UK music fights for Net Neutrality

It’s your internet, and if you want to ensure you can access the smaller blogs (like mine) and music services with freedom, rather than being coralled to the websites of bigger companies with the power and money to pay for the bandwidth you use up, you’d best get involved in acting to protect net neutrality.

Good news is that you won’t be fighting alone, now UK artists and label managers are getting involved in the campaign to protect net neutrality, which is threatened by ISPs who want to artifically change the way the web works.

Label association, AIM, has lent its support to the Rock The Net campaign with artists offering tracks to a benefit album to raise awareness of the threat.

Here’s the AIM release detailing its involvement:

“You’re probably reading this as an email, sent out from our office though various wires across a variety of exchanges, and finally popping out at the other end onto your desktop, laptop or mobile phone, all thanks to the wonders of the internet. This is the same internet that lets independent bands and record labels compete on a level playing field with the big corporations and enables music fans to experience an infinitely broad range of music — from shiny plastic pop to Peruvian thrash metal and Appalachian folk.
“Sounds great doesn’t it? A new digital frontier where an artist’s access to the public isn’t dependent on the depth of their pockets and where broadcasting and distribution isn’t solely beholden to focus groups and the concerns of advertisers. We know what the alternative looks like. In the US, radio listeners were driven away by a payola system where the major labels paid up to $500,000 to get an artist played. The internet promised a clean break from an increasingly homogenised entertainment landscape.
“Unfortunately, not everyone values the internet’s level playing field. Certain telecoms and cable companies would like to charge content providers higher fees for faster delivery on their sites. The result would be an internet where those who couldn’t afford to pay up would be stuck in the slow lane. Many artists could lose an important connection to their fans, while listeners might find their access to their favorite acts severely compromised. Tests of one ISP, Comcast’s broadband service by the Associated Press found that the network operator was blocking access to lawful content legally distributed on peer-to-peer networks by interrupting connections between users’ computers.
“Thankfully, this virtual land grab can still be prevented. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have just ruled against Comcast ordering them to stop interfering with legal internet traffic whilst a bill currently working its way through the US Congress seeks to enshrine net neutrality in law, and is supported by companies like Google, as well as several artist organisations. But the telecoms and cable companies are aggressive and well-funded, which makes the fight to preserve the open internet all that more urgent. US organisation Future of Music Coalition’s Rock The Net campaign aims to promote understanding of this issue within the music community and keep it alive in the minds of legislators.
“To raise money and awareness for the campaign, Future of Music Coalition has joined forces with Thirsty Ear Recordings to produce a 15 track CD, Rock the Net: Musicians for Net Neutrality. The disc features tracks from artists including Wilco, Bright Eyes, They Might Be Giants, Portastatic, Aimee Mann, Guster, Matthew Ship, Palomar, The Wrens, DJ Spooky, BC Camplight, David Bazan, David Miller, Free Form Funky Freqs and The Classic Brown.
“The CD is released in the UK on August 25th, available in all good record shops. The outcome of US legislation will likely impact the survival of Net Neutrality around the world, which is why the Association of Independent Music is adding its weight to the UK campaign.
“Net Neutrality isn’t about illegal downloads, P2P sites or copyright infringement, nor does it condone or promote the unauthorised distribution of music, videos or software. In the words of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, net neutrality is about an internet “where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access.” Or to quote Tim Berners-Lee who cooked up the internet in the first place, “It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net.” Net neutrality is crucial to creativity and commerce online, and is the on-ramp to a legitimate digital music marketplace.
Artists Supporting Net Neutrality Include:
R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Ted Leo, Boots Riley, Death Cab for Cutie, OK Go, Bob Mould, Calexico, Kathleen Hanna, The Donnas, Jerry Harrison, John Doe, Les Claypool, Kronos Quartet, Jimmy Tamborello, Street to Nowhere, The Locust, Rogue Wave, Guster, State Radio, Matt Wertz, Griffin House, Matt Nathanson and The Wrens
Future of Music Coalition is a national non-profit education, research and advocacy organization that seeks a bright future for creators and listeners. FMC works towards this goal through continuous interaction with its primary constituency — musicians — and in collaboration with other creator/public interest groups.

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