The magical thing about the internet is the fact that it allows for an open and free exchange of dialog, ideas, and information. However the Federal Communication Commission's proposal regarding net neutrality could allow paying content companies, like Netflix, Google, and even Facebook, better access to users online. Even though the FCC has released a statement that attempts to set the record straight about their new proposal, many are still convinced that these new regulations would mean the end of net neutrality and the internet as we know it. Continue on to find out more about the FCC's proposals could mean for filmmakers.
Net neutrality creates an even playing field online -- creators can share their content without fear of preferential or discriminatory treatment from service providers, meaning that all data, regardless of who created it, is treated equally. Though the FCC claims that their proposal wouldn't allow ISPs to outright block content or slow down sites, it would allow them to pay for "preferential treatment."
In a statement posted yesterday, the FCC states what their notice will propose:
- That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
- That no legal content may be blocked; and
- That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.
This video from The Verge sums things up nicely:
So, what does all of this mean? Or better yet, what could all of this mean? What could potentially happen to the internet if only the richest media companies are able to afford preferential treatment? At this point, everything is just speculation, but for filmmakers who are currently enjoying the freedom to share and consume content on the largest open platform in the world, there is a fear that this democratized system will eventually fade into obscurity -- along with our work.
One Reddit user designed an illustration that gives a hypothetical look at what the future of this not-so-neutral internet could look like in the form of a pricing rubric. Does it look like a cable TV pricing table to you? It does to me. (It's quite chilling.)
The implications of the FCC's proposal is deep, complex, and far-reaching, with many important factors and players. So, feel free to share your thoughts about this issue in the comments below.
[Header image by Flickr user Erwin Morales]