National education, research and advocacy nonprofit organization Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has launched an online comments tool to help artists, labels and fans file comments with the Federal Communications Commission as it considers adopting formal rules on net neutrality–the principle that protects the open internet.

R.E.M. and other artists including Pearl Jam, Kronos Quartet, Erin McKeown, Martín Perna (Antibalas, Ocote Soul Sounds), Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady), Imani Winds, Dead Prez and more are submitting comments in this proceeding. Through the comments tool, FMC is offering a means by which all musicians – established and developing – can tell their stories about how they use the internet in their lives and careers and voice their opinions on specific questions related to this historic FCC proceeding.

FMC has long supported the codification of net neutrality principles to preserve access to a legitimate music marketplace for creators and independent labels. Currently, the internet allows all users to compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies. If Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are allowed to charge higher prices to content providers – including musicians and other entrepreneurs – many smaller operators would be forced into the slow lane of the internet. As the debate around net neutrality is heating up, it is more important than ever to make your voice heard on this crucial issue.

“Without clear and enforceable net neutrality principles, we may lose an incredible platform for creativity, innovation and commerce,” said FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy. “Artists should not be forced into a situation where reaching potential audiences comes down to their ability to cut deals with a handful of powerful players. We’re pleased that the FCC has undertaken this proceeding, which makes it all the more important that artists are part of the process.”

Here’s How you can participate:

FMC has built an online form to help musicians, composers, songwriters and indie record label owners file a public comment in the FCC’s Net Neutrality/Preserving an Open Internet proceeding.

The form has nine text boxes, each with explanatory text that matches some of the many questions that the FCC is asking of the public in this NPRM. All you have to do is type your own thoughts into each box, and hit “submit.” They’ll make sure that it’s filed at the FCC in the proper proceeding.

Wanna go the extra mile? Feel free to spread the word among your peers and across your social networks. Got a Facebook or MySpace presence? Post a link. Send a Tweet: Tell your followers to get on the net neutrality bandwagon. It’s incredibly important that the FCC knows that preserving the open internet is vital to the lives of creators, labels and fans. You can make it happen!