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net neutrality
This article was originally published in 2011 and has been updated.

The World Wide Web changed lives significantly in the 1990s. Suddenly, we had access to information and communication in an unprecedented way. The internet is a resource that most of us can’t imagine living without today. In fact, those born after 1990 have never known a world without it. But with great power comes great responsibility. The net, with all its vast resources, has been likened to the wild west. Should there be a sheriff patrolling the landscape? So lets talk about net nuetrality.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the idea that an internet service provider (ISP) should treat all content flowing through their cables and cell towers equally. That means companies would neither get preferential treatment nor be blocked. Columbia University law professor Tim Wu coined the term in a 2003 paper about online discrimination.

Net neutrality has turned into a partisan fight south of the border. In 2015, the FCC (the US version of the CRTC) passed a sweeping net neutrality order. But two years later, a Republican-controlled FCC voted to rescind that decision. In Canada, the CRTC has committed to net neutrality, favouring the free flow of all internet traffic without prioritizing or blocking any content.

Yes to Neutrality

green symbol for net neutrality
There is strong support for net neutrality

Those who favour net neutrality say that the government shouldn’t play favourites and that doing so could thwart start-ups. For example, had internet providers blocked or severely limited video streaming in the mid-2000s, we might not have Netflix or YouTube today. It also reasons that big companies would be given an internet monopoly because they have the money to pay for the privilege of control in the form of faster service.

…and the Rebuttal

Companies such as Google and Netflix use a lot of bandwidth for their services. This puts a strain on the ISP and they want to be compensated. If the sites that use more resources pay more for services, they can get preferential treatment and ISPs have money to spend on network upgrades. It’s about protecting the infrastructure of the web. Having more control over the internet would also restrict easy access to legal but age sensitive content like pornography and help prevent piracy.

Still fuzzy on the ins and out of net neutrality? This explainer should help clear things up.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Those opposed to net neutrality believe the sharing of copyrighted materials can and should be regulated. Online access to copyrighted materials is a concern regarding the unlawful dissemination of music, movies, software and other protected intellectual property. Without any safeguards preventing the download and sharing of these materials, the creators aren’t getting credit or payment for their property. What this does is undermine the work done by those who created the content for their own purpose. Many of us have become accustomed to freely using these materials.

Impact on Corporate Video

Prior to the net and consumer-friendly video applications, video production was seen as a specialized skill requiring specialized training and investment. Today, anybody can create video content. It’s easy to access images and music online and you can shoot video using your phone. Cheap and easy editing software has given everybody the ability to slap something together.

In today’s landscape, and with the open access to content online, some clients have a hard time understanding the costs associated with corporate video. As a business, its incumbent upon you to make sure any footage and music you’re using isn’t violating copyright law. If you create a video with the latest Drake hit as background music and clips from The Avengers movie, you need to pay to use that content.

Protect Your Business

Using a video production company like Key West Video ensures your content follows protocol. That means we’re either using video we’ve shot or animation we’ve created. It can also mean we’re using stock footage and production music that has been purchased and cleared for use in your video. We also have the technical expertise to make your video look great and complies with industry standards related to each channel (including the net) where your video will play. Choosing to use a video production house means you can protect your company from copyright infringement and trust your image to a professional. Plus, we think you’ll find that the cost of corporate video is actually quite reasonable. Call us today for a free quote.

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