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Internet Unites to Protect Net Neutrality as Netflix Tells FCC: "See You in Court"

The Internet Association, which lobbies on behalf dozens of major web companies, says it will back lawsuit aimed at stopping GOP-led effort to gut Title II protections

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings delivers a keynote address at CES 2016 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Friday, Netflix told the FCC it would see the agency "in court" over its order to dismantle net neutrality protections. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The lobbying group that represents some of the nation's largest companies in Silicon Valley—including Google, Amazon, and Netflix—announced Friday that it would act as "intervernor" in a lawsuit against the FCC's recent decision to dismantle rules that enshrine net neutrality protections that have governed the web since its creation.

After the FCC submitted its final order on Thursday evening, the Internet Association said it would back legal actions to prevent it from going into effect as well as offering support to legislative efforts also underway.

"The final version of Chairman Pai's rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers," said Michael Beckerman, the group's president and CEO, in a statement. "This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet. IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution."

In a tweet, Netflix said the "Internet is united in defense of #netneutrality." As for the FCC, the popular video-streaming company added, "We will see you in court."

Though not a direct party to any specific lawsuit, Gizmodo explains that acting as a legal intervenor allows the industry group to assert "its right to weigh in on the case in order to protect its members' interests, which would clearly be impeded by disposition of the case."

According to Gizmodo:

The legal battle will take place months from now in a court yet to be determined. The number of litigants is also currently unknown—interested parties have another 50 days or so to file if they wish to join the suit. Among those who’ve declared their intent to file is Free Press, a pro-net-neutrality advocacy group.

"We'll be going to court soon to challenge the FCC and ramping up pressure on Congress to throw the rules out altogether," Free Press President Craig Aaron told Gizmodo. "[FCC Chairman] Ajit Pai has awakened the public, now Net Neutrality is a kitchen-table issue, and the outcry is only going to get louder."

While a legal battle in the courts is seen as one way to stall or prevent implementation of the FCC's order, which the five-member commission passed along partisan lines last month, net neutrality defenders advocates say the best path to making protections permanent remains the passage of a Congressional Review Act (CRA).

A CRA would reverse the FCC rule changes and once again enshrine net neutrality as a core principle while restoring Title II protections of the Internet under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

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