Congress determined to rob you of your medications and your voice!posted Mon, 12 Dec 2011
Since the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is being marked up (amended) by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, we'd like to take an opportunity to point some of the bill's major flaws--and there are many!
First of all, the bill has an overly broad--rather than targeted--approach. For example, SOPA inappropriately groups real pharmacies--licensed, legitimate pharmacies that require a doctor's prescription and sell brand-name medications--with the rogues who sell everything from diluted or counterfeit medicine to narcotics without a prescription. This shotgun approach will result in a great deal of collateral damage. With respect to drug importation, there are millions of struggling Americans who can't afford the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs in the U.S. Many depend on Canadian and other international online pharmacies for affordable medicine. The bill would simply cut off access to medications that Americans need to survive.
In addition, legal scholars point out that SOPA's provisions violate some of the basic rights that Americans hold dearest, including freedom of speech and due process guarantees. This bill would essentially result in Internet censorship. Critics also say the bill would stifle competition, innovation and creativity. How un-American is that?
Perhaps the most appalling aspect of SOPA is that even though it constitutes a major and consequential shift in public Internet policy; the public and consumer rights groups have had virtually no opportunity to participate in Congressional consideration of the legislation.
In contrast, a whole range of corporate interests have had unfettered access to give testimony, meet with legislators and staff, and--one suspects--write whole sections of the legislation. The process employed by the House has not only denied the people's voice, it has excluded the full range of opinions that public deliberation demands.
At this point, we submit that it would be best to reject SOPA in its entirety and adopt an open and transparent process for consideration and drafting of its replacement.
The Congressional handling of SOPA provides a teachable moment for the public. It couldn't be clearer: our legislators are yet again ignoring their constituents' best interests and bowing to their corporate masters.
More information about the SOPA markup can be found on the House Judicary Committee's website. It will take place on Thursday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m.