The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was inundated with filings related to net neutrality as the deadline for public comment passed earlier this week. Opinions on both sides of the net neutrality debate are passionate, and many are in direct conflict with one another.
The FCC now faces the challenge of trying to develop a formal set of net neutrality guidelines that address the various concerns--a Herculean task. Let's examine some of the concerns and opinions the FCC has received.
RIAA / MPAA
The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have an established love-hate relationship with the Internet. Perhaps more hate-hate. The recording and motion picture industries are still struggling to find their footing and adapt to a world where MP3's replaced CD's, and where streaming movies are replacing DVD's.
Dating back to the early days of Napster, the RIAA and MPAA have lobbied for legislation and leveraged the court system to combat online piracy. In its filing on net neutrality with the FCC, the RIAA wrote "we encourage the FCC to stay its course and explicitly support, encourage, and endorse ISP efforts to fight piracy."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is urging individuals to join its petition to convince the FCC to remove language from the proposed net neutrality guidelines which provide a legal loophole for the entertainment industry to "hijack the Internet."
In its comments filed with the FCC, the EFF states "EFF is also concerned that content-based discrimination may be looming on the horizon. The entertainment industry, for example, has been pressing ISPs to implement network-based measures to address the problem of online copyright infringement.7 Experience suggests that these technologies are likely to be overbroad, ineffective, expensive, and impede innovation."
The OIC (Open Internet Coalition) is an alliance comprised of a diverse collection of entities including Google, eBay, Twitter, Facebook, and more. The OIC Web site contains links to opinions and filings from many of the member organizations.
In its own filing on net neutrality with the FCC, the OIC says "The adoption of a simple, strong, nondiscrimination rule, subject to reasonable network management, strikes an appropriate balanced framework that will benefit all stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem."
The document goes on to support the EFF position cautioning against specific language for the RIAA / MPAA, stating "Broadband Internet access providers will have the flexibility under the proposed non-discrimination rule to block unlawful content without a complicated and unnecessary content-regulation regime, as currently proposed in the definition of "Reasonable Network Management".