The following press release was sent by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and Chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, in response to the report in The New York Times about a possible deal that would allow Google and Verizon greater access to the Internet, which they would then sell to customers at a premium. To quote the article, which was published on August 4: “Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another. In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.”
We reprint the letter in its entirety. Please feel free to copy, paste and run on your site and blogs or E-mail around. (See also our interview with Lloyd Kaufman on Parallax View, where he discusses, among other things, his efforts to fight for net neutrality in the face of corporate pressure.)
As many of you may know, there is disastrous news on the front page of The New York Times today. Verizon and other mega-conglomerates have conspired to kill the last democratic medium: the Internet. It is imperative that we all take action immediately to fight for the only true agent of free information and diversity left in this country. Please spread my anti-mega-conglomerate PSA to all your contacts and post it on your blogs. Call the FCC and your elected representatives and urge them to defend net neutrality. Go to Save the Internet and contribute your thoughts. We must use the Internet to speak out on this matter while we still can.
Despite the limits these profit-hungry mega-conglomerates have placed on various media over the years, independent thoughts have triumphed and found another outlet on the Internet. Net neutrality has ensured that no particular type of content is favored over any other. As an individual, I appreciate the Internetâ€™s existence as an instrument of personal expression. As Chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, I appreciate the necessity of its existence for all of us. But this democratic medium is being severely threatened. Verizon and Google are about to strike a deal which would allow Verizon to provide better, faster service to Internet content creators willing to pay. Thrown to the wayside will be independent artists and businesses that do not have funding. Specifically, a tiered payment-based system guarantees an end to any hope we have of Internet-based television or radio networks that donâ€™t kowtow to these mega-conglomerates. Generally, it guarantees an end to the independent media voices of our country â€“ a country that is supposed to be based on free thought and shared ideas.
We must act swiftly to stand up for the freedoms of speech, expression and information upon which our country was founded.
Chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance
President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger