The content which makes up the internet is hosted by telecoms as well as third-party hosts. "Land" on the internet is hard drive space... costs money. There is a fundamental difference between the real world and the internet. If you were implying that the Internet should be free because we "create" the content, I have to say I disagree. When we access the internet, we are using a vehicle created by companies and users, using tools created by companies and users.
Actually, I am in no way
implying that the internet should be "free". I pay to host each and every website I manage, included in that payment for hosting is a certain bandwidth allocation for each website, if I go over that, I pay more for the bandwidth I use for my content delivery. On top of that I also pay to connect to the internet each and every month. My ISP also allocates a certain amount of bandwidth for my high speed access plan, if I go over this I pay for the extra bandwidth I use. So in no way is the internet "free" to use. It never has been, and I am in no way implying that it should ever be.
With that however, is the right to search the net without hinderance, and the right to connect to any website I choose, and use any search engine I prefer to use, in order to find what I am looking for.
Now, as more and more people develop online video content, will we require faster content delivery via enhanced fibre optic lines? Sure, naturally. Will the price charged to connect to the internet go up in the future to cover the cost of those lines? Sure, that just makes sense. Infrastructure costs money, and costs need to be covered. Will the cost of bandwidth go up? Sure. Again, necessary to keep the service alive and profitable.
But should the handful of Telecom companies which control access and delivery to content and online services be allowed to treat their customers like the crowds at the Superbowl, promoting one service over another? Should you be forced to use Yahoo instead of Google, because your telecom company signed a deal with Yahoo? That is the real issue at stake. Once you start to allow Telecom companies to do that you are starting down a very slippery slope. What is next, access to Craigslist limited (a free service), because it competes with the classified ad sections on the various websites owned by the major newspapers? Access to Digg or Slashdot? Why not? They are popular sites. It just goes on and on.
Up until now this has been off-limits to telecom companies, but now that could very well change if Net Neutrality is not upheld.
Heck, I'd love some 30-second spots during the Super Bowl to advertise mapformation.com, but is it my "right" to have those spots.....or should they go to the highest bidder?
I don't think this has anything to do with the "right" to free advertising for your business on the internet. Right now for example, I pay heavily to advertise my websites by placing ads on other websites which get a lot of traffic. That is part of the cost of doing business online. I pay to develop and host my website, and I pay for traffic through ads and links on specific websites. The whole reason I am willing to pay for those ads however, is because those websites I advertise on, do well in the search engines, because they invest time (and therefore money) in developing quality content and links, and therefore attract targeted traffic through hard work and innovation. By buying an ad on their website, I am supporting their hard work, and paying them for the time they
have invested in developing their website. They are simply publishing online instead of offline.
Should my telecom company have the right to go to them and essentially demand a cut of their advertising profits however ( by forcing them to pay for ensured content delivery) simply because they are successful? If they are getting a lot of traffic they are already paying heavily to that very telecom company for bandwidth, and afterall, they were the ones who took a chance and invested in developing their website and business in the first place. Chances are they are also paying heavily for offline advertising to promote their website, so by operating their business online as opposed to offline, in no way is the operation of their business "free" in any sense.
I think the difference is that you are looking at this issue from a "social" perspective...while several others in the thread are looking at this as an "economic" issue. I also look at this as an economic issue.....and believe that if telecoms started to take things beyond that realm and more into "social engineering", there would be both legal AND economic repercussions. Consequently, I tend to side on the issue of economics when it comes to this particular issue.
Unfortunately for any online business to have a fair chance at being economically viable, the social nature of the web must be left unhindered. The right to choose one service over another must be left to the internet user, not influenced by your Telecom company. This is what makes the internet a unique publishing and communication medium.
If you designed a map and own its copyright, you should be compensated for its use....and if someone wants to pay you a premium to develop a better, custom version of that map, you AND they should have that right. How is that any different from telecoms, bandwidth and its supporting infrastructure? From the standpoint of ECONOMICS?
You are talking about the right to develop and publish content. If you design and publish a map and it becomes popular, and your company therefore becomes more profitable, should the guy who distributes your map charge you more for delivery, despite the fact that he is providing you with the same service as he did before your map was popular? Or should a competing map company be able to pay off your delivery service so that you have a hard time getting your map distributed at all? No. They are neutral. Your distribution company simply offers you a service which you pay for, according to the number of maps delivered, regardless of how much you make off those maps.
As you say, you
should be compensated for the work you have done and time and money you have invested. Your distribution company (just like your telecom company) will naturally make more money as more and more of your maps are distributed, but it ends there. Without you investing the time and money to develop your map, they would not have anything to deliver, would they? So their service actually depends on you having something to deliver in the first place.
Now if you chose to accept investment money
for the development of your map from the same guy who delivers your maps, that would be a different story, because he would then be a business partner, and have assumed some financial risk in the development of your map. This is an entirely different scenario.
If Telecom companies want to to profit from Google and Yahoo, they always have the option to purchase shares in those companies the same as anybody else, but they should not use their role as a content delivery service to hold companies ransom. That would be like your map delivery guy charging you more for "ensured delivery" when your map becomes popular.