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Throttled: CWSL’s Art Neill Addresses Attempt to Curb Net Neutrality

Art Neill - New Media Rights

California Western Professor Art Neill, director of the law school’s New Media Rights (NMR) clinic, discussed on KPBS what he deems to be a “dangerous, misguided effort to undo the Obama administration’s 2015 open internet rules.”

Federal regulators support the idea of net neutrality, yet argue that Obama’s rules from 2015 were too much of a burden. They want to reverse some of the rules that treated internet providers more like utilities. Meanwhile, Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai said last week that 22 internet providers told the agency that the utility-like regulations had affected their access to financing.

The Open Internet Order of 2015 established net neutrality principles in law. It reclassified broadband providers as “common carriers” under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, giving the FCC greater authority to regulate those providers.

According to Neill, “what doesn’t get talked about enough is the fact that the open internet rules are also about protecting the next generation of innovators.”

And that’s where New Media Rights steps in. Founded by Neill in 2007, NMR offers one-on-one assistance and education for independent creative entrepreneurs, journalists, and internet users. Neill and his team take part in regulatory proceedings at the FCC and U.S. Copyright Office to shape policy and regulation around internet, copyright, and privacy issues.

California Western students in NMR frequently advise filmmakers and other individuals involved in creative pursuits about copyright regulations. To that end, they’ve created the Fair Use App, which simplifies legal processes so that creatives can do just that—create. This critical advice and education can often prevent unnecessary legal disputes, helping projects and new businesses flourish among ever-changing legal intricacies.

Listen to Art Neill’s full commentary on KPBS.