Moby to speak at D.C. rally on Net neutrality

Tech Culture

Grammy-nominated musician Moby plans to back up Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey on Thursday in a push to enact a federal Net neutrality mandate.

The politician and the pop star plan to headline a rally scheduled for 1 p.m. EST at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington D.C. The event is being put on by the Save the Internet Coalition, an alliance of groups ranging from the liberal to the conservative Gun Owners of America.

They're billing it as forum for promoting "Internet freedom" and protesting "corporate takeover." A "growing number of musicians," including rockers REM, have also begun signing their names to a petition in support of Net neutrality laws, according to a Save the Internet Coalition press release.

Net neutrality, a concept that critics charge isn't well-defined, centers on the idea that network operators should not be able to prioritize certain content or to require content providers to pay extra for the privilege of faster transmission.

Markey is one of the authors of an that, among other things, would bar broadband providers from blocking, impairing, degrading, discriminating against or interfering with Web content and applications. (Network operators have maintained repeatedly that they have no intention of carrying out such activity.)

Network operators like AT&T and Verizon have said they deserve the right to charge extra to content providers for the privilege of sidestepping the public Internet in order to manage their networks and to offset the vast investments they're making in building out more advanced networks.

Markey's proposal is almost identical to an amendment that failed twice in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which ultimately approved a proposed rewrite of the nation's telecommunications laws last month.

That larger bill has stalled since then in large part because of its treatment of Net neutrality. The House Judiciary Committee has indicated that it wants a hand in drafting laws in that area, but no determination has been made on how such action would proceed.

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