Internet streaming is fast becoming the primary way consumers enjoy the audiovisual works that our members create, and on which our livelihoods depend. As a result, we believe that no company should be able to block, throttle, or otherwise limit consumer access to lawful, online sources of those creative works. Similarly, no company should be able to block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful distributors attempting to provide creative works to internet consumers.
In short, our members have a vested interest in protecting “Net Neutrality,” and on their behalf, our unions have long advocated the need for our government to develop a legal regime that provides effective and comprehensive Net Neutrality protection.
While we applaud the supporters of Senate Joint Resolution 52 on which the Senate will vote today for taking action to protect Net Neutrality, we do not believe the Joint Resolution is a sufficient remedy. After over a decade of adopted, repealed, and judicially-overturned FCC orders on Net Neutrality, it is clear that effective and durable Net Neutrality protection requires congressional enactment of a new statutory regime, not reinstatement of a contested FCC rule. More fundamentally, we do not believe that reinstatement of the Obama FCC’s “Open Internet Order”, which only applies to Internet Service Providers, goes far enough.
Internet consumers and distributors of lawful audiovisual works should be protected against Net Neutrality violations by both Internet Service Providers and the dominant Internet platforms. Both ISPs and the dominant Internet platforms are effectively gatekeepers that stand between consumers and lawful distributors of creative works. Both ISPs and the dominant Internet platforms can have the power and financial incentive to throttle, block, or otherwise limit consumer access to lawful sources of audiovisual works.
Therefore, we believe Congress should enact a comprehensive Net Neutrality law that applies equally to ISPs and internet platforms – prohibiting both from engaging in anti-competitive or discriminatory behavior. We know enacting such a law will be very hard. Corporate opposition is entrenched; the lure of partisan point-scoring is strong; and the precise substance of such a law is as yet unclear. However, only comprehensive Net Neutrality protections, applicable to both ISPs and internet platforms, will ensure the Internet meets its potential as a place where ISPs, internet platforms, consumers, and creators can thrive alongside one another.