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The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

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  • The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

    This article from the New York Times provides insight into the growing significance of grassroots media activism from the Internet community:

    "What followed has been the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history, one that the little guys appear to have won."
    In 2005 I wrote in The Empire of Mind that
    The analog media systems of the twentieth century did not have the technological characteristics that promote intense levels of communicative freedom, nor did they spread quickly enough prior to privatization to allow the general population to experience any substantial level of enhanced freedom. The situation is entirely different with the Internet. The marketplace determinism of the normalization thesis fails to account for the effect of new communication capabilities on the audience as a political actor experienced in defending the right to produce content online. Marketplace determinism that looks forward to the imminent normalization of the online audience overlooks the possibility that the Internet has already ‘normalized’ its members within a new communicative experience. The corporate sector could experience considerable difficulty taking away that which many American Internet users now associate with First Amendment rights without an intense and protracted political battle.

    In an earlier essay, David Resnick presented the outline of his normalization thesis wherein he argued that the Internet ‘has not successfully challenged the power of established media conglomerates.’ While I am not proposing that the Internet is about to bring the media industry to its knees, it is too soon dismiss the Internet as a potential threat to the power of established media. The challenge is still gathering momentum within the online community. Clearly, the Net is a threat. Corporations fully realize that it is a threat. It is more a question of degree of threat and speed and trajectory of change. What is beyond questioning is that capitalism’s symbolic economy is facing a sustained attack from within cyberspace. Online digital piracy is nowhere close to being eliminated. Trademarks, copyright, brand identity, and privately-owned symbols and meanings are being illegally appropriated, re-articulated, and subverted. Add to these control failures the ongoing failure of corporations to fully commoditize online behaviour and confine audiences to corporate Web sites, and we begin to see the outlines of the challenge to the power of established media. There are limits to corporate power within the Internet.
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  • #2
    Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

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    • #3
      Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

      Also, this interesting and brief analysis from the New Yorker:

      predictions were wrong. Why, exactly, is subject to debate. It may have been the unexpected effectiveness of Internet-based activist groups, who protested the F.C.C. and helped convince millions of people to write and send comments about the potential rules. It may have been the White House and the personal involvement of President Obama himself. Or maybe people just misunderstood the character of the F.C.C. chairman Tom Wheeler. Whatever the explanation, the most pessimistic theories of lobbyist power clearly need be revised.
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      • #4
        Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

        I'm pro net-neutrality and watched the conference live with great anticipation. However, it should be noted that we are conceding some level of control to government hands, and we are not yet 100% sure what is behind the ~317 page act.

        As someone who holds a license with the FCC for amateur radio, I have no problem with the FCC. I kind of liken it to the FDA. Without it, we'd have things like razors in baby food... But a part of me wishes the big three in the US (Comcast, Verizon, and TWC) could have been civil instead of insane tyrants.
        Skud


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        • #5
          Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

          For an excellent analysis of Net neutrality in the USA context, see Susan Crawford's Captive Audience (Yale).
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          • #6
            Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

            When I first heard the news, I couldn't believe it. I shook my fist in triumph in my car. For the first time in quite a long time, the government has actually done something in the interest of The People.
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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            • #7
              Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

              Too bad it won't really affect us personally on our micro level for some years to come probably. We'll see how this war gets raged on by the bigger corporate entities down the road. I doubt this win for net neutrality is the final act.
              |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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              Former 9th & 13th

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              • #8
                Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

                Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
                Too bad it won't really affect us personally on our micro level for some years to come probably. We'll see how this war gets raged on by the bigger corporate entities down the road. I doubt this win for net neutrality is the final act.
                Yes. The fight over policy is never ending. The next battle has already been started.
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                • #9
                  Re: The FCC and Net Neutrality Activism

                  I know this is sort of an old thread, but I came across it today for some reason, and wanted to add this.

                  Part of the story of why and how this happened is told in the excellent movie The Internet's Own Boy - The Story of Aaron Swartz. It's not the main thrust of the movie, but rather like one of the chapters in his life. He was one of the main people organizing the effort to overturn SOPA and PIPA. In the movie they say how usually the only time you see a good fight is when the powerful vested interests and lobbyists line up on both sides of an issue for whatever reasons. In cases where the interests of The People on one side, and corps on the other, the people pretty much never win these days. But this was a great exception to that, and what gives me so much hope for The Internet as the potential savior of our Republic. I highly recommend the movie (if that wasn't apparent already ;) )!
                  "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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