Heads of MPAA, IFTA Clash Over Network Neutrality

Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Dan Glickman Concerned About Piracy; Independent Film & Television Alliance President Jean Prewitt Says Internet ‘Only Truly Open Opportunity for Independents’ 3/14/2008 02:46:00 AM Eastern

Motion Picture Association of America chairman Dan Glickman drew fire from independent producers for his strong opposition to government-mandated network neutrality.

Jean Prewitt

In a letter to Glickman Friday, Jean Prewitt, president of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, said she was "astounded" to hear that the major studios "denounced the principle of 'net neutrality' and its advocates."

In a speech this week at the ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas, Glickman said, "Government regulation of the Internet would be a terrible reversal of American innovation policy … would impede our ability to respond to consumers in innovative ways and impair the ability of broadband providers to address the serious and rampant piracy problems occurring over their networks today."

The MPAA is concerned about digital piracy and wants broadband networks to be allowed to use "new tools" to help prevent it.

He branded network neutrality as an effort to block that "essential progress."

Prewitt said industry consolidation had left the Internet "the only truly open opportunity for independents," and that avenue was being threatened by broadband providers discriminating against content.

She conceded that there were legitimate "technical" network-management issues but said network management and piracy protection can easily "become excuses for private vigilantism."

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