Online video stars mobilise for U.S. net neutrality




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Online video personalitiesLOS ANGELES – Online video personalities are joining together to advocate for equal treatment of Internet traffic, aiming to stop the U.S. government from allowing what they worry be fast and slow lanes for delivering content.

The video creators are signing an online petition that be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, which is now considering new “net neutrality” rules governing how broadband providers route Internet traffic. Some stars have posted videos about the issue to rally their legions of fans.

Internet campaigns have impacted policy issues in the past. In 2012, a massive online mobilization of Internet users and major websites helped sink anti-piracy legislation.

Organizers hope the new effort, which they are starting to publicize on Wednesday, raise the visibility of online video creators and the scope of their industry with regulators.

The top stars have built careers by posting videos on Google Inc’s and other platforms. While many aren’t mainstream celebrities, they reach millions of fans daily.

As of Wednesday, dozens of online personalities had joined the effort on www.videocreatorsfornetneutrality.org. Those creators represent more than 10,000 videos that have been viewed 5.2 billion times, according to the website.

“This is a huge community, and they will be massively impacted by this,” said Michael Weinberg, a vice president at consumer group Public Knowledge, one of the organizers behind the petition.

Another organizer is The Harry Potter Alliance, a group of fans advocate for social change. [eap_ad_2] The FCC’s proposal, while prohibiting Internet providers from blocking content, suggests allowing some “commercially reasonable” deals where content such as Netflix or Amazon.com could pay broadband providers such as Comcast Corp or Verizon Communications to ensure smooth and fast delivery of their web traffic.

Critics, which include Netflix, worry that such rules could result in “slow lanes” for content from sources that do pay. Video creators are concerned that such rules would limit the ability of independent producers to reach audiences.

The petitioners are asking the FCC to consider classifying Internet as a public utility, a step advocates would give the agency more power to stop net neutrality violators.

Among the advocates are stars Hank Green and his brother John Green, a novelist wrote the book that the basis for the hit movie “The Fault in Stars.”

In a video posted on their vlogbrothers channel, Hank Green stages a debate between himself as an Internet user, and himself as a representative of an Internet provider. The video has been viewed more than 512,000 times.

Hank Green said he decided to speak because “the Internet, and particularly the flat and neutral Internet, the most significant driver of new growth of the last 20 years,” and he doesn’t want new rules to interfere with that. (Reuters)[eap_ad_3]