Another year, another massive merger. Recall back in April 2015, when cable/internet behemoth Comcast—also owners of the major content studio NBC-Universal—walked away from its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, after folks like Future of Music Coalition pointed out how devastating this deal would be to content creators and Internet users. Well, now another slightly-less-massive cable co., Charter Communications, is attempting to gobble up TWC. If allowed to go through, this deal would create a true Mega Cable conglomerate with the same incentive as Comcast to call the shots on content and innovation while depriving creators and fans of choice in the legitimate digital marketplace.
You may have heard about “Binge On”—a way for T-Mobile subscribers with 3 gigabyte data caps to watching online video without worrying about blowing past their data limit and being hit with sizable overage charges. Sounds awesome, huh? Perhaps for some, but the program has nevertheless been criticized due to the fact that certain apps were binge-able and others were not. As we previously pointed out with another T-Mobile program, “Music Freedom,” this establishes a troubling precedent for consumers who want to be able to use their preferred apps to access legitimate, licensed content without being penalized for doing so. Such plans, while consumer-friendly on the surface, also impact developers who may find their products and services in the penalty box for no discernable reason.
Even more troubling are reports that T-Mobile is not only excluding certain video services—they’re also throttling non-Binge On video across the board, even for subscribers with unlimited data plans. So if you’re a T-Mobile customer who wants to check out a band’s Pledge Music video to decide whether you want to plunk down to support their upcoming record, you might end up watching a spinning wheel instead. If you’re hoping to take in an exclusive live concert from your favorite singer-songwriter on your tablet while on the bus, you probably won’t have much luck.
As the calendar year draws to a close, we have some welcome news coming from atop the Hill. It looks as if we’ll avoid another squabble-induced government shutdown, because negotiators in the house have managed to bring forward an omnibus appropriations bill. What’s more, the bill contains some significant new year good news for musicians and music fans. Happy holidays to us all!read more
Feeling a bit of déjà vu? You may have thought net neutrality was settled following our historic February 2015 victory, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued light-touch rules to protect creators, small businesses and Internet users. But Big Telecom still has a dog in this fight, and it’s a big dog with lots and lots of money.
As is the case with many crucial liberties, the fight for network neutrality—the principle that preserves an open internet where everyone can build businesses, reach audiences and freely express themselves—is never truly over. It’s also important to remember that this fight is global. read more
Ahead of a key vote on net neutrality regulations at the European Parliament on 27 October 2015, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the protocols that made the World Wide Web a reality, and founding director of the Web Foundation, has appealed to members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to adopt stronger amendments and close a number of loopholes.
Also criticizing the European Union plan are Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and the Future of Music Coalition, the same groups that fought for the Title II-based approach to net neutrality rules the FCC adopted.
A broad and growing coalition supports the amendments. It includes European and international digital rights organizations Initiative Netzfreiheit, Edri, La Quadature du Net, Digitale Gesellschaft, Bits of Freedom, and others, international digital rights organizations Access Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters without Freedom, US digital rights organizations Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, the Future of Music Coalition, which represents musicians, Engine Advocacy, which represents start-ups, EU and US start-ups and technology companies like BitTorrent, Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Reddit, Soundcloud, Netflix, Vimeo, and other leading venture capitalists from Europe and the US, as well German media authorities. read more
In a letter, companies including Etsy, Kickstarter, Netflix, Reddit, and Tumblr, pointed out what they said were major flaws in the proposal, including a carve-out for specialized services they say create Internet fast-lanes, the allowance for zero-rating plans.
Also criticizing the EU plan are Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and the Future of Music Coalition, the same groups that fought for the Title II-based approach to net neutrality rules the FCC adopted.
Yesterday, more than thirty leading Internet firms and investors signed an open letter to the European Parliament that urged the parliament to adopt amendments. The letter is signed by tech industry leaders such as Automaticc, inc (WordPress.com), BitTorrent, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Netflix, Reddit, Soundcloud, Tumblr, and Vimeo. The coalition also includes leading venture capitalists such as Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham (Union Square Ventures), Brad Feld (Foundry Group), David Pakman (Venrock), and thought leaders such as Mike Butcher.
The amendments are supported by a broad coalition: read more
Almost overnight, tech industry leaders, start-ups, high-profile investors, non-profits and thought leaders organized a powerful movement to save the open Internet in Europe. In an open letter, more than thirty leading start-ups and investors from Europe and the U.S. are demanding that members of Parliament change course and adopt key amendments that would close the loopholes. If passed, the amendments would make the proposal as strong as net neutrality protections adopted in the U.S.
The movement is impressive. It includes: read more