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:
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.
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.
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!
The FCC 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!
PLEASE - can you HELP PROTECT IRC and USENET? SEND the SAMPLE COMMENT
to the F.C.C!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO USENET AND IRC! This letter WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
if there are enough of them received by the FCC. If at least 500
letters are received, we can probably count on the FCC 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.
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 FCC 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 FCC 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 FCC 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 FCC.
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 Commissioners:
The Internet is an international community. It is America's gift to the world. It is a gift that will, sooner or later, touch the life of every citizen of every country. It will likely be the greatest force for freedom the world has ever seen. Where there is freedom of speech, no other freedom can be far behind.
Gentlemen, what would be your reaction if I were to suggest that you institute the following rule?
IF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DETERMINES THAT THE SUBSCRIBER HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE SERVICE'S STANDARDS OF CONDUCT OR LIMITS ON BANDWIDTH UTILIZATION, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY SUSPEND SUBSCRIBER'S ACCOUNT. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SHALL HAVE THE SOLE AND UNREVIEWABLE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHETHER CONTENT VIOLATES
It is obvious that the courts would not allow you to make such a rule. If the courts did not intervene, the Congress would. And if the congress did not, there would be a major revolt among the general internet population.
But you may be making exactly such a rule - not by mandating it, but by failing to prohibit it - because, of course, the hypothetical, and ridiculous, rule is merely the current standard of Time Warner. And I believe, or at least hope, that my comment is the beginning of that interet revolution.
There was a time when you believed that market forces would sufficiently protect the internet; and the internet community applauded your action. If there is anything the internet community despises more than rules, it is only the loss of freedom to speak one's mind.
But the internet community has recognized that there are now no market forces at work. There is only the AOL - Time Warner megalith. They, in high speed access, are the only game in town. We, the internet community, must recognize that it is only the rules we so despise that will protect our freedom.
There has been much discussion that AOL and Time Warner are merely protecting their customers by institutions such restrictive regulations. Our founding fathers long ago wisely decided that the only thing worse than freedom of speech was the lack of it. Would that there were some way to outlaw only BAD speech - but experience has shown that it is impossible to keep from throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Consider this; AOL and Time Warner are aptly called gatekeepers. They have the power, now, today, to terminate my account for posting this message. And they may do just that. Both Time Warner and AOL have the sole and unreviewable right to determine whether content OF THIS COMMENT violates THEIR - not your - standards. Does a criticism of Time Warner violate their standards? Do you know? More to the point, do you CARE?
Worse, they have the power to keep me from accessing the United States Government computers, including your site. Do you want them to have that power? Yes, they would NEVER do that. Today. How about tomorrow? Do you REALLY want Time Warner and AOL to control the gateway to the United States Government? If they do, ask yourself this - who will be the government, and who will be the governed?
Gentlemen, there is no way to outlaw only bad speech; so you must insure that no speech is outlawed.
Thank you for your attention to my comments.
----> YOUR NAME <----