1,000,000 Americans fight for a Free Internet! sign now

We must protect the internet now! Our internet is under seige and only you can strive to protect it. If you've heard of COPE you know what I'm talking about. If not below you can read what it is all about. Personally I'm most concerned about it because it will tax and restrict the internet for small businesses like myself owning Archmaille Designs and of other small internet groups like my cousin Jordan Mackey This kind of outrage could devestate our system of Capitolism only giving the big fish the power. Please read below and sign this petition!

House Passes
Controversial COPE Telecom Bill, Rejects Amendment to Protect Net


Democracy Now!, June 9, 2006

The House voted on legislation yesterday that could determine the
future of the internet and public access television in this country.
In a vote of 321 to 101, the House voted to pass the Communications
Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, known as the COPE bill.
This controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone
and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital
communications service as private networks, free of policy
safeguards or governmental oversight. The bill would effectively end
what is known as net neutrality which is the concept that that
everyone, everywhere, should have free, universal and
non-discriminatory access to the Internet. The bill would also cut
back the obligation of cable TV companies to devote channels to
public access and fund the facilities to run them. And the COPE bill
would replace local cable franchises with national franchises.

Democratic Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey had proposed an
amendment to the COPE bill that would have included stiff net
neutrality regulations and prevented broadband providers from
treating some Internet sites differently from others but the
amendment was rejected.

* Rep. Ed Markey (D MA), speaking on the House floor, June 8th,

Opposition to the COPE bill came from all corners. The Save The
Internet coalition, representing musicians, special interest
groups, bloggers, and others, delivered almost 800,000 petition
signatures to Congress in favor of net neutrality. Internet
companies have also spoken out against provisions in the bill.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of the search engine Google, met with
members of the Commerce Committee to explain the importance of net
neutrality for promoting Internet commerce and the CEO of E-bay Meg
Whitman took the unusual step of personally e-mailing the auction
sites users to ask their support for promoting net neutrality
protections. eBay stated that the e-mail reached over a million

* Anthony Riddle, executive director of the Alliance for Community

AMY GOODMAN: This is Congressman Markey speaking from the House
floor yesterday.

CONGRESSMAN MARKEY: Let me just make this point once again. The Bell
companies had nothing to do with the creation of the Internet. The
Bell companies had nothing to do with the development of the World
Wide Web. The Bell companies had nothing to do with the browser and
its development. In fact, AT&T was asked if they wanted to build the
Internet, the packet-switched network in 1966. They turned the
contract down when the government went to them. And so a company
named BB&N, Bolt, Beranek, & Newman got the contract, a very small
company not AT&T. They had nothing to do with the development of
the Internet, but now, at this late date, they want to come in and
to create these bottleneck control points that allow them to extract
Internet taxes, Internet fees from companies and individuals who
have been using the Internet for a generation. It is this absence of
non-discriminatory language in the Managers Amendment and in the
bill to which I object.

AMY GOODMAN: Were joined by Anthony Riddle. Hes the executive
director of the Alliance for Community Media. Welcome to Democracy
Now! Is net neutrality over?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: No, Id say that were halfway to the apocalypse
right now. Theres been a fairly bad bill for the Internet and for
public media that has gone through the House. Its the COPE Act, and
it was passed in the dead of night last night, 3-1 margin.
Effectively, it continues this sort of decision that was made by the
Supreme Court last year in August which changed the Internet
fundamentally. Before that time, it was understood that all data on
the Internet was to be treated equally and that nobody was to block
any information going from anyone to anyone. With the Supreme Court
decision in last nights bill, the companies that operate the wires
or fibers that bring the Internet to and from your house have the
ability to offer preferential treatment for pay, and also to block
any content that they deem opposing their business interests.

AMY GOODMAN: So users already pay Internet service per month. So
this does the other end, the content providers, people who put up
websites would also have to pay?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: No, they actually pay already now. You know, if you
have a website, you have to pay for space on the website and you
have to pay for a pipeline for people to reach, and however big that
pipeline is for people to come to your web site, that determines how
many people can access your webstreams or whatever. So people are
paying on both ends already. What theyre trying to do right now is
get people to pay for the middle, so that you can pay for an EZ-Pass
lane if youre Disney and have a lot of money, and if you dont,
then youre going to have to sit in the long lines waiting to go
through the toll booth.

AMY GOODMAN: Is this Senate going to approve this kind of bill?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: Theres a set of bills in the Senate that are very
similar. Theres some differences or whatever. What the Senate will
have to do is pass a bill and then the two houses will have to get
together and do what they call a conference committee. Since both
of those houses are controlled by the same party, you know, with
large majorities, they can actually change the bills in toto in this
conversation. They dont have to stick to the bills that were
actually passed. They can add anything or take anything out as long
as both houses agree.

AMY GOODMAN: So what is your hope for the Senate?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: This is what I hope: what I hope is that the people
who are within the range of this program and all over the United
States will check in on this matter. This is of vital importance. We
need every kind of community organization that is organized to check
in and say that they oppose the Internet being controlled the way
that its being proposed to be controlled, and that public media
like PEG Public, Educational, and Government access needs to
have the kind of funding that its had and that it needs to survive.
That we need to be able to have the kind of channel capacity that we
need in the future, because this is this bill is really for the
long distant future.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, these are two separate issues. One is net
neutrality and the Internet, and the other is public access and
saving it, and theyre together in the COPE bill or whatever version
will also be in the Senate. So what has happened with access now?
You were protesting at Congressmember Sheila Jackson Lees offices.

ANTHONY RIDDLE: Well, there was an amendment added to the COPE Act
at the last minute, which would have allowed half of public access
funding to be taken to provide an incentive for women and minority
owners of small cable systems, which is really a good issue, and it
was well-intended, but I think Jackson Lee didnt quite understand
what was at stake, that public access, for instance, has the most
female subjects, female-run produced programming, the most managers,
the same with minorities. This is where we go, you know, to get our
message out because we cant get it out anywhere. When she
understood that, she very graciously agreed to withdraw the bill
with the idea that Congressman Markey and Dingle and some of the
others would help to address this issue in a different way. But we
averted losing half of P.E.G. funding just last night, just before
the vote.

AMY GOODMAN: You were in the gallery when Markey was making a
statement and the vote.

ANTHONY RIDDLE: Yes. He made a very impassioned statement. It was
really good. Its such a contrast to see Markey making this
statement about freedom and understanding and how people ought to be
able to interact, and then to see the other side making these
impassioned pleas that we should pass this plea, because what the
American people need is $20 off of their cable TV bill.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, wasnt it Mike McCurry, the former spokesperson
for President Clinton, who really was the front man, the
spokesperson for the key lobbyist for a kind of Astroturf campaign
where progressive bloggers had ads on their websites that said, you
know, stop government interference or regulation of the Internet.

ANTHONY RIDDLE: This is yeah, youre right, and this is like 1984.
If theyre saying stop government interference, what they really
mean is we want interference. Its just like the clean air act. Its
been amazing. You know, Ive known how the government ran for a long
time, but I never really understood the power of money. In
California, where theres a similar bill being offered at the state
level, the telephone company bought every single lobbyist in the
state. When the Cable Television Association went to get a lobbyist,
there was not a lobbyist to be found, not even for them. When we
talk about over on the hill, Verizon had over 200 lobbyists, just on
this bill. Thats not even talking about AT&T. Theyve bought every
single person they could work on.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think this is payoff to the telecoms for
cooperating with the government and the N.S.A., and handing over the
phone logs of tens of millions of Americans?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: I dont want to sound cynical, but I think thats
absolutely what happened. I think, you know, the government goes and
they say, you know, weve got this massive legislation thats really
important to you, this is what you really want, you wrote it, we can
pass it, this is what we need of you. You bring up a really good
point, because what were talking about is handing over the complete
communication system to people who have no regard for your privacy,
who will hand stuff over without warrant or anything. I think people
really need to be up in arms about this.

AMY GOODMAN: When does the Senate vote?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: We keep hearing different things, its hard to tell.
I know they all want to get out before summer starts so that they
can get back and campaign, because its campaign season. But if the
people check in really heavily on net neutrality, on public access

AMY GOODMAN: Where do they find that information?

ANTHONY RIDDLE: They can go to the Alliance website, which is
www.alliancecm.org, they can
go to www.saveaccess.org,
and they can also go to the Free Press site, which is Save the
Internet. We implore all organizations weve even got the
Christian Coalition and the N.R.A. involved in this, because
everybody understands that if you have anything thats remotely not
mainstream, that this can be blocked if these measures go through.

AMY GOODMAN: Anthony Riddle, I want to thank you very much for being
with us, executive director of the Alliance for Community Media.

This article is from

Democracy Now!. If you found it informative and valuable, we
strongly encourage you to visit their website and register an
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Derrick MossBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
U.S. Senate


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