The new buzzword, or buzz phrase, as the case may be, on Facebook and other social media sites, is “Net Neutrality.” This new phrase had been bandied about the internet non-stop for the last couple of weeks along with dire (and false) warnings that the end of “net neutrality” really means the end of having equal access to legal content delivered at the same speed from small as well as large websites and companies. Despite what these doomsday predictions state, the phrase “net neutrality” is just a fancy term for stealing and piracy, and its proponents are unhappy that further restrictions may now been placed on downloading illegal content.
Last year, the buzzword going around town was SOPA. There was a huge “stop SOPA” campaign that ended up being successful at the time. SOPA stands for the Stop Internet Piracy Act. Internet piracy is when people outright steal content such as music, pictures, movies and more. SOPA was struck down because of a campaign by people who don’t believe musicians and other artists have a right to make a living. Google and YouTube jumped on act too, because they didn’t want to be forced to stop feeding illegal content to an audience hungry for free music and other forms of entertainment.
In a blog post entitled Demythologizing Net Neutrality, Rick Carnes of the Songwriter’s Guild explains the various myths the “net neuters” as he calls them, are spreading around social media. One of those myths, Carnes explains, is that net neutrality is unrelated to piracy. In fact, Carnes says, net neutrality has everything to do with piracy. He writes:
Net Neutrality envisions the Internet as a set of ‘dumb pipes’ through which billions of anonymous, unidentified bits of information flow freely, and if 70% of those bits are stolen copyrighted files, they claim it is nobody’s business… We have had ten years of destruction of our livelihoods, during which time the Songwriters Guild has constantly called for regulation of unfettered illegal downloading.
Carnes has testified against net neutrality hoping to counter the current culture of justified stealing which exists in the U.S. today. Of course, his testimony prompted much mocking and derision from website like Tech Dirt, who denounced the Songwriter’s Guild and other opposed to net neutrality as “over the top ridiculous.” Of course, since those in Silicon Valley and the tech industry don’t get their fat paychecks from the arts, it quite easy for them to ridicule those who do rely on an artistic craft to make a living.
Citizens have become so determined to steal that they will do anything to be able to continue doing so. Thus, net neutrality advocates have come up with a fancy term for stealing and piracy which replaces the earlier fallacy about SOPA.
That they got away with the fibs they told about SOPA is astonishing. The people who campaigned against the bill fabricated outright untruths as to the bill’s intent. Even though the bill was clearly titled the Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA detractors fabricated outrageous lies, saying that the government “was trying to censor the internet,” and even compared U.S. lawmakers to those in totalitarian regimes just for trying to stop people from illegally downloading content online.
What the SOPA detractors did was akin to going into a book store and demanding they be allowed to steal books under the guise that laws against stealing are “censorship” of their rights. Now, they’re doing the same thing with the crafty and misleading phrase “net neutrality.”
U.S. society must return to the basics of a moral and ethical culture and stop demanding that illegal downloading be viewed as “freedom.” Piracy is stealing, not freedom, and no matter what fancy phrase they come up with next, downloading content illegally is always going to be stealing. Whether it’s phrased as “stop SOPA censorship,” “net neutrality” or some other similar term, the meaning remains the same, and it’s just plain wrong.
An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio
Song Writer’s Guild