Would The WTO Support Antigua Offering Free Music And Free Software In Retaliation For Gambling Ban?

from the it-certainly-could dept

For a few years now, we’ve been following how the US’s attempt to ban online gambling potentially goes against international treaties they’ve signed as part of the WTO. The WTO has told the US that it cannot stop online gambling in Antigua, so long as it allows any online gambling in the US. The US (in true US fashion) simply pretended the WTO said something different and proceeded to ignore the ruling completely. The WTO has been warning the US to comply, but the latest attempt by Congress to ban online gambling actually makes the situation worse. The WTO was very clear that the only way the US can ban online gambling and stay in compliance with international treaties is to ban all online gambling, with no exceptions. Congress, on the other hand, made plenty of exceptions for the type of gambling they like (such as lotteries and horses).

Back in March, we pointed to a story suggesting that Antigua was considering retaliating by ignoring US intellectual property laws, in order to offer things like free (or cheap) music and software. Last month, the idea began to get more attention, and now a lawyer has written an interesting piece suggesting that the WTO may even support Antigua in ignoring its intellectual property treaty obligations as a fair retaliation against the US ignoring its online gambling obligations. It certainly seems like this idea is gaining a lot of traction, and if they weren’t serious about it before, you have to imagine such ideas will certainly be brought to Antigua’s attention pretty quickly. The end result, then, may be that the US’s attempt at banning online gambling, may open up efforts supported by the WTO for Antigua to willfully infringe on US intellectual property. Wonder how fast that would lead entertainment companies to start lobbying in favor of allowing online gambling?

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Comments on “Would The WTO Support Antigua Offering Free Music And Free Software In Retaliation For Gambling Ban?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

finally someone stepping up to the plate.

not some pac, not some lobbist group. a whole freaking nation. a seperate government. plus a the wto. that’s great.

once the IP holders stop gaining their profits, they’ll force the us to change gambling laws, or the gambling pac/lobbist will force the us to ignore the IP laws.

either wa, we make out!!!

Joe Smith says:


“The US (in true US fashion) simply pretended the WTO said something different and proceeded to ignore the ruling completely”

That’s what the US did on softwood lumber until Canada finallly ran out of time for the fight and caved in. Of course, there is a price to be paid for that sort of dishonesty in the longer term dealings between countries.

Mike Mixer (profile) says:

Re: Softwood

As a citizen of a state that has been raped by the canadians and their wood that seems to have no environmental encumberances I take exception to the premise that Canada got screwed at all in that fight. The Canadian government wanted to flood us with their wood because the domestic market was in the shitter and ours was starving because of bunny-huggers crying over every tree we cut. It was just a survival move to impose tarrifs on that lumber so that our mills wouldn’t die completely

Mousky says:

Re: Re: Softwood

Take exception, but the fact is that the US got to keep $1 billion of the duties that it illegally collected. This whole debacle began when American mills were upset that Canadian mills, specifically in British Columbia, could produce lumber cheaper. They accused the BC government of having artificially low stumpage fees. Who knew that having a lot of trees would result in low stumpage fees? Our wood was cheaper than your wood. Get over it.

AllOver says:


This would never actually happen. The US and record industry weld too much influence. Certainly I would love to see Antigua do this to spite the backwards policies of the US on gambling and I also don’t care too much for the recording industry right now either. But, I just don’t see this ever happening. How do I know? Just an educated guess from a guy who keeps up with the news a lot.

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