Medium’s Commitment to Net Neutrality

Yesterday afternoon Medium co-filed an amicus brief in support of net neutrality at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This brief is a joint effort with Automattic, Reddit, Squarespace, Yelp, and Twitter. We’re glad to be part of this group and proud of the brief. Net neutrality is crucial for our platform and our users.

What’s the case?

United States Telecom Association, et al. v. FCC and USA. It’s basically a bundle of cases brought by various broadband providers. They’re suing the FCC.

Why are they suing the FCC?

Because they don’t like the Net Neutrality. Earlier this year, the FCC handed down an Open Internet Order saying that broadband companies have to treat all packets equally. No slowing down traffic from one company (say, Netflix). And no charging extra for a fast lane. Specifically, the case centers on whether the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act is cool. That reclassification gave the FCC more power over broadbands and makes the Open Internet Order possible.

What does our brief say?

We tell the court that without net neutrality (under which ISPs treat all traffic equally) you can’t have the open Internet we’ve all grown so fond of. In order to foster connections between people to discuss thoughts and share stories you need an even-handed technical infrastructure — a playing field where everyone’s traffic moves through the Tubes regardless of who you are or what you are saying (or how much you might pay for a Bigger Tube).

Why do this?

Because we think Medium and our co-amici have insight about Internet community that can help the court understand why this case is so important. Although we are not a party, we have told the court, your decision in this case will profoundly affect us and our users. So, we want to tell you how net neutrality looks to us and why we care so much about it. If this case goes against the FCC, and some forms of traffic can be privileged over others, it will be bad for us, bad for our users, and bad for the open Internet we want to keep building.

We filed this brief to stand up for our users and ensure their ability to keep using Medium as we want it to exist.

What next?

The court will issue an opinion sometime next year. After that, another appeal will likely follow and the case may go up to the Supreme Court. If it makes sense, we might weigh in there too.

Here’s the brief:

Lawyer, writer, dreamer, doer.