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Michael Stipe, Tom Morello Join 150 Artists Supporting Net Neutrality

Bryan Bedder / Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Bryan Bedder / Larry Busacca, Getty Images

The political debate over whether to maintain net neutrality regulations has wide-ranging implications that could potentially impact virtually every aspect of American life — and a group of more than 150 artists has come out firmly in favor of preserving those guidelines, sending an open letter to the United States Congress that warns of the potentially disastrous effects of a repeal.

With the FCC’s planned vote to repeal net neutrality looming on Dec. 14, the eclectic group of co-signers — including former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello — framed the issue in no uncertain terms, starting off by alleging that “the medium that allows us to be great artists is under threat” and adding, “Without a free and open internet, so much music, writing, film, art, culture, passion, and creativity would be lost.”

Posted at the site Fight for the Future, the letter goes on to say that its writers and signers are battling to preserve net neutrality in order to protect the artists — and the culture — of tomorrow.

“Title II guarantees net neutrality and prevents powerful telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from deciding what art, as well as what news, is easily accessible online,” continues the letter. “If the FCC votes to gut these protections it will explicitly allow Internet providers to charge extra fees that amount to a tax on the entire creative economy. A few corporations will have control over what you see and hear, while independent and up-and-coming artists’ ability to make a living will be devastated. Without net neutrality there will be less awesome art. Period.”

To read the complete text of the letter along with a full list of co-signers — as well as more information about net neutrality and information about protests scheduled to draw attention to the debate — visit this link.

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