Guest: Patric Verrone
Position: President of the Writer’s Guild of America West
Credits: ‘Futurama’, ‘Muppets Tonight’, ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Pinky and Brain’. 2 time emmy award winning writer.
Current Project: Net Neutrality and the Future of the internet
Youtube video that briefly explains Net neutrality:
Thousands are on their way to Minneapolis-St. Paul for the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform. Thousands more will tune in online; so can you!
More links to help support Net Neutrality are at the bottom of the blog.
I recently came across the issue of Net Neutrality (NN). As I researched it and watched videos on it I felt compelled to reach out to Patric Verrone to come on the show and talk about it. Verrone, as President of the WGAw has testified before the United States Senate on the issue. Clearly I have a bias towards keeping the net neutral as I host/produce a show on an independent website that benefits from a neutral net and that could possibly be weakened or, worst case scenario, wiped out by a non-neutral net. However, we did discuss some counter points on the issue and at the end of this blog I will provide pro and con links to help you form your own opinion. You see as a neutralist I don’t believe in censoring information! Kind of ironic.
NN is a free market versus government regulation debate. Free market works best when there is significant competition; and, while opponents of NN say competition is increasing, I say not fast enough and not enough to trigger to the benefits of competition. Opponents will say there is no harm YET being done to the consumer so it is premature and unnecessary to create solutions ore regulations for problems that do not exist. And, I’m sure the same thing was said about the oil industry and health insurance industry. If you wait till there is a problem, as Verrone said on the show, “It’s tough to put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
The aspect of NN that I agree with the most is the non-discriminatory component. Meaning internet service providers cannot block access to or degrade connection to the sites of their choosing. So for example, say you take out a loan and open a coffee shop; and, to get business going you get a website, the problem is either people can’t get to your website or it takes them a while to do it because Starbucks paid your internet service provider money to direct traffic to them and not to other coffee shops.
Can this be done with phone service? Where Verizon would not connect you too or provide a static connection if the person on the other end wasn’t paying an extra fee or because a competitor was paying Verizon to keep you from getting through? Ah no. And I don’t think it should be done with internet service either.
You can talk about free market or tiered systems where you pay more or less depending on usage and I’m open to that discussion but a scenario that allows carriers to discriminate and block access is where you lose me and where I join the side of NN.
I’m not sure of the depth of the regulation that is needed and will continue to research and follow, but I believe at the very least some safe guards are needed in the absence of true competition, and I appreciate people like Patric Verrone and the WGAw speaking out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf2PJOQ9qZg&feature=user (this link has good personal stories of how NN would help them)
http://www.netcompetition.org/docs/pronetcomp/debunking-myths.shtml (this link thinks NN is a myth and tries to prove it)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5ERpQ6nv0Q (pro free market anti NN; I must comment that this video states that big business is behind NN. Maybe, but one of the things that surprised me was the vast and broad cross section of groups that support NN. What can get The Christian Coalition and Moveon.org to agree? NN)
If you want to support NN and learn more you can go to http://www.savetheinternet.com on this site you can sign an electronic petition to help NN
Here is a link to a site where you can contact your state senators in support of NN:
Here is a site where you can contact you Congressman in support of NN.
And we had a Canadian viewer ask about Canada so here is a link I found for Canadian supporters of NN
If you missed this or any episode of Filmnut you can watch it here:
http://www.thestream.tv/filmnut The episode with Patric Verrone is number 228.
Comments or questions on this show? Let me know here: http://www.thestream.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1953
Thanks for checking us out!
PS Futurama fans… Get the latest Futurama DVD’s here: