What's More Important To Congress, Protecting Intellectual Property Or Banning Online Gambling?

from the tough-choices dept

The US might be getting a whole lot more than it bargained for when it casually passed a ban on online gambling by slipping the measure into a port security bill. It's doubtful that the bill will have its desired effect, rather the practice will continue on shadier, less-regulated sites. Another problem, as several people have pointed out is that the bill may be in violation of WTO agreements. You can't ban a foreign good or service that's legally sold domestically, and since the bill carves out a clear exception for things like state lotteries and horse betting, that's a problem. In fact, the WTO already ruled on this question, during a dispute between the US and the tiny island nation of Antigua. But in itself, flouting the WTO is not the big problem. See, Antigua, having won the dispute, has a right to exact penalties against the US. But what could Antigua do to really hurt the US? Tariffs and other restrictions wouldn't work, because the US would hardly notice, and they'd just damage Antiguans anyway. But the country does have on eway to make the US take notice. As a retaliatory measure under the WTO, it could refuse to recognize US intellectual property. It could make itself a haven for pirated software and drugs. If the US thought that Allofmp3.com was a thorn in its side, imagine an Antiguan-based allofsoftware.com. It would create quite a stir, and make many industry players quite upset at the US government. It all doesn't seem quite worth it, as Radley Balko put it in the above article, "because (Congressman) Bob Goodlatte thinks card playin' is fer' the devil."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2006 @ 9:48am

    wow. that's great. granted, i feel people should be compensated for their work. that's why we have all the benifits and such in place. however i don't believe that just because you are a {insert over paid profession here} you should be ENTITLED to millions every year. especially since you haven't done any work in the past x years.

    but i'm not familar with the WTO, our role and whatnot in it. can we drop from it? if we do, what would happen?

    but if that's more harmful than allofsoftware.com it'd be great, because then we'd have the entire business industry forcing the government to actually work for the masses!!!!!11!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2006 @ 9:49am

    Go for it

    I say go for it. it's time that congress gets a rude awakening. People who don't understand technology and succumb to lobbyists deserve to have thier laws backfire. If only we were a true democracy (and not a representative democracy or republic), then we could vote on each law instead of electing people that seem to be easily corruptible...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 20 Oct 2006 @ 10:06am

    A goverenment for the people...

    I've always wondered why the common people don't get a say in law making. I highly doubt that even MS could afford to lobby (i.e. throw large sums of money at) to a few thousand people everytime something came up. But even this solution isn't perfect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    James, 20 Oct 2006 @ 10:51am

    Not that I agree with congress..

    ..but, you guys are missing the boat. You can't vote on EVERY peice of legislation, you think things move slowly now?? And ever hear of a referendum, these are laws the voters vote on and pass in elections, so you do get some invdividual say.

    That all said... yes the whole congressional system needs an overhaul, lobbyists need to be throw out and I hope this whole preaching morality bs (ie anti-gambling legislation these turkeys just passed) blows up in their face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2006 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Not that I agree with congress..

      And ever hear of a referendum, these are laws the voters vote on and pass in elections, so you do get some invdividual say.
      When was the last time you voted in a federal referendum?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    s, 20 Oct 2006 @ 10:52am

    another sea land?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2006 @ 11:10am

    Congress is a supreme example of a huge, Goldbergian machine that ginds and processes on without much thought or direction, rolling over the average man without a care, kinda directionless, until some huge corporation needs something from it; then its quickly and efficiently in action. Then it lurches and rumbles on to the next lobby. Kinda like the legal system, sort of a rich man's playing field. And our taxes keep it moving. I'm simply disgusted with the whole system. Its plainly not for me to get involved in. I'm thinking about moving to Antarctica where I won't be bothered by taxes, regulations, and people trying to sue me or get my vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Trouble Maker, 20 Oct 2006 @ 11:12am

    two cents worth

    Oh, Congress PLEASE!

    My pillar of integrity..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dino Morelli, 20 Oct 2006 @ 11:27am

    business opportunity

    Hm. Antigua, you say? I wonder if that would be a good place to live and run a tech company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Caribbean Resident, 20 Oct 2006 @ 11:43am

    This bill will Destroy Antigua

    This bill will Destroy the economy of the tiny island of Antigua, but of course the US couldn't give two figs. Antigua's economy was already gutted due to trade restrictions and a shift in trade preference for its agriculture. So in order to survive the country became a haven for offshore accounting and Finance, which many Online Gambling companies used.

    That's what was keeping the country afloat.

    Not to mention the number of large firms with a high employment number that have been forced to close because of this. A lot of people are now out of jobs worldwide, and especially in the UK.

    The WTO categorically ruled that the United States was in breach of its responsibilities under several treaties, the US said f*** you. Although it has used this same WTO to force others to accept its edicts and to force acceptance of US written Copyright agreements, manage and control Trade etc. Globalisation is fantastic, and everyone should engage in Free Trade, except the United States when it wants to protect it's domestic industries.

    In short, there is one law for the United States of America, and another law for the rest of the world. THe US is clearly in breach of it's agreements and obligations under the same WTO that affords it successful trade negotiations, but there's nothing the WTO can do about it, and the rest of the world must simply sit and suck it up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dazcon5, 20 Oct 2006 @ 1:26pm

    once again...

    Once again the US government has basically said BITE ME to the rest of the world in an attempt to garnish votes.
    Then they wonder why there is so much anti US sentiment.
    Our congress/senate have basically put up a...
    TAXPAYERS FOR SALE!!!
    sign and businesses just started writing checks.
    We need to vote out all the incumbents (at least 90%).
    (me) ATTENTION CONGRESS AND SENATE MEMBERS
    (gov) what the f**k do YOU want!!!
    (me punching each in the face) POW
    (me) DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION NOW!!!
    (gov) y, y, ye, yes
    (me) quit selling us out to the corporates!
    (gov) ye,..yes sir!
    (me) GOOD... now get back to work you maggots!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    doubledoh, 21 Oct 2006 @ 9:39pm

    Hm. Antigua, you say? I wonder if that would be a good place to live and run a tech company.

    No. I've been in Antigua for over 4 years. All the tech & gaming companies moved to Costa Rica because the Antiguan govt grows more corrupt and greedy every year. And believe me, they already don't respect Copyrights. Fake DVD's are sold on tables in the middle of town, and the "Cable" that people subscribe to is just an almagamation of stolen satellite signals resold by a local crooks and croney's.

    Despite all this...the real estate market here is booming. If you want to make some money, invest in property on the island.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Franck, 22 Oct 2006 @ 12:02pm

    no more liberty

    It is very sad to see the U.S with less and less liberty, Russia, China get more freedom today. I have been 16 years in this country and I can tell you the American Dream is gone for many people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anti. Govt. All the Way, 24 Oct 2006 @ 7:49pm

    Lets Revolt!!

    Does anybody remember the good old days when people weren't afraid to physically stand up to a corrupt (or even unpopular) government? I wasn't around for them, and yet I feel we're being pushed towards that kind of resolution. Online gambling being banned (and deemed a class C felony in Wash.) is just the tip of an iceburg that's done way more permanent damage. Why are we allowing a bunch of greedy bastards to run our lives, when in a democracy, the voting public is supposed to dictate what is good for themselves? Even a blind man could see that online gambling isn't as damaging as alcohol, high gas prices, or a war on terror that's spawning more terrorists than we could ever kill. But, the government doesn't seem to think that they can profit off of it, so they passed a bill, right under our f'ing noses to ban it. 1 million gun toting Americans on the White House lawn would get a point across, but noone is ready to man up and fight for the rights they claim to deserve.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Antiguanabroad, 25 Oct 2006 @ 1:42am

    I would just like to comment on doubledoh's post.

    In 2004 the people of Antigua booted out the ruling ALP government for only the second time in almost thirty years (forty is you count Antigua's period of Associated statehood). Now the current UPP government isn't perfect, but to accused them of being worse than the ALP -- as doubledoh effectly does -- is just plain outlandish. No serious observer of Antigua believes that.

    The companies that moved to Costa Rica and elsewhere, most of them anyway, did so before 2004.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Antiguanabroad, 25 Oct 2006 @ 1:45am

    I messed up.

    I should have said: '...first time in its history of being an independent country, and only the second time in almost forty years (it became an Associated State of the UK in 1967)'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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