R.E.M., Jackson Brown, The Roots, Ok Go, Moby and Others Voice Stance on Net Neutrality

09/24/2010

John Legend & The Roots (ft. Melanie Fiona): “Wake Up Everybody
[audio: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11598506/John-Legend-%26-The-Roots-Wake-Up-Everybody-ft.-Common-and-Melanie-Fiona.mp3]

I received this update yesterday:

Washington, DC-Some of the biggest names in music and the Writers Guild of America, East are urging the White House and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to act immediately to secure Net Neutrality and protect the future of music. The diverse list of musicians include: Jackson Browne, R.E.M. the Roots, Rosanne Cash, OK Go, Moby, Bonnie Raitt and Jamie Kitman, the manager of OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Doughty, and Mike Viola.

The artists are banding together due to the threat of a corporate takeover of the Internet by big telecoms such as Verizon and Google. Critics contend that a potential takeover could have severe adverse ramifications for the artistic and creative atmosphere that the Internet has always provided. “That’s why we support efforts to preserve Net Neutrality for the benefit of innovation and free expression — and urge the FCC to act immediately to ensure that the Internet is kept free and open,” states the letter.

With the FCC set to meet tomorrow in Washington, the musicians have aligned with MoveOn.org Political Action and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) in sending a message to the Commission – “The future of the Internet depends on decisions made today, as does the future of music. We believe that Net Neutrality is the best and only way to ensure that both futures remain bright.” Since 2007, FMC’s Rock the Net campaign has served as a platform for artists and independent labels to make their voices heard on this crucial issue. The full text of the letter is below.

“It’s great to have the voices of musicians at the forefront of this fight, since their creativity is threatened by any move to restrict Internet freedom,” said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org. “And it’s a sober reminder that a pay-to-play Internet will have dire consequences for all reaches of American lives and what we love.”

Many of the artists are posting on Twitter and Facebook, urging fans to call the FCC (http://bit.ly/akozXk). At this same link, fans can also watch a video of a speech in which Senator Al Franken describes the Net Neutrality debate as, “the First Amendment issue of our time.”

Dear FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski:

The Internet has facilitated an explosion of creativity and commerce, offering unprecedented opportunities to musicians and music entrepreneurs. Due to the open structures of the Internet, musicians and other creators and innovators can compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies. The result is a blossoming and legitimate marketplace that compensates creators while rewarding fans with access to an incredible array of music.

None of this could have happened without Net Neutrality – the principle that protects the open Internet. That’s why we support efforts to preserve Net Neutrality for the benefit of innovation and free expression — and urge the FCC to act immediately to ensure that the Internet is kept free and open.

As artists, we are encouraged that the Commission recognizes the importance of net neutrality. We encourage you to apply its core principles to any and all broadband points of access, including the wireless space. We also encourage you to consider the perspectives of musicians, who depend on an open Internet to compete in a crucial marketplace and express ourselves creatively.

We will continue to support the Commission on the road to achieving clear and enforceable rules of the road for the Internet for the benefit of creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and the public. However, we also feel that the time to act is now, to avoid prolonged uncertainty for all stakeholders, including musicians and music entrepreneurs. The future of the Internet depends on decisions made today, as does the future of music. We believe that Net Neutrality is the best and only way to ensure that both futures remain bright.

Sincerely,
R.E.M.
The Roots
Rosanne Cash
Bonnie Raitt
Jackson Browne
MOBY
OK Go
Jamie Kitman
Writers Guild of America, East

What are your thoughts? Do we need to be worried about Google and Verizon? I have a friend who works at Google, who discussed this issue with me briefly, stating that the issue was blown out of proportion and misconstrued before a proper press release could be issued. Could a proper press release change the underlying issues?