The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is getting a lot of buzz. The controversial bill could give companies the right to shut down Web sites accused of infringing copyright, though opponent say the bill amounts to censorship. A list of companies supporting the bill has been released by the US House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee, and it includes pharmaceutical companies and scientific publishers, among others.
The FiercePharma blog reports that Pfizer is backing the bill because the company thinks it could help prevent the counterfeiting of drugs.
At the Quantum Pontiff blog, Aram Harrow says that Elsevier's support for the bill comes down to "$10 billion worth of reasons not to let the Internet drive the costs of scientific publishing down to zero." Researchers that oppose SOPA can voice their displeasure, Harrow adds. "[Elsevier's] business model relies on the help of governments and academics. We can do our part to stop them by not publishing in, or refereeing for, their journals," he says. "Of course, this is easy to say in physics, harder in computer science, and a lot harder in fields like medicine."