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Business News (more headlines) 01-18-2014

Future Of Music Coalition Statement On Appeals Court Net Neutrality Decision

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A federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lacks the authority to enforce its Open Internet Order, issued in December 2010 and challenged by Verizon. The rules were established to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from choosing winners and losers online based on business or other preferences. The court pointed out that the FCC's lack of authority is a result of its decision in the early 2000s to reclassify broadband as an "information service" as opposed to a "telecommunications service."

The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians.

"The court's decision is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. FMC has said since the beginning of the last decade that the FCC's decision to classify broadband Internet as an information service would have poor consequences, and it doesn't get much worse than the inability to guarantee a level playing field for creators and other innovators.

"The bright side is that the FCC, under the direction of newly-appointed chairman Tom Wheeler, now has the opportunity to fix a problem of its own making. It has never been more important to have basic rules of the road preventing ISPs from blocking content delivered over the Internet, regardless of how users connect. Thousands of musicians and independent labels are already on record in support of a level online playing field as part of FMC's Rock the Net campaign. This decision will surely inspire countless other creators and entrepreneurs to make the case for an open and accessible Internet.

"Of course, Congress could always step up to the plate and write laws ensuring that the Internet remains a place where a great idea, a great song or an amazing innovation has a chance to get off the ground. Until then, the FCC has the obligation to act to protect all Americans-including creators-from the whims of just a few big corporations."

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