Testifying on a bill that would set U.S. broadband policy and mandate an FCC study, RIAA chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol stated before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on Capitol Hill yesterday that it was "a touch premature" to pass the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008.
According to Billboard, “the bill, introduced in February by Subcommittee chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), would establish a federal broadband policy to, among other things, maintain the freedom to use broadband networks in a lawful manner without unreasonable interference or discrimination by network operators. It would also direct the FCC to conduct a proceeding, as well as public summits, to assess competition, consumer protection and consumer choice issues relating to broadband Internet access services. This could include the addition of quality-of-services charges for certain Internet applications and service providers.”
The bill is at the center of the controversial subject of so-called "net neutrality," inspiring claims that some Internet service providers (ISPs) block or control consumers' access to certain applications or content, like very large digital files. There have also been claims that some ISPs promote their own content -- thus discriminating against -- other content.
In responding to questions, Bainwol said that the current piracy situation in the music industry "comes close to crisis" but added that "we approach these issues with a sense of balance." Bainwol applauded the bill for what he saw as "clearly and directly articulating that unlawful activity can be dealt with by network management," but said the private marketplace should work for solutions before legislation.
In a written statement submitted to the Subcommittee, , "If effective marketplace solutions cannot be reached soon,” Bainwol said ina written statement, “then government regulation may well be necessary..."
Meanwhile, Walter McCormick, president/CEO of the U.S. Telecom Assn., testified against the bill, saying that it includes terms that are ambiguous, such as "unreasonably" and "discriminatory." He said the ambiguity "will chill innovation, investment, broadband deployment and job growth."
…and the battle rages on...
Billboard.biz: RIAA Chimes In On Net Neutrality