YouTube stars defend net neutrality in open letter to the FCC

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More than 100 YouTube creators have signed an open letter to the FCC calling on the agency to keep strong net neutrality protections.

“Our rapidly growing industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and yet it barely existed more than a decade ago,” reads the letter from the Internet Creators Guild, which represents online video makers. “As creators in this fast-moving industry, changes to the existing Net Neutrality rules would have an outsized impact on our field and jeopardize our livelihood.”

The letter has been signed by major names in the YouTube community, such as the Fine Brothers. In total, the guild says, the letter represents video creators with an audience of more than 150 million people.

The YouTube creators directly address FCC chairman Ajit Pai in the letter. Under Pai’s leadership, the agency has moved forward with plans to repeal open internet protections put in place under the Obama administration, and the deadline for comments on the agency’s proposal is approaching.

The letter argues that the removal of protections would lead to “the inevitable creation of fast lanes that would privilege the large media companies that can afford to pay for such service,” putting smaller media creators in danger.

The Internet Association, a trade group that represents YouTube owner Google, has lobbied in support of the net neutrality rules. Other major video providers, including Amazon and Pornhub, have also pledged support for the rules. Netflix, after some trepidation, recently came out in favor of the protections as well.

“We strongly urge you to oppose anything that would threaten this level playing field,” the letter from video makers concludes. “The stakes are simply too high for our democracy, culture, and economy.”

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