I know I said I’m on vacation, and wouldn’t be posting until next year, and that is still kind of true. This isn’t a travel article this time around, but rather an expanded write-up of what I have been including at the end of every post the last couple of weeks. I know your instinct is going to be to skip this because it “isn’t important” or I sound like another millennial crusader. But as an artist trying to promote myself over the Internet, the Net Neutrality issue directly concerns me, and it concerns me very much.
So, to keep you interested, I will strategically place amusing doodles throughout this article.
Last week the FCC voted to do away with Net Neutrality. If you are like I was and have no idea what that means, here is the short version: Net Neutrality is what ensures that everyone has open and equal access to information on the Internet. It is the same idea that prevents phone services from prioritizing or blocking phone calls. Without this, your service providers—like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast (*shudder*)—can slow down or outright block your access to websites with opposing political opinions or that offer competing services, or create “fast lanes” for the big sites that can afford to pay for higher internet speeds. All in all, this favors companies with lots of money and spells disaster for small, independent sites and artists trying to promote themselves online (hi there).
To make this as personal as I can, if this happens it is entirely likely that I will no longer be able to continue this blog for several reasons:
- It is probable that your ISPs will divide the Internet into packages, kind of like your TV service. You will have to get access to various sites by purchasing packages that include those websites. As an individual running a small blog out of my own pocket, there no way in Hell I am going to be able to afford to pay these ISPs to put my site on one of those packages, so no one will be able to access my site.
- Even if it were on a package, it would be a package so obscure that no one is going to pay for it just to see my stuff, lets be honest.
- It will cost me extra just to have a package that would allow me access to MY OWN SITE…that I already pay for.
- I may or may not have access to/have to pay for access to the online service that organizes and sends the weekly emails to my subscribers.
- Many of the places I visit do not have in-depth historical interpretation, so I rely on the Internet to do much of my research. Without Net Neutrality, I lose access to a large percentage of this information, and therefore, have no information for my articles.
The same goes for artists, musicians, organizations, and small businesses all over the country trying to promote themselves. They lose their voices to the big businesses that CAN afford to pay the ISPs. That’s not Free Market, that is monopolization. My ability to write an article like this depends on Net Neutrality. With ISPs in charge, they can and will block sites that criticize their actions. These changes won’t happen immediately, or all at once. They may happen so slowly you don’t realize what is happening. But it will happen, and once it does it is too late.
BUT, this isn’t over yet. Congress can still overturn this decision. Again, I stress that this is NOT a partisan issue. This affects all of us. So please call or write your representatives, tell them you support the Title II Internet regulations, otherwise known as Net Neutrality, and to please challenge the FCC’s ruling. I have done both, and you know if I am willing to pick up the phone it is serious. I absolutely hate making phone calls.
Here are a couple of resources that have more complete information about what is happening:
And here are some places where you can join others in appealing against the dismantling of Net Neutrality:
This site will automatically send an email to your various representatives under your name using your ZIP code.
This site will connect you by phone to your representatives and provide you a script to read.
This is a petition organized by the ACLU to combat the repeal of Net Neutrality.
So please, let’s do something about this, we are running out of time. I realize I may only have 5 to 10 loyal readers, but I am talking to YOU, every little bit helps.
In more cheerful news…
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I raided my archives and found a couple more festive sketches. Enjoy.