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    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Newswire: Internet Sold Out By House, Exclusive Song, Petitions & Letters Delivered

    Ben Scott
    Communications Director, Free Press
    (202) 265-1490 ext 23

    House Ignores Public, Sells Out the Internet through Passage of COPE Act

    Net Neutrality Advocates Look to Senate to Save Internet Freedom

    WASHINGTON -- June 8, 2005 -- Today the US House passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE) without meaningful network neutrality provisions promoted by the diverse, right-left www.savetheinternet.com coalition of public interest and business groups.

    The 152 to 269 vote coincides with a massive lobbying effort by telephone companies to enter the national television market and prevent preservation of network neutrality requirements.

    "Special interest advocates from telephone and cable companies have flooded the Congress with misinformation delivered by an army of lobbyists to undermine decades-long federal practice of prohibiting network owners from discriminating against competitors to shut out competition. Unless the Senate steps in, today's vote marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as an engine of new competition, entrepreneurship and innovation," said Consumers Union Senior Policy Analyst Jeannine Kenney.

    "The American public favors an open and neutral Internet and does not want gatekeepers taxing innovation and throttling the free market," said Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press. "The House has seriously undermined access to information and democratic communication. Despite the revisionist history propagated by the telcos and their lobbyists, until last year, the Internet had always been a neutral network. It is the central reason for its overwhelming success. This issue is not about whether or not the government will regulate the Internet. It's about whether consumers or cable and phone companies will decide what services and content are available on the Net."

    The grass-roots coalition backing network neutrality includes more than 700 groups, 5,000 bloggers and 800,000 individuals who have rallied in support of net neutrality at http://www.savetheinternet.com. The coalition is left and right, public and private, commercial and noncommercial. Supporters of net neutrality include the Christian Coalition of America, MoveOn.org, National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association, AARP, ACLU, and every major consumer group in the nation. It includes the founders of the Internet and hundreds of companies that do business online.

    "This is not Google vs. AT&T," said Mark Cooper, Director of Research at Consumers Federation of America. "CFA has been battling to keep the phone companies from putting tollbooths on the Internet since the early 1980's, but now every business and every consumer that uses the Internet has a dog in the fight for Internet Freedom. This coalition will continue to grow, millions of Americans will add their voices, and Congress will not escape the roar of public opinion until Congress passes enforceable net neutrality."

    The battle for Net Neutrality -- or Internet freedom -- now moves to the Senate, where there is significantly stronger bipartisan support. Senators Snowe (R-Maine) and Dorgan (D-N.D.) have introduced the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006" that enjoys the strong support from the SaveTheInternet coalition.


    Craig Aaron
    Communications Director, Free Press
    (202) 265-1490 ext 25

    Scott Goodstein
    (202) 256-8320

    SavetheInternet.com Releases Exclusive Song About Internet Freedom

    Supergroup of singer-songwriters urges fans to take action before Congress scraps Net Neutrality and harms independent music

    WASHINGTON -- June 12, 2005 -- Independent singer-songwriters Jill Sobule, Kay Hanley (founder of the band Letters to Cleo) and Michelle Lewis have "banded" together to show the importance of Internet freedom to new and independent artists.

    Download the song at www.SavetheInternet.com/broadband.

    The trio's new supergroup – dubbed "The Broadband" – today released a new song to promote "Net Neutrality," the fundamental principle protecting a free and open Internet, which is threatened by legislation in Congress. The song, "God Save the Internet," can be downloaded for free exclusively at www.SavetheInternet.com/broadband

    "While 'God Save the Internet' is tongue-in-cheek, it's scary because it's true," said Jill Sobule. "The telecommunications industry is really trying to destroy our Internet. Take action now while you still can."

    The Broadband's new song arrives at a critical juncture for Internet freedom. On June 8, the House of Representatives passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act without including any meaningful Network Neutrality provisions. The Senate will take up this crucial issue over the next few weeks.

    "The idea that the citizens of the world are somehow squatting on the telecom giants' pipes is ludicrous," said Kay Hanley, founder of the alternative rock band Letters to Cleo. "I found out what these guys were up to, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. This is a fight for our generation, if ever there was one."

    The SavetheInternet.com Coalition is a broad, grassroots effort that has brought together more than 700 groups, 5,000 bloggers, and nearly a million people who have signed petitions and sent letters to Congress in support of Internet freedom. Members of the coalition, which is being coordinated by Free Press, include MoveOn.org, the Christian Coalition, Consumers Union, the National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    To listen to "God Save the Internet" or learn more about how Network Neutrality affects artists and musicians, visit www.SavetheInternet.com/broadband

    One Million Americans Urge Senate to Save the Internet

    Grassroots Coalition Calls on Senators to Heed Growing Public Outcry for Net Neutrality Legislation

    Capitol Hill Event Gathers Broad Bipartisan Support for the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act"

    WASHINGTON (June 14) -- The SavetheInternet.com Coalition today delivered more than 1 million petitions and letters from average Americans to Capitol Hill, urging Congress to protect Net Neutrality and stand firm against efforts by phone and cable companies to control the Internet.

    At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) called upon their colleagues to heed the public outcry and support the "Internet Freedom and Preservation Act" (S. 2917), a bipartisan bill that would bar companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from blocking, degrading or interfering with content or services on the Internet.

    "The idea that brings us together is a free and unfettered Internet," said Senator Snowe. "It's vital we preserve, not undermine, the extraordinarily democratic technological network - over which content providers from the largest corporations in the biggest cities in the world to single individuals in rural towns have equal opportunity to reach millions of Internet users."

    "It's essential that we preserve Internet freedom," said Senator Dorgan. "The open architecture which now exists, and which allows everyone fair access to any site on the Internet, without gatekeepers, must be preserved. That is what our bill would do - preserve Internet freedom, which is at the very core of what makes the Internet so important, and something that enriches the lives of millions of Americans."

    The million petition signatures and letters were collected via the SavetheInternet.com Coalition Web site and by members of the coalition, including Free Press, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Common Cause, Consumers Union, True Majority and Working Assets.

    "Net Neutrality has allowed the Internet to become the new public square, where everyday people can participate in our democracy and have their voices heard," said Joan Blades, the co-founder of MoveOn.org. "We cannot let the Internet gatekeepers decide who gets into the public square -- everyone from MoveOn to the Christian Coalition should get in, so the best ideas can thrive based on their merit. The SavetheInternet.com Coalition will intensify our grassroots pressure on the Senate to assure that Internet freedom is preserved and Net Neutrality remains the law of the land."

    Blades was joined at the press conference by fellow coalition member Michele Combs of the Christian Coalition of America, who told reporters: "We're committed to working on behalf of our supporters to ensure that the Internet remains the free marketplace of ideas, products, and services that it is today. We urge the Senate to move aggressively to save the Internet and allow ideas to thrive on the World Wide Web, and we will do our part to make certain our supporters get that message."

    The more than 750 groups in the SavetheInternet.com Coalition include the National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association, Educause, Gun Owners of America, Future of Music Coalition, Parents Television Council, the ACLU, and every major consumer group in the nation. The coalition also includes the founders of the Internet, hundreds of small companies that do business online, and thousands of bloggers.

    "More than 1 million Americans are speaking out today on behalf of Internet freedom," said Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, which coordinates the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. "Yet Congress still could cave to corporate pressure by rewriting laws and handing over control of the Internet to corporations like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. The Senate must step in to defend the Internet from gatekeepers who plan to tax innovation and throttle the free market."

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