Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4574
 
News Release: May 13, 2014
TV Showrunners, Creators Urge FCC to Preserve Open Internet 

LOS ANGELES -- As the head of the Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new rules that threaten an open Internet, content creators of both television and online series – all members of the Writers Guild of America, West – have sent a strong message to Chairman Tom Wheeler opposing any effort to weaken Net Neutrality.

More than 240 showrunners and creators signed on to a letter sent today to Mr. Wheeler imploring the Commission to keep the Internet free and open. Emphasizing the importance of an open Internet to free speech and competitive markets, they state in the letter, "The open Internet is the greatest technological catalyst to participatory democracy and free speech since the printing press. That’s why totalitarian states around the world try to control it."

"An open Internet has expanded the content marketplace, giving writers new ways to reach the public," said Jill Soloway, who signed the letter and whose series Transparent was picked up by Amazon earlier this year. "Now is the time to protect the Internet to ensure its enormous potential is accessible to as many people as possible."

Of particular concern to the Guild are proposed rules that allow Internet service providers to block content, charge for prioritization or otherwise discriminate in treatment of Internet traffic. The WGAW recently submitted comments to the FCC, which can be found here: http://www.wga.org/uploadedFiles/news_and_events/public_policy/Comments-WGAW-Matter-Open-Internet-Remand.pdf.

"The media business is experiencing new competition for the first time in decades, due entirely to an open Internet," said WGAW President and showrunner Chris Keyser. "Writers have new outlets such as Netflix and Amazon to sell to, and consumers have new video options to choose from. But this progress is threatened if the FCC adopts weak Net Neutrality rules that allow for paid prioritization and other discriminatory behavior."

Editor’s note: If you cannot view the attached letter click here.

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.