Got an email late today about a concall being hosted by Moby - yes, Moby - Play, 18, etc. - about how musicians are banding together in an effort to keep the Internet open, accessible and democratic.
THE CALL IS TODAY - THURSDAY - AT 12:15 EST. SEE DETAILS AT THE END OF THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW TO RSVP AND DIAL IN. HOPE YOU CAN MAKE IT.
Pretty interesting stuff, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more voices like this from other corners of the arts world. Digital media is so disruptive, and Net Neutrality speaks to the essence of how important the Internet has become as a distribution channel and vital link between recording artists and their audience. Nobody has got this figured out yet, and much like what we saw with Napster, this is another step along the way to how IP is redefining an industry faster than anyone can comprehend.
Anyone who saw Michael Geist speak at the Mesh conference this week in Toronto will understand this totally.
The press release isn't up on their website yet, but here's the gist of it....
R.E.M. and Moby Speak Out for Internet Freedom, Against Corporate Web Takeover
Musicians band together to demand Net Neutrality with congressional showdown over the future of the Internet imminent
WASHINGTON -- Rock group R.E.M. is joining Moby and a growing list of musicians pushing Congress to protect the Internet from corporate takeover by AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other telecommunications giants.
Major artists and musicians are signing the "Artists and Musicians for Internet Freedom" petition -- joining Internet advocates, political groups on the right and left, consumer advocates, and more than 600 diverse organizations on the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. This coalition is uniting Internet users against a congressional proposal to gut Network Neutrality -- the Internet's First Amendment.
"This is yet another attempt by corporations and their congressional buddies to pull our society backward rather than moving us forward," Michael Stipe of R.E.M said. "These corporations are trying to set up tollbooths on the information superhighway. We need to keep Net Neutrality so the Internet remains a free and level playing field."
R.E.M. also blogged about this issue as the top item on their Web site, www.remhq.com.
Net Neutrality ensures that small music blogs and independent news sites open just as easily on people's computers as large corporate sites. Companies like AT&T are spending millions lobbying Congress to let them decide which Web sites work best based on which corporations pay them the most.
"If Congress guts Net Neutrality, independent music and news sites would be choked off, consumer choice would be limited, and the Internet will be become a private toll road auctioned off by companies like AT&T," warned Moby. "We need to stand up for Internet freedom now. Congress must uphold Network Neutrality."
Moby will join Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Internet, for a Net Neutrality event Thursday in Washington.
The Save the Internet.com Coalition -- an alliance of organizations from across the political spectrum, consumer groups, educators, small businesses and bloggers that have joined together to protect Internet freedom -- has galvanized support for Internet freedom from artists, musicians and hundreds of thousands of average citizens who will hold Congress accountable on this issue. Nearly 700,000 people have signed an Internet Freedom petition to Congress on the site, more than 7,000 friends have joined SavetheInternet.com's MySpace, and thousands of blogs have linked to the coalition.
R.E.M's announcement: www.remhq.com
SavetheInternet.com Coalition: www.savetheinternet.com
RSVP for Thursday's conference call with Moby to email@example.com
******CONFERENCE CALL WITH MOBY******
Date/Time: Thursday, May 18th - 12:15pm (EST)/9:15am (PST)
Participant Dial In: 1-800-905-0392 - Password: Net Neutrality
RSVP - firstname.lastname@example.org