Rep. Markey, Moby Speak Out for Internet Freedom, Against Corporate Web Takeover
Musicians band together to demand Net Neutrality with congressional showdown over the future of the Internet imminent
WASHINGTON — Grammy-nominated musician Moby joined today with Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, to demand that Congress reject upcoming legislation that would allow AT&T, Verizon, and other telecommunications giants to take over the Internet.
The growing list of major artists and musicians who have signed on to the Artists and Musicians for Internet Freedom petition includes Moby, R.E.M., Q-Tip, the Indigo Girls, Jill Sobule, Wilco, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, the Roots, the Dixie Chicks, and others. These artists join Internet advocates, political groups on the right and left, consumer groups, and more than 600 diverse organizations in the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. This coalition is uniting Internet users against a congressional proposal to gut Network Neutrality — the Internet's First Amendment.
"If Congress guts Net Neutrality, independent music and news sites would be choked off, consumer choice would be limited, and the Internet will be become a private toll road auctioned off by companies like AT&T," Moby warned. "We need to stand up for Internet freedom now. Congress must uphold Network Neutrality."
Net Neutrality is the long-held principle that ensures small music blogs and independent news sites open just as easily on people's computers as large corporate sites. Companies like AT&T are spending millions lobbying Congress to pass legislation that critics charge would set up a discriminatory tollbooth system on the information superhighway. The proposed legislation would allow Internet providers to decide which Web sites work best on people's computers based on who pays them the most, favoring large corporations with deep coffers while marginalizing everyday people, community groups and small businesses.
"The legislation in the House of Representatives threatens the Internet as we know it," said Rep. Markey, author of H.R 5273, "Save the Internet Act of 2006," which would preserve the open architecture of the Internet and prevent companies from downgrading and discriminating regarding Internet access and services.
"Right now we are heading down a dangerous road that will stifle the openness of the Internet, endanger our global competitiveness, and warp the web into a tiered Internet of bandwidth haves and have-nots. This coalition is the beginning of a nationwide effort to stop creeping Internet protectionism into the free and open World Wide Web. This is the time for Internet users to express themselves to rise up and save the Internet," said Markey, congressional leader of the movement to prevent the COPE Act (HR 5252) from passing without a strong net neutrality provision.
Thousands watched the Moby event online at www.SavetheInternet.com/moby, which posted a congressional call-in number on the screen encouraging viewers to call their representatives to demand they protect Net Neutrality.
"We are seeing a massive public outcry — the people joining together to save the Internet. Artists and musicians are part of this vast movement, as are the nearly 700,000 people who signed a petition, and the thousands calling Congress every day," said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press, which is coordinating the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. "The American public won't allow the Internet to be turned into just another cash cow for greedy corporations. Americans will be watching how their representatives vote on Internet freedom."
The Save the Internet.com Coalition — an alliance of organizations from across the political spectrum, consumer groups, educators, small businesses and bloggers that have come together to protect Internet freedom — has galvanized support for Network Neutrality from artists, musicians and hundreds of thousands of average citizens. In less than a month, almost 700,000 people have signed an Internet Freedom petition to Congress, more than 7,000 friends have joined SavetheInternet.com's MySpace, and thousands of blogs have linked to the coalition Web site. Also supporting Network Neutrality are companies such as Google and eBay and groups such as AARP, the ACLU and the Christian Coalition.