Free Press, organizers of the SavetheInternet.com coalition, have authored the letter below calling for the President and the FCC to reject the new Internet rules proposed by FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler. It has been signed by a long list of organizations so far, from the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to the United Church of Christ and The Nation, to NTEN, reddit and Howard University. Museums and the Web has added its signature as well.
Will your museum or organization help us preserve fair and equal access to the content that cultural organizations and others like us make available online?
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
May 7, 2014
Dear President Obama and Chairman Wheeler:
We are writing to express our support for a truly free and open Internet. We strongly urge the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider and abandon efforts to adopt rules that would harm — rather than preserve — Net Neutrality.
The open Internet is a forum for free speech, innovation, civic engagement and the exercise of our basic rights. The Internet achieved this status because it was created on a platform governed by the principle of nondiscrimination.
In 2010, the FCC attempted to incorporate this principle into its open Internet rules. Those rules were thrown out earlier this year, leaving Internet users in limbo while the FCC decided its next move.
Now, instead of restoring this important principle of nondiscrimination, the Commission intends to make things even worse. It would reportedly propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers (ISPs) to discriminate both technically and financially against fledgling online companies, independent media outlets, nonprofit organizations and anyone else with a website. These policies would create troubling incentives for ISPs to create “artificial scarcity” to extract new sources of revenue. The result will be a two-tiered Internet: A fast lane for those willing or able to pay for it, and a dirt road for the rest of us.
This is discrimination pure and simple. It is the opposite of a free and open Internet.
President Obama, in 2007 you told the world, “I am a strong supporter of Net Neutrality,” rightfully asserting “that one of the best things about the Internet … is that there is this incredible equality there.”
And Chairman Wheeler, last fall you wrote that “[o]ne of the signal achievements of this latest great information revolution — our network revolution — is how the results of its diffused control and increased autonomy produce ‘innovation without permission.’”
We wholeheartedly agree with both statements. Internet service providers should not be in the business of picking winners and losers online. But the proposal the FCC is currently considering gives ISPs the power to do exactly that, which is why it must be abandoned. Instead, the Commission must propose and adopt legally sound rules that keep the Internet an open and nondiscriminatory platform for speech and innovation.
American Civil Liberties Union
Center for Media Justice
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Democracy for America
Diversified Media Enterprises
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fight for the Future
Future of Music Coalition
Hackers & Founders
Howard Media Group, Howard University
Just Foreign Policy
Latino Print Network
Media Equity Collaborative
Media Literacy Project
Media Matters for America
Media Mobilizing Project
MoveOn.org Political Action
National Alliance for Media Arts + Culture
National Association Of Latino Independent Producers
National Hispanic Media Coalition
New Moon Girls
Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College
Participatory Politics Foundation
PEN American Center
Personal Democracy Media
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Prometheus Radio Project
Savvy System Designs, Inc.
SOA Watch San Francisco
St. Paul Neighborhood Network
Student Net Alliance
The Greenlining Institute
The Harry Potter Alliance
The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project)
The People’s Press Project
Tin House Books
Tin House magazine
Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University
United Church of Christ, OC Inc.
Women In Media & News
Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press
Women’s Media Center
Writers Guild of America, East