MusicDish e-Journal - October 19, 2018
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Verizon-Google "Legislative Framework Proposal" For The Internet
Statements by Future of Music Coalition, FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps and Public Knowledge
By Mi2N
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Two of America's biggest internet companies, Google and Verizon, revealed the terms of a privately-reached proposal intended to serve as a legislative framework for net neutrality. Currently, the FCC is considering ways to reassert its basic authority to regulate broadband and protect the open internet. The announcement from Google and Verizon follows the recent collapse of talks between the Commission and internet stakeholders meant to arrive at a regulatory consensus.

The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae-Hunter, Communications Director and Policy Strategist for Future of Music Coalition (FMC): "Today's announcement from Google and Verizon was expected by those familiar with ongoing conversations around net neutrality. While it is encouraging to hear two of the largest online players express support for non-discrimination principles regarding web traffic, we must note that the principles outlined in this joint proposal are in no way enforceable absent clear rules of the road issued by the FCC or Congress.

"For a decade, Future of Music Coalition has called for a straightforward internet framework that lets artists compete in a legitimate digital music marketplace alongside the biggest companies. We are pleased that the FCC and members of Congress recognize the importance of an open internet, and encourage policymakers to work towards a timely resolution to these issues. Yet we are concerned about the viability of any proposal issued by just two of the stakeholders in the online ecosystem, however well-intentioned.

"There is also some question about how the so-called 'public internet' — described in today's Verizon-Google conference call — would continue to grow and develop alongside the 'additional online services' hinted at in the proposal.

"Today's events serve to further highlight the need for an appropriate regulatory framework that would clarify what is and isn't acceptable online. We continue to look forward to the establishment of clear, enforceable rules to preserve the open internet as a crucial platform for musicians."

The following statement is attributed to FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps: "Some will claim this announcement moves the discussion forward. That's one of its many problems. It is time to move a decision forward—a decision to reassert FCC authority over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever, and to put the interests of consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations."

The following statement is attributed to Sherwin Siy, Deputy Legal Director of Public Knowledge: "We have already expressed our alarm at the extraordinary loopholes present in Verizon and Google's proposal. However, the proposal also damages open Internet efforts through commission as well as omission. The section on "case-by-case enforcement" directs the FCC to defer to rules set by industry-led advisory groups. Combined with the proposal's recommendation that the FCC have no rulemaking authority with respect to consumer protection and nondiscrimination, the agreement outsources the FCC's powers and authorities to the very industries these rules are supposed to oversee."

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