Legal expert Tim Wu filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking a federal appeals court to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s neutrality rules. Wu, the Columbia Law School professor who invented the term “net neutrality,” says Verizon’s argument that the regulations impinge free speech doesn’t hold water. He claims their reasoning flies in the face of 100 years of common carrier rules that prohibit transmitters from picking and choosing which calls to put through.
Wireless and wireline broadband providers are banned from blocking sites or competing applications under the year-old rules. Verizon wants the appeals court to vacate the rules, saying the FCC lacks authority to enact the legislation and that the rules restrict free-speech rights by requiring them to transmit all types of content.
Wu states that the First Amendment is for publishers, not wireless providers and erasing the line between the two would have unpredictable consequences. He told Media Post that, “The articles a newspaper runs are understood to be part of, and the responsibility of, the newspaper. “If a blogger wrote something outrageous on the Internet, it would be absurd to complain by saying ‘Can you believe the blog Verizon ran yesterday?’”