Yesterday the FCC endorsed the Network Neutrality concept, which seems to be inspiring warm fuzzies all around the net-freedom-lovin’ community. I’m no expert on the legalities, but it seems intuitive that protecting the freedom of the internet would be a good thing. On the other hand, is regulation the right way to protect freedom?
If the web is allowed to go on unfettered, the argument goes, corporate interests will run rampant and take it over, just like my formerly gritty SoHo neighborhood. Get some cool stuff going on in that there internet and before you know it, the whole thing is a mall- a mall with mean security guards.
Such a scenario is not so implausible, and in the case of media, there does seem to be a strong possibility in my mind that service providers such as Comcast will partner with copyright holders like Disney and Warner Bros. to clamp down on the available means to access media except in proscribed and monetized ways.
In that regard, artists might be more interested in creating their own satellite network than trying to make semi-enforceable rules- for real. One of the main points of contention is that the network was publicly built, after all; perhaps that could be an interesting NEA project.
Bandwidth caps are one of the best ways for Comcast, Time Warner, etc. to keep a handle on what’s available on their network, and aren’t addressed by NN. A company is within their rights to expect people to pay more for greater usage. Net Neutrality will likely end the flat rate per-month broadband pricing for consumers. That may not a good thing for filmmakers marketing their films- people may become a lot more selective with what they are going to spend their bandwidth on.
The freedoms espoused in the Net Neutrality platform- and the ones added by the FCC- are awesome, theoretically. It’s a bit like a digital bill of rights. For my money (currently being flung around in Washington like rice at a wedding) I might take net neutrality, without regulation. It could be used for legal action but not be a reason for a bunch of regulators on retainer. Let the market control things in general, but individuals have recourse against egregious offenders. But his is probably not really feasible.
What are your thoughts on Net Neutrality? Do you think it’s good for content creators? Will it solve the problems you have with viewing/sharing media online?