Sunday, November 7, 2010

Net Neutrality Warning to the ALA

The American Library Association [ALA] is a member of the Open Internet Coalition that promotes "Net Neutrality."  Here's a warning for the ALA: "‘Net Neutrality Protectors’ Swept Away by Midterm Wave," by Capitol Confidential,, 6 November 2010:
Ninety-five Democratic Congressional hopefuls signed last week a pledge to support the Federal Communications Commissions proposed Net neutrality rules.  On Tuesday, all ninety-five “net neutrality protectors” lost to their Republican opponents.
“Candidates who support creating burdensome new Internet regulations were handily rejected at the polls,” a blog post at Broadband for America (BfA) reads.  “The message from voters is that unnecessary regulation is a losing tactic.”
To make it clear for the ALA, net neutrality lost 95-0.  Perhaps the ALA should rethink its position on that issue that has little to do with libraries anyway.  (In a related matter of efforts to clamp down on free speech, why has the ALA "historically supported" the Fairness Doctrine?)


See also:
  • "Network Neutrality," by ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 29 May 2007.
  • "Network Neutrality," by ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 29 September 2006.

See also:


  1. The Wall Street Journal wrote about this too.

  2. Thank you, Anonymous. Thanks to you, I edited the main blog post to add 4 more sources, including this, the only one of the 4 opposed to net neutrality:

    "'Net Neutrality' Goes 0 for 95; Regulating the Web Wasn't a Political Winner Last Week," by L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal, 8 November 2010.

    Quoting now what essentially is an excellent, common sense response to the ALA's politically-motivated claims about net neutrality:

    "Over the past decade, lobbyists have tried to argue that more government control over the Web would somehow result in more freedom. Many in the high-tech world originally supported this view, perhaps because 'net neutrality' sounds like the side of the angels. But as other industries have learned, the relationship between regulation and freedom is inverse, not direct. There's not much wrong with the Internet now, but there's a big risk in giving regulators more control of an industry in which even the gurus have little idea what innovations will come next.

    "Everyone agrees that Internet providers shouldn't discriminate based on content. The question is the role for government. If Comcast, which is in the process of acquiring NBC, started to discriminate against CBS or ABC, its Internet competitors would be quicker than regulators to point to an inferior consumer experience.

    "To take another example, Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, points out, 'Proponents of net neutrality have long claimed that the Federal Communications Commission needs to lay down some rules ensuring freedom of speech on the Internet. As a songwriter, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept that the FCC is going out of the censorship business and into the protection of free speech.'

    "In the name of neutrality, lobbyists want to stop Internet providers from managing their networks by charging more to providers or users of bandwidth-hogging services such as video and online games. This amounts to a forced subsidy of certain users of the Web at the expense of others. As demands on the Web escalate, speed and reliability will inevitably depend on more management of the network, including through different prices for different levels of service.

    "As these debates simmered, the FCC lost several legal cases on whether it can even claim jurisdiction over the Web. The commissioners now threaten to reclassify the Internet so that it would come under the regulatory regime written in the 1930s to help the FCC micromanage a monopoly telephone service. A bipartisan group of more than 200 members of Congress objected earlier this year to the agency reclassifying broadband as a telecommunication service. Having bureaucrats decide on the speeds, levels of service and prices that people and businesses should pay for Web access is not a political winner."


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