Musician Moby joined forces with net neutrality supporters Thursday, demanding alongside Massachusetts Democratic Representative Edward Markey that Congress pass some type of legislation that would ensure the free flow of data through the Internet.
Other musicians, including R.E.M., Q-Tip, the Indigo Girls, Jill Sobule, Wilco, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, the Roots, the Dixie Chicks and Moby have formed a new group called Artists and Musicians for Internet Freedom.
The artists’ group would join a broader group known as the SaveTheInternet.com Coalition, which consists of some 600 organizations and members.
“If Congress guts Net Neutrality, independent music and news sites would be choked off, consumer choice would be limited, and the Internet will be become a private toll road auctioned off by companies like AT&T,” Moby warned. “We need to stand up for Internet freedom now. Congress must uphold Network Neutrality.”
Rep. Markey is the author of HR 5273, the so-called “Save the Internet Act of 2006.” The bill would legally prohibit telecos that own Internet pipes from downgrading and discriminating regarding Internet access and services. Such an action is fiercely opposed by the telecommunications industry, which says access through their pipes shouldn’t be “free.”
“Right now we are heading down a dangerous road that will stifle the openness of the Internet, endanger our global competitiveness, and warp the web into a tiered Internet of bandwidth haves and have-nots,” Markey said.
Attendance at a Thursday afternoon press conference was sparse, and the event was briefly interrupted by a minor altercation. According to press reports, a Save The Internet picketer hit a rival FreedomWorks demonstrator in the head with his foam sign. The man was removed and the event continued.
Save The Internet later said that the man was not associated with the group.