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Antigua Looks Closer To Legal "Piracy" of US-Copyrighted Works

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the that'll-be-interesting dept.

Piracy 327

Mark Gibbs writes "Shiver me timbers: Antigua and Barbuda's 'WTO Remedies Implementation Committee', is said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised earlier this year by the WTO ... Additionally, an announcement regarding the opening of tenders for private sector participation in the operating of the platform should be announced shortly. Arghhh ... matey!" See also this Slashdot post (from 2007) for some background.

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327 comments

Could be a big boon to the world (5, Interesting)

skywire (469351) | about 6 months ago | (#45242439)

if Google would slip them all those books.

Re:Could be a big boon to the world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242459)

Google can do whatever they want with books and it is not my concern. I'm just the backup guy who comes in and says NIGGERS from time to time to spice things up. The main nigger-guy is on break.

Re:Could be a big boon to the world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242641)

Google can do whatever they want with books and it is not my concern. I'm just the backup guy who comes in and says NIGGERS from time to time to spice things up. The main nigger-guy is on break.

Yes good work fellow nigger guy. Performing a thankless and essential service for the interwebs.

Re:Could be a big boon to the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242919)

To get into the mind of the troll, you must first understand his modus operandi.

The fact that the nigger troll posted is not accident, not even whimsy. Note that the title of the first post is "Could be a big boon to the world." Now, the word "boon" is a popular term in racist internet circles, and is shorthand for "baboon," a common negro slur. Used online in that context, it is typically added to other words, for example, female negresses are called "sheboons," and Trayvon Martin is called "Trayboon."

Despite the perjorative nature of the nigger-troll's comment, he is indeed right - variety is the spice of life. Sometimes life just passes you buy, and you become tepid, and then *BAM!* An invigorating kick in the pants and a reason to live becoming outraged at such a troll. Don't you feel the vigor flowing through your veins as one of the most historically ugly words, and all of its connotations, are thrust into your face?

Anonymous nigger-troll, we salute you. I will drink one for you at the haloween party down the street tonight -- you are a cadillac among men, a champion.

-- Ethanol-fueled

You go, Antigua ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242443)

Any country which is willing to take on the eternal Jew is all right by me.

Re:You go, Antigua ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242627)

Any country which is willing to take on the eternal Jew is all right by me.

Damn right, let's serve them a heaping portion of Zyklon-B.

Re:You go, Antigua ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45243031)

Isn't Jesus the Eternal Jew?

Antigua is a tropical island paradise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242451)

Its population is only 90,000, which is not even the population of a medium size city by US standards. It should be A-list for tourism, pulling steady streams of well-to-do visitors from the US, Western Europe, and Latin America.

Why does its government feel it has to resort to such cheapjack stunts as Internet gambling (not just brick and mortar casinos) and pompous-assed Swiss bureaucrat-sanctioned copyright piracy? Either they are tremendously greedy, or they have been bankrupted by incompetent and/or corrupt leaders.

Re:Antigua is a tropical island paradise (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 months ago | (#45242653)

Greed ... like government officials and one percenters in every country. The US is pissed because the gambling is competition of lotteries.

Eh maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242905)

But their prime minister is low enough budget to have only had 3 pieces of security when I was there visiting (She and some diplomat were in a limo that parked at the beach we were visiting.)

There were three guys with SMGs on CHP-lookalike patrol bikes with chest hair showing, so I'm pretty sure they weren't wearing body armor and were mostly for mild show.

Now on the other hand they had camo vans full of straight up military personnel rolling around the island on any particular day and those guys were carrying full on automatic weapons from what I remember. Still pretty damn low budget though :)

Honestly it was a bit refreshing compared to the US. All that shit was out in the open, supposedly certain cities/areas had either corrupt police, or local gang control, but all the areas I passed through could've passed for rural America.

Copyright haven, eh? (1, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about 6 months ago | (#45242457)

Someone lobbied for this.

Tax havens designed to assist wealthy individual taxpayers have thrived for years, with the blessings of Congress.

Why should copyright havens be any different, as long as Congress approves?

Re:Copyright haven, eh? (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 6 months ago | (#45242579)

Read TFA. It was approved by the WTO because of the USA's probibition of cross-border gambling.

Re:Copyright haven, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242763)

Which totally killed Antigua's gambling based economy. The real question, is what will result? A trade embargo? Allow gambling? Team America:World Police action?

Re:Copyright haven, eh? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45243135)

Oh, silly me, trying to make sense of all this circus: WTO on a short leash held by US barks at... US? In reality they are doing this because sometimes copyright gets in the way of Deep Pockets Corporations [michaelgeist.ca]

Time to shut down the WTO (-1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242461)

So, to be clear, the United States democractically elected government passed a law, that applies only to United States citizens. A bunch of foreign bankers have decided that they don't like that law, and so they are overruling it.

I'm sure Slashdot will be thrilled with any decision that hurts intellectual property enforcement, but try to look at what's going on here. It is really, really bad for democracy when elected officials can be overruled by overseas bankers. The United States is right to refuse to comply with the ruling, and should do everything in its power to resist. Our democracy ain't exactly working great, but it's better than a bunch of unelected bureaucrats ruling by decree from overseas.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Informative)

general_re (8883) | about 6 months ago | (#45242475)

The difficulty, of course, is that the US signed a treaty saying it would abide by this sort of ruling. So now what?

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242497)

The Senate votes to modify or repeal it, and the President signs off. Same with any time the US does anything with a treaty.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242575)

Yes, because leaving the WTO makes sense. You can hang out with Somalia and Iran! You are why so many people consider America a dick nation. Sign up for international body, ignore its rulings, quit when it isn't just a rubber stamp setup for America.

Go read why this situation came about. Antigua has a good case.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45242921)

They wouldn't have to leave the WTO, just remove yourself from the treaty then sign and ratify it again with a signing statement that negates the problem.

The problem is that the US is not government by one federal government. The states have sovereign authority in these matters and the US federal government has no power to act over top of them. Simply put, a signing statement to this effect should have been there to begin with. Someone obviously didn't understand the consequences, the WTO court doesn't understand the US political jurisdiction, so it simply needs fixed.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 6 months ago | (#45243047)

The states have sovereign authority in these matters and the US federal government has no power to act over top of them.

Missouri v. Holland.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45243093)

That won't exactly fly with this. I'm not even positive that Missouri v. Holland would have ended the way it did with the court that is seated now either.

  National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius is why too. Obamacare was actually ruled part unconstitutional which is why the federal exchange is the center of problems and attention today.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 6 months ago | (#45242619)

The Senate votes to modify or repeal it, and the President signs off. Same with any time the US does anything with a treaty.

Well, treaties are weird under US law. It could be that, it could require the involvement of the entire Congress (especially if there is enabling legislation), or it might even be something that the President can do unilaterally. Of course, it's probably a political question, so there wouldn't be a bright line rule.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (5, Insightful)

dnavid (2842431) | about 6 months ago | (#45242655)

The Senate votes to modify or repeal it, and the President signs off. Same with any time the US does anything with a treaty.

That doesn't solve anything, because even if the US withdraws from the WTO, they cannot prevent Antigua from suspending US copyright within its borders. As I point out above, the WTO is the only thing that makes US copyright law valid anywhere outside the US in the first place. Withdraw from the WTO, and who's going to enforce US copyright law outside the US? Why would any country enforce US copyright law when the US acts to ignore international law in this area.

I suspect that media creation is an area where the US has a huge trade surplus. In a world where the US ignores everyone else's intellectual property law and everyone else ignores US intellectual property law, everyone else wins and the US loses. The US needs the rest of the world to play ball far, far more than everyone else needs the US to do so. This is a fact I think most sovereignty-nuts fail to understand: the US probably exports more of its laws than it imports others. In a world where the US decided not to subject itself to any international law, its own interests would be the ones most impacted.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242865)

even if the US withdraws from the WTO, they cannot prevent Antigua from suspending US copyright within its borders.

Well true, but Antigua cannot prevent the US from suspending its status as a nation with electricity, water, and buildings of any kind. It is kinda the primary hobby of the DoD after all.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 6 months ago | (#45242867)

If Antigua decides to simply disregard IP obligations to the USA then the Department of Commerce could very well have IANA black hole the entire country by deallocating its' IP blocks. A work around may pop up eventually but doing so would certainly make it difficult to use as a piracy haven.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 6 months ago | (#45242903)

If Antigua decides to simply disregard IP obligations to the USA then the Department of Commerce could very well have IANA black hole the entire country by deallocating its' IP blocks. A work around may pop up eventually but doing so would certainly make it difficult to use as a piracy haven.

all that would happen is the US pirates would use a proxy server, and no one else would deallocate their ip adresses

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 6 months ago | (#45243011)

IANA's administration isn't limited to the USA. It handles IP assignment for all of the regional registries world wide. Granted its enforcement mechanism is limited to "we all agreed to play nice so lets do that" but if a deallocation by IANA/ARIN was picked up by enough networks it would make finding Antigua from any place in the world quite difficult especially if the networks carrying traffic [b]to[/b] Antigua drop it from their routing tables. Such a scenario is extremely unlikely though; Antigua has had this option on the table for years and haven't acted on it out of fear of reprisal.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about 6 months ago | (#45242861)

Right now the members of Congress could not agree that the earth is round, the sky is blue, and the sun is the center of the solar system.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 6 months ago | (#45243139)

Right now the members of Congress could not agree that the earth is round, the sky is blue, and the sun is the center of the solar system.

Especially when some of them act as if the Earth were flat [wikipedia.org] and is the center of the Solar System [wikipedia.org] (or even the center of the Universe [wikipedia.org] for hard-liners).
I guess you meant "day time sky above any clouds but within the troposphere as perceived by a fully trichromatic human". They'd argue endlessly on definitions involved in "the sky is blue", and legally formalize an appalling consensus when they eventually got bored enough to move on to other diatribes.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242869)

Neh, violation of US IP is clearly economic terrorism. Operation Eco-Freedom, few billion dollars of taxpayer's money, problem solved!

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 6 months ago | (#45242793)

The party negotiating or signing a treaty rarely has the authority to create the domestic legal framework necessary to enforce that treaty.

Diplomats sign treaties, legislatures write them into law. This process is called ratification.

Multiple supreme court cases have further entrenched this by declaring that domestic law always trumps international obligations.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 months ago | (#45242891)

I didn't know Antigua was in the US Supreme Court's jurisdiction. What a small world.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 6 months ago | (#45242987)

Don't be stupid. Antigua is not a US state or territory. The anti-gambling law which sparked this row is a domestic law which displaces treaty obligations.

Reading comprehension...

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

MadAndy (122592) | about 6 months ago | (#45242523)

The U.S. voluntarily signed a treaty that is enforced by those 'foreign bankers'. The treaty involves obligations on those that signed it, some of which the U.S. is breaking by having this local law in place. The other parties to the treaty are honouring their obligations, yet the U.S. is not. Surely some punishment is in order?

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242527)

There are some issues with what you suggest:
* The US itself want to use the WTO rules against other countries, so not obliging by those rules will encourage others to ignore them
* The issue was that US laws in the US were applied differently to different types of gambling, thus being discriminatory to some Antiguan businesses.
* US laws do not apply to web sites operating in other countries
* The people operating those businesses in Antigua are (surprise) likely Americans themselves.

Re: Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242545)

* US laws do not apply to web sites operating in other countries

Someone should inform the MPAA of this

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45242935)

The US has it's hands tied in this matter. The problem is that the federal government has no authority to require individual states to allow gambling within it's border nor does it have the authority to require states to allow gambling from outside it's border to happen inside the state in violation of the state's laws.

Those limitations should have been put in a signing statement upon ratification. Evidently, no one saw this possibility and didn't do it.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45243003)

All these federal state divides seem to apply only to the US in case things out there are not going our way, isn't it? Why, I understand Syria did not sign CW treaty but that did not prevent us getting ready to bomb that little country, the whole cong/sen banging war drums. Now, they will all say in unison, that treaty we signed doesn't apply to us.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45243067)

All these federal state divides seem to apply only to the US in case things out there are not going our way, isn't it?

Well, actually, it applies to the US in every matter the federal government is not constitutionally authorized to act in. So there are some exceptions but it is no secret considering that the tenth amendment to the US constitution specifically says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Why, I understand Syria did not sign CW treaty but that did not prevent us getting ready to bomb that little country, the whole cong/sen banging war drums.

Now, if you actually think we were going to bomb Syria, I have some swamp land-- prime beach front property I could sell you. The only reason why we considered bombing Syria is because Obama open his mouth and was trying to look tough and drew a red line he never thought Syria would cross. Any other president would have shut the hell up before that was even said but once push came to shove, they would have also done something instead of sending the minions out to claim any day now, he will make a decision, he's just using his intellect to intellectualize or something, then pass it off to congress before Putin took one of Kerry's gaffs and gave him an out.

Now I will admit that there are people in congress who want us to goto war in Syria. That Loon John McCain is one of them but that should tell us something.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242533)

So you're saying that democracy has the ultimate aim of taking over the entire world by force of arms? Also, that democracy really isn't everyone, it's more the creators, right?

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#45242557)

So, to be clear, the United States democractically elected government passed a law, that applies only to United States citizens.

And the law says that US citizens can only use US-based casinos. Sounds like protectionism to me, which violates their WTO commitments.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242639)

So we aren't allowed to have any laws that might negatively impact the earnings of another nation? I'd prefer to have national sovereignty, thanks.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 6 months ago | (#45242661)

Exactly what Antigua is saying. There's earnings to be made by violating US copyrights.

Don't like it? National sovereignty; too bad.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#45242671)

So we aren't allowed to have any laws that might negatively impact the earnings of another nation? I'd prefer to have national sovereignty, thanks.

Sure we are. There's nothing requiring us to honor our international trade agreements. We can break 'em if we like. However, that means that other countries don't have to honor their sides of the bargains either... hence the WTO suspending US copyrights for Antigua and Barbuda. We ignore our obligations and damage them, so they can ignore their obligations to us.

No loss of sovereignty, just a consequence of what essentially boils down to international breach of contract.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (-1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242717)

Are you familiar with the phrase "proportionality"?

I suspect that if we were to bomb Antigua's lovely beaches, it would suddenly be on the tip of your tongue.

It's not as though the US seriously harmed Antigua by banning online gambling. They still make untold millions through tourism.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#45242749)

Are you familiar with the phrase "proportionality"?

Yep, and I think if anything the WTO has been too gentle with the US. Our violation of our agreements has cost Antiqua and Barbudos ~$1B per year, and the WTO has only authorized them to make $21M per year from ignoring their agreement to honor our copyrights.

It's not as though the US seriously harmed Antigua by banning online gambling.

You clearly didn't RTFA.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (-1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242881)

Yep, and I think if anything the WTO has been too gentle with the US. Our violation of our agreements has cost Antiqua and Barbudos ~$1B per year, and the WTO has only authorized them to make $21M per year from ignoring their agreement to honor our copyrights.

Bullshit. Antigua's GDP is a little over $1 billion [lmgtfy.com], and yet you believe that this online gambling law is costing them "~$1B per year"? You believe that they could double their GDP purely through Americans playing online poker?

You're just eating up their propaganda. Think for yourself.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242941)

The GDP of las vegas.. Is almost 100 billion a year. (http://www.mybudget360.com/gambling-economy-nevada-casinos-state-budget-revenues/ )

So yes. They could MORE THAN double their GDP by allowing americans to gamble there. Much more. Potentially several hundred % more.

And thats just one city that allows gambling. The US has a couple of those.

Antigua got the shaft. And the WTO noticed and agreed.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 6 months ago | (#45242951)

Gambling is a $133 billion dollar industry, according to IBIS. Most of it concentrated in North America. I wouldn't be surprised the law is causing some sort of economic effect. I could see online companies using Antigua for a tax haven if the law didn't exist. It not hard to picture.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242711)

You are, but then so are other countries, which is what happens here. The treaties are bilateral -- lots of US companies benefit from them too in terms of intellectual property protection and low duties, etc.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45242795)

If we ignore international law to hurt the economy of others, they can (by treaty we signed), do the same in return. What's happening here is the US is requesting Antigua follow the treaty while the US does not. Yay hypocrite!

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45242959)

We didn't ignore international law to hurt the economy of others.

The problem is that the US federal government does not have the authority to mandate states allow gambling inside their borders or restrict them from allowing it. The US federal government does not have the authority to allow gambling inside a state without that gambling following the state's laws to a tee. The US federal government does not have the authority to ban gambling inside a state. And this is not even bothering getting into the Indian reservations which complicate things a little more.

This was all clearly argued when the WTO was making it's decision but they couldn't comprehend it. Instead, the WTO basically remedied the situation by allowing them to recoup some monetary advantages through the unlicensed use of IP.

International law does not and can not override the laws of a sovereign nation. A nation can only be subject to international law if it is imposed on them thereby removing their sovereignty or if it willingly submits to it. A treaty is a willful submission but if the treaty is to be interpreted in this way, the US federal government had no authority to sign it without adding a signing statement to limit it's exposure.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45243071)

International law does not and can not override the laws of a sovereign nation.

Your argument is true only if all treaties are invalid. Sovereign nations get to sign treaties. And this doesn't affect sovereignty at all, at least not the US's. Can Antigua ignore US law within its borders? If no, then nobody who crosses the US is sovereign. We have the New World Order, and it is us.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#45243137)

Your argument is true only if all treaties are invalid.

Well, no. I hit on why with the either willingly sign a treaty or it is imposed on them (presumable by force or the threat of force).

Can Antigua ignore US law within its borders? If no, then nobody who crosses the US is sovereign. We have the New World Order, and it is us.

The issue here is trade favor and if it remains given the circumstances. If a county doesn't honor our IP laws, we can chose not to trade with them or allow them to trade with us. We might even be able to convince some other nations to join in on the fun. We certainly cannot force them to obey US law without the threat of force (which I think this government might be capable of trying)

But I believe the ruling is flawed insomuch that it doesn't take into account the political structure of the US and instead imposes the rules as if the federal government was an all encompassing concentration of power in the US that all states and citizens are subjects of. This would be the normal structure in most of the rest of the world but in the US, it is different. Some people say this is what makes the US exceptional- the people are the sovereign and the government is allowed to exist as subjects of the people. It has been hard to find that in practice lately but that was the general idea where as in other countries, the government is the sovereign and the people are subjects of the governments. This is especially the case in Europe where most people and governments are subjects of the crown. There are 12 monarchies in Europe currently (including the Vatican city) and while they do not have or exert much political power any more, the concept is still there.

Should we examine this situation with the limitations the US government has actually being recognized, I'm confident the ruling would have been different. The Treaty was designed to stop favoritism in trade and remove barriers to entry, not impose mandates the government cannot implement because something relatively new came about.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#45243153)

"The problem is that the US federal government does not have the authority to mandate states allow gambling inside their borders or restrict them from allowing it."

Article Six does give the federal government the authority for the former with respect to transactions outside of the states borders.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242913)

So we aren't allowed to have any laws that might negatively impact the earnings of another nation?

Of course we're allowed to. We're just not allowed to, per a totally optional treaty that we insist upon being a part of. Nobody's making us be a part of that treaty. It's a choice, on our part. We have 100% of our power, and our decision is that we will remain part of the treaty that treats Antigua as an exception to the usual copyright laws.

I'd prefer to have national sovereignty, thanks.

Then vote for someone who runs on a platform of withdrawing from the WIPO treaty. If you can't find a candidate, then run, yourself. Up to now, approximately 100% of voters have favored candidates in the pro-WIPO-treaty parties. Don't like it? Cool. BE the change that you want to see in the world.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Benaiah (851593) | about 6 months ago | (#45243017)

So have your national sovereignty or your international companies making billions of dollars world wide. Part of having an international community is ceding national sovereignty for the greater good. The same way you cede personal sovereignty to the government in return for an organised society. If I was Antigua I would give all the content away for free so that they don't consume any of their quota and instead sell access to the site.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 6 months ago | (#45242745)

Not to mention, if we are going to play the "We don't have to fallow any treaties." line of thinking, then Antigua doesn't even need a WTO ruling. Our laws apply inside our borders, not in Antigua. The only reason Antigua would need a WTO ruling is if we are all going to abide by our treaties.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

bedroll (806612) | about 6 months ago | (#45242563)

They're not being overruled. The law in the US is allowed to stand and is completely unaffected by this. Instead, because the US has broken a treaty Antigua no long must abide by US Copyrights, which are considered foreign law to Antigua. It doesn't harm democracy that another country is allowed to govern itself. Why should the US law be preferred to Antigua's?

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (-1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242615)

They are saying "repeal this law we don't like, or else we'll inflict as much damage as we possibly can on your economy". That's bad. If they want to play that game, we need to respond in kind.

America should be free to pass laws governing its own citizens. Antigua should be free to pass laws governing its citizens. Both should respect each others property and businesses and laws. Antigua's actions here are strikingly similar to the Opening of Japan.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (3, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 6 months ago | (#45242715)

Both should respect each others property and businesses and laws

Guess who sets out those principles [wikipedia.org] of international respect for property, businesses etc? The same WTO that you want shut down.

The US agreed [wto.org] in 1995 to abide by the WTO's principles and rules. If they no longer want to, they're free to withdraw, but they can't expect other nations to respect the rules if they won't.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (-1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#45242755)

The WTO didn't invent respect. Countries were quite capable of existing and trading and even having copyrights prior to 1995, believe it or not. It's amazing how quickly you would surrender your self-rule to bankers.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45242803)

They are saying "repeal this law we don't like, or else we'll inflict as much damage as we possibly can on your economy". That's bad. If they want to play that game, we need to respond in kind.

The US already responded in kind. The US is blocking Antigua businesses from exporting to the US, so Antigua (by the treaty the US signed), is lawful in ignoring US law on Antigua soil. The only one trying to force anything on anyone else is the US.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

HJED (1304957) | about 6 months ago | (#45242873)

No they're saying repeal this law that you agreed not to put into place or we'll break our part of the agreement as well...

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45243163)

They are saying "repeal this law we don't like, or else we'll inflict as much damage as we possibly can on your economy". That's bad. If they want to play that game, we need to respond in kind.

America should be free to pass laws governing its own citizens. Antigua should be free to pass laws governing its citizens. Both should respect each others property and businesses and laws.

How does the US ban on its citizens gambling in Antigua (on Antiguan web sites) respect the business of Antigua? I'd say in about the same way Antigua would allow its businisses and citizens to ignore US copyrights... [that would be their internal law - unbound by WTO, just like you have your internal anti-Antigua gambling law]
You might want to have another think on who's the responder here.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 6 months ago | (#45242577)

Well, various nations have had trade wars for a long time. Country A exports something to Country B, A gets upset when B uses import bans or tariffs to prop up its domestic industry or simply keep things out, and then A retaliates by limiting imports from B or worse. Eventually the two countries learn to do without, or they resolve their differences, hopefully peacefully, sometimes violently.

What we're seeing now is a system in which trade treaties are becoming massively multilateral, treaties are tangled up together for mutual support, and international bodies are set up to administer them. It's still possible to pursue national interests over international trade, and to engage in trade wars, but it's become a great deal harder by design.

I agree that we need to push for more national sovereignty, so that trade is managed by politically accountable, democratic institutions, rather than potentially dangerous IGOs, but it's probably worth remembering that we pushed as hard for this mess as anyone, and now we're getting a taste of our just desserts.

As for this particular situation of course, it might've happened the same way regardless. Copyrights are strictly national in nature. US copyrights are only good in the US, UK copyrights only in the UK, and so forth. Most works have many separate copyrights attached to them. Treaties between various countries mandate that when a work receives a copyright in one eligible country, all the others grant copyrights for that same work too. Antigua and Barbuda only grant copyrights to US-originating works out of this sort of reciprocity, and can cease to do so as they see fit, including as part of a trade war on unrelated matters, since this might give them some leverage.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (2)

dnavid (2842431) | about 6 months ago | (#45242607)

So, to be clear, the United States democractically elected government passed a law, that applies only to United States citizens. A bunch of foreign bankers have decided that they don't like that law, and so they are overruling it.

I'm sure Slashdot will be thrilled with any decision that hurts intellectual property enforcement, but try to look at what's going on here. It is really, really bad for democracy when elected officials can be overruled by overseas bankers. The United States is right to refuse to comply with the ruling, and should do everything in its power to resist. Our democracy ain't exactly working great, but it's better than a bunch of unelected bureaucrats ruling by decree from overseas.

Just to be clear, the only reason American copyright law has any power at all outside of the United States is because of treaty. If you believe the US government can pass any law they want so long as it only affects its citizens, then Antigua can also pass a law that only affects its citizens that allow them to copy any media they want that originates from the US and resell it for whatever they want without compensation to the original creator. So what's the problem?

The only problem is if you think Antigua should be compelled to honor international law that honors US copyright law, but the US should not be compelled to honor international law in return.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (4, Insightful)

myrikhan (1136505) | about 6 months ago | (#45242617)

This was a post by another Slashdotter that I saved. Didn't write down who it was though. My bad.

Let's say you and I are sociopathic assholes, so whereas most people might have some kind of implicit social contract, and a sense of how people should act decently to one another, we're jerks and write up and agree to some formal rules. Among these rules are things like "Neither party will ever hit the other in the head with a hammer and then steal their wallet while the victim is incapacitated." Call that the WIPO rule.

We have another rule too. It's "Neither party will ever vandalize the other's car." Call that the WTO rule.

Then I go and vandalize your car, totally in violation of the rules. I don't deny it, either. Instead, I explain I had good reasons to do it. "I really wanted to vandalize your car, and it looked so vulnerable. I just couldn't help it!" but whether I had a good reason or not, you claim I broke our agreement. You might not feel all that hurt about the car, but breaking the agreement .. oh dear. We're sociopaths, but we're not uncivilized, are we?

After my amazing explanation for why I did it, you ask me: "Are you going to do it again?" and I answer "Yeah, probably. Your car still does look pretty vandalizable, and I really like vandalizing cars." You answer "What about our agreement?" and I just shrug. You ask, "Are our agreements important?" and I shrug again!!

You go see our mutual acquaintances, perhaps some people with whom I also have some agreements. They're a little concerned to hear I value our agreements so little. Will their cars be next? They think it over and say, "Yeah, Sloppy broke his agreement to not vandalize your car. You should get even."

So you do. You hit me in the head with a hammer and I wake up without a wallet. You do it openly, too. Our acquaintances nod with approval, even though you're breaking the agreement now. I ask, "How can you do that?!?"

You explain: if I think the rules are so important, and I have such a problem with being hit with hammers, THEN MAYBE I SHOULD STOP FUCKING AROUND WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S CARS.

I don't know what I'll do. I still really do like vandalizing cars. I'd like to vandalize your car again, and that other dude with whom I have a no-vandalize agreement. But I'm not sure I like this hammers development. OTOH, I don't know, maybe it's worth it. The hammers hurt and I don't like losing my wallet all the time, but the cars! Oh, the cars! That's so much fun.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 6 months ago | (#45242635)

What makes you think US-passed laws have anything to do with Antigua and Barbuda, a foreign nation with its own laws? US laws aren't being "overruled", they simply don't apply outside the US.

There are international organisations such as the WTO and WIPO that set trade rules that both these nations have each agreed to abide by. The US is free to lodge a dispute with them, but they might not get very far considering it was the US who violated those rules [nytimes.com] in the first place.

And of course, the US has no power to "shut down" the WTO. They can continue to ignore it and keep violating WTO rules where it suits them, but then more nations will do simply the same and follow in Antigua/Barbuda's footsteps.

If the US wants others to follow the rules and respect its copyrights, it will have to follow the rules itself.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45242677)

The US signed a law stating they will enforce US law world-wide (even when that law is self-contradictory). When someone else pulls this on the US, the neo-cons whine about a New World Order and such, but when the US crushes other independent states, it's a Good Thing (tm).

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

hajus (990255) | about 6 months ago | (#45242831)

You could say the same thing about Antigua. They passed (or could pass, I don't know) a law that applies to buying and selling stuff in their own country that may be protected by the IP laws of a foreign country. I don't suppose their laws regarding the sale of such would apply in the US. This is why we have treaties.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242991)

So, to be clear, the United States democractically elected government passed a law

Yes. And also, the US democratically elected government entered into a treaty, knowing ahead of time that its own US constitution would give the treaty's terms precedence over US code. Don't like the treaty's terms? Just say no. We keep saying yes. Think it's disproportional and unfair and a bad idea? Just say no. And yet We, the people of the United States of America through our acting government, still say yes.

What I think is really interesting, is the possibility that our acceptance of the treaty might make it so that I can lawfully acquire DRMed media from an Antiguan publisher. Its DRM would be a "technological measure that effectively limits access" (DMCA speak) but maybe not one that "..limits access to a work protected under this title" since Congress consented to the treaty that overrides US code. DMCA's legitimization and enforcement of DRM might finally be un-done. We need to get lots of legally-pirated-but-still-DRMed Antiguan copies of things into the US market, ASAP.

Re:Time to shut down the WTO (1)

mtempsch (524313) | about 6 months ago | (#45243129)

So, to be clear, the United States democractically elected government passed a law, that applies only to United States citizens. A bunch of foreign bankers have decided that they don't like that law, and so they are overruling it.

The U.S. is a member of WTO (that bunch of [not just foreign] bankers) - and quite happy to wield it against other nations. Now with the boot on the other foot - not so happy. But it IS good to see that not abiding by the rules they agreed on by being a member of WTO does have consequences for the U.S. too, not just 'lesser' nations...

Obama will bomb them. (1, Flamebait)

argee (1327877) | about 6 months ago | (#45242467)

Bomb them, cut their fiber optic cable, trade embargoes, prohibit tourism, not allow travel at all, etc.
The US will go apeshit over this, trust me.
Settlement? Not in a million years with this Weasel we have for president.
Or the US Corporate Congress.

Re:Obama will bomb them. (2)

xvan (2935999) | about 6 months ago | (#45242519)

Then Obama is awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize... oh, wait a minute...

Nobel invented dynamite (2)

argee (1327877) | about 6 months ago | (#45242589)

Of course Nobel's Peace prize is awarded to those that employ his
invention -Dynamite- to achieve peace.

Re:Obama will bomb them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242537)

It might not matter.

The GDP for the country is only 1.5 billion USD (about).

The decision doesn't require them to operate the servers from the country. No. It just gives the country the right to sell. Cutting the fiber doesn't fix the problem. They would still have satellite. And I suspect that they never even operated servers from the country itself anyway. They probably don't have a fiber connection either to the country. There probably isn't anything to cut.

I'm pretty sure the rest of the world would get upset if the US invaded, enforced a blockade, etc.

The US probably could get away with prohibiting its citizens from tourism and block US users from accessing the site. The problem with that is the rest of the world won't do that. There may be some countries friendly to the US who will. But...ultimately the rest of the world still exists.

More likely the US will negotiate a settlement and the entertainment industry won't lose a dime. The US citizens though probably will fork out a ton in taxes to make up for it instead.

Re:Obama will bomb them. (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 6 months ago | (#45242649)

They probably don't have a fiber connection either to the country.

They are on the Eastern Caribbean Fiber System, and the Global Caribbean Network, which is also a fiber submarine cable.

TPB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242495)

So does that mean The Pirate Bay could move there and become 100% legal. That would be awesome.

Public domain (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 6 months ago | (#45242501)

Sounds less like 'piracy', and more like early America, where our forebears had little stake in maintaining the seemingly unjust control of foreign interests, but much interest in creating a large body of works that the public could use to generate culture in this new world.

I'm sure there were a lot of folks an ocean away decrying the 'free ride' those Americans were taking then too - but those resources had some heavy work to do, and it would rightly seem absurd at the to pay several times the cost of production for a 'licensed' book at the end of the day. What parts of culture we were able to 'steal' helped make us diverse and strong - and I don't blame any developing nation for wanting to repeat that, either officially, or unofficially like most nations.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Public domain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242587)

but much interest in creating a large body of works that the public could use to generate culture in this new world.

Hundreds of great works of literature, philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion are available for free (on the Internet) or for little more than the cost of printing and distribution (walk into your local B&N for starters). Many of these works are much greater than the ones that are now commercially available and protected by copyright: the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Chaucer, Dickens, Voltaire, Euclid, etc. So if you want to make an argument against diluting or eliminating copyright, the need to create culture is a weak argument.

The reason for the existence of a commercial publishing business is that people tend to crave *new* things.

Re:Public domain (3, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | about 6 months ago | (#45243005)

How can the "need to create culture" possibly be a weak argument? The US Constitution gives the goal of promoting progress in the sciences and useful arts as the very reason why copyright is allowed to exist under US law. Functionally, creating new culture certainly sounds like it falls under that clause -so how can the very thing which, constitutionally speaking, justifies copyright, be a weak argument, one way or the other?
              Let's look at which way the arguement really goes, as well. Isn't it more likely, in general, that someone is claing the need to create culture is an argument for diluting or eliminating copyright, as is certainly the case for Antigua in this story? You've given us a couple of axioms, the first definitely true, and the second is technically a matter of opinion, but I will even grant you that second axiom freely - the timeless classics are very seldom matched by any new works. Still, your third term in your chain of logic doesn't really follow from those first two. I think you may be able to make a pretty decent rhetorical case, mind you, I just don't think you got there yet.

Re:Public domain (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242605)

US property laws remind me of a novice, power-mad AD&D DM. After too many rules about what players can do and too many "whups, didn't search for that piece of glass, ahaha, party dead, roll up new characters", the rest of the people in the game just shrugged, picked up their dice and paper, and went elsewhere.

Fair IP laws are one thing. However, when it gets to the point where one has to fight IP law to publish/sell anything new, where only the largest companies can produce anything, it is no wonder why some countries just give a middle finger and go about their business.

The Snowden event is a watershed. Before that, people cooperated with the US to ensure that Mickey Mouse stays well protected. However, with the roaring anti-US sentiment kept stoked at an extreme with the daily reports from the Guardian, it is no wonder why other nations have stopped playing ball.

Re:Public domain (5, Informative)

NoMaster (142776) | about 6 months ago | (#45242689)

Sounds less like 'piracy', and more like early America, where our forebears had little stake in maintaining the seemingly unjust control of foreign interests, but much interest in creating a large body of works that the public could use to generate culture in this new world.

Very true. And not just foreign interests either. Look at the history of the American film industry who, in the space of ~2 years, moved en mass from New York & New Jersey to Hollywood, at least partially to get as far away as possible from Edison and the heavies he sent out to threaten filmmakers & 'confiscate' cameras - all in the name of patents & intellectual property.

Re:Public domain (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#45243165)

Uhhh...I thought they moved to CA because the old cameras needed a LOT of light and the east coast has a lot of overcast skies in the winter?

As for TFA? I'm personally loving it as it bites the globalists right on the ass. For years many of us have pointed out that globalism is bullshit, it spreads misery to many for the sake of a few but as long as they could keep sending the work overseas to places where they work for pennies while stashing their ill gotten gains in money laundering scams like double dutch and irish whip it was all good...well lets see how they like having all their IP go buh bye because they didn't like when the globalism didn't go their way. Personally I hope the bastards lose billions but then they'll just get the gov to write them a check.

Re:Public domain (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 6 months ago | (#45242773)

Yes a few countries have thought about that. If the cost of software is so great and everybody uses pirated copies, why not just drop all gov legal protections.
The gov saves on token enforcement, balance of payments with gov software imports, gets the laws off the books and life goes on.
Nothing changes for the gov, tax base or people. The rest of the world can then claim that country won't enjoy the same protections for their exports of art, software and science.
Local traders sell the software at prices the locals can afford, the civil service saves some cash and locals get computer educated.

Re:Public domain (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#45243161)

"and more like early America, where our forebears had little stake in maintaining the seemingly unjust control of foreign interests"

The difference is that "early America" had not yet agreed to any terms and was taking unilateral action, while in the current case the US *agreed to terms* and then reneged so Antigua pursued the remedy *that the US agreed to*.

Hurr durr (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45242547)

said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised

Why does this press release read like an EULA? I mean that is a retarded amount of long words to describe a very simple idea. Why can't they just write it up as "We're bringing back fair use, bitches!"

Re:Hurr durr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242611)

Um... because that's not what they're saying? They're saying "monetisation," which means they're "selling" it. For "money." Not for free...

Re:Hurr durr (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#45242675)

said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised

Why does this press release read like an EULA? I mean that is a retarded amount of long words to describe a very simple idea. Why can't they just write it up as "We're bringing back fair use, bitches!"

Because this has nothing to do with fair use. Fair use is restricted to non-commercial, educational, etc., use. This is about unrestricted, anything-goes use.

Re:Hurr durr (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 6 months ago | (#45243117)

They are allowed to do anything they want with up to a certain amount of US intellectual property. In order to settle the money due them on complaint, Antigua plans to sell US intellectual property (monetisation).

They need a way to track this so they don't go over the allowed amount, and probably a way to see how much people might pay for stuff, like an auction, in case they have a few hundred thousand dollars left on the limit and need to find a product and buyer to fill the gap.

Compared to my explanation, they used fewer words. And they didn't confuse "IP rights granted as a result of a complaint to the WTO" with "fair use".

Or if you don't like my explanation, you could ask the Antiguan government's PR firm to clarify why they used those words. I'm sure they will be interested in explaining the thought process to random people from the internet. I've heard that Antiguan government PR firms like nothing better.

This will be educational (3, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | about 6 months ago | (#45242757)

As I figure, there are enough lobbyists that something will happen here. So who's lobbies are larger, the US gambling industry, or the US media industry? Or will they join forces rattling sabers and try force? This will turn out to be an interesting piece of politics.

monetisation or other exploitation of ... rights (1)

taj (32429) | about 6 months ago | (#45242817)

property/not property... we don't need to go there.

Rights? Isn't this about the revocation of rights?

Not All Roses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45242843)

Now if they felt like it, any Open Source project by US authors could be stuffed into a closed source derivative.
In general, the GPL is protect by copyright.

TFA suggests you have Windows 8 for $1 but ignores the fact there's no reason Microsoft would be bound to support any sort of sale made from that. They're not going to hand out CD Keys and their anti-piracy code can still do it's annoying thing.

But open source software, you already have all the bits. Just need to find valuable US Open Source software and resell them under a commercial license that otherwise wouldn't be available.

As they should (4, Insightful)

sayfawa (1099071) | about 6 months ago | (#45242853)

I'm too tired and drunk to remember or look up where I read this, but;
the US didn't recognize other country's IP until it became one of the countries that could profit from IP. IP isn't some universal law inherent to humanity, it's a social construct that's good for "advanced" countries. When the US didn't fit that category, they were happy to use Europe's inventions with no compensation.

Now, I'm not saying that IP is totally bad or useless, but there's no moral or legal reason why Antigua shouldn't go this route.

Re:As they should (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 6 months ago | (#45242953)

There's lots of documentation and historical examples of this, as well as some good (true!) stories. Check out the backstory of G&S's The Pirates of Penzance for just one example...

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