why you should care about net neutrality

Hey all. Long time, no talk. I’d go into things that have been going on, but I’d rather get into the meat of this post. As the title says, we’re going to be going over net neutrality. For those who don’t know, “Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked” (Free Press, 2017). As you can see, this is something that impacts everyone. Imagine having to pay more just because you want to use YouTube or Netflix. Imagine an internet service provider blocking either of those because they don’t agree with their business decisions or something else arbitrary.

Sounds pretty terrible, yeah? It doesn’t get better. This isn’t my first time writing about net neutrality. I wrote an article on it in late July of 2009 while I was doing a blogging internship on the now defunct College Jolt. It focused in on an incident with AT&T and 4chan, which involved AT&T blocking access to /b/ and /r9k/ for AT&T users. It was an easy one for me to verify because we had AT&T internet at home. I don’t go to 4chan, but I found that I was irritated and angry that I was blocked just because AT&T didn’t agree with how 4chan did things. I’m sure there were more incidents before that, but this was the one that really brought net neutrality to my attention.

However, I’m going to be focusing on the effect this will have on content creators as I am, in fact, a content creator.

But LL, why are you just focusing on content creators if this affects everyone?

Because content creators, especially indie content creators, stand to lose everything if net neutrality is repealed.

For those who don’t know, I’m LL Lemke. I am an indie author, developer, and publisher. I’ve been working in content creation since 2010, my entire professional career. I love creating stories and sharing them with people, I love being able to provide other authors with a platform to share their speculative fiction stories, and I love working with other indie creators on various projects. It makes me happy and I’m starting to be able to build a more successful career around it. And that’s only possible because the internet isn’t restricted.

I utilize a variety of platforms to make my career successful (WordPress, CreateSpace, Lulu, tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, various IM programs). Being able to access these platforms is incredibly important for my career. In fact, I’d say that being able to access them makes or breaks my career.

Let’s say I can no longer access CreateSpace because it’s run by Amazon and our ISP has decided that Amazon is the devil and we can’t access it. This means that I don’t have the service I’ve used for publishing the paperback versions of my novels. This means I can’t access my kindle page as well. I would no longer be able to publish through Amazon. None of the other ebook publishing platforms are near as successful. My novels wouldn’t get exposure anymore.

Without WordPress I wouldn’t be able to reach the audience I’ve been creating for coming up on eight years. Without Lulu, I wouldn’t be able to use the service for publishing Unfading Daydream. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t be able to connect with other creators…and it goes on and on and on.

This is a lot about how it would impact me. Which is a lot.

This is also not going into the fact that information people view would be so easy to control without net neutrality.

Many other indie creators would be in my boat. And this isn’t just limited to those in the United States.

Imagine you’re an overseas creator and suddenly your YouTube views drop off the face of the planet because your American audience now has to pay extra to get to YouTube. Or isn’t allowed YouTube at all.

Taking away net neutrality would destroy independent content creators. People who have built their professional lives around the ability to network and share content would suddenly be hurting. A lot.

Oh…

The other thing?

The UN ruled that right to internet access is a human right. And that internet cannot be unreasonably restricted (Wikipedia, 2017).

If you aren’t angry about net neutrality being threatened, you should be. This would change everything for everyone.

~LL

Works Cited

 

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