Today a large group of companies and organizations are raising awareness about the importance of net neutrality by joining the Internet Slowdown campaign. The action asks what would happen if large internet service providers (ISPs) and cable companies get their way and are able to squash net neutrality. Net neutrality is the concept that ISPs should treat all data that travels over their networks equally. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a framework for “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” But to many companies and users the guidelines are inadequate for truly supporting an open internet. Instead, some think that the FCC proposal props the door open for ISPs to offer internet “fast lanes” to customers who can pay more–thus breaking the principle of network neutrality.
Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools support access and reuse of hundreds of millions of pieces of creative work by allowing creators to attach rights information about how they wish to share their creativity. And of course, open licensing is just one part of the ecosystem of sharing. CC helps break down copyright barriers to online sharing, but without net neutrality, the sharing of all works (both CC licensed and not) will be restricted from the users who cannot cough up the money to jump into the fast lane. Creators should be able to share content on equal footing. And users should be able to access and reuse that shared content via a fair and open internet.
The FCC has been soliciting feedback from the public. You can support the campaign for net neutrality at Battle for the Net and sign the letter which will be sent to your members of Congress, the FCC, and the White House. And you can still have your voice heard by sending your comments to the FCC. The public comment period ends on 15 September.