Netflix Neutrality

December 4th, 2010

Inspired by Netflix Partner Says Comcast Fee ‘Threatens’ Open Internet (New York Times 11/29/10), FCC chairman to propose plan for net neutrality (Washington Post 12/01/10), Net neutrality plan is ‘right there in the middle’ (Ezra Klein interview with author and Free Press chair Tim Wu, 12/04/10 5:17 p.m.), and’s campaign for net neutrality. 

Complex issues don’t get the public attention they deserve

Until they really strike a nerve.

Healthcare reform is a prime example;

Net neutrality is another sample.

It’s easy to influence public opinion

When people start out not having one.

Advertising is highly effective,

Especially when laced with vitriolic invective.

It’s even easier to influence policiticians

Attune to the campaign finance impact of their positions.

With net neutrality, Big Business enlists

The GOP to protect its interests.

Internet service providers want the government off their backs

So that they on content providers can impose their own tax.

They claim that high-bandwith content

Requires that they make additional investment.

They say therefor it’s only fair play

To make those content providers their share pay.

ISPs claim monetizing their position as gatekeeper

Will let them provide services cheaper.

Really that’s just an excuse

To let ISPs indulge in consumer abuse.

But if you believe what ISPs tell you,

I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Don’t fall for their “we do it all for you” line–

Any fees they charge will go straight to their bottom line.

But it’s not just consumers ISPs want to screw,

And this time, the screwees have lobbyists too.

Though ISPs have more money, lobbyists and politicians to pay,

The content providers have better PR and caché.

(Except of course with Fox’s audience,

Since Fox hews to its anti-Obama narrative and its own facts invents.)

That’s where Netflix enters the picture,

Lobbying Washington, free access to ensure.

Comcast is blocking Netflix in order to extort a fee

In addition to what users pay Comcast as their ISP.

The fee would also encourage people from Netflix to Comcast to switch,

And discourage other internet video competitors from filling the niche.

If ISPs want to charge high bandwith users more, that’s their business,

But it’s not OK for them to extort fees, competition to suppress.

So please protest Comcast’s attempt at unfair competition

By clicking here to sign this petition.


Here’s’s tutorial about net neutrality.


Here’s President Obama’s position on net neutrality.

Here’s Glenn Beck on net neutrality. Cenk does get one thing slightly wrong in his discussion of Comcast’s planned fee: the problem is not that Comcast is trying to differentially charge customers (i.e., endusers, which in my view would be bad business, but would be fair), its that Comcast is trying to charge content providers, who are not Comcast customers.

Here’s Fox’s Megan Kelly joining in the Foxist chorus on how net neutrality is somehow a fascist/socialist plot to take over the internet. She does let Free Press president Josh Silver talk for a few seconds, but won’t let him finish. Cenk again hits the nail on the head in his review, although he does seem to think that Comcast’s goal is to control content for political/ideological reasons, whereas I think they’re just doing it to fatten their bottom line and unfairly squeeze out competition.

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