You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Will Latest Net Neutrality Fight Match 2015’s Campaign?

After public interest groups weighed in on FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plans last week to roll back the agency’s net neutrality framework, Pai himself took aim at one of them. He accused one of the co-founders of the organization Free Press of having a socialist agenda.

That gives you a sense of the tone of the battle ahead on an issue that’s being framed as holding America’s economic future, the open internet and free speech at stake. Capitol Hill lawmakers quickly weighed in for and against. But strangely missing from the debate so far is any response from Hollywood studios.

In previous battles, Netflix and Google have argued that it’s in the interest of major content providers to have a strong set of net neutrality rules in place to ensure that their online pathway to consumers is unimpeded.

The MPAA, though, has issued no statement, and it is not hard to see why. Its members, just as in previous battles, aren’t all in agreement. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast, which supports Pai’s moves, but executives at other studios privately are wondering if it’s in their interest to have regulations in place.

If more major content companies do take a stand, they should be ready for combat.

The debate over net neutrality has gone on for more than a decade, and the FCC is considering the third iteration of the rules, passed in a party-line vote in 2015. ISPs and many Republicans vigorously opposed the way the agency went about enabling the regulations — by reclassifying internet service as a utility — but it allowed the then Democratic majority on the commission to pass rules that prevent internet providers from blocking or degrading traffic, or from selling to major content companies a speedier way of delivering traffic to their subscribers.

Almost 4 million people weighed in back then, many urging the commission to pass a robust set of rules — which is what they ended up doing.

Pai’s pugnacious speech signaled he’s aware his plan to reverse much of what was done two years ago will be met with great pushback. But will it match the campaign of 2015? Many public interest groups expect so — given the backlash GOP lawmakers faced several weeks ago after they voted to roll back privacy rules the FCC had passed in the Obama era.

Fight for the Future, one of the organizers of the battle to get the FCC to pass its current set of net neutrality rules, announced last week it was starting a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 to finance its effort, with the aim to engage more than 1 million people in the next month. But as of Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised just over $1,200.

Part of that paltry sum may have to do with timing. Just as Pai was announcing his plan for net neutrality, the White House was unveiling its proposal for tax reform. Media coverage also was fixed on healthcare reform, a possible government shutdown, North Korea and NAFTA.

“There’s certainly a lot going on, and we’re just getting started,” said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer. “The page was just launched and has just been tweeted a few times by the groups involved.”

Fight for the Future plans another campaign where people can take a selfie with a message written on their cable bill.

More Biz

  • MAGA Teens Taunting Native American Elder

    MAGA Hat-Wearing Teens Harassing Native American Elder Spark Condemnation From Hollywood

    The Internet erupted in outrage Saturday after a video of young men wearing MAGA hats and attempting to intimidate a Native American man at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. went viral. The march is taking place amid the government shutdown, which is nearing the one-month mark and has interfered with many Native Americans’ [...]

  • Leonard Klady Dead: Film Journalist Was

    Leonard Klady, Veteran Film Journalist, Dies at 67

    Leonard “Len” Klady, a former Variety reporter and critic who most recently worked for Movie City News and Screen International, has died. His wife, Beverly Walker, said he had been diagnosed with cancer in November.  Klady was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and graduated from the University of Manitoba. He was a founding member of the [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Dropped by Sony Music

    Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with R. Kelly, Variety has learned. No external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future, says a source, who added that the company took its time to wade through the issues “responsibly” and avoid legal ramifications. R. Kelly was removed from the RCA [...]


    Ex-Agent Stuart Manashil Ordered to Repay CAA in Fraud Case

    Former literary agent Stuart Manashil was ordered on Thursday to repay a $23,975 commission to CAA, which he admitted he had illegally diverted to a friend. Manashil, who now runs his own management company, pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal wire fraud charge. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, Manashil [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content