Writers Guild of America, East Provides Senate Testimony Saying “If FCC Fails To Uphold Net Neutrality, Congress Must Act”

NEW YORK, NY (SEPTEMBER 17, 2014) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) submitted testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for today’s hearing on “Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition Through Meaningful Open Internet Rules.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, chaired by the Honorable Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, comes right after the Federal Communications Commission closed public comment regarding its Open Internet Rules  The FCC received 3.7 million public comments, virtually all of which supported net neutrality.

The Writers Guild of America, East testimony urges the adoption of rules which would ensure that the Internet remains open and nondiscriminatory. The WGAE noted that if FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler is unable to accomplish this goal, Congress must act on behalf of the overwhelming majority of Americans to protect an Open Internet. The WGAE stated that the rules must:

  • Prohibit paid prioritization
  • Extend beyond the “last mile” to encompass the relationship between Internet Service Providers and edge providers
  • Apply fully to mobile Internet service
  • Clarify that the Internet is subject to regulation under Title II of the Act.

The WGAE, which represents thousands of members who write comedies, dramas, and nonfiction programs for film, television, radio, and digital media, wrote, “In its deliberations about the Open Internet Order, the proposed merger of Comcast/NBCU and Time Warner Cable, and the proposed merger of AT&T and DirecTV, the Commission will determine how the media landscape is drawn for generations to come.  The consolidation of major digital media entities, combined with the archaically-narrow scope of the [Open Internet] Order, could mean the brave new world of digital communications will wind up looking very much like the current television and film industry, in which a small number of powerful entities limit competition and thwart openness.  To avoid this profoundly disturbing fate, the Commission must craft a new set of rules.

If the Commission is unable to take action, whether because of concerns about its jurisdiction or because of the enormity of the policy undertaking, we respectfully request Congress to step in.  Our elected officials can clarify that the Internet is subject to regulation as a utility under Title II of the Act, and can adopt robust, far-ranging, and enforceable nondiscrimination rules that will protect the American public and the people who create interesting, inspiring, informative content for digital distribution.”

The WGAE testimony can be found here.

ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.

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