What do websites devoted to frat-boy humor, handmade and vintage clothes, and saving the environment all have in common? They’re all passionate about saving the Internet from being forced into a slow lane. No, we're not kidding.
The fight to save the open Internet as we know it has found allies in unexpected places. And your OpenMedia team isn’t the first to notice this. As Michael Masnick writing for TechDirt notes, "It's also been fantastic to see that a number of innovative startups have decided to speak out on how important an open and free internet is for being able to build their businesses, to innovate and to compete on the modern internet."
Now, in case you thought the Net Neutrality debate was reserved exclusively for, you know, "Internet people" -- the reddits and EFFs and Free Presses of the world. It turns out companies and organizations representing a broad range of users and interests are also passionate about the fight for the open Internet!
So, without further ado, we present our Top Five of the most unexpected allies in the fight against the Internet slow lane.
(Oh, and by the way, if you think we've missed someone please let us know in the comments below.)
The crowdfunding giant has more on their minds than Zack Danger Brown's $50,000 potato salad or the future of Amanda Palmer's recording career. Yep, turns out they are deeply concerned about the future of the open Internet. Don’t believe me? As Michael Masnick points out, all you have to do is gander at what their CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler wrote in the company’s official FCC filing:
"Kickstarter, like Wikipedia, Twitter and every other service on the Web, was built on the foundation of an open Internet. We would not exist without it. The more than 60,000 creative ideas that have been brought to life using Kickstarter -- from new technologies to new restaurants to new symphonies -- also depend on a free and open Internet."
It turns out fart jokes and slapstick are only one part of this company’s diverse output. The group recently became one of the loudest (and most NSFW) voices in this fight, by launching a viral (nearly half a million views at the time of writing this!) video detailing what the Internet would look like without net neutrality. Normally, this is the part where I’d describe the video and how funny it is. But, well...Just watch it...
Forget "Save the Whales," it's time to "Save the Internet"! At least according to one of the world’s largest and most well-known environmental advocacy groups. You may be surprised to find a net neutrality campaign on Greenpeace's international website, but, sure enough, here it is. Interestingly, this isn't the first time the organization has come out in favor of the open Internet. A few years ago, they joined with OpenMedia's famous Stop The Meter campaign to speak out against Big Telecom's efforts to meter Canadians Internet usage. We're thrilled to have Greenpeace on board, we're just not quite sure how we’re going to use their iconic Rainbow Warrior to convince the FCC to say no to the Internet slow lane. If you have any ideas, be sure to drop them in the comments below.
That's right, the home of LOLCats on the Internet is passionate about keeping cuteness in your newsfeeds and on a level playing field with giant telecom conglomerates. Their official community blog has much to say on the subject, and is well worth a read. The company makes an impassioned plea for the free and open Internet, and I think they hit the nail on the head when they reference the recent Jon Oliver video, saying
"As John Oliver puts it, this is the moment the Internet has been training for. We're like millions of Ralph Macchio's, we’ve been waxing on and waxing off in preparation and now it's time to do some f-ing karate!"
(Oh, and just for fun, the Jon Oliver video is at the bottom of this post, in case you missed it.)
The Internet’s home for crocheted doilies, "vintage" clothes, and AllYouNeedIsPug has recently weighed in on the debate, by recognizing that its growth (and the growth of other innovative companies) relies on equal access to customers and community members. And Etsy's founder says it quite eloquently herself in the company’s official blog:
"Etsy’s continued growth depends on equal access to consumers. Any rule that allows broadband providers to negotiate special deals with some companies would undermine our and our sellers' ability to compete."
That's right: it's not just about a handful of little old ladies supplementing their pensions by selling knitted afghans. It's about preserving a platform that allows every little old lady a shot at greatness.
Where Do End Up?
So, yes, at the end of the day, the fight for the open Internet is about protecting the most revolutionary communications platform since Gutenberg’s printing press. And, yes, it's about safeguarding principles of openness that empower citizens everywhere to re-shape our culture, media and politics for a more just society.
But it's also about LOLcats. And doilies. And fart jokes. So, if you haven’t already, please join with the over 125,000 Internet users from around the world who have said NO to the Internet slowlane by signing on at https://OpenMedia.org/SlowLane
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