Skip to main content

Writers: Open Net Does Not Equate With Piracy

The Writers Guild of America East told the FCC Tuesday that
it does not believe an open Internet is the same thing as waving a surrender
flag in front of digital pirates.

That came in a filing at the FCC on its proposed network
neutrality rules.

WGAE said that allowing "major commercial
entities" to restrict access to certain programming is the way to control
piracy. "Everyone opposes car theft but no one proposes that we restrict
access to the highways," the writers said with an appropriately
well-turned phrase. "Fighting piracy is an important task for law
enforcement agencies. It is not grounds for restricting content creators'
access to the Internet."

WGAE echoed its previous support for network neutrality
rules, telling the commission that it was particularly supportive of the
principle preventing blocking of access to "lawful content" and the
one requiring like treatment of "lawful content," applications and

Writers and independent producers have argued that allowing
traditional media powerhouses to control distribution of online content would
be shutting off one of the last spigots for independently created TV shows and

"We believe people would benefit from an Internet that
offers a greater variety of options than what is currently available on
television, radio, and the movie theater," WGAE wrote in its comments.
"Digital technology presents a vast range of possibilities to content creators
and consumers alike, and it would be a tragedy to squeeze all of that into a
narrow commercial band.  Unless the Commission codifies the six
principles, a relatively small number of major institutions might also come to
control access to content on the Internet - big studios, network providers, or
application and service providers."