Despite receiving more than $6 million USD from the entertainment industry compared to McCain’s $550,000, still favor legislation to ensure unfiltered use of applications and access to content.
The Beatles used to sing that “money can’t buy you love,” but as we all know, in American politics it sure can buy you a kiss. This is what makes a piece of data provided courtesy of OpenSecrets.org’s Center for Responsive Politics so interesting. For it has compiled a list of the top recipients of entertainment industry contributions and the results clearly show that by a wide margin Democrats lead the pack comprising 14 of the list of top 20 recipients.
In fact, Senators Barack Obama(D-IL) and Hillary Clinton(D-NY), the two leading Democrat presidential primary candidates, have taken in nearly 12 times as much combined cash from the entertainment industry than the Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain(R-AZ), receiving some $6,336,588 to his mere $548,925 as of April 28th, 2008.
Now the numbers shown in the chart below are said to be based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more. All donations took place during the 2007-2008 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission on Monday, April 28th, 2008.
What’s surprising, though maybe not for political scientists, is that Obama and Hillary, who as I mentioned before received nearly 12 times as much cash from the entertainment industry, prefer that legislation be enacted to ensure network neutrality rather than leaving it up to ISPs to figure out as McCain has suggested on the campaign trail.
“When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment,” said Senator McCain(R-AZ) at an All Things Digital conference this time last year.
As many are aware the entertainment industry prefers ISP level filtering to tackle the problem of illegal file-sharing of copyrighted material. ISPs would be happy to oblige because it would allow them to cut down on traffic and free up bandwidth for additional customers. AT&T is the first to be reportedly mulling the idea, but it luckily faces criminal and civil jeopardy by doing so.
So it’s obvious that letting those who “control the pipes” become the gatekeepers of content and application usage is a bad idea when the Internet has become so vital to our society in a number of ways.
Despite receiving so much money from the entertainment industry, at least the Democrat presidential candidates seem to have the right idea. With an increasing number of ISPs throttling BitTorrent and considering content filtering, network neutrality legislation has never been more important.
Market forces are all about profits not principle.
Senator Barack Obama(D-IL)
His position is pretty straightforward and is clearly laid out on his website:
Protect the Openness of the Internet: A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet. Users must be free to access content, to use applications, and to attach personal devices. They have a right to receive accurate and honest information about service plans. But these guarantees are not enough to prevent network providers from discriminating in ways that limit the freedom of expression on the Internet.
Senator Hillary Clinton(D-NY)
Her position apparently isn’t important enough to appear on her website, but a press release from last year spells out her position as an original cosponsor of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act which sough meaningful network neutrality laws.
From a press release:
It is clear that we must continue to build on the innovations brought forth by the Internet. This means ensuring more affordable broadband access and ensuring that there continues to be open, unimpaired and unencumbered Internet access for both its users and content providers. As evidenced by the diverse coalition of the consumer, business and citizen groups that span the political and ideological spectrum, and who all strongly support the concept of network neutrality, it is critical that Congress take steps to preserve the principles enshrined therein.
Senator John McCain(R-AZ)
As I said, his position is a bit murky, though clearly he favors “…as little government regulation of broadband as possible.”
From All Things Digital:
- Sen. McCain suggests that there should be as little government regulation of broadband as possible. Walt notes that the telecom industry is re-aggregating back into “one unified AT&T.”
- Sen. McCain says we should let the market and technology solve the Net-neutrality issue: “When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment.”