Thu 7.31.2014

Net Neutrality, Demystified

no internet

In the world of technology and entertainment, net neutrality is a major topic of conversation right now. We’ve scoured the Internet for some of the best videos and articles that explain how the current discussion surrounding net neutrality could change the way we use the internet, why it affects the independent film community in particular, and what you can do to make your voice heard.

1. What is net neutrality?
What an excellent question! Here’s John Oliver, quite hilariously answering it for you. He gives a very comprehensive overview of the situation, and even mocks the indecipherable jargon with which net neutrality is usually discussed.

2. How does it impact independent film specifically?
A ruling by the FCC against net neutrality would enable rich corporations to pay Internet service providers to give users  faster access to their content. Up until now, the Internet has been an excellent tool for independent filmmakers to make their films available outside the theatrical distribution system and get their work seen by a wider audience at very little cost. But that could change. How many independent filmmakers do you know with more money than iTunes? Alyssa Rosenberg writes in the Washington Post: “if Netflix’s deals and FCC regulations usher in a new regime in which content producers are supposed to pay to make sure their streams flow smoothly, broadband companies, rather than studios or theater owners, could become the new gatekeepers for independent film.” And as Jordan Zakarin explains at TheWrap: “The struggle of independent distributors and platforms is intimately connected with the fate of independent filmmakers because Netflix and iTunes (which may also reach a deal with Comcast), as well as the cable companies’ own VOD offerings, are so tightly curated.”

3. In the true spirit of the Internet, why don’t we watch another funny video about it?
Good idea!

4. What can I do to make my voice heard?
Some of the links touched on this, but here it is again—you can write a letter directly to the FCC using a website set up for that very purpose. So what are you waiting for?

Mary Sollosi / Intern Blogger