Antigua Still Threatening To Launch Its WTO-Endorsed Legal Piracy Site, But We've Heard That Before

from the any-day-now dept

In a dispute that's dragged on for over a decade, it appears that Antigua is, once again, making noises about how this time it's really, really, really going to do what the WTO has said it can do: set up a legal platform to infringe on American copyrights as a form of official payback for the US clearly violating a trade agreement with Antigua by outlawing online gambling. We've covered this dispute and all its twists and turns for years, but the short summary is that Antigua won at every turn, even as the US tried to once declare victory where it had lost. The US even tried to just say it could unilaterally change the trade agreement, which is not how those things work.

Of course, Antigua is a small country, so how does it "get back" at the US after such a win, when it's clear that the US doesn't care at all about the WTO saying it violated the agreement? Well, some folks had the bright idea that perhaps Antigua could just violate American copyrights, and pirate their way to the equivalent value of what the US should be paying. That idea was first floated around 2006, and it seemed like a joke. However, it continued to gain steam. Of course, the real idea behind these sorts of things is that Antigua and the WTO hope that this will make the RIAA and MPAA go running to the US government and beg them to come to some sort of settlement in which gobs of cash are sent from the US Treasury to Antigua. It's a well-known trick in trade wars: co-opt some powerful lobbyists who really shouldn't have any dog in the actual fight, and get them on your side. It happens in trade disputes quite often.

Of course, in the years since the WTO first gave its stamp of approval to this plan, what we've seen is every so often, Antigua makes a public statement along the lines of, "Hey! we're really going to do it!" and the US responds with "You'd better not!" and then there's silence for a year or two, and the dance starts all over again. Apparently it's time for that dance again, because Antigua is making very public that it's really, no really (do you hear that USTR?) really, really, really planning to move forward this time. No, really. They even had a meeting about it. And they're going to set up a body to "manage and operate" the platform. They also claim that they'll soon let private companies bid on participating. And... of course, they knock the US for "failing to negotiate."

I imagine that at some point the US will do another "Oh no, you'd better not!" statement, and then we'll be waiting around for another six to nine months before Antigua insists that it's really, really, no really moving forward with it this time. Really. Guys. Really. We mean it this time.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:01am

    Next in the news: TPB moves to Antigua. That would be interesting and a kick in the US metaphorical nuts.

    If it really, really comes out I'll be a regular visitor and downloader ;)

     

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

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:10am

    This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    The US is judged guilty by (the globalist) WTO (that US politicians empowered with criminally insane treaty that reduces US sovereignty to detriment of We The People with), and entirely un-involved MPAA and RIAA get their products stolen!

    Then Mike and his grifter pals and the little pirates start hoping they can "legally" steal products made by US producers.

    It's perfect example of how destructive those globalist "treaty" organizations are, that's all.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:11am

    I wonder what would happen if Antigua were to set up a flat rate streaming music/video site and simply accept monthly subscriptions until the quota was met.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:13am

    Re:

    I can see the USG threatening to deploy its warships to surround the island if Antigua did a deal with TPB.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:15am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    If WTO approved and agreed for Antigua to infringe on US copyright as compensation for sanctions then you should take the matter up WTO instead of moaning and complaining on here which does absolutely nothing for your cause.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    What I'm hoping for is that it starts a fire under the MPAA so they start selling their products so I can buy them. It's really that simple.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Mark Harrill (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    TPB nothing. Why not set up the Dark Mail service there? Outside of the NSA and I'm sure the taxes on the service fees would more than cover the lost gambling tax revenue.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    If you've got a better idea as to how to force the US's hand, and get them to cough up the cash from the judgement against them, please, feel free to share, as it's abundantly clear nothing else will even phase them in matters like this, and given the 'cozy' relationship the *AA's have with a number of politicians, something like this would certainly get their attention.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    But the US has repeatedly ignored the WTO's decisions in other cases. So from now on, regardless of the facts, the US government should always be sided against, on principle. They should be ostracised as much as possible.

    Let's not forget, for one second, that the US is NOT living up to its legally-bound obligations under treaties with anyone else - treaties that it directly influenced to have these clauses such that it could have a massive advantage in the marketplace.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    No need to feed the parasites, there are more than enough independent content creators who are happy to sell to anyone willing to pay, and they tend to treat their customers a whole lot better to boot.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Antigua sounds a lot like the regulars here and their big talk about what they're going to do.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    martyburns (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    Except in this case, it wouldn't be infringement because the WTO has declared that Antigua could legally sell the products in question.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    True enough but once they start giving some back (selling at a reasonable price, low/no drm ect) imo they'll stop being parasites.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    Actually you should take it up with the US for ignoring the decision of the WTO.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    It's perfect example of how destructive those globalist "treaty" organizations are, that's all.

    No it's a perfect of example of US hypocrisy. All in favour of these trade organisations and treaties when they benefit the US but the moment they find themselves on the receiving end of what they dish out to others all the time they throw a hissy fit and try to pretend it's not happening.

     

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

  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    @ AC: "If WTO approved and agreed for Antigua to infringe on US copyright as compensation for sanctions then you should take the matter up WTO instead of moaning and complaining on here which does absolutely nothing for your cause."


    Which is like MIke's assertion: "The US even tried to just say it could unilaterally change the trade agreement, which is not how those things work." -- Both believe that US sovereignty -- which is the People's -- are subject to an international organization set up by "treaty". As I stated, that's the danger and destruction that those "treaties" cause; it's the intended effect of globalists and the politicians who sold us out.

    Of late, the former US of A has engaged in illegal foreign wars and had its former reputation rightly damaged. Our politicians have been shipping jobs overseas, and corporations have profited enormously from exploiting foreign labor while still selling in the former US market. But that's ending with the bankers inflating the US money supply by $85 billion a month. In every way, the former US of A has been hollowed out and disgraced. All by intent. -- But that doesn't make the "treaties" right! -- Nor should you cheer at the US collapse, as you will not remain free for long after the biggest falls...

    Nor is it, as practical matter, that the US must surrender to the diktats of foreign criminal bankers. That's why I include Mike's assertion here, and include him as actually cheering this. -- The US can unilaterally exit ANY and every treaty! Still the most militarized nation on earth, kids. The US could flatten Antigua in a matter of hours, NOT that I advocate more than the current ignoring.

    This In answer to the swarm of ACs -- I really must stop commenting here, only provide impetus for invective -- It's the WTO which must go, NOT US sovereignty!

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    TPB moves to Antigua.

    Slysoft is already there - check out what it does.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    Possible, but if they were going to change, they'd have done it long ago, when it became obvious their old way of doing business, that of acting as gatekeepers that determined every facet of the business, would no longer work.

    More likely is the current crop of parasites will eventually die off, as more and more people shift to better options, and a new crop will emerge, willing to meet customers on more even footing.

    Then of course after a while they'll get complacent and rooted in 'what always worked', they'll die off and someone else will replace them, and the cycle will continue...

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    "It's the WTO which must go, NOT US sovereignty!"

    So you would be happy for the countries of the world to descend into wars with each other all because of Trade as there would be no WTO to deal with. Guess you want a world war all along!

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    I agree it wouldn't be "infringement" as it is approved by the WTO and i am all for Antigua doing this but you know "blue" blinded by decision and just focuses on "but but its infringement and Antigua must be punished for committing infringement".

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    The conclusion from this is that the US are hypocrits. They push trade agreements on others to further their own interests but refuse to abide by them whenever it doesn't suit. The rest of the world should take note and stop making agreements with the US until there is some evidence that the US will act in good faith.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:03am

    Sarcastic

    You're quite sarcastic, Mike, but what the fuck would you do if you faced the nation with the biggest military budget, and is known for bombing political enem... I mean Terrorists without a second thought?

    Would you not thread carefully?

    You're mocking the little guy for not daring to whack the bodybuilder bully.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    "Blue" wouldn't take it up with the US as they would be happy for the US to ignore the decision of the WTO in order to protect their copyright from infringement even though it has already been given the thumbs up by the WTO so it wouldn't be infringement.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    If the WTO approves of the "infringement" as compensation then there is NO "infringement no matter what you believe in or say as the WTO have given their approval.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:10am

    If TPB relocated to Antigua, I think I'd try to move there.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    masquisieras, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    No, the US break the trade agreement that give, among other thing, validity to the declarations of copyrights by the US in the sovereign country of Antigua. So now the US has to pay restoration or the US copyrights will not be valid in Antigua until Antigua recover its money.

    The US can exit unilaterally the WTO agreement whenever it wants but then its copyright will has no value in the rest of the WTO countries.

    The US can not CHANGE the WTO agreement unilaterally.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    TPBer, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    OOTB- Do you still need a remedial lesson to explain that this is in no way any form of stealing, theft or any other nonsensical theory you are paid to shill for?

    If so save your money and remember this, It will never be possible to steal 1s and 0s no matter how many times you click your heels together :)

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    cpt kangarooski, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    Are there any treaties which actually accomplish something, yet do not reduce US sovereignty in a similar manner?

    A mutual defense treaty allows us to be dragged into a war because someone attacks a different country. A trade agreement allows foreign countries to bypass or get more advantageous tax treatment for their US imports and exports. And so on.

    In every case, we could just ignore the treaty the second it became inconvenient for us to honor the promises we made in it, but if you do that too much, people stop making treaties with you, and besides, the US only has sovereignty over what happens in the US; often the reason for treaties is to allow us some ability to affect matters outside our jurisdiction, and if we don't live up to our side, the other parties don't have to live up to theirs.

    US copyrights only apply to works within US territory. If the authors of those works want a copyright that applies in Antigua, they have to go, hat in hand, to the Antiguan government, which may or may not decide to give them one, as suits their interests. Treaties like Berne streamline the process by obligating Antigua to grant Antiguan copyrights to US works, but this imposes on our sovereignty in the US by obligating us to grant US copyrights on Antiguan works, rather than letting us have the full discretion to decide case by case. The enforcement mechanism is that if one side stops fulfilling its obligations, the other side can stop just as easily, and we're back to the old way of doing things.

    The WTO streamlines international trade amongst members and has various enforcement mechanisms, the ultimate one being that a country is no longer in the WTO and no longer gets the benefits of it. And anyone can choose to drop out at any time. That we haven't indicates that the US is still getting a better deal out of this than if we stood alone, our sovereignty completely intact because we refused to compromise on anything for any reason.

    If we really don't like Antigua pirating US works, and we also really don't like Internet gambling with foreign countries, we can shut this down fairly easily by banning all Internet gambling, including domestically. That will undercut the Antiguan case. Right now we've lost because we tried to have our cake and eat it too; we have to pick one option instead.

    All this having been said, I too am concerned about treaties prioritizing trade over environmental protection, labor protection, and other matters. But it's probably better to change the treaties to accommodate those things then to push for isolationism. Given that we pushed the damn things through to begin with, often upsetting our trading partners, it shouldn't be too hard to push through changes that will suit them better, and hopefully suit us better too now that we understand that it's a two-edged sword.

    Oh, and also, there'll be no 'stealing' of anything. Antigua is out to make money here. They'll print up copies and sell them side by side with official copies, up to the allowed limit. They aren't just going to set up an FTP server and say 'download away.'

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Sarcastic

    Then maybe the little guy shouldn't be taunting the bully by threatening to do it. How about doing it or not doing it and these countries stop playing these silly games.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This is 3rd partly liability that you approve of!

    America goes into many trade agreements but does not abide by them expecting everyone else to, the WTO manages to in some instances hurt the US and force them to abide by rules they have demanded, If the WTO was disbanded then every trade agreement between the US and other countries could be ignored, imports from the US could become huge tax generators for countries and US trade would probably drop to the lowest levels ever seen, so in some ways what you say should happen is good but also bad, depending on who's side you are on.

     

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

  31. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    You're a fucking idiot.

    All of you freetards are.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 1:37am

    Re: Re:

    Smarter than you terrorists though.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Just fucking do it!

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This