It’s been a while since we’ve posted, we’ve been heavily engrossed in cutting the film, so lots of things have gone by the wayside, but the last several weeks have had a couple important revelations that can’t be ignored.
When we, as filmmakers, talk about the War for the Web, we are not talking about some abstract battle taking place, but about real battles taking place behind closed doors. The latest update on that front is the FCC and Verizon court case taking place now, which will determine whether the FCC can regulate the Internet, and by the same token, whether Verizon has the right to restrict access to its customers based on how much content providers are willing to pay.
This is a court case, currently being argued in front of the Washington DC appeals court, so there’s no real ability for the public to weigh in directly. Organizations on both sides are filing briefs with the court in an effort to strengthen their side, but it’s hard to predict how the court’s decision will come down, and what the consequences will be. This makes it more important than ever for us to support organizations like Public Knowledge, Fight for the Future, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who are fighting not just to keep the Internet free, but to create a better Internet.
In America today, access to the Internet is almost wholly controlled by a few large companies. They have tremendous power and consumers have few options for alternative service if they change their policies to censor certain types of Internet use. Even in cities like New York, where there are usually a million options for any type of service, most people only have one or two options for Internet access, Verizon or Time Warner Cable. Smaller ISPs trying to get their start are stymied by the fact that the very conduits underneath the city streets are owned by a company owned by Verizon. Even the New York City government doesn’t know how to force Verizon to open access to those pipes to new players.
Given this climate, do we want to leave ourselves in the hands of a few big companies, subject wholly to their whims in regard to quality of service, cost of service, and now content itself?