by saying that they were preferable to the
years of litigation that would happen if the FCC acted otherwise.
In other words, we can’t do the right thing
because these big companies will be mean to us.
Dude, grow a pair already.
space for info on how you can best be involved.
We can’t let this happen.
Paul Rapp is a
Berkshires-based intellectual property lawyer who won’t let a torn rotator cuff
slow him down, no siree.