Pornhub is joining next month's net neutrality protest

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

On July 12, more than 60 companies are staging a “day of action” in protest against the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to end net neutrality. Amazon, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Vimeo, and Etsy are taking part, and will be joined by one of the top 20 most visited sites in the US: Pornhub.

The adult entertainment company will stand alongside other firms and organization like the EEF and ACLU in the protest, which is organized by Fight for the Future, Freepress, and Demand Progress.

Net Neutrality is described as “…the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to overturn the 2015 Open Internet Order, removing the classification of broadband as a telecommunications service. “Without it, the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have unfair power to pick winners and losers in the market,” Pornhub Vice President Corey Price told Motherboard.

If it’s allowed to pass, ISPs could slow down certain sites and create “prioritized access,” or internet fast lanes, where edge service providers (Netflix, YouTube, etc.) pay for priority traffic.

"It's a fight worth fighting and we're excited to stand alongside industry leaders to protest the FCC's planned rollback of net neutrality rules," added Price. "I encourage all our fans across the world to stand together on July 12th and help spread the word."

The Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality will take place just five days before the first deadline for comments on the FCC's proposal.

Pornhub plans to prominently display a message on its website on the day of the protest, and may introduce a loading icon to show how the changes could slow down many sites.

"No one in the porn industry ever yells 'slower, slower, slower,'" Price said. "We're much more accustomed to 'faster, faster, faster.' Here at Pornhub, we want to keep it that way."

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
By all estimates, porn makes up somewhere between 30-50% of all internet traffic (depending upon the source). None of the "better known" sites (I have no idea which ones) have reported throttling although during certain hours there have been traffic related slow downs. Strangely, one might think the US is the singlest greatest consumer but according to surveys the break down is: 1. Pakistan, 2. Egypt, 3. Vietnam, 4. Iran, 5. Morocco, 6. India, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Turkey, 9. Philippines, 10. Poland. Interesting how many of these countries are heavily populated by Muslims ...... apparently the promise of 72 virgins just isn't enough to hold their attention .......
 

kapital98

TS Guru
I'm not a fan of Ajit Pai by any means. However, has there ever been any evidence ISPs of throttling content or have people just been crying wolf?
There has been several high profile cases where ISP's throttled a company and the company paid them an undisclosed sum. In 2014 Netflix paid an undisclosed sum and their speed went from a net -21% to a net +24 (55%!) in the matter of months. This was also completely unrelated to access on any other network (so it wasn't Netflix's fault for the slow down --- it was directly due to Comcast). See: https://technical.ly/philly/2014/05/09/graph-shows-netflix-speeds-changed-comcast-deal-comcast-roundup/

The use of the internet has changed drastically since the rise of Netflix. The vast majority of traffic used to be torrenting (and, to a lesser extent, porn). Now streaming services and social media account for almost everything.

Net neutrality is a tricky subject. If you look at it from an efficiency perspective, it makes sense that the companies that use more bandwidth need to pay more. This is akin to taking a highway and paying a toll. Why do they get to free ride off of everyone else? From a philosophical perspective, the idea of having an open internet is appealing (but may not be true if Facebook & Google control almost all the direction of content).

This very well may have an impact on consumers, it may not. For all we know, charging a premium may lead to more competitive practices --- or further entrench them. That's a long-term issue. Right now you have to decided who do you want to get more money? Netflix or Comcast?
 
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yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Net neutrality is a tricky subject. If you look at it from an efficiency perspective, it makes sense that the companies that use more bandwidth need to pay more. This is akin to taking a highway and paying a toll. Why do they get to free ride off of everyone else? From a philosophical perspective, the idea of having an open internet is appealing (but may not be true if Facebook & Google control almost all the direction of content).
Services like Netflix and facebook DO pay more on their end. they have an ISP that they pay for bandwidth and the amount they pay is proportional to the amount they use. Consumers then pay their own ISP to access content on the internet. Its already being paid for on both ends. In other countries I know you have to pay by the GB so what does it matter what you use those gigs for? Whether you use your 100gigs for porn or netflix, aren't you paying for bandwidth either way?
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
When you have puppets like Pai and Trump in charge, it's little wonder there's a lot of dissent from everybody. Sadly it's like that the world over and it's nothing new.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
Services like Netflix and facebook DO pay more on their end. they have an ISP that they pay for bandwidth and the amount they pay is proportional to the amount they use. Consumers then pay their own ISP to access content on the internet. Its already being paid for on both ends. In other countries I know you have to pay by the GB so what does it matter what you use those gigs for? Whether you use your 100gigs for porn or netflix, aren't you paying for bandwidth either way?
Services like Netflix and Facebook do pay additional amounts for a competitive advantage (such as peering and additional hardware within ISP's). This is not neutral and smaller companies, such as startups, do not have this advantage. On their side, they simply don't want a neutral internet. They want an internet that favors them.

Yet, regardless of who puts out content or who receives content, it can all be quantified in the same manner. An example: Everyone who works pays a tax for medicaid and social security (~14%). By law, employers pay half and employees pay half. This was intended to make it fair for employee and have companies pay their fair share. In reality, all this did was distort the market for labor and create a situation where the company nominally pays half but in reality you pay the entire amount because you are being paid less in income. This is the 'incidence of taxation' and an equivalent concept.

A problem is that ISP's are a natural monopoly and there is a strong argument that, due to this, it's a market failure and externalities exist. It then becomes an issue of who pays those externalities: Does Comcast lose more profits to ensure everyone gets their internet. Or does Netflix compensate for this externality to make the market efficient? This is really a supply issue.

From a demand perspective: A problem with externalities is that the consumer is not really paying an equivalent amount for each site. If you pay $40 a month for unlimited internet, you are not paying the same amount for each service. Netflix may cost $10 but you also need to factor in a share of the $40 to determine how much you are paying (say, really $14). How much you really pay for Netflix or Facebook will matter greatly depending on your preferences. This is a distributional issue and there is no 'neutral' outcome -- there are winners and losers on both sides. And I'm not even sure if, in the short run, consumers are better off both ways. This simply may be shifting profits from Netflix to Comcast or vice versa. I haven't seen empirical data on how revenues will be divided and what impact that has on consumers (which is why economists try to analyze firms and consumers separately).

TL;DR: This is probably a fight between Netlfix, etc and Comcast. There is no neutrality regardless of outcome. It remains to be seen if this is a zero-sum exchange or something more.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
I don't have a strong opinion on net neutrality. I think it's probably a good idea but it may be a bad idea.

What I do hate is loaded terms. "Net Neutrality" is as much of a loaded term as "Pro Life" or "Pro Choice". The net is not neutral and regardless of outcome will not be neutral.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Services like Netflix and Facebook do pay additional amounts for a competitive advantage (such as peering and additional hardware within ISP's). This is not neutral and smaller companies, such as startups, do not have this advantage. On their side, they simply don't want a neutral internet. They want an internet that favors them.
I cannot say that I agree with this assessment of the situation.

Not unlike consumer services, when you go to a business class service, a company pays more for a bigger pipe that handles more flow. The ISP's hardware requirement to handle a pipe of that size, let's assume, is factored into the price. If traffic to/from the company saturates the pipe, then the company contracting with the ISP should pay more for an even bigger pipe, not much unlike a consumer who, for some reason, saturates a 100Mbit connection, 24/7, should go for a pipe that is large enough to keep the pipe from becoming saturated.

What Net Neutrality is about is allowing ISPs to artificially throttle data on the pipe that the business is paying for. If the ISP thinks it is not getting enough money in the first place for any particular company for ISP service provided to that company, then it is up to the ISP to raise its rates; however, the ISP is not allowed to artificially throttle data going through that pipe.

Without Net Neutrality, an ISP (for example Comcast) will be allowed to artificially throttle internet traffic on any customer's pipe. In that allowance, Comcast, may start its own streaming service, and will be allowed to run its streaming service at full speed while it is also allowed to artificially throttle the data from a competitor streaming service that happens to use Comcast for its ISP.

As I see it, this is another aspect of Net Neutrality that is, perhaps, overlooked. However, it will also apply to the small company. They pay for a pipe of a certain size, yet the ISP is allowed to artificially throttle data over any customer's pipe and charge for it. In other words, the size of the pipe that you think you are paying for by contracting for ISP service from any ISP is not necessarily what you are going to get due to the ISP artificially throttling data.

What this means to me is that the ISP, Comcast in this example, can, and likely will, create an unfair advantage, or in other words, further entrench itself as a monopoly in the ISP market and the content provider market. In theory, they could charge a competing content provider so much that it would hamper that content provider's ability to provide content at a profit, and, perhaps, force them out of business.

There may also be further unforeseen consequences, too.

Personally, I do not see this as a good thing especially if it leads to even less competition. Right now, ISPs already have a virtual monopoly in many areas of the country. I think it is more likely that the size of these monopolies will grow without Net Neutrality.
 
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MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
I'm not a fan of Ajit Pai by any means. However, has there ever been any evidence ISPs of throttling content or have people just been crying wolf?
yes - the idea is that if the govt doesn't make sure that everything is kept equal then it's possible that there "MIGHT" be throttling. Companies come out and say net neutrality is a good idea because it sounds fair and makes them look good. Look at the line in the story
If it’s allowed to pass, ISPs could slow down certain sites and create “prioritized access,” or internet fast lanes, where edge service providers (Netflix, YouTube, etc.) pay for priority traffic.
note the word 'Could' - they're not even fixing a problem that exists today. it's just a 'maybe'. And do you know what would happen if a site got throttled? Instant 1st Amendment violation.

Ajit Pai isn't against fairness or small companies getting fast internet. he's against the govt sticking their nose into an industry that doesn't need any regulation. The internet revolution has been possible because govt has kept their hands out of it.

From the WSJ quoting Mr Pai:
the essential question is whether we want it to be governed by technologists and engineers and businesspeople, as it was under the light-touch approach during the Clinton administration, or by government lawyers and bureaucrats here in Washington.” In Mr. Pai’s view, the choice is “a free and open internet versus Title II.”
Title II being the act that made the internet a utility - the one Obama signed.

Mr Pai wants the internet to be unregulated - and here's why - a regulated internet as it is today makes it harder for ISPs to make money. That means there's no incentive to run cable, upgrade to 5G, or provide service to rural areas. This is already happening. Every so often there's a story here on Techspot about how the US is way way behind in internet service and everyone complains. Well... stop being in favor of the stuff that keeps us behind! Go read about what this means before agreeing with people who's entire opinion can fit on a bumper sticker.
 
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MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
I think it is more likely that the size of these monopolies will grow without Net Neutrality.
You have it exactly backwards. Net Neutrality = Govt Regulation = higher costs of doing business = harder to start a business = fewer players = bigger monopolies. Case in point, you've probably heard of Mylan -the maker of EpiPens (life-saving allergic reaction auto-injectors). They recently started charging $600 for a pen - which is basically a spring loaded needle of a $2 medicine. There are no patents on the drug - epinephrine has been around for decades, but anytime a competitor comes along to make their own they can't get through the years of regulation. As a result we have ONE company who can charge what they want because the govt won't approve any other pens. Yay govt.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
I cannot say that I agree with this assessment of the situation.
The internet is a public good. This is why ISP's are so tightly regulated. They are also a natural monopoly (the market equilibrium is an inefficient outcome). There are externalities involved. Your post is assuming property rights -- which I don't believe is a valid assumption.

If Netflix had a problem with Comcast, they could theoretically go around Comcast. Comcast has to use their best judgment to determine how to allocate bandwidth. Netflix is not going to go around them. Instead, they find ways to improve their service through major telecommunication industries (such as paying a ton of money in hardware or else as a fee to Comcast). You then have to deal with the externalities involved.

This is where the Coase Theorem comes into play. In order to reach an efficient outcome, it does not matter how you reallocate resources. If Comcast is throttling the bandwidth, pay Comcast more so the market will be efficient. If Netflix is hogging the bandwidth, have Comcast pay them to stop doing it. The end result is the exact same for the consumer: an efficient market. But the distribution is very different for the suppliers (which is where assignment of property and rights is critical). As my professor taught it: Say your roommate left you dirty dishes. That's a negative externality to you because it's a mess. But your bitching is a negative externality to him. Just give property rights to someone and the problem can be quickly resolved in an efficient manner.

As for the monopoly part: There is incredibly little empirical evidence regarding monopolies and price gouging. It's mostly a theoretical concept. With that said: Where there is evidence is in natural monopolies -- which is just what I think ISP's are. So there is serious cause for concern but it's not for certain. You have comcast not wanting to invest profits into capital investments (because there is no incentive) and you have Netflix & Co trying to freeride and, in turn, hurt competitors.

If I had to choose: I'd support the Net Neutrality laws. Not because I think Netflix is out to help the consumer. Rather, because I trust Netflix/Facebook/Google/etc to be less likely to wield monopoly power in the future as the internet evolves.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
I cannot say that I agree with this assessment of the situation.

What this means to me is that the ISP, Comcast in this example, can, and likely will, create an unfair advantage, or in other words, further entrench itself as a monopoly in the ISP market and the content provider market. In theory, they could charge a competing content provider so much that it would hamper that content provider's ability to provide content at a profit, and, perhaps, force them out of business.
I'm not sure the theory will apply in practice (it takes more than deep pockets for innovation and success). With that said, this is considered the primary reason Comcast was throttling Netflix to begin with. So it's not unthinkable.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
And do you know what would happen if a site got throttled? Instant 1st Amendment violation.
Throttling is not a first amendment violation. It would only be so if Comcast was a government organization. The first amendment has a ton of loopholes to promote businesses. This shaped out in the Supreme Court throughout the 70's to the 90's.

There may be an antitrust issue but, once again, the courts have largely made antitrust laws obsolete. This is exactly why Net Neutrality supporters are so afraid. Comcast can work in the shadows and use their market position to extract excess (inefficient) profits from consumers/business. They could also intentionally work to decide on what we consume (either directly or by just changing incentives).

---

As an aside, the internet would not exist without incredible government investment. Take the development of the processor, or DARPA's investment in networks, or the work of Tim Berners-Lee (who worked at CERN), etc. Private industry has taken this foundation and made the web into something truly incredible. That doesn't mean it doesn't need continued regulation.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
You have it exactly backwards. Net Neutrality = Govt Regulation = higher costs of doing business = harder to start a business = fewer players = bigger monopolies. Case in point, you've probably heard of Mylan -the maker of EpiPens (life-saving allergic reaction auto-injectors). They recently started charging $600 for a pen - which is basically a spring loaded needle of a $2 medicine. There are no patents on the drug - epinephrine has been around for decades, but anytime a competitor comes along to make their own they can't get through the years of regulation. As a result we have ONE company who can charge what they want because the govt won't approve any other pens. Yay govt.
Personally, I don't buy the idea that govt regulations always mean higher costs, and I think comparison of Net Neut to regulations designed to prevent medicines or medical devices from killing people is a straw-man argument.

There are, IMO, compelling reasons to have drugs and medical devices regulated since they have the potential to kill and/or be snake-oil to those with little hope. Because the drug has no patent does not mean that it can be delivered effectively by any pre-loaded injection device. If you found the right device, and the right backer, it would probably be less expensive than you think to put an alternative to the epipen on the market since it would only be necessary to prove the device can effectively deliver the med. There are fast-track paths for certain medical items, and the reasons why no other company is doing this are uncertain at best.

I also think govt regs are necessary since not everyone is capable of, or even wants to, act in an ethical manner. If ethics drove all businesses and the individuals that run them, I would more than welcome the idea of dispensing with govt regulations. Unfortunately, there are many businesses and individuals out there who are solely interested in how much money they can siphon out of your wallet by any means, ethical or not, that they can attach that siphon. Until that changes, govt regs remain a necessity, IMO.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Throttling is not a first amendment violation. It would only be so if Comcast was a government organization. The first amendment has a ton of loopholes to promote businesses. This shaped out in the Supreme Court throughout the 70's to the 90's.
Got that right! :cool:

IMO, its unfortunate that people think that 1st amendment rights mean that any one can say anything which is blatently false and only takes a quick internet search to find the relevant SCOTUS decisions on the matter.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
I'm not a fan of Ajit Pai by any means. However, has there ever been any evidence ISPs of throttling content or have people just been crying wolf?
There has been several high profile cases where ISP's throttled a company and the company paid them an undisclosed sum. In 2014 Netflix paid an undisclosed sum and their speed went from a net -21% to a net +24 (55%!) in the matter of months. This was also completely unrelated to access on any other network (so it wasn't Netflix's fault for the slow down --- it was directly due to Comcast). See: https://technical.ly/philly/2014/05/09/graph-shows-netflix-speeds-changed-comcast-deal-comcast-roundup/

The use of the internet has changed drastically since the rise of Netflix. The vast majority of traffic used to be torrenting (and, to a lesser extent, porn). Now streaming services and social media account for almost everything.

Net neutrality is a tricky subject. If you look at it from an efficiency perspective, it makes sense that the companies that use more bandwidth need to pay more. This is akin to taking a highway and paying a toll. Why do they get to free ride off of everyone else? From a philosophical perspective, the idea of having an open internet is appealing (but may not be true if Facebook & Google control almost all the direction of content).

This very well may have an impact on consumers, it may not. For all we know, charging a premium may lead to more competitive practices --- or further entrench them. That's a long-term issue. Right now you have to decided who do you want to get more money? Netflix or Comcast?
Companies like Netflix and Pornhub already pay their ISP for the internet speed they receive so no one is receiving a free ride. If comcast thinks it should be payed more for the amount of speed netflix gets they should simply increase their bill and not doing backdoor deals. What Comcast did previously to netflix was akin to a double tolled road. They essentially pay twice for their internet access.

I think it is more likely that the size of these monopolies will grow without Net Neutrality.
You have it exactly backwards. Net Neutrality = Govt Regulation = higher costs of doing business = harder to start a business = fewer players = bigger monopolies. Case in point, you've probably heard of Mylan -the maker of EpiPens (life-saving allergic reaction auto-injectors). They recently started charging $600 for a pen - which is basically a spring loaded needle of a $2 medicine. There are no patents on the drug - epinephrine has been around for decades, but anytime a competitor comes along to make their own they can't get through the years of regulation. As a result we have ONE company who can charge what they want because the govt won't approve any other pens. Yay govt.
And yet in europe they have their ISPs already classified as a utility and tightly regulated and they get better speeds at better prices. FYI, the ISPs currently have little regulation and they have sat on regional monopolies. What exactly is Comcast's profit motive to improve if they can be POS and still rake in the cash?
 

kapital98

TS Guru
Companies like Netflix and Pornhub already pay their ISP for the internet speed they receive so no one is receiving a free ride. If comcast thinks it should be payed more for the amount of speed netflix gets they should simply increase their bill and not doing backdoor deals. What Comcast did previously to netflix was akin to a double tolled road. They essentially pay twice for their
They pay the market price. If there is an externality then that's not the societal price of the good. So it should be adjusted accordingly.

It's kind of like saying that people who buy electricity shouldn't fund efforts to curb global warming. The price of their electricity is not the real price when you factor in all of the damage this consumption does. It's more complicated.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
They pay the market price. If there is an externality then that's not the societal price of the good. So it should be adjusted accordingly.

It's kind of like saying that people who buy electricity shouldn't fund efforts to curb global warming. The price of their electricity is not the real price when you factor in all of the damage this consumption does. It's more complicated.
I'm fine with that. Comcast charging twice though isn't helping anyone but themselves.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
They pay the market price. If there is an externality then that's not the societal price of the good. So it should be adjusted accordingly.

It's kind of like saying that people who buy electricity shouldn't fund efforts to curb global warming. The price of their electricity is not the real price when you factor in all of the damage this consumption does. It's more complicated.
Personally, I think this is yet another straw-man argument since it was Comcast artificially adjusting the data rate for which Netflix was paying from within their own company. Sorry, but there were no externalities involved. As @Evernessince stated, what Comcast did amounted to double-charging for their ISP service.
 

merikafyeah

TS Addict
I'm not a fan of Ajit Pai by any means. However, has there ever been any evidence ISPs of throttling content or have people just been crying wolf?
ISPs have been known to throttle bittorrent traffic as well as Netflix traffic. In those instances, using a VPN suddenly resulted in faster speeds, a situation that is logically and physically impossible had the ISPs not been throttling a specific type of traffic over other types of traffic (assuming that throttling is not occurring on the user's end with bad network or QoS settings).
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Companies like Netflix and Pornhub already pay their ISP for the internet speed they receive so no one is receiving a free ride. If comcast thinks it should be payed more for the amount of speed netflix gets they should simply increase their bill and not doing backdoor deals. What Comcast did previously to netflix was akin to a double tolled road. They essentially pay twice for their internet access.



And yet in europe they have their ISPs already classified as a utility and tightly regulated and they get better speeds at better prices. FYI, the ISPs currently have little regulation and they have sat on regional monopolies. What exactly is Comcast's profit motive to improve if they can be POS and still rake in the cash?
The motive isn't for them to improve - the motive is for others to compete against them - more competition means lowers costs and that forces Comcast to improve. That motive is gone if there isn't money to be made in the industry. Regulation actually HELPS the big companies because they are the only ones who can afford it.