Back in December, Parul Desai of Media Access Project, wrote a great primer on the concept of net neutrality and why independent media artists should want to support a “free” internet. I’ve posted some news items here over the past year, though as companies like AT&T and Google face off, it feels a bit like the clash of the Titans. I’ve waited to really delve into it in hopes that my myopic view might become broader with time and more explanation.

It was at PodCamp this past winter where I had my first revelation. If you’ve seen Everything’s Cool or An Inconvenient Truth (or just because you are a smart cookie), you understand that the counter-campaign launched to allow continued deregulation of environmental pollution doesn’t claim that global warming doesn’t exist, it claims that it is a theory and more information is needed. Never mind 99.99%. In this scenario, anything other than 100% certainty is considered enough wiggle room. This is what is happening in the debate over the internet and who controls the pipelines that deliver it to you.

Big telecomm companies want to monopolize delivery methods as well as control content so that they can monetize not only our connections but also what we look at on the information superhighway. They are succeeding in making the American public believe that we don’t have the infrastructure to deliver high-quality streaming media (read: convergence of net and television–video on demand from anywhere), and they are bogging down distribution of broadband services to a point that China will soon surpass us in broadband connectivity, perhaps this year.

While the jury is still out as to whether Google’s intervention in this matter is altruistic or simply motivated by its own profit-making, there’s a good chance that their profit-making scheme (advertising), is at least one way that independent media artists who decide to distribute over the web, will also earn from their work, besides also wanting people to have the ability to download your content using whatever pipeline they happen to be using to access the net.

All this is leading up to a recommendation to read Timothy Karr’s great post, Google’s Call to Action at The Huffington Post. If you are having a hard time wondering why you should care about AT&T “editing” a Pearl Jam concert, my post plus Karr’s will hopefully start to bring this behemoth into focus.

The next issue is what to do about it? What can independent media, which tends to be a disparate, loose community, do to have a voice in these discussion? Or alternately, can you argue that we have no stake in this?