Officials in Antigua are now trying to draw a line in the sand, claiming that if the US doesn't finally agree to allow some forms of online gambling by the end of this month, it will go ahead with its threats to ignore US copyrights
with the approval of the WTO. As you may recall, back in December, the WTO granted
Antigua that right, after a loooooooong series of battles with the US over whether or not the US was violating free trade agreements by banning online gambling. Of course, every time the WTO sided with Antigua, the US would stall
, claim the WTO sided with the US
(when it clearly did not) and (my personal favorite) claim that even if it had broken trade agreements, it didn't matter any more because the US was unilaterally changing its trade agreements
so that it was no longer violating them.
Of course, when Antigua won the final decision in December, allowing the country to ignore US intellectual property rights, the US government and the entertainment industry quickly warned Antigua not to follow through on those plans -- but the US government still won't shift in its position on the matter. Thus, Antigua is agitating to get this show on the road. While it first needs to get one last permission slip from the WTO, once that's in place, it can start ignoring the copyright on American movies and music. Of course, while some are suggesting that it may make sense for The Pirate Bay to move to Antigua
, that's not accurate. After all, the WTO has said that Antigua can only violate $21 million worth of intellectual property, and with the way the entertainment industry counts
damages, that's like half an album or so.
In fact, that seems to be exactly the angle that the entertainment industry is taking in this fight. An MPAA letter warning: "The proposed retaliation would be impossible to manage. The real and resulting economic harm would vastly exceed any amount the (WTO) might approve, even the grossly exaggerated amount ($3.4 billion) for which Antigua seeks approval, plus the economic harm would extend to other WTO members."