House vote threatens Internet users' right to equal access

Contact: Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410
For Immediate Release:

June 9, 2006

House vote threatens Internet users’ right to equal access

(WASHINGTON) The following is a joint statement from American Library Association President Michael Gorman and Association of Research Libraries President
Brian Schottlaender

“We are disappointed that the House failed to include the Markey/Boucher/Eshoo/Inslee amendment on network neutrality when it passed the “COPE” bill (H.R. 5252) last night. Without meaningful network neutrality legislation, Internet users’ access
digital-age benefits and innovations
is endangered. Libraries, s
chools, colleges, and non-profit groups face threats to their ability to provide equal access to online information and

new technology services may be compromised.

“The “COPE” bill allows big telecommunications companies to give preferential service to those content providers able to pay higher fees while marginalizing the smaller, less popular or less lucrative Internet content providers. By allowing preferred services, the COPE bill would allow telephone, cable and ISP-gatekeepers to discriminate against certain content, making it much more difficult for users to find the information they seek.

"The American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries believe that support of equitable access to diverse sources of information is an essential and fundamental principle of librarianship. The Internet developed as a network of wide-open spaces, allowing libraries to gain access easily and provide digital information to library users. We are disappointed that the House voted today against enforceable network neutrality, and we
urge the Senate to support an open and non-discriminatory Internet.”