Just over a year ago, the Free Speech Coalition warned about the ways in which a conservative administration could use legislation and deregulation to censor adult businesses. That battle is here, and about to intensify.
FSC is calling on its members to vociferously and actively oppose the recent move by the FCC to dismantle Title 2 protections, more generally known as net neutrality. We see this — coupled with anti-porn resolutions at the state level and SESTA’s attack on protections mandated by Communication Decency Act — as the free speech battle of the 21st Century.
As the trade organization for the adult industry, we know the dangers of corporate and government censorship first hand. Our industry knows what happens when corporations are allowed to prioritize content, exclude it from those networks, or punish those that don’t comply.
We only need to think, for instance, of how adult businesses have been systematically excluded from major marketplaces — whether Apple’s app store, or Google’s Adwords, or advertising on Facebook. Or the way we’ve been arbitrarily excluded from banking or credit cards. Of course, it’s not just adult content. In the past six months alone, we’ve seen funding platform Patreon block adult and sexual health related products, and YouTube demonitize LGBTQ content. The adult industry is the canary in the coal mine of censorship.
We should all be fearful of a world where ISPs determine what sites, content or viewpoints you can access. The internet, like the postal service or the telephone service, is essential for civic participation, it has become our public square. In most areas of the US, there are only one or two major internet providers to choose from. Currently, under the principle of net neutrality, each ISP must treat all internet traffic equally. Every ISP must provide access to all legally accessible sites, and they must not discriminate in services they provide (such as the speed of video streaming) from one site to another.
If the FCC dismantles net neutrality protections, that would change. We could see ISPs:
• Slowing or throttling loading and video speeds on adult content
• Effectively banning or blocking access to adult content
• Charging consumers additional fees to access adult content
• Charging adult businesses additional fees in order to be accessible to consumers
These hurt our businesses, hurt our ability to compete, hurts innovation, and hurt the ability of adult consumers to access and enjoy content that is meaningful to them.
Earlier this year, FSC signed a coalition letter in support of net neutrality with 173 other organizations. We did and do have serious concerns about the ways in which ISPs could and will limit the information and entertainment that citizens can access.
We ask that you call your representatives and ask them to fight the repeal of Title II, and encourage your visitors, members, and fans to do the same.
The next two weeks are critical for our long term viability. FSC has provided an overview to the issue, and a guide for how to best fight for your rights, and net neutrality, here.