Writers Guild Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Feature Net Series Writers

The Writers Guild of America, west, filed an interesting brief at the deadline of the FCC’s Net Neutrality comment period, focusing on original series for the Internet written by WGA members.  As our readers may recall from a decade ago, former FCC Chair Michael Powell famously claimed that the Internet solved any concerns about media consolidation and concentration for creative media artists — they could use it to compete with broadcast and cable networks because, well, of course everyone had really great and fast broadband Internet to see video, and so all you grumpy, grousing creative media artists should go grab a video camera, put your stuff up on the Net, and compete with CBS. He then led the FCC to throw out many media ownership rules, an action that later was reversed by a federal court for being “arbitrary and capricious.”

Flash forward ten years later, and fast broadband that will support high quality video viewing via the Internet is still a rumor in many parts of the country. And now, if there is no Net Neutrality, the idea of independent, small creative media artists able to get the same quality of video performance over the Internet pipes owned by a Comcast or other Internet service provider as a Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime becomes just as ludicrous as it was ten years ago.  Not only will those small, indie Net series not be able to compete with CBS, they won’t even be able to compete with CBS.com. Because CBS.com will be able to Pay Up for quality transmission by Internet service providers, but the Little Guy won’t.

It’s a very interesting filing, well worth reading. A good Broadcasting & Cable article is here. The WGA filing and press release can be found here.