Stop! Instead of reading this, go do something about the FTAA!
If you don’t know what the FTAA is, or why you should oppose it, read on.
To borrow from globalexchange.org, the FTAA is essentially an expansion of NAFTA, both into new geographic areas such as Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and into new areas of the economy and the law that NAFTA didn’t cover.
Even if you’re not opposed to NAFTA (and if don’t know enough about it to make a judgement, you really ought to research it more), you should be strongly opposed to the FTAA. As reported by IP Justice, the FTAA has a truly horrifying chapter on intellectual property rights. Basically it exports our poorly conceived copyright regime to the rest of the Western Hemisphere, and adds on even more autocratic provisions. Among other things, it mandates imprisonment (!) for P2P filesharing for signatory nations, and destroys many of our remaining “fair use” rights. To see for yourself, try searching the chapter for “prison”… then read the whole thing, if you have a legal bent. Otherwise just visit IP Justice’s page.
I just love how the government talks in Newspeak: Free Trade here means “we throw you in jail for trading files”. Are they going to arrest people for making mix CDs for one another? I thought it was bad enough with the RIAA‘s frivolous lawsuits; now we really may get the police spiriting you away in the night for using Kazaa, no joke.