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Copy of the text I sent to the FCC about the dangers posed by the proposed 2014 net neutrality regulations to the museum community. July 15, 2014
Hey, kids. I don’t do this on kovenjsmith dot com very often, but this is really, really important. The FCC has extended the deadline to comment on its proposed regulations on ending Net Neutrality (or as John Oliver puts it so well, “preventing cable company f*ckery “) to July 18th.
In all the discussions on this, I’ve so rarely seen the museum/non-profit perspective presented–it is extremely important that you add your voice to this discussion, even if you just add a few words. If you’re unclear on this issue, Titus Bicknell addresses it from the museum perspective really succinctly in the “Net Neutrality” episode of Museopunks . Please, please, please–go now and tell the FCC to stop the madness .
Here’s the comment I sent:
I am Koven J. Smith, consultant for museums and former Director of Technology at the Denver Art Museum and manager of digital initiatives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. As someone who has experienced firsthand the direct benefits that an open internet conveys on resource-poor institutions like museums, I implore you to re-consider this destructive course of action.
Much of the discussion around the proposed FCC regulations has focused on the deleterious impact they would have on startup businesses and other emerging profit-based entities, but the effects of the proposed regulations on the museum community are potentially even more devastating. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums collectively form the cultural backbone of the United States. Without them, a significant portion of the United States’ cultural memory would cease to exist. In fighting with for-profit media and entertainment companies for attention and dollars, cultural institutions have but one competitive advantage: the richness of the content they produce.
The proposed regulations, which would almost certainly ensure that all but the largest cultural institutions remain in the internet “slow lane,” would effectively remove that competitive advantage. Companies and institutions that are able to pay to give their content preferred access to ISP subscribers will win. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums will lose.
This will have the unfortunate effect of gradually destroying these cultural institutions. The ability of an institution to generate attention via online channels and the financial health of that institution are tightly coupled. The proposed regulations would not only affect cultural institutions’ online presences, they would, over time, lead to closure after closure.
Please reconsider the proposed regulations, and keep the internet open. Thank you.