Barry Diller: It's almost 'un-American' what they want to do with the internet

Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia (EXPE) and IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC), spoke at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in strong support of net neutrality, the idea that internet service providers shouldn’t favor or block any content or source.

The media titan who ran Paramount, Fox, and USA Broadcasting praised the idea of keeping content producers and consumers closely linked.

“You have a miracle — this internet thing is a total accident of history. The wonderful thing about the internet is you push a button and publish,” Diller said at the Yahoo Finance All Market Summit on Wednesday. “There’s no one between you and the consumer. In the past, since the beginning of communications, there’s been someone between you creating something and the person receiving it, some sort of organizer.”

In Diller’s view, the internet functions without a real value-adding middleman like previous iterations — the cable industry, for instance.

Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia, Inc., smiles at the Wall Street Journal Digital Conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“If you change [the current internet system] and put a distributor’s discrimination in the middle of it, we’ll do what every distributor since the beginning of time has done,” he said. Throughout history, Diller says, distributors have said, “My wires are valuable. If you want to get across you are going to pay me a toll.” And even more likely, Dillar said, they will say, “Give me most of your profits.”

Diller does not want to see this change for modern streaming companies. “Net neutrality is to me — I don’t think there’s anything more important than preserving this and not allowing industrial interest to crimp that process,” he said. “I really do think that’s un-American.”

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