Blog Editor and Video Producer, Free Press
I sent you an e-mail awhile back asking you to get involved in the fight to save the Internet, and a writer at FunnyorDie.com said she was going to forward it to your people. Did you get it? I haven’t heard back from you, and I’ve triple-checked my junk mail, my Twitter DM box, my Facebook events (in case you invited me to do something), my YouTube channel (maybe you subscribed), and an old high school Hotmail account I opened before I knew passwords were supposed to be tricky and not just for the user to remember (password: hotmail).
So I’m taking my request to this blog: I need your help saving the Internet and preserving Net Neutrality, the principle that protects our free speech online. (I also sent along the treatment for a dramedy about two adopted brothers – you and John C. Reilly – who learn to walk by copying each other’s first steps. I don’t know, I think it could be a hit).
I bet you’re wondering, “Why me?” You’ve made history, my friend, and it ain’t drunk. Your “Landlord” video on FunnyorDie.com has become a Web classic, with over 72 million people watching as a smashed, swearing toddler/landlord berates you for not paying your rent.
The ingenuity of this video isn’t the comedic timing, or the way Pearl says “evicted” – it’s the platform on which it exists. The open platform of the Internet has allowed you, and millions of other people not as funny as you, to make and share their own videos without anyone’s permission. On the Internet, there’s no Hollywood studio holding you back and your creativity can flourish. Thanks to the Internet, comedy has entered a new, no holds-barred arena where anything is possible and the audience gets to decide what’s funny, and what’s failing.
But there’s a problem: Internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T want to tame the Internet, put restrictions on our free speech, and charge users and creators to prioritize their content to load quickly. They want to clamp down on the level playing field that has made the Internet so sensational.
In 2008, when FunnyorDie.com was just a start-up, could it have survived in an environment where AT&T and Verizon demanded extra payment to get FoD videos in front of audiences? Maybe not.
This month, a group of young Internet “stars” (we tried to get Pearl, but she wanted her payment up front in beer, and our lawyers said no) joined together in this video to appeal to the public about Net Neutrality and the fight for the Internet.
Now we need you, and other prominent people who rely on the Web to create and share their art and comedy and music, to join this fight and tell the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to protect the Internet and Net Neutrality.
Can you ask your friend Ashton Kutcher, who used the Internet to create his own Web series called “BlahGirls,” to get involved? When people think of Twitter – let’s face it – they think of Ashton. And what about your pal Gwyneth Paltrow, who uses her blog to teach me how to be a celebrity and still cook for myself? Surely you know Justin Bieber, who would still be singing into the mirror in Canada if it wasn’t for YouTube. And if you’re tight with Madonna, we’ll take her, too.
Basically, we need the creative community to get involved and embrace this fight as their own. In an age where mega media companies decide everything we listen to, read and watch on the big screen, the Internet gives you – and all of us – freedom.
Will you help? This is me asking if you’ll help, not saying your first name followed by “you help?” That would be awkward.
But this isn’t: If you care about the Internet and want to preserve it, have your people call my people. Which is actually just me answering my phone using a different voice. So call me. I’m awake, just clicking refresh on my Hotmail account.
Thanks, and we need you.