Letter issued by House Republican comes as major companies and websites launch massive “Break The Internet” protest 48 hours before FCC’s scheduled vote
House Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) has issued a letterthis morning asking Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the agency’s December 14th vote to repeal Title II net neutrality. In theletterCoffman cautions against the “significant unanticipated negative consequences” the agency’s current proposal could have, and urges the FCC “to delay your upcoming vote.” The letter comes as major web firms like Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, and Kickstarter join millions of Internet users in a mass online protestdemanding Congress stop the FCC’s vote.See screenshots of the protest here.
While a handful of GOP lawmakers (full list appended below) have publicly raised concerns over the agency’s controversial proposal, today’s letter marks the first time a Republican member of Congress has directly called on Chairman Pai to delay the vote – representing a major shift in the fight over rules that prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, throttling, or charging sites and users new fees.
In response, the following statement can be attributed to Evan Greer, Campaign Director for Fight for the Future (pronouns she/her):
“We commend Representative Coffman for listening to his constituents and asking Chairman Pai to stop the vote. We agree that the FCC’s should delay voting on their current proposal, and that strong net neutrality rules need to remain in place so that businesses and users remain protected. However, we strongly believe that a legislative solution is a solution in search of a problem. Title II enjoys immense bipartisan support amongst the public and the courts agree it provides a solid legal foundation to prevent anti competitive abuse from ISPs. Now other members of Congress must do the right thing and join Representative Coffman’s call. In recent months more than 800,000 Americans have called their member of Congress and asked them to stop the FCC’s controversial net neutrality repeal, and today they’ve seen indisputable evidence that their pressure is working.
“Net neutrality is not a partisan issue outside of Washington, DC. Voters from across the political spectrum don’t want their cable companies controlling what websites and apps they can use, or where they get their news from. Republican lawmakers like Mike Coffman can see the writing on the wall. Now the rest of Congress needs wake up, because their actions in over the next 48 hours will determine whether they are remembered as the lawmakers who answered their constituents call, or the politicians who let the free and open Internet die. Right now we don’t need Congress to legislate, we need them to do their jobs and rein in the FCC, which appears to be working for big business rather than the public.”
While Rep. Coffman is the first GOP lawmaker to publicly request that the FCC stop their vote, six other Republican lawmakers have publicly criticized the agency’s proposal, including:
Alaska senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young
Internet users are “Breaking the Internet” with creative posts on all platforms tomorrow. Sites like Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr, GitHub, Pintrest, Etsy, Imgur, Kickstarter, Pornhub, and Patreon are helping drive phone calls to Congress
The unprecedented public backlash to the FCC’s plan to slash Title II net neutrality protections continues to grow. After thousands of peopletook to the streets to protest last week, Internet users, websites, apps, and online forums are participating in “Break the Internet,” a mass online protest for the 48 hours before the FCC vote. The protest is demanding that Congress take action to stop the FCC or overturn their repeal. Just today, the first Republican lawmaker publicly called on the FCC to stop the vote.
See screenshots of how various sites and Internet users are participating here.
The protest is taking many formson social media, apps, and websites across the Internet. Facebook and LinkedIn users will “break” their profiles by changing their relationship status to “Married” (to net neutrality) or adding a new “job” of “Defending Net Neutrality.” Websites and apps will participate by doing something to “break” their platform and encourage their users to contact Congress.
Websites, startups, apps and businesses large and small are already helping drive phone calls to Congress using creative widgets, modals, and banners that show what the Internet might look like if ISPs can control what users do with throttling, censorship, and new fees. Many popular subreddits with a combined 66 million+ subscribers, have “broken,” displaying this message:
Sites helping sound the alarm include Imgur, Tumblr, Mozilla, Pinterest, Kickstarter, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, BitTorrent, Pornhub, Patreon, Funny Or Die, Speedtest, Fiverr, Cloudlfare, Opera, Trello, the Happy Wheels game, DeviantArt, AnimeNewsNetwork, and BoingBoing.
“Ajit Pai’s extreme proposal to kill net neutrality has created a political crisis in Washington, DC. Internet users are outraged and educated about this issue. They will not be fooled by lobbyist’s lies or attempts to make this partisan,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “The Internet has given ordinary people more power than they’ve ever had before. The backlash we are seeing is a testatement to the fact that people don’t want that power taken away, and are willing to fight to defend it.”
Angry Internet users protest in hundreds of cities at Verizon stores and Congressional offices in all 50 states today
Self-organized Internet users are gathering at Verizon stores and Congressional offices in more than 700 cities throughout the day today demanding that Congress take action to #StopTheFCC vote planned on December 14 to gut net neutrality protections. Dozens of protests have already happened while many more are planned for this evening. The protests are part of growing backlash to the FCC’s plan from across the political spectrum, which has generated more than 800,000 phone calls to lawmakers through the site BattleForTheNet.com alone.
(This link will be updated with more photos as they come in. Most of the largest protests are expected to happen at 5pm local time.)
On the heels of today’s ground protests, net neutrality supporters are calling on Internet users, websites, apps, and small businesses to participate in “Break the Internet,” an online protest starting 48 hours before the FCC’s scheduled vote, where sites, apps, and social media feeds will appear creatively “broken” as they might be without net neutrality protections, with messages driving phone calls to Congress. Twitter users will “break” their feeds by using a #BreakTheInternet tool that will auto-tweet about net neutrality every 10 minutes starting on December 12 until the FCC votes.
The protests today are supported by Team Internet, a grassroots network of nearly half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund. The groups allowed volunteers to “host” protests and added them to a map, using text messaging and email to help local hosts recruit participants in their area.
Protesters are demanding that their members of Congress publicly call on the FCC to cancel their vote on December 14. The FCC’s plan containsan unprecedented and total repeal of net neutrality protections, posing a grave threat to the future of freedom of expression, access to information, and small businesses particularly for communities of color and low income communities.
Over recent monthsthe groups behind the protests have organized thousands of constituents to attend more than 600 town halls and meetings with lawmakers to demand their support for net neutrality.
“Today’s protests show how passionately Americans care about net neutrality, and how fed up they are with lawmakers siding with giant telecoms over ordinary people,” said Mark Stanley, Director of Communications for Demand Progress. “With a catastrophic vote to repeal open internet protections just a week away, people across all 50 states are taking to the streets and urging lawmakers to oppose FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to end net neutrality.”
“This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history. Internet users from across the political spectrum are outraged, and they’re coming out of the woodwork to demand that their elected officials do their jobs and stop the FCC from voting to kill net neutrality,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “The Internet has given ordinary people more power than they’ve ever had before, and what we are seeing today is that people are willing to fight to defend that power.”
“The fate of the internet won’t be decided by a few corrupt bureaucrats and phone company lobbyists in Washington,” said Free Press Action Fund Field Director Mary Alice Crim. “That’s the message people across the country are sending today to Chairman Pai: Our rights to connect and communicate online must come before the greed of Verizon executives. These protests prove beyond any doubt that people everywhere won’t let Pai and his cronies have the last word on Net Neutrality.”
Tom Morello, Incubus, Evangeline Lilly, Bassnectar, Against Me!, Alyssa Milano, Michael Stipe (REM), Wil Wheaton, Talib Kweli, Gramatik, Graham Nash, The Glitch Mob, Downtown Boys, Speedy Ortiz, Anti-Flag among signers
More than 150 prominent artists, musicians, and actors have signeda letter endorsing the hundreds of protests planned for tomorrow at Verizon stores and Congressional offices nationwide. The artists echoed the protests call for Congress to take action to stop the FCC’s planned vote to kill net neutrality protections on December 14.
REM singer Michael Stipe, Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, EDM legend Bassnectar, actress Evangeline Lilly(Lost, The Hobbit, Ant Man), rock band Incubus, punk stars Against Me!, hip hop icon Talib Kweli, Dresden Dolls songwriter Amanda Palmer, EDM favorites The Glitch Mob, classic rock hero Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), Colin Hay (Men At Work), actress Alyssa Milano, and Ian Alexander(Netflix series The OA), are among the signers, along with Downtown Boys, Speedy Ortiz, STS9, Anti-Flag, Atmosphere, Priests, Trackstar the DJ (Run the Jewels), Kimya Dawson, author Cory Doctorow, Algiers, and dozens of others.
“If the FCC votes to gut these protections it will explicitly allow Internet providers to charge extra fees that amount to a tax on the entire creative economy,” the letter reads. “A few corporations will have control over what you see and hear, while independent and up-and-coming artists’ ability to make a living will be devastated. Without net neutrality there will be less awesome art. Period.”
The letter goes on: “We support the people from across the political spectrum protesting across the country on December 7, and we echo their call for our members of Congress to do their jobs and take action to stop the FCC vote that’s planned for December 14.”
“A free and open Internet, adhering to the foundational principles of Network Neutrality, has allowed business to flourish, revitalized industries, and given voice to marginalized people not only in America, but around the world. There is no reason to change this standard now, except for corporate greed,” said actor Wil Wheaton (Star Trek, Big Bang Theory), “Allowing ISPs to engage in pay-for-play traffic prioritization will stifle innovation, silence voices, and lead to censorship online. I call on all Americans to support Network Neutrality.”
“Net neutrality is what keeps the Internet weird and awesome,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who is also a touring musician, “Without it, a few giant corporations will have unprecedented control over the culture we create and consume, and independent and alternative artists will be silenced. That’s why we’re fighting back.”
The medium that allows us to be great artists is under threat. Without a free and open internet, so much music, writing, film, art, culture, passion, and creativity would be lost.
For the artists of the future, and the culture of the future, we will not be silent.
Title II guarantees net neutrality and prevents powerful telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from deciding what art, as well as what news, is easily accessible online.
If the FCC votes to gut these protections it will explicitly allow Internet providers to charge extra fees that amount to a tax on the entire creative economy. A few corporations will have control over what you see and hear, while independent and up-and-coming artists’ ability to make a living will be devastated.
Without net neutrality there will be less awesome art. Period.
The open Internet lets artists reach each other and audiences across the world in unprecedented ways. We are able to collaborate, learn, improve our worlds, participate in our society, and bring the things we love to people who are moved by them.
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are guaranteed by our constitution, and we demand that such freedoms continue online. Net Neutrality is essential to our democracy.
We support the people from across the political spectrum protesting across the country on December 7, and we echo their call for our members of Congress to do their jobs and take action to stop the FCC vote that’s planned for December 14.
By fighting for net neutrality, you fight for the future of art.
Adam Venable / Obeah Adel Alizadeh Against Me! Alfre Woodard Algiers Alyssa Milano Amanda Levie Amanda michelle Amanda Palmer Andrew Lee Andrew Woolford Andy Farnsworth Anti-Flag Arvin Clay Ashlee Voorsanger Atmosphere Bassnectar Brandon Schell Brett Eidman Brian Baron Bronwyn Isaac Bug Martin Buku Callowhill Camille Theobald Candiss Veree Carla Anderson Charlie Hunter Chloe Herry Chris Leed CloZee Colin Hay Cory Doctorow, author Craig Mahoney Darby Thomas Darla Jean Patterson Debra Castellano Dina Losito Doug Appling pka Emancipator Downtown Boys Elise-Ann Konstantin Eva Mozena Brandon Evangeline Lilly Flobots Frankiepace George Sluppick Graham Nash Gramatik Greg Radin Gregory Joseph Heather Maloney Howard Lester Ian Alexander Incubus Iris Creamer James Finn Javelin Jaye McBride Jeff Hysen Jeffrey Joseph Jen Lap Jessica Brodkin Jim Mendrinos Joe Velez Joey Novick Jon Yeager Josh Clauson Joshua T. Bell Jude Treder-Wolff Kevin Barnett Kevin D. Williams Kimya Dawson Kyle Holly Leah Bonnema Lesa Noelle Lili Roquelin Lisa Curry Liz Barrett Liz Larkin Liz Miele Lori Nemec Lucie Steiner Lynn Bixenspan Margaret Dodge Maria Minerva Marie Corfield Mark Anthony Ramirez Matthew Ismael Ruiz May Wilkerson Melissa Rocha Michael Austin Smalley Michael Carsillo Michael Stipe, artist/musician Michi Muzyka Mike Sasson Missy G Mo Vida Nat Towsen Neko Nicholas Allred Nick Cara Nikki Clark Nikki2holes Pauline Murphy Peter Michael Marino Priests Probcause Psymbionic Rachel Green Ralph Attanasia Richard Chartier Rocco Romeo Roderick Spencer Sachi Ezura Sammus Sarah Doneghy Scott Blakeman Seena Ghaznavi Speedy Ortiz Stephen Saffel STS9 Summer Dawn Reyes Suzanne Lawrence Suzy Exposito Talib Kweli Terry Klein Tessa Rochon The Blow The Glitch Mob Thomas Cappel Tiffy DiGiacomo TJ Del Reno Tom Morello TRACEY Carnazzo Trackstar the DJ Trophy Wife Tyler rothrock wendy liebman Whitness/Chill Mickelson Wil Wheaton Yarineth Pena Zain Zaidi