On my way to Sundance Film Festival 2014, news broke (see “Federal appeals court strikes down rules protecting net neutrality” at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-net-neutrality-federal-appeals-court-20140114,0,2138188.story#ixzz2qlsuWDSC) that made two problems painfully clear, and they will have a huge impact on filmmakers:
1) A federal court exposed the failure of our legislators to protect citizens rather than corporate conglomerates on the most important communications issue in modern history: the Internet and “Net Neutrality.”
2) The indie film industry is not taking seriously a subject of paramount importance to all of us, perhaps because it seems complex and doesn’t have a sexy name. (Would we have cared more if it had been termed a buzzword like “Red” or “4K?”)
Dismantling Net Neutrality means that the major movie studios will rule the Internet, while access to the digital distribution that indie filmmakers believe to be the future WILL BE CRIPPLED.
For instance, consider that NetFlix operates a battery of auxiliary ISP gateway servers spread around in order to appease corporate conglomerate ISPs who are dissatisfied with receiving “only” about $70 every month in Internet access fees from you. Also, YouTube, of course, operates through Google’s bargeloads of servers around the world.
They can pay that price.
What will now happen to the scores of SVOD/VOD digital distributors that you are counting on to deliver your short film masterpiece to your friends and fans? They will no longer have the same access to the Internet as they do now. YOU will not have the same access to deliver your movie on the Internet as you do now.
Here’s an article about what just happened: “Why You Should Be Freaking Out About The End Of Net Neutrality” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/net-neutrality_n_4597831.html
Net Neutrality, which, hell, I will call “iNN” just to give it a sexier term (“InterNetNeutrality”) is much bigger than the damage done to just us indie filmmakers. Here is my article about the subject: “The Internet Needs to be Free” https://michaelrbarnard.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/the-internet-needs-to-be-free/
As indie filmmakers, we once again face the need to veer off our path of self-absorbtion, iconoclassism, and megalomania (all good things for making great films!) to squeeze out some very serious cooperative effort to help build an indie film industry infrastructure that serves all. Now. How will we band together to fight this battle?