The internet is saved! Net neutrality has been the big topic on people’s lips in the lead up to the FCC ruling of February 26th, with politicians on both sides of the divide debating whether enshrining net neutrality in federal law was good or bad for consumers and businesses. In a tight decision the new rules protecting net neutrality were adopted by three votes to two, but the fight may not be over yet. Let’s take a look at why net neutrality is so important for digital content producers.
Net Neutrality And Digital Producers
Digital content is becoming more important with each passing day, as millennials especially decide that they want to watch what they want, where they want, when they want. Broadcasting via computers or mobile technology is the way forward, as demonstrated by the phenomenal success of HBO’s ‘House Of Cards’, among others.
Digital content producers rely on an open and free internet so that they can distribute free content and reach new audiences. Without net neutrality, what’s to stop ISPs from slowing down, or even blocking, content that they don’t agree with. That’s exactly what happened in 2007 when Verizon stopped text messages being sent from a pro-choice abortion group. It’s a small step from that to companies such as Verizon or Comcast effectively killing digital broadcasts that are edgy, challenging, or that simply don’t comply with their view of how the world should be. Do we really want our Internet Service Providers to be state censors? When it came to the crunch, the FCC decided no.
A Level Playing Field For Digital Content Creators
One of the idiosyncrasies of the net neutrality debate is that those who opposed ISPs being classed as common carriers under title 2, see themselves as champions of the free market, yet it’s net neutrality that creates truly free market conditions for digital content producers. Net neutrality allows all content creators, however big they are and whatever the form of their digital content, the same opportunities and freedoms to distribute, market and monetize their work as anyone else. This encourages creativity and encourages risk taking, concepts that have been behind some of the great media productions that the United States is rightly famous for.
Is Net Neutrality Here To Stay?
Digital content producers will be happy at decision made by the FCC, and the ongoing support that President Obama has given to net neutrality, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the battle is over. The big ISPs, led by Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, spent around $238 million funding lobbying against the net neutrality cause. They clearly think that they can make more money via a non-neutral net, as proved when Netflix had to pay to stop Comcast slowing its broadcast speeds. With big stakes to play for, it’s unlikely that they will stop lobbying, and looking for ways around the ruling, even after being categorized as common carriers. It’s believed that they are already thinking of launching a new legal challenge. The entrepreneur and digital content creator Burnie Burns warned of the threat to net neutrality back in 2006. The threat is still alive today, so those that want to support original digital content creation should take a look at videocreatorsfornetneutrality.org and make their voices heard.
At the end, net neutrality activist had and will have full support from our InPlayer.
— Jean-Charles Lacoste (@jclacoste) January 12, 2015