After Two Years, Mozilla Drops Suit Against Net Neutrality Repeal

LOS ANGELES—When the Federal Communications Commission ditched its own Obama-era net neutrality rules in June of 2018, the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation — makers of the open-source web browser Firefox — quickly filed a lawsuit in federal court to reinstate the open internet regulations. But on Monday, Mozilla quietly dropped the two-year effort, saying that a lower court decision had “cleared a path for net neutrality to move forward at the state level,” according to a statement posted by the nonprofit firm.  In October of 2019, the lawsuit reached the Washington D.C. federal appellate court, considered the second-most important court in the judicial system. But a three-judge panel rejected Mozilla’s arguments, ruling that the FCC was within its jurisdiction to repeal the rules.  At the same time, however, the court rejected the FCC’s contention that its own repeal of net neutrality prevented states from imposing their own rules. That aspect of the decision appears to be what prompted Mozilla to stop the lawsuit before it reached the Supreme Court. “The fight for net neutrality will continue on. The D.C. Circuit decision positions the net neutrality movement to continue on many fronts, starting with a defense of California’s strong new law to protect consumers online—a law that was on hold pending resolution of this case,” the company wrote in its statement. California in 2018 passed its own net neutrality legislation, but delayed putting the law into effect while the Mozilla case worked its way through the legal system. Now that Mozilla has dropped the lawsuit, California is free to put the state-level net neutrality law into effect. Whether the state will do so or not remains unclear. The three judges who ruled against overturning the FCC decision was comprised of one Republican appointee and two judges appointed by Democrats.  In February, Mozilla appealed to the D.C. court to review its own decision, a common practice at the appeals court level. But the court declined to take a second look at the case. The case for states establishing their own rules was bolstered by a federal judge’s ruling in Maine this week, striking down a bid by several broadband companies to bar states from establishing their own broadband regulations. “ISPs welcomed the (Ajit) Pai FCC’s decision to abdicate authority over broadband with open arms,” said John Bergmayer, of the advocacy group Public Knowledge. “This opened the door to states regulating broadband practices, as Maine has done.” Photo By Michael Dunn / Wikimedia Commons

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: After Two Years, Mozilla Drops Suit Against Net Neutrality Repeal | AVN