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The technology industry apparently isn’t the only sector of the business world that’s concerned with the Federal Communication Commission’s stance on net neutrality.
Today a slew of actors, directors, musicians, and others in the entertainment field signed a letter addressed to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in which they asked the agency to restore net neutrality rules, which many believe to be the linchpin of a free and open Internet.
The letter contained signatures from several notable artists, actors, and the like, including Tom Morello (formerly of Rage Against the Machine), Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, film maker Oliver Stone, actor Mark Ruffalo, and many others.
Previously, the FCC required that all Internet service providers treat the delivery of traffic over their network the same, regardless of where that traffic was coming from. However, a recent federal appeals court decision has given ISPs the go-ahead to forge peering agreements with companies that deliver a lot of data (like Netflix) for a fee, thus ensuring improved reliability and quality for those partnering companies. Unfortunately, anyone not paying for such an agreement will get lower-priority data delivery.
“Your proposed path would open the door to widespread discrimination online. It would give Internet service providers the green light to implement pay‐for‐priority schemes that would be disastrous for startups, nonprofits, and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls,” the letter states. “We urge you to scrap these proposed rules and instead restore the principle of online nondiscrimination by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service.”
But Wheeler doesn’t believe that allowing such agreements would harm those who don’t pay, and he has spoken out on several occasions to assure critics that the FCC’s new set of open Internet rules won’t result in that kind of imparity.
At this time, it’s unclear if Wheeler will heed advice from dissenters and, as the letter suggests, reclassify ISPs as telecom services, which would give the FCC the authority to enforce net neutrality rules and force ISPs to treat all traffic delivery equally. But based on previous comments from Wheeler, he’s unlikely to make such a move. We’ll know more as soon as the FCC releases its new set of open Internet rules, which promise “enforceable” regulations to keep ISPs from harming competition through paid peering agreements.
Here’s a complete list of all the actors, artists, and musicians who signed the letter:
- Fred Armisen
- Geoff Bailey
- Jello Biafra
- Sarah Browning (poet)
- Neko Case
- Staceyann Chin
- Kimya Dawson: The Moldy Peaches, Antsy Pants, The Bundles, The Uncluded
- Davey D
- Michael Ealy
- Fat Wreck Chords
- Jonny 5: Flobots
- Judah Friedlander
- Rebecca Gates
- Hank Green
- Harry and the Potters
- Mark Kates: Artist Manager, Fenway Recordings
- Allison Kilkenny & Jamie Kilstein: Citizen Radio
- Hari Kondabolu
- Wayne Kramer: MC5, Jail Guitar Doors USA
- Kronos Quartet
- The Last Internationale
- Evangeline Lilly
- David Lowery: Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven
- Jeff Mangum & Astra Taylor: Neutral Milk Hotel
- Scott McCaughey: Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5
- Erin McKeown
- Tom Morello
- Thao Nguyen: Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
- OK Go
- Alec Ounsworth: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
- Martín Perna: Antibalas
- Joe Perry: Aerosmith
- Billie Perry
- Boots Riley
- Rich Robinson: The Black Crowes
- Benji Rogers: Founder of Pledge Music
- Mark Ruffalo
- James Schamus
- Wallace Shawn
- Jill Sobule
- Charlie Starr: Blackberry Smoke
- Michael Stipe: R.E.M.
- Oliver Stone
- Jimmy Tamborello: Postal Service, Dntel, Figurine
- Jonathan B. Tucker (poet)
- Corin Tucker: Sleater‐Kinney
- Nick Urata: DeVotchKa
- Eddie Vedder: Pearl Jam
- Roger Waters: Pink Floyd
- Greg Wells
- Alex Winter
- Alicia Witt