May 8, 2017 / 3:11 AM / 2 months ago

Director Francis Ford Coppola weighs in on preserving net neutrality

2 Min Read

Director Francis Ford Coppola places his handprints in cement during a ceremony in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, U.S., April 29, 2016.Mario Anzuoni

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Francis Ford Coppola, director of classic films such as "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now," has sent a letter to the top U.S. telecommunications regulator to urge support for "net neutrality," which prevents internet companies from blocking, throttling or giving "fast lanes" to particular websites.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, named by President Donald Trump in January, has said that he plans to scrap a 2015 internet conduct standard aimed at preventing broadband providers from favoring their content over others.

In the letter released late on Sunday by advocacy group Public Knowledge, the Oscar-winning filmmaker said the internet was designed so it would not be dominated by giant corporations.

"Trusting the leadership of huge corporations with America's artistic heritage is a crucial mistake, and can already be seen in the 'monotony' of contemporary major studio cinema," Coppola wrote.

"The changes you are making at the FCC will only make the fragile balance between artist and businessman more impossible to maintain. I assure you that none of the films that I or my contemporaries are known and celebrated for could exist today in such a climate," he wrote in the brief letter.

Big web companies like Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and others back net neutrality rules, saying they guarantee equal access to the internet.

Internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp oppose net neutrality rules, saying they made it harder to manage internet traffic and discouraged investment in improving access.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Mary Milliken

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