LOS ANGELES – Writers have joined the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to roll back the 2015 open Internet rules. More than 350 TV showrunners and series creators have signed a letter sent to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stating their strong opposition to his proposal to reclassify broadband Internet as an information service. Screen and TV writers are also making their voices heard by submitting individual comments to the Commission.
“I signed the letter because I've seen firsthand how the open Internet has created a multitude of opportunities for content creators,” said online series creator and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones, Twilight). “I also signed the 2014 letter we sent to former FCC Chairman Wheeler supporting the current rules. If Chairman Pai has his way and those rules are eliminated, there will be nothing to stop the big ISPs from abusing their power and undermining competition.”
For writers the open Internet has meant the emergence of more buyers competing for scripted content and new distribution outlets that can reach audiences around the world. It is expected that in 2017 Guild members will write as many as 100 original online series. If the 2015 open Internet rules are rescinded this dynamic growth in the digital video marketplace could come to a grinding halt. Chairman Pai’s proposal is to change the classification of broadband Internet from a public utility to an information service. This will severely limit the Commission’s ability to enforce any meaningful rules that protect the open Internet and would shift control of the content and information available to consumers online into the hands of a few giant corporate gatekeepers.
“Chairman Pai is advocating for the FCC to strip itself of its powers to protect the public interest,” said Ellen Stutzman, WGAW Senior Director of Public Policy and Research. “Americans need to rally once again and let the Commission know that this huge step backwards is totally unacceptable.”
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.