August 29, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kathryn Serkes (202) 333-3855
NATIONAL PHYSICIAN GROUP SUPPORTS NAPSTER APPEAL
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has filed a "friend-of-the-court" brief supporting Napsterís appeal of a preliminary injunction.
"The same faulty reasoning against Napster that would prohibit the free exchange of data could lead to the shutdown of all medical Web sites," said Kathryn Serkes, public affairs counsel for AAPS. "This ruling protects special interests at the expense of the publicís access to unbiased, quality medical care."
The AAPS brief, filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, cites online research of the pros and cons of the trademarked drug Ritalin: as an example:
The brief goes on to warn:
AAPS has long fought claims of special interests to exclusive copyrights that harm the public, such as the American Medical Associationís claim to exclusive copyright of, and royalties from, the CPT coding database that the government forces physicians to use in filing claims for reimbursement from federal health programs.
In fact, one of the legal precedents cited in the Napster brief is Practice Management v. AMA.
In 1997, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the AMA had no legal right to exclusive publishing of their CPT coding database.
But powerful special interests moved to usurp the publicís interest. "Lo and behold, six months after the court ruling, a bill [HR 354] was introduced in Congress, at the behest of the AMA, that would allow their claim of exclusive rights to this valuable data. They could sell it at enormous profits, and exclude their competitors from accessing it.," said Serkes. AAPSís opposition to the bill was supported by more than 100 organizations from Columbia University to AT&T.
"These court-ordered strangleholds such as the Napster injunction create multi-million dollar monopolies for special interests. They restrict access to information, and add unnecessary costs to the public," said Serkes. "This injunction should be reversed."
AAPS is a non-partisan association of physicians in all specialities dedicated to the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship since 1943.