From the Eye of the Dragon – Save the Internet!

Tim Wronka


Could there ever be a day when Vince McMahon could actually control what you see on the internet? Could he ever block out his fans from seeing critic websites like wrestlingobserver.com?

Youâ<80><99>re probably screaming at your computer screen saying, NO! Vince may control the wrestling world, but he could never control my internet! Unfortunately, you could actually be wrong.

What would happen if one day you woke up, tried logging onto your favorite website (wrestling or otherwise) and instead saw an error message saying that you had been denied access? I know I personally would start flipping out. Well, first Iâ<80><99>d check my connection, reset my modem, my router, my computer and everything else that could be reset. If the site STILL wouldnâ<80><99>t work, Iâ<80><99>d be out of ideas, and THEN start flipping out. Finally, the realization would hit me: My internet service actually blocked me from that site.

Sadly, this day may not be too far off. Cable companies and their mutual Internet Service Providers, or ISPâ<80><99>s for short, are attempting to privatize the internet. Meaning, they are trying to make more money than they already are. They will make certain sites exclusive to certain internet providers. So for example, Comcast might block iTunes from their users, therefore forcing Comcast customers to use a more expensive Comcast downloading service. AT&T might block out YouTube, so they could launch their own video service. Bright House Networks might attempt to block out online banking and force you to use their own paid services. The list goes on and on and on.

Essentially, many websites and services would only be available if they were the highest bidder to a cable company. Then, all other internet users would be blocked from that site or service. Imagine a world where only special users could access MySpace!

Is this fair? Is it right? No, to the common internet user itâ<80><99>s not. But cable companies are frothing at the mouth for this to happen. They are shilling out millions to lobby their cases in Washington as we speak. To make things worse, if you didnâ<80><99>t like your internet provider, you have little or no chance of switching, since many internet companies are monopolies in certain regions. For instance, I use Comcast, and as much I hate their services, itâ<80><99>s the only choice in my city, and Iâ<80><99>m stuck with it.

Going with this theory, what would stop billionaire Vince McMahon from coming along and making a deal with several or more cable companies? Since he knows the internet is always a detriment to his WWE, he might be able to throw money at cable companies just so they can provide WWE.com, but in return, he would want pwtorch.com to be blocked off. Or he could say â<80><9c>Iâ<80><99>m going to pull my pay-per-view programming unless you block out wrestlingobserver.com.â<80>

Could you imagine one day not having an Internet Wrestling Community? To many wrestling fans, the internet is the lifeblood that fuels their passion for the product. Without the internet, fans canâ<80><99>t interact with each other, they canâ<80><99>t get all the juicy backstage gossip, they canâ<80><99>t download their favorite matches, and the acclaimed critics like Meltzer and Keller could take a hit on their income.

Youâ<80><99>re probably asking if this legal. Well cable companies say it is. They made money in the past in broadcasting and cable, so why not the internet? While there is no current regulation on the internet, the concept of it being â<80><9c>freeâ<80> and open could someday be a long forgotten utopia. As I said earlier, these companies want profits. And they are targeting our internet and selling out to the highest bidder just to make some money.

Now, the probability of this happening is slim to none. But, if someone like Vince McMahon was crazy enough, he would have the rights to come along and throw millions at cable companies to block out those dreaded â<80><9c>dirt sheets.â<80> While heâ<80><99>d probably lose fans and revenue, and still not be able to entirely block out the IWC, someone like Vince would be crazy enough to do it. Remember, this is a man who sacrificed potentially the biggest money making program of all time in the WCW Invasion, just so he could flaunt his ego and show WCW they had no place in WWE. He consistently made WCW out to be a bunch of nobodies, and in turn, he sacrificed millions of dollars just so he could get the last word in on his former competition.

So Vince, you took away regional territories, kayfabe, and any semblance of competition in the wrestling world. Whatâ<80><99>s to stop you from taking over the wrestling fanâ<80><99>s coveted internet next?

All in all, the reason I brought this whole topic up is that right now in Michigan, there is legislation being presented that could allow cable companies like AT&T to come in and start privatizing the internet there. Google is trying to stop this, as this would hurt them, but they need help. Now is the time to act. If you like free use of the internet, go to sites like savetheinternet.com and freepress.net. Sign petitions, do demonstrations, and get the word out! If this legislation passes in Michigan (which is doubtful but still a threat) it could lead to other states doing the same. The decisions we make today will determine the future of the free internet.

We as wrestling fans have an even bigger responsibility, because if we were ever blocked from each other, the IWC would die, and we canâ<80><99>t have that!

In closing, SAVE THE INTERNET!

***

If you just read this, thanks for your time! Iâ<80><99>m open to all feedback, comments, or suggestions, and I love hearing from my readers. Remember, feedback is WANTED!

Email: timothywronka@yahoo.com

AIM: Last Ride 417

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Until next time, this has been From the Eye of the Dragonâ<80>¦.


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