How a Bad U.S. Law becomes a Bad International Law
If you've been paying attention for these last few weeks, you know by now that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a rotten piece of law with over-zealous, unconstitutional restrictions on researchers. Finding a flaw in some company's copy protection software, or discussing that flaw in public, could land you in jail. Not content to wreck the U.S. Constitution, Hollywood's lawyers are now trying to incorporate the DMCA's restrictions into international law by getting its provisions added to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty.
If you think this is a BAD IDEA, you need to speak up now. According to a recent EFF Alert, "The public must intervene to express disapproval of the FTAA's proposed anti-circumvention measures in order to correct this trend in copyright law. FTAA is currently accepting public feedback on the proposed treaty language until August 22."
The EFF has an excellent page on what you can do and who you can write to. Check it out.
Letters really do have an impact on what public figures do and more importantly, how they vote. They have full-time staff members who read and tally letters, figuring out which direction the public is leaning. Congresspeople have a point system for ranking the public's input. Letters get the most points, then Telexes, then FAXes, followed by phone calls. E-mail is hardly considered at all. If you want to have an impact, write a letter.
But do it soon. August 22nd is approaching fast.
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