Net Neutrality Mockumentary Slams ISPs' Case For Playing Unfair

09/09/2013 12:01 am ET | Updated Sep 09, 2013

The principle of net neutrality -- that Internet service providers should not discriminate among different kinds of content -- is getting two hearings Monday. One unfolds in a courtroom in Washington; the other you can access right here.

Lawyers for Verizon are challenging the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet in a federal appeals court Monday morning. But the net neutrality argument unfolds with less legal verbiage in "The Internet Must Go," a mockumentary featuring video "leaked" by a hapless market researcher.

"John Wooley," played by Second City's Brian Shortall, is trying to figure out how to sell the public on the merits of a tiered system of online access, with companies paying Internet service providers to give consumers faster access to their sites.

Instead, he ends up getting an earful from real-life defenders of net neutrality, including Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), law professors Lawrence Lessig and Tim Wu (who coined the term), and humorist John Hodgman.

"Let's say you build the Brooklyn Bridge under contract from the government," says Wu, by way of example. "If that bridge decides, 'Well, let's do a deal with Pizza Hut,' so they get to cross the bridge to do deliveries, but not Little Caesars, well, then they can put Little Caesars out of business. You can see that the bridge is a perfect example of what the Internet is. It is the critical infrastructure which everyone depends upon. And if it is picking winners and losers, that's a big problem."

The video was produced by documentary maker Gena Konstantinakos, with funding and support from the Ford Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, Open Society Foundations, Wyncote Foundation, and Women Make Movies.

Watch the video above.

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