Tom Morello and Amanda Palmer want to restore net neutrality

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Hundreds of artists, including Tom Morello and Amanda Palmer, have signed an open letter highlighting the importance of internet regulation for artists.

Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Speedy Ortiz, Kimya Dawson and others have signed an open letter calling for the restoration of net neutrality, highlighting the benefits of an open internet for artists.

Network neutrality, as initially codified by the Obama administration in 2015, established general rules for a more open and accessible internet: the rules ensured that internet service providers could not, for example, restricting access to certain content, slowing down or speeding up connection speeds, or hindering connectivity for customers who were not paying additional fees.

These rules were eliminated under the Trump administration, but last October the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of a proposal to reinstate them. The new letter (an initiative from Demand Progress and Fight for the Future) comes a day before the FCC’s deadline for submitting public comments on the proposal (an actual vote is expected to take place later this year).

While net neutrality rules affect all Internet users, artists have long been among the strongest advocates of these regulations, seeing them as a way to counteract corporate dominance in the intertwined worlds of the arts. and technology. The new open letter claims that reinstating net neutrality protections is one of several policy changes “ necessary to protect art and give power back to artists “.

In explaining the decision to review net neutrality, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel noted that the pandemic has highlighted the need for reliable and equitable access to the internet, particularly for areas such as education. The Demand Progress/Fight for the Future letter echoes this sentiment for artists, noting that the pandemic has forced many of them to “ turning to livestreams, e-books and other methods to generate income online “.

Without the protections of network neutrality, it would just be a “ a matter of time » before telecommunications companies « start trying to charge for online searches that artists depend on, or build pay-only fast lanes » to internet giants like Google, Amazon, Spotify and Instagram.

This will only entrench the monopolistic power of these giants, making it almost impossible for artists to find or build alternatives with fairer and more transparent business practices. can we read in the letter. Artists are not fools. We know that if telecom giants impose access fees on big tech companies, these monopolies will put corporate profits ahead of struggling artists and pass those costs on to us. Smaller, more independent platforms that truly meet the needs of artists could then close their doors entirely. »

In addition to Tom Morello, Dawson, Ortiz and Palmer, the letter was signed by Deerhoof, Molly Crabapple, Julia Holter, Xenia Rubinos, Eve 6, DIIV, Stephen Fry, Cory Doctorow, Algiers, Jeff Rosenstock, Sammus, Big Joanie, Spencer Tweedy and Neil Gaiman. The letter has more than 275 signatories.

Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, Demand Progress activist and musician (Downtown Boys, La Neve), said in a statement: “ Giant companies already hold so much power over the digital music landscape that it has become virtually impossible for most artists to make a sustainable living. Without network neutrality, these companies can and will further drain resources from our industry. For example, Verizon and AT&T could make deals with major labels to have their artists’ music load faster than music from independent artists or artists they deem too politically controversial. We cannot allow these companies to take even more control over our art and our livelihoods. »


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.