Obama Wants You to Create the Next YouTube

He's said it before,
and now he's said it again -- but this time President Obama's unwavering
statement in support of Net Neutrality couldn't have come at a better
time in the fight for our Internet freedom.

He's said it before,
and now he's said it again -- but this time President Obama's unwavering
statement in support of Net Neutrality couldn't have come at a better
time in the fight for our Internet freedom.

Monday, during the president's
live online YouTube interview follow-up to his State of the Union Address, Obama told the world:
"I'm a big believer in Net Neutrality."

YouTube's "CitizenTube"
invited people to pose questions for the president and allowed them
to vote on the questions they most wanted Obama to answer. More than
11,000 questions were submitted, and some 667,000 votes were cast.

A question about Obama's
stance on Net Neutrality jumped to the top of the "Jobs and the Economy"
(If you're scratching your head asking, "What the heck is Net Neutrality?"
- go here.)

The question was posed by James
Earlywine of Indianapolis:

    An open Internet is a powerful
    engine for economic growth and new jobs. Letting large companies block
    and filter online content and services would stifle needed growth. What
    is your commitment to keeping the Internet open and neutral in America?

Obama's strong response will help move the needle in a debate where industry groups have been
pulling lawmakers in the wrong direction. Indeed, Obama even called
them out on it.

Obama said:

    I'm a big believer in
    Net Neutrality. I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter
    of it. My FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has indicated that he shares
    the view that we've got to keep the Internet open, that we don't want
    to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have
    a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next
    YouTube or their next Google on the Internet.

    This is something we're
    committed to. We're getting pushback, obviously, from some of the
    bigger carriers who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract
    more money from wealthier customers. But we think that runs counter
    to the whole spirit of openness that has made the Internet such a powerful
    engine for not only economic growth, but also for the generation of
    ideas and creativity.

Watch the video:

There are three reasons why
this statement is such a victory. First, the Federal Communications
Commission is creating rules now that would stop Internet service providers
from blocking and controlling Internet traffic.
Big companies like Comcast and AT&T have been lobbying hard to sway
the FCC away from a strong rulemaking, and have been spreading misinformation
and spin about Net Neutrality. Obama's words yesterday show that his
administration is as serious as ever about Net Neutrality, and that
a powerful FCC rulemaking on Net Neutrality has the backing of the White

Second, this is further proof
that Net Neutrality is a mainstream issue with the backing of millions
of people
With so many people submitting questions for the YouTube interview,
and tens of thousands voting, you'd think that a "wonky" issue
like Net Neutrality would get lost. But people understand that an open
Internet is centralto all the issues they care about,
and that allowing companies to co-opt and control the Internet would
destroy it. It's clear that people want answers and action, and it's
not acceptable for lawmakers and public officials to dodge what's
no longer a "fringe" issue.

Finally, Obama made clear that
an open Internet is central to our economic recovery, spurs job growth
and drives innovation. In fact, he says that ISP's anti-Net Neutrality
stance runs counter to the Internet's ability to foster economic
growth. Beyond promoting free speech, access to information and a diversity
of viewpoints, the open Internet underscores a robust and healthy economy.
Small businesses, graduating students, and online entrepreneurs can
all use the open Internet as a platform for their big idea or business.
Indeed, someone may be making the "next YouTube" right now.

President Obama made his position
loud and clear. Now let's hope that the FCC follows through. In fact,
let's not just hope; let's demand that they do. Make sure they hear
from you

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