Statement Regarding Net Neutrality Ruling
The Writers Guild of America, East is disappointed by the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacating the anti-discrimination and anti-blockings rules that were the centerpiece of the "net neutrality" principles articulated by the Federal Communications Commission. These are principles which the WGAE strongly supports.
On the one hand, the D.C. Circuit seems to have agreed with the FCC’s thoughtful analysis of how a handful of entities functioning as gatekeepers might thwart the enormous potential of the internet by favoring access to on line content they own– or which is owned by entities that have the deep pockets to pay for preferential treatment. Unfortunately, as Michael Copps presciently warned while serving as an FCC commissioner, the fact the FCC has done a credible job of identifying the vital policy concerns does not overcome the court’s concern that the commission – for whatever reason – had earlier decided to forsake its own jurisdiction in this area.
Americans increasingly consume audio-visual content on-line. TV shows, films, and made-for-new-media programs reach people’s homes through one pipe, the wire that carries cable TV and the internet. One way or another, it is essential that the FCC figure out how to protect the interests of the public, and of the men and women who devote themselves to creating the content the public loves. The D.C. Circuit’s ruling should not leave a regulatory void as the creative potential of digital technology is traded away for the short-term gain of a powerful few.
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 their 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 www.wgaeast.org.