If the US Senate joins the House in passing the COPE Act, the Internet and cable television will change forever. Critics of the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act claim that American citizens will suffer a tremendous blow to the freedoms promised by the miracles of 21st century technology if the bill is signed into law.
Bill HR5252 enjoyed bi-partisan support as it was approved in the US House of Representatives by a vote of 321 to 101. Telephone and cable companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying federal and state representatives in their bid to ease regulations on Internet and cable network trafficking.
The COPE Act has staggering implications. Those who could be affected include:
- Independent filmmakers and musicians, who in the Internet finally have a way around stifling corporate distribution monopolies, may be hindered by higher fees and restricted access.
- Bloggers could be blocked if they continue to report stories that mainstream media companies find objectionable.
- Community and political activists could be charged additional fees for organizing online.
- Local municipalities would lose a valuable funding mechanism from local cable television franchise fees.
- Public access television may eventually lose funding and be eliminated.
- Poorer communities could lose broadband Internet and/or cable television access altogether. [Read more…]