Guarantee X - Equal Treatment
All Parties shall, at all times, receive equal treatment and application of any terms of service, conditions, rules, and codes of conduct, except when the Party being treated unequally has contractually agreed, through express, written, informed consent, to unequal treatment.
This one might piss people off a little. First, the part people will like. As I mentioned in Digitalist Number 6, if End User A says “I hate End User B” and gets punished for it, then End User B should also be punished for saying “I hate End User A” in the event they say it. Rules should not be selectively applied based on politics. If an action breaks the rules then the appropriate penalties should be applied to the Party breaking the rules. That is the way it is.
Here’s the part that will piss people off. If, for example, Netflix wants to pay extra to reach End Users with priority over YouTube, and they have an agreement with the ISP to do so, then that should be allowed. Chances they’re paying for that special treatment. Now that doesn’t mean ISPs should charge more to deliver your content at reasonable speeds, or throttle you for not paying (that would violate Guarantee VIII). Not to mention Platforms like Netflix have spent millions or even billions of dollars investing in infrastructure to basically become their own ISP, so the only work your ISP does to deliver the content to you is from the node to your house. Prohibiting fast lanes prohibits corporations from creating their own fast lane at their own expense, and that could be used to prevent a competitor ISP from creating their own universal fast lane (or even starting their own company) if they wanted to.
Allowing contractual preferential treatment also means Platforms can charge money to feature a video higher on a recommended page (for example), although it should be noted that the Platform should disclose if it is a paid promotion. The FTC does require that in most cases.
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