On Net Neutrality and What It Means for Small-time Artists Like Us

(The featured image above was borrowed from the EFF website and is under a CC-by-Attribution license)

On July 12, 2017, the internet took part in a massive protest again the FCC, who is looking to roll back classification of broadband and fiber from Title II (a telecom service) to Title I (an information service). What does this all mean?

Title II means that the internet is treated like a telecom service: you can’t tell or force people on where to go, what to do, what they can see, or what they can post. In short, the internet is open, even, and everyone can partake of whatever it is that they want.

Under Title I, the major corporate cable companies (including Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T) would be able to wreak havoc on the internet. Got deep pockets to line their coffers with cash? You get special “fast lanes” to deliver your content quicker. Indie artists, content creators, podcasters, and outsiders with little cash who work with passion and nearly live off of whatever they can scrounge up? Slow lanes for those guys!

Endless, endless greedy hunger for those corporate goons.

But that’s not where it can stop. A major corporation like Comcast, for example, can suddenly decide that a streaming service like Netflix poses a threat to their own, shitty streaming service, and purposely throttle or even simply cut any and all traffic from Netflix. Suddenly you won’t be able to watch your favorite shows on Netflix; you only get to watch what Comcast wants you to watch! Or as another example, Verizon can say that Bandcamp or Spotify are muscling in on their own music streaming service, and deliberately cripple their streams on a Verizon subscriber’s plan. Then you’re stuck with only what Verizon wants you to listen to. Fuck your choice; Verizon’s giving you service; you’re their good little sheep! (Side note: both companies have been known to fuck customers over on choice in the past!)

In a more extreme case, one of the major corporate ISPs can also cripple or simply make sure a site that might say something anti-establishment or looks to post what may be considered “controversial” or “harmful” material is never allowed to be seen by its target audience.

Yup, silence potential voices that give hope, uplift spirits, and make everyone fucking THINK.

So how does this affect us?

We are, in plenty of ways, artists. We’re content creators. We express ourselves via our podcast. We pay tribute to what shaped our lives via podcast episodes and videos. The internet has been a most wonderful tool in allowing us to be able to get our content out there, into the world, where people may be able to stop by and say, “Holy shit, this is AWESOME! This speaks to me!!”, or, “YOUR SITE SUCKS BLA BLA BLA BLA RAMBLE GRIND TEETH ETC ETC”. We don’t give a shit about what people think, do, or otherwise respond to the podcast; the fact is that people are RESPONDING. They’re SEEING our content. All it takes to do so is just write a post, attach our work, and hit “Post”! Boom. Done. New art for you!

We are super glad that all it takes is just a small bit of cash to host our website server. Because Net Neutrality, besides allowing us to have a voice, also allows for innovation. It allows for multiple services to be out there for us to choose from for hosting this site! Those services, in turn, can innovate and make their services better, in a sort of friendly competition of “let’s be the very best we can be”. Without net neutrality, who’s going to host our site? Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T? They can charge us through the nose and out the ass! Fuck that shit!

(Shameless plug: Digital Ocean is an awesome server hosting company who won’t break the bank, offers multiple data centers, and just do generally awesome work. Also, they support Net Neutrality and you should give them love!)

And on the subject of indie artists, we should make mention of a man who fights tooth and nail for Net Neutrality; a man who believes in indie artists, filmmakers, and other general social misfits like ourselves, and has done so for his entire career. I am talking, of course, about good old Uncle Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment!

The Man himself!

In an article Uncle Lloyd has written on Huffington Post (the pic above is from the article), he writes on why Net Neutrality has benefited us all, why it’s a major benefit for Troma and all of their family, and why ripping that rug out from underneath us would stifle creativity, innovation, and essentially bring the internet to a screeching halt, throwing everyone right through the windshield and into a brick wall. Okay, weird analogy, but it’s essentially what it would be like. Uncle Lloyd resonates with us. He GROKS us. He’s indie himself; he’s in the same boat!

But that’s about the long and short of it. Net Neutrality: good. No Net Neutrality: BAD. Fight the good fight and tell the FCC to get stuffed! RISE ABOVE!!

And if you want to find out more info, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight For The Future.

Posted by Robert Menes

One of the hosts. Talks super fast. Drinks too much coffee. Loves DOS games, movies, vinyls, photography, beer, Amigas, and doing shit on computers. Sometimes hacker. Makes money doing shit with computers.