Are Supporters Of Net Neutrality Really Just Supporters Of Music Piracy?

from the those-evil-net-neutrality-supporters dept

One of the big problems with the net neutrality debate is that both sides are prone to misleading and hyperbolic arguments. This applies to both the astroturfing groups, which are shills for the telcos, and the Save The Internet crowd, which also has a penchant for propaganda. The latest absurd argument comes from Sonia Arrison, who works for a telco-funded think tank, who claims that supporters of net neutrality are really just supporters of piracy because of their opposition to blocking P2P networks. This ignores the fact that blocking or slowing down these networks doesn't stop piracy. It also buys into the myth that there's a serious bandwidth crunch that can only be solved by things like traffic shaping, which net neutrality supporters tend to be opposed to. Still, Arrison saves up her ultimate canard for the end of the column when she says that supporters of "net neutrality theory" should be opposed to Apple's plan to sell DRM-free MP3s from EMI because Apple's use of price differentiation (unprotected tracks will sell at $1.29 as opposed to the normal $.99) is non-neutral. Of course, nothing at all about net neutrality would imply that different prices for different products should be illegal. All this example proves is that Arrison either doesn't understand net neutrality or is willfully trying to distort the concept.

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  1. icon
    chris (profile), 19 Apr 2007 @ 1:47pm

    it's bad when one thing becomes two

    net neutrality... or rather the need for it... is a product of the lack of competition among broadband providers.

    we need net neutrality because we in the united states no longer have the assurance that the FCC will continue to do what it has always done, and keep things fair and competitive when it comes to the internet.

    if there was more competition in the broadband market, no one would scream for neutrality because if a provider did something we didn't like we could find another provider.

    since there is little competition in the broadband space, and we can no longer trust the FCC (part of the executive branch) to act in our best interest, we need to appeal to the legislative branch to make the protections we need into law.

    if you don't want net neutrality legislation, then do something to open the telco and cable industries up for competition in the broadband space.

    the only parallell that can be drawn between file sharing and net neutrality is this:

    file sharing is about getting media on your terms. if you want immediate access to new media with no DRM, your only option right now is to download it illegally.

    net neutrality is about getting access to the internet on your terms. right now you can get relatively unrestricted internet access, but that might not always be the case thanks to the lack of competition in the broadband market.

    people share files because they have already invested in a computer and internet access and they are more interested in making that investment work for them than investing in physical media.

    people want unrestricted internet access because they have already invested in a computer and internet access and they are more intereted in making that investment provide their entertainment, communications, and information needs rather than investing in more traditional services from the cablecos and telcos.

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