Antigua Doesn't See Settlement With US Over WTO Plan To Let It Ignore US Copyrights

from the stand-your-ground dept

The back and forth battle between the US and Antigua is long and involved. You can read the background if you want, but the short version is that the US suddenly claimed that Antigua-based online gambling sites were in violation of US anti-gambling laws. Antigua took offense at this, and noted that it appeared to violate free trade agreements between the two countries, most specifically because the US still allowed certainly types of domestic online gambling. The issue went to the WTO multiple times, and every time Antigua won -- and every time the US ignored the decision. At one point, the US pretended it won the ruling, and another time it announced that it was simply, unilaterally, changing its trade agreement with Antigua.

Since Antigua has little leverage against the US, it started to look at other options -- and took serious an idea that some folks first suggested in jest: if the US keeps ignoring the WTO rulings, let Antigua ignore US intellectual property rights. Antigua took this plan to the WTO, and the WTO approved it -- though, limited it to only $21 million worth of intellectual property, which given industry accounting probably represents half an album or so. Either way, the US threatened Antigua not to follow through on this plan, even though the WTO approved it -- and the two sides agreed to negotiate a settlement, with a deadline of today, June 6th.

Well, here we are, and Antigua is saying that (can you believe it?) the US appears to be taking a hardline position on this whole thing and no settlement is expected. It will be interesting to see if Antigua really follows through on ignoring US intellectual property, and how it goes about doing so. Also, it will be worth watching to see how they "count" just how much intellectual property they're ignoring. I'm assuming they won't use RIAA math.

Filed Under: antigua, copyright, intellectual property, online gambling, united states, wto


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  1. identicon
    Baldwin Spencer, 9 Jun 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Antigua? ?

    This is too funny.

    It would seem that the WTO awarded Antigua Intellectual Property Rights out of pity because apparently Antigua has no intellectual property.

    The WTO ruling gives Antigua the right to infringe on IP because the US allows betting on horse racing, but Antigua wants to be compensated as if all internet gambling were legal in the US. Using "Antigua logic" since aspirin and alcohol are drugs, and they're legal in the US, it's OK to export cocaine because its a drug too, and drugs are "legal".

    Another problem is that any transmission of IP into any other country would expose the recipient to local law. (eg, if I buy a block of hash in Amsterdam, where its legal, it wouldn't then be legal in the US (or Antigua).

    Third, Antigua doesn't enforce any intellectual property rights now anyway. Go into one of the video rental places on the island and just TRY to find a legitimate DVD or VHS tape. Everything is copied down there. By awarding Antigua the right to make and possess copies of pirated movies and software, they essentially gave Antigua something they already have. The only thing there's more of in Antigua than pirated software and movies is sand!

    Last but not least, if they were to go ahead and try to commercialize on this it would kill their tourism industry. Each and every tourist returning to the states would have their luggage CAREFULLY screened on the way back in. Once word of the "welcome home" reception got out nobody would go there anymore.

    It makes you wonder how anyone could be so stupid, but remember, these are people who ASKED to get kicked out of the British Empire, and they've been pulling one sleazy trick after another to make up the support money since then.

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