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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2006 @ 10:51am

    Wonder how fast that would lead entertainment companies to start lobbying in favor of allowing online gambling?

    Yeah, with the entertainment companies in complete control of the "allowed" gambling sites.


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