US Still 'Warning' Antigua That It Better Not Set Up Piracy Hub, Even As WTO Gives Approval
from the more-sword-waving dept
This is hardly a surprise given the decade-long history we’ve gone through concerning the US’s attempts to screw over Antigua by violating a trade agreement, and then ignoring, repeatedly, efforts by the WTO to make things right. Given that the WTO gave initial permission for Antigua to set up shop infringing on US intellectual property all the way back in 2007, it appears that Antigua has been nothing but patient. However, last week, it finally started making moves to put this “store” in place.
In response, the US has gone typically ballistic, threatening all sorts of consequences and blaming Antigua for the problems:
The United States warned Antigua and Barbuda on Monday not to retaliate against U.S. restrictions on Internet gambling by suspending American copyrights or patents, a move it said would authorize the “theft” of intellectual property like movies and music.
“The United States has urged Antigua to consider solutions that would benefit its broader economy. However, Antigua has repeatedly stymied these negotiations with certain unrealistic demands,” said Nkenge Harmon, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
Of course, what the US claims isn’t supported by, well, anyone else. The WTO has now officially signed off (yet again) on the plan. Apparently the 2007 permission was merely “preliminary,” but now it’s official. The WTO says this is a perfectly legitimate way for Antigua to hit back at the US for its flagrant violation of international trade agreements in trying to shut down Antigua based online gambling sites.
As for Antigua’s response to the US threats, the country’s legal representative Mark Mendel told Wired (the link above) a bunch of things (go read the whole article), but I think this sums up the key points:
“I do think that the US has a mixed, immature and difficult domestic situation with respect to gambling in general and remote gambling in particular,” Mendel told Wired.co.uk. “However, I think the main reason the US has not complied with the WTO rulings is that Antigua is such a small country they think they can get away with it. I also think that, unfortunately, some people in the US government were almost offended that Antigua chose to challenge the US and have been so persistent in its pursuit of justice that the US government has adopted unusually harsh and unyielding lines that have made it difficult to consider our issue in its proper context.”
Sounds about right.