Music Stars Back "Rock the Net" Campaign

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As promised, the Future of Music Coalition Tuesday launched a campaign for network neutrality, "Rock the Net,"  backed by a host of musicians (almost 150 artists and labels).

Those artists, including R.E.M., Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, are concerned that independent artists will be marginalized if telecommunications companies are allowed "to charge Internet service providers to have their Websites load faster."

The result, they argue, is that small labels and independent artists could be "frozen out" of another medium; many independents already feel that consolidated media companies make it harder for unaffiliated artists to get heard on the radio as it is.

Helping launch the campaign was Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who  pushed for a network-neutrality amendment to a video-franchising bill in Congress last year and wants to push for network neutrality in this Congress as well.

Markey said the campaign is going to be "big and powerful" on behalf of "Internet freedom" and in the face of "broadband barons" who want to control access to their pipes.

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