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FCC has to change its rules, says Federal court…

I  just received this letter from Craig Aaron at and I pass it on to you. An important action has occurred:

Today, in a sweeping victory for communities across the country, a federal appeals court overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to weaken media ownership rules.

Had these rules gone into effect, it would have unleashed a new wave of media consolidation across the country.

In 2007, the FCC ignored letters and calls from millions of Americans and tried to rewrite its media ownership rules to let companies own both newspapers and TV or radio stations in the same town. This change would have opened the floodgates to new media mergers, leading to even more layoffs in newsrooms while thinning out diverse perspectives from local news.

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...

Image via Wikipedia

We sued the FCC for ignoring the public outcry. Today, we won. The court tossed out the FCC’s flawed rules, but also upheld all other media consolidation restrictions and told the FCC it needed to do better to support and foster diverse voices in the media – all crucial decisions for our fight to build better media.

This isn’t just our victory – it’s your victory, too.

The court pointed to public comments from people like you as deciding factor in overturning the FCC’s attempt to change its rules. Today it’s clear: Your voice and actions make a huge difference.

This court decision should send a wake-up call to the FCC: It must listen to the public and stand up against media consolidation in all its forms.

But the fight doesn’t end here. Right now around the country, local stations are using loopholes and backroom deals to get around media ownership rules and consolidate their coverage of local news. This court case makes clear that the FCC needs to strengthen their rules and address this growing epidemic as well. Click here to tell the FCC to stop this covert media consolidation.

Today’s victory is a big moment for the movement to build better media. We couldn’t have done it without you.


Craig Aaron
President & CEO
Free Press

P.S. – We need your help sustaining our efforts. In court, at the FCC and in Congress we’re up against huge companies with lots of money and lawyers. We don’t take money from government, political parties or businesses – so we depend on you. Help us fight the next media ownership fight. Please donate today.

P.P.S. – Read more about the details and background of today’s big decision.

Don’t fool yourself, however. You and I both know what the big corporations trying to get complete control of the web will do: they’ll bring it to the corporation-loving Supreme Court. The folks are going to have lots of work ahead of them.

I urge you to give them your support.

When you see that Republicans are taking our free-access internet away, don’t ask “but what can I do?”

Save the internet Net Neutrality protest at  G...

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Dear friends:

The Republicans are actively trying to strip those of us who promote the truth over the Web of our ability to talk with you, to pass your ideas along and share the important messages which will protect our economy, our nation, and our world.

I just received this e-mail from Timothy Karr at I share it with you because it is for all of us. I have already signed the letter it directs you to, asking the Senate to reject the devastating strike at our freedom to communicate.

Please read it and ACT:

Minutes ago, members of the key House technology subcommittee voted to give phone and cable companies absolute, unrestricted power over the Internet.

They passed a “resolution of disapproval” that would strip the FCC of its ability to protect Internet users — letting companies block our right to speak freely and share information on the Internet.1

This resolution opens the door even wider to corporate abuse. The House seems determined to pass this bill – so our best chance is to stop it in the Senate:

Defend Our Internet Rights. Stop This Resolution in the Senate.

Already, cable giants like Comcast may be effectively restricting access to competitive video services, and wireless carrier MetroPCS has unveiled a plan to block users’ access to most video and audio sites.

Send a letter now demanding that your senators stand against the resolution. If we can get 51 senators on our side, we win, and the resolution dies.

But if we don’t get the Senate to stop this resolution, the FCC could be barred from preventing these companies from blocking any website, banning any speech, and charging you anything they can get away with.2

Testifying during the subcommittee hearing today, Free Press Research Director Derek Turner said, “This resolution will leave consumers completely unprotected… Unfortunately, the debate around [Net Neutrality] has become immune to the calming powers of historical fact and susceptible to the ills of powerful special-interest politics and false partisan frames.”3

The House majority has rammed this vote through without weighing widespread concerns – coming from both public interest advocates and the tech industry – that this resolution is an extreme overreach that gives away our basic Internet freedoms.

Tell Your Senators: Don’t Let Corporations Take Over Our Internet

American Internet users need an open Internet that lets us view any content, anywhere, not the walled garden that the big phone and cable companies want to build around us. The first step is getting your senators to reject this resolution.

Sign this letter and we will deliver it to our senators’ offices in Washington. Then, use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word across your social networks.

With your help, we will defeat this resolution. Thanks.

Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press Action Fund

1. “House Heads for Net Neutrality Showdown,” Tech Daily Dose:

2. “Net Neutrality Back in Court,” New York Times:

3. Read Free Press Research Director Derek Turner’s House testimony from earlier today:

OK…got it? Helping to stop this travesty from occurringmeans helping yourself…helping all of us.



Please Join Senator Al Franken to Keep Corporations from Taking Control of the Internet

Sign Al’s petition at

I did… I hope you will, too. Keeping all of our access to the internet open and free of corporate manipulation is important to all of us who live our lives on the web.

From Al Franken: The Most Important Free Speech Issue of our Time

This was in the HuffPo today… I reproduce it in full here:

This Tuesday is an important day in the fight to save the Internet.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it’s a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate.

This principle is called “net neutrality” — and it’s under attack. Internet service giants like Comcast and Verizon want to offer premium and privileged access to the Internet for corporations who can afford to pay for it.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don’t do that at all. They’re worse than nothing.

That’s why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable.

Although Chairman Genachowski’s draft Order has not been made public, early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.

For many Americans — particularly those who live in rural areas — the future of the Internet lies in mobile services. But the draft Order would effectively permit Internet providers to block lawful content, applications, and devices on mobile Internet connections.

Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).

It gets worse. The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.

It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.

What’s more, even the protections that are established in the draft Order would be weak because it defines “broadband Internet access service” too narrowly, making it easy for powerful corporations to get around the rules.

Here’s what’s most troubling of all. Chairman Genachowski and President Obama — who nominated him — have argued convincingly that they support net neutrality.

But grassroots supporters of net neutrality are beginning to wonder if we’ve been had. Instead of proposing regulations that would truly protect net neutrality, reports indicate that Chairman Genachowski has been calling the CEOs of major Internet corporations seeking their public endorsement of this draft proposal, which would destroy it.

No chairman should be soliciting sign-off from the corporations that his agency is supposed to regulate — and no true advocate of a free and open Internet should be seeking the permission of large media conglomerates before issuing new rules.

After all, just look at Comcast — this Internet monolith has reportedly imposed a new, recurring fee on Level 3 Communications, the company slated to be the primary online delivery provider for Netflix. That’s the same Netflix that represents Comcast’s biggest competition in video services.

Imagine if Comcast customers couldn’t watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast’s Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

That’s why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time. And that’s why, this Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I’ll be watching. If they approve it as is, I’ll be outraged. And you should be, too.

What do you think?

One Web Day is September 22…

Under The LobsterScope will be participating again. You can too.

OneWebDay 2010 will be held on Wednesday 22 September 2010. The suggested theme for this year’s events is to emphasize three important aspects of the Internet’s existence that ensure it’s continuing health and growth as a public resource:

1)  The End-to-End Principle – the principle that allows any application on any user’s machine to directly connect and interact with any application on any other user’s machine, without hindrance.
2)  Open Internetworking – Openness is the overarching principle that has ensured the success and growth of the Internet to date. User access, choice and transparency are critical to the success of the Internet and must be incorporated as central features of current and future policy frameworks for the Internet.
3)  The Internet model – The Internet is successful in large part due to its unique model: shared global ownership, development based on open standards, and freely accessible processes for technology and policy development. The Internet model is open, transparent, and collaborative. The model relies on processes and products that are local, bottom-up, and accessible to users around the world.

Go to onewebday2010.organd find out how you can participate.
– BT