The merger between AOL & Time Warner will be approved -
BUT - the F.C.C. is going to require some form of open access.
The question is - open access for WHOM? Will the conditions
protect ONLY THE CORPORATIONS or will they also protect YOU
the END USER?
This is what AOL and Time Warner have to say about censorship
and speed capping:
IF TIME WARNER DETERMINES THAT THE SUBSCRIBER HAS FAILED TO
COMPLY WITH THE SERVICE'S STANDARDS OF CONDUCT OR LIMITS ON
BANDWIDTH UTILIZATION, TIME WARNER MAY SUSPEND SUBSCRIBER'S
ACCOUNT. TIME WARNER COMMUNICATIONS SHALL HAVE THE SOLE AND
UNREVIEWABLE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHETHER CONTENT VIOLATES
DID YOU KNOW:
AOL cancelled the account of the President of the Chemically
Disabled Americans - they said it was a commercial usage! The
president ran it from his bedroom. As a public service. His
comment expressing his outrage is contained in the F.C.C. file.
DID YOU KNOW:
These are the things that Colette Lantelme, Security Administrator
of Road Runner, claims are against the Road Runner Acceptable Use
1. Posting a message on any "For Sale" message board.
2. Listing a product on any Ebay, Ubid, or similar service. (Boy, is
EBAY gonna be PISSED!)
3. Announcing a job availability.
4. Replying to a job availability.
5. Mentioning that the user had tried any product and found
it satisfactory - or unsatisfactory.
6. Posting a message to any "personals" board.
7. Asking a user for a date.
8. Calling attention to any commercial or non-commercial
website, including personal websites provided as part
of the purchase price of the service sold by Time-Warner.
9. Calling attention to any IRC chat channel.
Want to say that Al Gore can't be elected because he is a democrat?
No problem! Want to say that Leiberman can't be elected because he
is Jewish? BANNED FROM AOL!
A very small effort on your part can well induce the F.C.C. to
outlaw this censorship and Speed Capping, and protect YOU as well
as the corporations. You have some powerful allies; Consumer's Union,
Disney, and many commercial software companies. Even the Attorney
General of the State of Connecticut is on YOUR side - you may read
their petitions at the link below.
But YOU MUST HELP!
You can F.I.L.E YOUR C.O.M.M.E.N.T IN THE O.F.F.I.C.I.A.L C.A.S.E FILE!
---> This is NOT merely a EMAIL message which will be ignored <---
Any response which you file will be an OFFICIAL document included in
the F.C.C. FILINGS!
It will appear in the OFFICIAL CASE FILE as a comment
read by ALL THE ATTORNEYS who are participating in the action, as well
as ALL THE F.C.C. C.O.M.M.I.S.S.I.O.N.E.R.S! It will remain there
FOREVER as part of the O.F.F.I.C.I.A.L R.E.C.O.R.D of the AOL - Time
Warner merger! With YOUR name on it!
Since this internet campaign started, approximately 250 comments have
been received by the F.C.C from individuals. (Some are funny as hell!)
We need twice that!
PLEASE - can you HELP PROTECT IRC and USENET? SEND the SAMPLE COMMENT
to the F.C.C!
The F.C.C. is on the verge of requiring the protections this letter asks
for. Your letter might PUSH THEM OVER THE EDGE and make the internet
a BETTER PLACE for EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO USENET AND IRC! This letter WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
if there are enough of them received by the F.C.C. If at least 500
letters are received, we can probably count on the F.C.C. to take decisive
action to prohibit both censorship and speed capping - and to protect
the users, not merely the corporations.
GET A CHAIN RESPONSE STARTED! I can do only so much. I can only post
to so many newsgroups - I can't do it alone. WE ALL NEED YOUR HELP!
Copy this message and post it to (at least) 3 newsgroups where it does
not appear! Then, Send this message by EMAIL to (at least) 5 friends!
If everyone does that, we can FLOOD THE F.C.C. with comments and THEY
The major ccorporations and the politicians are coonducting this merger
on their terms, for their benefit, and giving no thought whatsoever to
the users. They are all fighting over our dollars, but do they give any
concern whatsoever to us? Does a fish ride a bicycle?
They believe that the internet, which WE, not them, made great, is now
too valuable to be left the users. Their attitude is, "let them comment,
they don't count, they are not rich corporations, they are merely poor
users. Will YOU let them get away with this?
They can ignore 250 users. They can't ignore thousands of users.
Right now our comments, all 250 of them, are a minor agravation to
the "power structure." They have to wade through them to get to the
important stuff, the corporate, I.E. money, responses.
THOUSANDS OF COMMENTS ARE NOT AN AGRAVATION, THEY ARE A POLITICAL
PHENOMENON! DO YOUR PART!
LET THE F.C.C. know that THE INTERNET DOSEN'T STAND FOR ANY BULL! Tell
the F.C.C. I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!
The future of USENET and IRC depends on the F.C.C. forcing all ISP's
starting with Time Warner and AOL to recognize free speech and fair
marketing practices. PLEASE HELP!
TO FILE YOUR COMMENT WITH THE F.C.C:
1. Copy the letter to a file. You can put it on your letterhead
with MS Word or just use a text file. You can make any change to
the letter you want, or add any comment you have. CHANGES ARE GOOD!
They show you READ THE LETTER and REALLY CARE! If you had a bad
experience with AOL or Time Warner PUT IT IN!
2. go to:
(This is the official F.C.C. page where electronic filing of petitions
3. Fill out Cover sheet
Put your name, Address, Email address, and all other required
information on the form. (Remember this is an OFFICIAL FILING so
the F.C.C. requires this information. It is not published unless you
put it in the letter as well as the form)
00 - 30
(Leave out the spaces, they are there to get by the spam filter.
Put in the -)
(this is VERY IMPORTANT, it is the case number of the AOL TIME
WARNER APPLICATION for merger. If you get it wrong, your comment
WILL NOT BE FILED!)
4. Send Cover Sheet.
5. After you send the Cover Sheet, THEN select the filename of the
letter you are sending, and send that.
6. After you send the file, you will receive an official
confirmation of the filing from the F.C.C.
7. You can TYPE a comment instead of sending this sample comment, but
DON'T PASTE THE SAMPLE COMMENT into the Short Comment box - it
Comment will appear for all to read in about 4 hours
(but won't appear after business hours or on the weekend.)
8. If you want to see your letter, or read the other submissions,
other letters, the AOL petition, the Disney or Consumer's Union
objections, etc, here is the URL - Its long! Put in the case
number, 00 - 30 (no spaces) and nothing else.
IF YOU LIVE N A FOREIGN COUNTRY and wish to make a comment (This is a
world wide problem) the Cover Sheet will not accept your address. You
can do this: Enter your real name and address including country in
the address lines, but in the STATE box put CA and in the ZIP (first
field) put 90001. Ignore the 2nd zip field. Ignore the 2nd form, and
TYPE your SHORT COMMENT in the 3rd form. Please identify the country
you live in the message. Don't use the sample letter supplied
because it isn't appropriate for non-US residents.
***>Remember the FORM INFORMATION will NOT appear, only the letter.
NOTE: There is NO WORD WRAPPING on the letter below, to make it
easy for you to format so it may be hard to read until you copy it,
depending on your news reader.
To the FCC Commissioners
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am writing in response to the proposed merger of America Time Warner Communications. There are two elements in the proposal that greatly concern me. I would hope that the commissioners would carefully consider these in making their decisions.
The development and evolution of the Internet is a study in how a system without artificial limits can exceed anyone's expectations. The "rules of the road" for the information superhighway, such as they are, have been agreed upon by community consensus and is a marvelous example of market forces at work. One of the guiding principles which has evolved within this community is the open and free exchange of information, much as there is within the academic environment that fostered the early years of the Internet. The internet has always subscribed to and operated under the guarantees of the First amendment to the Constitution, without regard for questioning whether this was a legal requirement.
The proposed merger as set forth in proceeding # 00-30 will violate every principle of freedom of speech upon which the Internet has historically been based. Specifically, the combination of Time Warner and AOL will be powerful enough to establish the rules which everyone desiring high speed, and possibly any, access will be subject to, and those rules are truly alarming to those accustomed to freedom of the net. They state:
IF TIME WARNER DETERMINES THAT THE SUBSCRIBER HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE SERVICE'S STANDARDS OF CONDUCT OR LIMITS ON BANDWIDTH UTILIZATION, TIME WARNER MAY SUSPEND SUBSCRIBER'S ACCOUNT. TIME WARNER COMMUNICATIONS SHALL HAVE THE SOLE AND UNREVIEWABLE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHETHER CONTENT VIOLATES THESE STANDARDS.
This language is quite frightening, given that it grants license to censor to a corporate entity not to the common good, but to bottom line economic forces. Our guarantees under the constitution were designed by its authors to be beyond those forces for good reason. They recognized that such a fundamental right to freedom could never be effectively overseen by a purely commercial, or even political, entity. I believe that the Commissioners would be well served to remember that example, and move to insure that access cannot be denied to the internet by the gatekeeper based on the content of the speech of the user.
My second concern is related, although it could never have been foreseen by our founding fathers. Bandwidth is fundamental to the ability to communicate on the Internet. Here again, Time Warner Communication proposes to hold a noose around the available bandwidth, and, subject to their whim alone, choke off access to those they deem unacceptable.
Certainly this commission cannot order how much bandwidth they supply to their customer. But this commission can and should insure that any company, as a condition of the privilege of merger, deliver to their customers what they promise. A company which advertises and sells unlimited access, then terminates those who use this access, while retaining what, to them is the most profitable base, those who do not use this access, is defrauding the public.
I urge you, therefore, to consider these concerns in reaching your decision. The easy course will be to merely accede to the demands of the corporations. That, however, will require that someone eventually solve the problems that will inevitably result from that decision - and the person who must repair the damage may be you.
Thank you for your attention to my concerns.
----> YOUR NAME <----