Future of Music Coalition Strays into Fantasyland

Here’s an example of the kind of blatant falsehoods that Free Press and their ilk have been circulating about Internet regulation, from the Future of Music Coalition Blog:

Recently, Comcast blocked access to the legal, licensed audiovisual delivery service called Vuze — which competes with the company’s own AV offerings — simply because Vuze utilizes peer-to-peer technology to distribute its licensed content.

Excuse me, but no such thing happened. Vuze works fine on the Comcast network and always has. Vuze petitioned the FCC for a rule that would define network management in some specific terms, and did not themselves allege any blocking.

[UPDATE: FMC mentions this part of the Vuze filing: “. . . .Independent content creators who happen to be Comcast subscribers are not able to easily upload content to Vuze via the Comcast broadband network, frustrating their ability to distribute and possibly monetize their content.”

This supports their claim that Vuze alleged that Comcast blocked access to their service. However, Vuze’s claim is false, as they’ve failed to demonstrate a single case where a content provider was unable to upload to the Vuze servers. They have found that Comcast manages the rates at which unattended file servers can offer traffic to the Internet as a whole using certain P2P protocols. But content providers don’t rely on these protocols to place copies of their material on web sites such as YouTube and Vuze, and that’s the confusion. FMC clarifies that they aren’t “a membership organization” and therefore don’t actually represent any actual musicians. At the end of the day, this is another foundation-funded lobbying organization doing Google’s dirty work.]

This claim is a huge distortion of the facts, and it wasn’t confined to an obscure blog that nobody reads. It was published in Billboard, the entertainment industry’s weekly paper. It should be corrected both on the blog and in Billboard. Internet regulation is an important issue, and it should not be guided by blatant falsehoods.

Here’s what I asked them to do:

I think the point is this: before you advocate for regulatory or legislative solutions to alleged problems, you need to demonstrate that the problems are real. For an organization that claims to speak for musicians, this should be pretty easy: find a musician who has been prevented from distributed his or her product as a direct result of the actions of Comcast or any other ISP. This would be an abuse, and would warrant some sort of government action. But you haven’t offered any such evidence.

On the contrary, what you have offered as proof is one instance of an operator censoring content that it paid to distribute, not something that was merely transiting its system, and an allegation that something was happening that might have an effect on some un-named producer.

In fact the Vuze claim is grossly misleading. They found that the number of connections between a given source and multiple consumers was reduced. They did not find “blocking”, or outright prevention of content flow. And what they found had nothing to do with the prevention of publication.

Kindly show me a musician who has been harmed by Comcast, or admit that you can’t.

We’ll see if this comment is censored.

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