An Open Letter to Hip Hop About Net Neutrality
by Davey D
original article-June 09, 2006
Dear Folks who say they Love Hip Hop
I wish there was a way to make this issue of Net Neutrality more interesting. I wish there was a way to spice it up and make it compelling like some sort of beef within the rap industry. Maybe I should get Brad and Angelina to talk about it instead of their baby. Maybe Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton can utter a few words and force us to take more of an interest.
I wish Cam’ron spent his vast money holding press conferences, dissing punk ass Congress for taking tainted money from Verizon, SBC, and Comcast instead of going after Jay-Z. Im glad Jay-Z ignored Camron, unfortunately he remained silent as the President of Def Jam on this important issue. We’ll see what happens after Def Jam finds it difficult or too costly to send out their e-post cards alerting me and others of their latest releases
Im sorry Miss Jones on Hot 97 was so upset and enraged that she felt compelled to make headlines calling Mary J Blige a bitch for not shouting her out at last weeks Summer Jam. Its too bad that she didnt use her 3-4 hours a day of airtime in the nations largest city to call the greedy Congress people who accepted money from these corporations Bitches. There aint gonna be any shout outs if the Senate follows Congress in passing this bill. Maybe she’ll step it up when her parent company Emmis finds that folks from all over the country can no longer easily access their archived interviews on their website.
Shyt I’m sorry Oprah was too busy telling Ed Lover that she really does love Hip Hop and that she listens to 50 Cent and his violent ass all damn day instead of alerting her millions of viewers about the issue of Net Neutrality.
Im sorry that KRS-One and others used these Internet airways to tell us about the Hip Hop Nation they want to build, but didnt issue a call to action to protect a main arm of our communication. Whether you’re a Hip Hop or Rap Lover the elimination of Net Neutrality is gonna impact you..
Here’s what’s happening folks. The house has gone passed the COPE bill and rejected proposals to insure Net Neutrality. Those who sided with the Comcast and Verizon are well aware that the ability of ordinary people to communicate to the masses is a problem because its been the only thing holding them accountable. For the last 5 years, the biggest stories about government corruption, corporate swindles, global warming and no weapons of Mass Destruction has come through Internet bloggers who were able to push an issue to the masses and force Fox, CNN and other News outlets to pay some sort of attention.
Anyone who is an activist and championed causes ranging from Election fraud and Diebold Machines, police brutality Freeing Mumia, Global warming, Media Reform and Saving the South Central Farm in LA just to name a few this is will especially hit you hard, because the Internet and its neutrality provisions have enabled many of us to counter biased mainstream media outlets get information out about particular causes all over the world.
Yesterday that ability took one step closer to coming to an end. The mantra being sung on Capitol Hill is Shut it down, Shut that shyt down and redirect traffic to a handful of places and media outlets that they can influence and control.
Like Ice Cube said ‘Laugh Now and Cry Later’, because many of us will soon be crying when we see the Internet gets parceled up and we start paying outrageous tolls for basic amenities. And speaking of which why didn’t Ice Cube talk about this issue instead of not being invited on Oprah?
Anyway your next steps should you choose is to call your Senator’s office and tell them to stand up and protect your interests. Ignoring this, waiting for others to take on your responsibility or acting like the issue will simply go away will not change this.
While many of you may shrug this off and think it doesn’t apply to you, stop and think of all the activities you do on the daily that involve the Internet. Such activities range from using phone cards which use Internet connections-(Many of y’all didn’t realize that) on down to peeping your favorite blog… Many of y’all like to surf and check out my site, AllHipHop, Sohh, HipHopGame etc.. Folks that shyt is about to change in a big, big ,big way.
You’re soon gonna be left with only being able to peep monthly issues of The Source and XXL, who neglected to address this issue. The Source bypassed this in their Media Watch column and Elliot Wilson from XXL obvious saw his shyt talking editorials as more important then keeping you informed. I guess I can understand, all these Hip Hop Internet websites were eating into business.
All you artists who felt like you can easily get your music out there via Myspace and the other sites, that’s about to change Oh yeah lets not forget the punk ass RIAA who like to sue everybody. They stayed silent on this and in fact while all this is going on they have quietly lobbying Congress to change laws so that they can fundamentally change the copyright laws in such a way that it will make it damn near impossible to pass things around via the net. Please read about this here:
Shame on former Black Panther, Congressman Bobby Rush for selling us out and supporting these corporations. Shame on the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and any other Civil Rights group pretending to represent our interests while selling us out and taking the money to front for these groups. And while Im glad former Congressman Ron Dellums did well in his Mayoral bid in Oakland, we should not forget that hes also a lobbyist with one of his main clients being Verizon so shame on him as well. How’s Oakland gonna be a world class city that is a beacon for new technology and innovation when his client is one of the main people trying to shut down the Internet?
In closing I’m gonna say this and it may be sobering for some… It’s what my pops told me after I got caught fuccing up and then went home and tried to kiss up to him so I wouldn’t get in trouble. He told me to stop acting like a wuss and start acting like a man. He told me it was time I grow up and accept responsibility. He then punished me for 3 weeks not for the fucc up, but for me trying to kiss his ass instead of owning up to my mistakes. This is about to happen to all of us…
My point is this. Hip Hop is over 30 years old. We’re not kids no more. This industry is not run by kids. To not involve ourselves in shaping the institutions that we rely on to get our information and music out is irresponsible. Thats some thing to pond about. Here’s another breakdown on this issue courtesy of www.playahata.com
Peace out for now
House Rejects Net Neutrality
The First Amendment of the Internet the governing principle of net neutrality, which prevents telecommunications corporations from rigging the web so it is easier to visit sites that pay for preferential treatment took a blow from the House of Representatives Thursday.
Bowing to an intense lobbying campaign that spent tens of millions of dollars and held out the promise of hefty campaign contributions for those members who did the bidding of interested firms the House voted 321 to 101 for the disingenuously-named Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE). That bill, which does not include meaningful network-neutrality protections creates an opening that powerful telephone and cable companies hope to exploit by expanding their reach while doing away with requirements that they maintain a level playing field for access to Internet sites.
“Special interest advocates from telephone and cable companies have flooded the Congress with misinformation delivered by an army of lobbyists to undermine decades-long federal practice of prohibiting network owners from discriminating against competitors to shut out competition. Unless the Senate steps in, (Thursday’s) vote marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as an engine of new competition, entrepreneurship and innovation.” says Jeannine Kenney, a senior policy analyst for Consumers Union.
In case there was any question that Kenney’s assessment was accurate, the House voted 269-152 against an amendment, offered by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, which would have codified net neutrality regulations into federal law. The Markey amendment would have prevented broadband providers from rigging their services to create two-tier access to the Internet with an “information superhighway” for sites that pay fees for preferential treatment and a dirt road for sites that cannot pay the toll.
After explicitly rejecting the Markey amendment’s language, which would have barred telephone and cable companies from taking steps “to block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to accessservices over the Internet,” the House quickly took up the COPE legislation.
The bill drew overwhelming support from Republican members of the House, with the GOP caucus voting 215-8 in favor of it. But Democrats also favored the proposal, albeit by a narrower vote of 106 to 92. The House’s sole independent member, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, a champion of internet freedom who is seeking his state’s open Senate seat this fall, voted against the measure.
Joining Sanders in voting against the legislation were most members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including its co-chairs, California Representatives Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, as well as genuine conservatives who have joined the fight to defend free speech and open discourse on the internet, including House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, and Intelligence Committee chair Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan.
The left-meets-right voting in the House reflected the coalition that has formed to defend net neutrality, which includes such unlikely political bedfellows as the Christian Coalition of America, MoveOn.org, National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association, the American Association of Retired People, the American Civil Liberties Union and all of the nation’s major consumer groups.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, opposed COPE, while House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, were enthusiastically supported it.
Among the Democrats who followed the lead of Hastert and Boehner as opposed to that of Pelosi were House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Maryland Representative Ben Cardin, who is running for that state’s open Senate seat in a September Democratic-primary contest with former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. Illinois Democrat Melissa Bean, who frequently splits with her party on issues of interest to corporate donors, voted with the Republican leadership, as did corporate-friendly “New Democrats” such as Alabama’s Artur Davis, Washington’s Adam Smith and Wisconsin’s Ron Kind all co-chairs of the Democratic Leadership Council-tied House New Democrat Coalition.
The fight over net neutrality now moves to the Senate, where Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan have introduced legislation to codify the net neutrality principles of equal and unfettered access to Internet content into federal law. Mark Cooper, the director of research for the Consumers Federation of America, thinks net neutrality will find more friends in the Senate, at least in part because the “Save the Internet” coalition that has grown to include more than 700 groups, 5,000 bloggers and 800,000 individuals is rapidly expanding.
“This coalition will continue to grow, millions of Americans will add their voices, and Congress will not escape the roar of public opinion until Congress passes enforceable net neutrality,” says Cooper.
Cooper’s correct to be more hopeful about the Senate than the House. But the House vote points up the need to get Democrats united on this issue. There’s little question that a united Democratic caucus could combine with principled Republicans in the Senate to defend net neutrality. But if so-called “New Democrats” in the Senate side with the telephone and cable lobbies, the information superhighway will become a toll road.