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Antigua May Be Allowed To Violate US Copyrights

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the wagging-the-dog dept.

United States 482

Skleed refers us to the NYTimes for an article on the high-stakes case the US is losing before the World Trade Organization. So far the US has lost an initial hearing and two appeals on its policies regarding Antiguan offshore gambling sites. Now the lawyer pressing the case has asked for a rarely invoked, but codified, recourse under WTO rules: letting Antiguans copy and distribute American music, movies, and software. The game may be to get Hollywood and Microsoft, et al., to pressure Washington to cut a deal. But their influence may not be sufficient to move lawmakers on the question of online gambling. From the article: "But not complying with the decision presents big problems of its own for Washington. That's because Mr. Mendel, who is claiming $3.4 billion in damages on behalf of Antigua, has asked the trade organization to grant a rare form of compensation if the American government refuses to accept the ruling: permission for Antiguans to violate intellectual property laws by allowing them to distribute copies of American music, movie and software products, among others."

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482 comments

Allofmp3 mark II is coming (2, Funny)

mre5565 (305546) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332361)

I love it.

Re:Allofmp3 mark II is coming (0, Redundant)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332985)

Nope it is not.

It will be the same as with the International War Crime court. When USA does not like an international law in their favour they go around and get themselves exempted from it on a per-country basis. If this will really happen, they will simply make sure that there is no market for AllOfMP3 Mark 2 or any other similar outfit. They will pressure all countries with large potential customer markets not to trade with Antigua.

This will not give Antigua a chance to recoup its losses or pressure the USA into fixing the relevant part of the Sharia law passed by the council of elders on Capitol Hill.

Re:Allofmp3 mark II is coming (2, Insightful)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333091)

Wouldn't that be just digging the hole deeper - Antigua is a WTO member and as such the other nations would be violating their treaty obligations if they caved to such pressure.

Re:Allofmp3 mark II is coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20333123)

How will they stop someone selling MP3s or AVIs? It will be quite hard for them to get VISA/MC/Amex to stop accepting transactions when there is nothing illegal about them.

I for one dont give a crap about US pressure and I'll be giving Antigua as much business as I can.

I bet a lot of other consumers will feel the same way after the US media industry has acted.

Allowed? (0, Flamebait)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332375)

Allowed by whom? The WTO? You should realize by now that the US doesn't give a shit about international organizations and their silly "rules." America. Fuck Yeah.

Re:Allowed? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332457)

When it comes to international politics, military strength counts for a lot. Besides, every other country defies them, just not as openly, so the organizations would be ineffective anyway. However, in this case I think the US may have to tread more lightly since our economy relies heavily on exporting copyrighted materials. Defying the international community on an economic matter is much worse than defying them on a military matter.

Re:Allowed? (5, Insightful)

Xylaan (795464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332469)

Ah, but see, it's the use of the WTO's treaty provisions which the US is using to force many other nations to adopt DMCA-like legislation. If the US starts saying 'I don't have to pay attention to the WTO', they risk other countries doing the same, and ignoring the provisions the home grown lobbyists want.

Re:Allowed? (4, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332487)

Allowed by the WTO. I will mean that if Antigua did pirate US stuff, the US would not be able to get the WTO to apply any sanctions. Which is pretty much all they could do, as Antigua is not in the Us and it would be awfully hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs.

Re:Allowed? (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332513)

Allowed by the WTO. I will mean that if Antigua did pirate US stuff, the US would not be able to get the WTO to apply any sanctions. Which is pretty much all they could do, as Antigua is not in the Us and it would be awfully hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs.
I'm sure the MPAA is working on a draft war declaration as we speak.

Re:Allowed? (4, Interesting)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332849)

I'm sure the MPAA is working on a draft war declaration as we speak.

No kidding. It might be amusing to watch anti-war Hollywood suddenly discover that, while war is always wrong, a "narrow" use of the US military is sometimes necessary for the greater good.

Re:Allowed? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332575)

it would be awfully hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs.

That depends on your definition of hard. People have fought over sugar, weed and other happy substances. I guess DVDs could also be on the list. It better be a good movie.

Re:Allowed? (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332839)

it would be awfully hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs. it would be awfully hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs.

On the other hand, all those Al Queda terrorists that are using off-shore gambling in Antigua to launder their death money might provide the Whitehouse Junta plenty of ammo to freeze Antigua's assets that are in or pass through US banking.

Re:Allowed? (4, Funny)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332981)

hard to convince anyone that you need a new war just cause of some pirate DVDs.
Just? JUST???!!!

My god, man, we're talking about pirates here! High seas battles, raped women and children, missing gold, plunder at the bottom of the sea, "arg matey" and worse!

Those cretins are almost as bad as terrorists.

Unless you want to have your next sailing trip interrupted by these cannon-toting freaks, you'd better support a war!

((Those who take me seriously, deserve to. -- Shane Connoly))

Re:Allowed? (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332585)

Um, the royal "we" care when it's in our favor, jerk. But then again, we are also insane.

/shedding a tear for Allofmp3

Re:Allowed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332757)

You had me at 'Dicks fuck pussies'.

In other news (5, Funny)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332381)

Intellegence indicates WMD hidden in Antequa. Marines sent to investigate.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332713)

Government Intellegence indicates WMD hidden in Antequa. Marines sent to investigate.

Fixed that for ya.

If real intelligence were being used, we'd never have this problem in the first place.

Facinating and legally brilliant (3, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332395)

What the lawyer has done is basically utilized the US's own insistace at the WTO against them, and really leveredged the law to it's extreme. So, either the US gets shot or hung, depending on which way the case goes. In either case, the US's legal case just died.

Re:Facinating and legally brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332911)

Did you mean hanged? Or are you talking about our use of the products most often spammed to us?

I am confussed (5, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332419)

So I assume the US banned gambling in other countries via the net because the govt wasn't getting a piece? Is that the bottom line? Or is there another reason?

Re:I am confussed (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332495)

It's also because gambling overseas cuts into the income of the casinos based in the US. IIRC, it's mostly the casino lobbies pushing the legislation about off shore gambling.

Re:I am confussed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332983)

Bonus: it was pushed through as a last minute Rider* on legislation that was assured to be passed.

Sidestory: A friend of mine is an immigrant here in the U.S, currently without a green card. On his 21st birthday, he became no longer under his parents wing with regards to the immigration process and still on the waiting list due to 9/11. Yes, 9/11 directly a/effected him. Prior to 21, he could also only work at limited business'. Due to this, he gambled online frequently, which supplemented his income and spending habits. Seeing that hes the spendy type, most of it went back into the economy. Clothes, eating out, drinks, CD's, etc.... Some he kept, but that is for his upcoming trip to Vegas. He might actually have around 10K by now, by the way.....

So short of the the Gov. not taxing it, I fail to see how ANY of that should be illegal. The Internet should be left GREY with regards to commerce. The Gov. already taxes us enough. Any additional taxes they put in place there, are assured to go to pork projects that will so no economic or valuable return.

Re:I am confussed (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332517)

Gambling was banned because it is Wrong and Evil.© Oh, and the govt. wasn't making any money either.

Re:I am confussed (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332835)

The sad thing is that there are ways to comprimise on the money part. Legalize it only at sites that report winnings to the government. I'll happily pay taxes on my winnings in exchange for having the games regulated by the Nevada gaming comission.

Backstory (4, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332621)

The U.S. banned international online gambling because of pressure (read: bribes) from the big domestic casinos. Mainly the Indian tribes and the Vegas / Atlantic City ones. Probably the state lotteries, too.

They made it into a "moral issue," but that's just bullshit that they can sell to a few Evangelical hicks. The real issue was that the casinos felt that international companies were cutting into their business, so they had Congress close it down. It was pretty straightforward protectionism; online betting with U.S.-based B&M casinos (including internet off-track betting on horses, internet purchase of lottery tickets, etc.) is OK, but international ones are not.

The WTO saw this for what it is, and is basically saying, 'either you let everyone compete, or you shut it all down.' So this puts the U.S. in the position of either letting international casinos into the U.S. market, or shutting down all internet gambling (including aforementioned web-based off-track-betting, lottery tickets, sports books, etc.). The casinos -- particularly the Vegas ones -- wouldn't like that much either.

So it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I have to give the Antiguans -- and most of all, their lawyer [iht.com] (who is from Texas) -- credit. It takes some brass ones to go eye-to-eye with the USG, even when they're doing something that's so transparently corrupt. I hope they can pull it off.

Re:Backstory (1)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333035)

The U.S. banned international online gambling because of pressure (read: bribes) from the big domestic casinos

lobbying == bribing? Awful cynical there, aren't you?

Re:I am confussed (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332663)

Although there is little evidence of this on the Internet, from my association with gaming I believe the complete ban on online gaming is not just due to taxation but also regulation. Once you open the door to online gaming you have a low barrier to entry into potentially the most lucrative criminal enterprise possible.

Las Vegas was the Fort Knox and money printing machine for the mob in the US in the 1950's. The guys at the top had some brains and understood they had to play reasonably fair with the suckers or they wouldn't come back and the suckers had to have a "good time" while they were there. This put limits on what could and could not be done.

I don't see any limits when you move it online. How do you know if you are being cheated? You wouldn't. You get to hear from people praising their big wins. And believe me, there is plenty of money going around so people can win big. The difference between a 98% payout and a 95% payout is incredible. Bring that down to 50% and you have something that wouldn't be legit in the US but would bring in billions.

Why couldn't it be 50%? Online it certainly could and nobody would be looking at the annual reports from a site run from either some small Carribean country or Russia.

I do not see how it could be regulated. With the current grab-all-you-can philosophy in the US players would flock to sites offering the opportunity to win big. And you would have TV ads running with extremely happy big winners. Even if such ads were illegal on TV, you would have them on YouTube.

Sorry, I just see it as a new and better way to part dollars from suckers at a faster pace.

Re:I am confussed (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332795)

I'm sorry, I don't see the problem. If you want to gamble away all your money, that's your prerogative. It doesn't matter if there's a 95% payout or a 0% payout; you're still most likely to lose. The government has no business regulating this.

Re:I am confussed (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332995)

The difference is marketing and volatility. Sure net the Casino wins, but that doesn't mean that there can't be times or even individuals who do pretty well in the mean time (due only to the randomness of the process) 95% payout will result in a decent pool of "winners" who will do your marketing for you.

Another reason. (5, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332767)

It's not that simple.

Online gambling has been banned in the US for years by the same laws that made it illegal to wager over the phone. So there were never any domestic online gambling companies, because the US would just arrest the people running them for violating existing law.

But, the US couldn't get at people who ran online gambling companies outside the country, and while the US could have technically prosecuted individual gamblers for gambling online, that would hardly be practical. So instead, the US recently made it illegal for US banks and credit card companies to process payments to online gambling companies, effectively preventing US citizens from gambling online since it's now much harder to get your money to the gambling site.

The trick here is that the law only applies to certain kinds of online gambling, specifically, the kind of online gambling common in casinos, as it was mainly the casinos pushing for this legislation (under the guise of 'gambling is evil!'). So, the US had a situation in which certain domestic companies could engage in gambling as a trade, but certain international companies could not - and that's the basis of the WTO dispute.

The US actually has a very similar construct with regard to free trade amongst the 50 US states - it isn't legal for any state to have laws which favor domestic commerce over commerce from parties in other states. For example, in a recent ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a state law that banned companies from directly shipping alcoholic beverages to customers from out of state while allowing domestic producers to do so. Supreme Court said you had to either ban all mail-order alcohol sales or none.

And that's what the WTO is saying. The US is free to ban gambling, so long as they ban ALL gambling, not just gambling done by companies outside the country. And the US would be free to tax gambling, so long as it taxes ALL gambling. So the problem isn't that the US isn't getting a piece - they could allow gambling and tax it and get a piece. The problem is that because of the existing ban on online wagering that pit US casinos against non-US online gaming sites, the US companies were losing business to the non-US companies, so the US banned gambling at the non-US companies, which is exactly the kind of practice the free trade pacts and the WTO are supposed to prevent.

Re:I am confussed (4, Interesting)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333129)

The actual ban was a last-minute, backdoor provision, slipped into another bill with no debate and no formal vote.

It was widely expected to fail, but then Bill Frist tacked it onto a port security bill.

Looking at his lifetime donors [opensecrets.org] , it doesn't appear to have been for a traditional special interest group. Instead, I think it was just a failing congressman, trying to appeal to the fascist evangelicals, who wish to legislate their morality on the rest of us.

A Beautiful Thing Coming (2, Funny)

iPaige (834088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332421)

Can you imagine a place in the world with no such thing as IP rights and regulations? It would be an information hotspot like the world has never seen. You want music/movies/files, you got them, on demand, piped through a broadband connection. It's like a geeky vacation spot, with uber-souvenirs.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332485)

Can you imagine a place in the world with no such thing as IP rights and regulations? It would be an information hotspot like the world has never seen. You want music/movies/files, you got them, on demand, piped through a broadband connection. It's like a geeky vacation spot, with uber-souvenirs.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332753)

The point here, silly mods, is that if there are no IP rights and regulations, one person can directly copy what another person has created, with absolutely no legal repercussions. What belongs to one belongs to all, and the standard American drive to create (the desire for money), is destroyed.

MOD PARENT UP -- Insightful (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332993)

It's pointing that lack of copyright laws means massive duplication. Nothing to do with whether that is desirable or not, but it's just making the point in a way that some mods apparently don't understand.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (3, Insightful)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332491)

I assume buying the stuff in Antigua would be legal, but anything bought in Antigua (or on the internet from Antiguan sources) would remain illegal. So, if you want to enjoy your "geek hotspot", you'd actually have to physically BE in Antigua. It's legal to buy and sell Cuban cigars in other countries, but that doesn't make the legally obtained cigars any more legal to possess in the U.S.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332599)

It is actually illegal for an American to buy any Cuban product anywhere. We have an embrago against them however, and no such embargo exists against Antigua, yet.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332607)

Actually, it's not even legal for a U.S. Citizen to buy a Cuban cigar.

The Office of Foreign Asset Control, the entity which enforces the embargo against Cuba, has promulgated regulations (at 31 C.F.R. Part 515) that "prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing, or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions with respect to any merchandise outside the United States
if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or (3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article
which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba."

So keep that in mind the next time you go abroad.

--AC

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

licamell (778753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332765)

But there's the catch...

You are not under US jurisdiction while in cuba :-)

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

typobox43 (677545) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332939)

You are as soon as you come home. Plus, they can just revoke your citizenship while you're gone.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333001)

false, you are still a US citizen, and the embargo still applies. PDF, see heading #2 [treas.gov]

The answer is no. The Regulations prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing, or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions with respect to any merchandise outside the United States if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or (3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (2, Insightful)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333051)

But you will be when you come back.

From OFAC: Important Changes Effective June 30, 2004

Rules for family travel have changed. There is no longer a general license for travel to Cuba for family visitation. All family travel now requires a specific license from OFAC issued on or after June 30, 2004. Specific licenses for family travel issued by OFAC before that date are no longer valid. Specific licenses are granted only once every three years and allow visitation of immediate family only (parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandparents, and grandchildren). The length of stay in Cuba is limited to 14 days. Travel expenses authorized for family travelers is reduced to $50 for each day spent in Cuba and an extra $50 per trip for transportation within Cuba if needed. Family travelers may also carry one $300 quarterly remittance for immediate family in Cuba.

Cuban cigars, rum and other Cuban goods are no longer authorized for importation as accompanied baggage. Except for information and informational materials, no travelers (whether traveling legally under an OFAC license or traveling without a license) are authorized to import Cuban origin goods into the United States unless specifically licensed by OFAC to import such goods. The general license that formerly authorized licensed travelers returning from Cuba to import up to $100 worth of Cuban goods has been removed. Such goods should now be seized as imports contrary to law pursuant to 31 C.F.R. Part 515. Information and informational materials that are exempt by law to this prohibition include books, magazines, films, posters, photographs, microfilms, tapes, CDs, records, works of art, etc. (Blank tapes and CDs are not information materials and remain subject to seizure.)

The general license for travel to Cuba for amateur athletics has been removed. This travel now requires a specific license.

Fully hosted travel is no longer an exception to the embargo.

Information about the Cuba Embargo may be obtained from OFAC's fax-on-demand service at (202) 622-0077 code 1201 or our website at www.treas.gov/ofac. You may also call OFAC's Enforcement Division at (202) 622-2430.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332521)

Just wait until customs inspects your souvenirs and searches your laptop/iPod/whatever for IP contraband.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332615)

Yeah, and far fewer publishers/production companies/etc willing to take the risk of financing art because they're less able to make a return on it. Fewer people able to make a living from their art, so fewer people having time to create art. But hey, the art that does get made would be free, sweet!

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (3, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332901)

You are making an assumption that producers/publishers backing is necessary to create art.

There was a time when this was at least mostly true. But now it is entirely possible for anyone to create high-quality music, photography, and (almost, we're still working on this one) movies with digital tools, and to distribute this art, along with their novels, short stories, poetry, theatrical scripts, and just about anything else you can think of, over the internet for little to nothing.

Why do you think we still need the middle-men (publishers, record companies, etc)?

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333073)

i'm all about free art as much as the next /.er. the problem arises when the people making those fancy tools that allow artists and musicians to create/distribute their artwork stop getting paid. what happens when photoshop, illustrator, audition, et al, are free, and the developers stop making money? those tools stop developing at the same pace, and the artists have to either stagnate, or innovate themselves.

would be interesting, no less.

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332829)

It would be amazing. Science and culture would flourish like mad. The creation of art would explode, with new forms appearing at a never before seen rate. Businesses would boom with all the new opportunities. We can only hope this becomes our future one day...

Re:A Beautiful Thing Coming (5, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333059)

It would be amazing. Science and culture would flourish like mad. The creation of art would explode, with new forms appearing at a never before seen rate. Businesses would boom with all the new opportunities. We can only hope this becomes our future one day...

No way... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332461)

The game may be to get Hollywood and Microsoft, et al., to pressure Washington to cut a deal. But their influence may not be sufficient to move lawmakers on the question of online gambling.

No freaking way is Congress going to abandon all US copyrights over online poker. But if it did happen, which it won't, that would certainly put the lie to all of your paranoid raving about the M$AA controlling the government, no?

Re:No way... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332509)

If someone said that the MPAA, RIAA or BSA "controlled" the government, I'd call that wacky paranoid raving.

But whatever the outcome of this case, I think it's a very reasonable proposition that those organizations wield an extensive and disproportionate influence over US policy, often against the best interests of the public at large.

Re:No way... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332595)

So if it doesn't happen does that give the statement that the MPAA is controlling the government credibility? No? Makes as much sense as what you just said!

Re:No way... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332675)

No freaking way is Congress going to abandon all US copyrights over online poker. But if it did happen, which it won't, that would certainly put the lie to all of your paranoid raving about the M$AA controlling the government, no?

OK. So either I get cheap-ass bootleg media, or legal online poker. Awesome!

Re:No way... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332797)

Maybe. It's a question of which special interest group will Congress bow to -- the U.S. casino industry or the MAFIAA and the BSA?

You're right, though, my money's on the MAFIAA.

Re:No way... (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333107)

I dunno . . . when you bring Vegas into the equation, you're now involved in something that is a vested interest of the *actual* Mafia. That'll be a neat conflict to watch.

Oh hell yes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332473)

Hey Pirate Bay! You just got your island!

MOD PARENT UP!!! (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332751)

This is just what I had in mind after reading the article, YARRRR!!

Re:MOD PARENT UP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332883)

So the mod would be what? +1 Blindingly-obvious-and-uninteresting?

Re:Oh hell yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20333079)

"Hey Pirate Bay! You just got your island!"

But in the USA it won't matter because the cable monopolies will throttle your bit-torrent downloads and prevent you from seeding. (Or so goes the claims in that recent slashdot article). And Cisco will bring back all their expertise from The Great Firewall of China and wall of the USA in order to protect us from "terrorists" online. USA is doomed... Okay I hope I'm wrong about all of these predictions BTW.

May Be Allowed? I think not... (3, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332479)

Just because the lawyer representing Antigua has requested this method of penalizing the US for violating WTO rulings doesn't mean the WTO would actually allow it. I don't recall anything in that article that even hints at the WTO following that line of reasoning.

Re:May Be Allowed? I think not... (5, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332551)

Then you didn't finish the article, including the fact that Ecuador was, at one point, granted just this sort of relief. Ecuador chose not to exercise their right to ignore US intellectual property claims, and instead used it as leverage in trade negotiations.

And we care...why? (5, Funny)

fenodyree (802102) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332535)

Fry: "What do we care? We live in the United States."
Leela: "The United States is part of the world."
Fry: "Wow, I have been gone a long time."

Thankfully, that is a transcript from the future, and America is not yet part of this "world" of which the UN speaks of

Re:And we care...why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332861)

on the other hand: other countries are leaving this "world" and becoming outskirts of this "United States"

Burden of the Remedy (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332541)

This is odd. It will be placing the burden of the remedy for US law on private entities. Congress passed laws prohibiting offshore gambling. So why must Hollywood and Microsoft (and other IP owners) bear the burden of WTOs remedy?


This is setting a bad precedent. Such remedies should be designed so as to place the burden on the groups found to be violating laws or regulations to the greatest extent possible. Searching for the deepest pockets isn't justice.

Re:Burden of the Remedy (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332691)

This is setting a bad precedent. Such remedies should be designed so as to place the burden on the groups found to be violating laws or regulations to the greatest extent possible. Searching for the deepest pockets isn't justice.

So, take it out of the salary of the Congress and the President?

Re:Burden of the Remedy (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332879)

This is odd. It will be placing the burden of the remedy for US law on private entities. Congress passed laws prohibiting offshore gambling. So why must Hollywood and Microsoft (and other IP owners) bear the burden of WTOs remedy?
Congratulations! You have found the problem with the WTO and all those supragovernmental private organizations that purport to rule the world without any sort of democratic oversight.

Re:Burden of the Remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20332897)

You forget that the laws Congress passed were bought by both Hollywood, Microsoft and others. Its not like Congress is some benevolent entity that acts in the interest of the people. Laws go to the highest bidder.

Re:Burden of the Remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20333105)

"This is setting a bad precedent"
No, this is not setting a precedent of any kind.
This would be in line with precedents previously set.

What do the hope to win? (3, Insightful)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332553)

Considering the US has a long history of not complying with WTO rulings that don't suit them, I am surprised that they would even try this method; even if the WTO were to rule in their favour, they know all too well that the WTO is all bark and no bite.

Watch the Blackhole! (2, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332565)

Yes, Antigua can get the compensation. Watch the US then blackhole the whole country. No traffic passed through US territory or assets of US taxpayers. Maybe only by Disney applying to Federal Court for an injunction. Not even a GEC (Cuba-level embargo) would be needed.


Of course, this won't much stop satellite to the EU but smuggling is a serious offense and the US could easily put anyone involved in "facilitation" on watchlists (arrest on sight).

WTO wont grant it. Antigua will capitulate. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332597)

WTO wont give a blanket permission to Antigua to violate American copyrights. As long as the dispute is between US Govt and US Gambling industry using Antigua as a cats paw, others will shrug and look the other way. Let them mess with Big Name US corporations and Hollywood the US Govt will come down on them like a ton of bricks and choke the tiny country off. Simple things like issuing a travel advisory against visiting Antigua will kill their tourism. Small amount of grit in the financial sector could harm their trade. It will be suicide for Antigua to allow the dispute to escalate. I am very sure some low level U.S. diplomats are explaining to the Hotel and Tourism minister of Antigua what bad things could happen if the law suite against USA is allowed to proceed any further. Expect the issue to die a quiet death in the coming years.

Re:WTO wont grant it. Antigua will capitulate. (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332711)

That's right. Worldwide support for the US has never been so high; were Antigua to incur the wrath of America, the EU and Asian countries would just back off and completely ignore Antigua. The US is the world leader in these things, right?

Re:WTO wont grant it. Antigua will capitulate. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332909)

US never bothered about whether or not rest of the world agrees with it or respects. The real fight is between U.S. gambling industry using the anti-gambling religious conservatives to make Washington write laws banning internet gambling and other such competition. The internet gambling interest is using Antigua as a cats paw in the WTO. It is really these two fighting. As long as these hoodlums keep the fight among themselves, the cops will stay out of it, and they can sort it out among themselves. If the fight threatens to spill over in to the nicer neighborhoods, the cops will be sent in.

Will it make US look more like a bully? yeah, sure. But Washington does not care. Frankly, not acting like a bully is highly over rated. For example, one large country that is very much preoccupied with world opinion and trying not to look like a bully is India. What did it get? Tiny, two bit countries like Bangaladesh and Pakistan are taking pot shots at it, routinely kidnapping its border police, and sending in terrorists to fight a proxy war. So to a certain extent, Washington's "I dont care what you think of us" attitude is justified. It might over do it and stick it to some who might help us. But world opinion, all by itself, is not worth much.

Re:WTO wont grant it. Antigua will capitulate. (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333131)

And even if those traitors in the EU and Asia don't back us up, our allies Israel and Iraq and ... uh, Israel and Iraq will back us up with their mighty tourist dollars ... uhh ... shekels and dinars.

Re:WTO wont grant it. Antigua will capitulate. (3, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332931)

Simple things like issuing a travel advisory against visiting Antigua will kill their tourism. Small amount of grit in the financial sector could harm their trade.
Just like the US embargo against Cuba is hurting their tourist trade, eh????

AllofMP3.com and ThePirateBay (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332603)

"Think of this from the W.T.O.'s point of view," said Charles R. Nesson, a professor at Harvard Law School. "They're this fledgling organization dominated by a huge monster in the United States. People there must be scared out of their wits at the prospects of enforcing a ruling that would instantly galvanize public opinion in the United States against the W.T.O."
True, but if Antigua sets up the equivalent of allofmp3.com and ThePirateBay, with legitamate sounding names, is the real "Public Opinion" going to turn against them, or strongly for them?

Re:AllofMP3.com and ThePirateBay (1)

uab21 (951482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332689)

True, but if Antigua sets up the equivalent of allofmp3.com and ThePirateBay, with legitamate sounding names, is the real "Public Opinion" going to turn against them, or strongly for them?


By 'allowing to violate copyright' does that give them carte blanche to distribute said content outside their borders?

Re:AllofMP3.com and ThePirateBay (1)

hypnagogue (700024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332915)

By 'allowing to violate copyright' does that give them carte blanche to distribute said content outside their borders?
That's exactly what it means. "Disney, et al, to get hijacked by the pirates of the Caribbean." That's ever so much more ironic than rain on your wedding day.

Re:AllofMP3.com and ThePirateBay (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20333019)

According the the New York Times, the population of Anitgua is 69,100. Since they'd have to buy at least one copy of everything, I'd say that the administration would have no problem with 69,000 people making copies of music, movies and books. There are public libraries that serve more people than that. What has them scared would be if Antigua were allowed to distribute "legal" copies. Even if the US were to stop all those copies at their borders, if the rest of the world bought all of it's American music, movies and books from Antigua, it would disrupt the US enconomy to no end.

Re:AllofMP3.com and ThePirateBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20333055)

Public opinion will turn strongly toward them. The trouble is, American nukes would as well...

One (failed) way of escape (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332609)

Washington responded to Antigua's complaint by claiming it was within its rights to seek to block online gambling on moral grounds, just as any Muslim country would be within its rights under international trade agreements to ban the import of alcoholic beverages. The W.T.O. rejected this argument as inconsistent with American policy.
The U.S. is pulling on straws, they know they are not going to win this one. They will likely prefer the least evil option

Re:One (failed) way of escape (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332733)

They will likely prefer the least evil option
What planet are you living on? Given the current administration's history, they will choose the most evil option. Something like blockaiding Antigua until they submit. Come to think of it, an internet blockaide wouldn't be too hard to implement, just cut all the lines leaving the island. Shoot down any satelites that carry their transmittions, and they'll quicky surrender.

correction (2, Insightful)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332705)

It's not a "violation" of anything if it's all officially sanctioned. Just another way of redistributing copyrights to the people of Antigua.

China (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332731)

China does this a billion times a day at least, and no one cares about that, why should a little copyright violation in a small country bother anyone?

Re:China (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332947)

Because the US companies do not want to loose access to the most lucrative money making opportunities in history, with China being the world's largest consumer market and all. Never mind the fact that if the media giants went Rambo on China to stop piracy, China would likely ban them from access to the Olympics they'll be having soon.

In short, China has much more financial clout to bully the US with than most any other nation. I just wish they'd stop talking out of their asses and start selling those US dollars they're holding over our heads. I'd love to see China put some serious fiscal hurt on us, as we'd deserve every bit of it. There's a big portion of the world's population who can buy cheap, shoddy goods from China, apart from the US. Sure, Wal Mart might hurt, but the rest of the world would benefit.

Is Antiqua independant? Is it a WTO signatory? (1)

Iowan41 (1139959) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332749)

If it is independent, or not a signatory, how can they be accused of "breaking the law"? If a signatory, yet still independent, then they might be guilty of a treaty violation, but again, not of breaking the law.

Does this give them the right to export? (3, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332773)

If other countries have to honor the US copyrights, does that mean they can't import the goods from antigua?

The WTO and Health and Safety Standards (5, Informative)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332855)

First, no one is talking about (or they shouldn't be if they are) a blank check to violate copyrights. They would be allowed to violate copyrights of a value equivalent to the estimated value of the loss created by the United States' alleged improper behavior. If that loss is estimated to be $3bn, they could be given permission to violate $3bn in copyrights.

The more important question is why does Antigua respect American copyrights at all? Well, because they gain from respecting them. It's part of free and fair trade. You aren't just allowed to take something from someone. Along the same lines, you aren't allowed to bar someone from importing goods or providing services to your citizens unless they is a defendable reason - such as an authentic health and safety standard.

The WTO is the body that makes sure everyone plays by the rules. It is a voluntary association and people can leave it - and then make whatever laws they want. So, Antigua can leave the WTO and violate copyrights as much as they want - the problem is that WTO countries then can't/won't trade with them and so they loose a lot more than they would gain.

In this case, the United States would have to prove that online gambling is sufficiently worse and different from traditional gambling (which is legal in the US) - a reason why traditional gambling doesn't pose a threat to their population, but that online gambling does. Antigua needs to prove that the US regulations on online gambling don't actually protect the American people, but are rather meant to give American companies the advantage over Antiguan companies.

This isn't some weird global government looking to get rid of sovereignty. This is about using logic to determine when rules are meant to be discriminatory based on national origin and when something is a genuine health or safety standard. The US can make the argument that online gambling becomes too accessible and is therefore a much greater danger than traditional gambling. Antigua can argue that it's the same thing that happens at casinos. A court will decide which arguments hold weight based on evidence.

Re:The WTO and Health and Safety Standards (5, Funny)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332999)

...If that loss is estimated to be $3bn, they could be given permission to violate $3bn in copyrights.
According to RIAA estimates, that's about 17 songs worth.

Goodbye, GPL (0)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332875)

This is *bad* news for the GPL. The GPL exists because of copyright law. Thanks to this ruling, any corporation (read, Microsoft) is free to move an office to Antigua, steal our code, and ship it back to the US. Maybe this is about free music for some people... but for a lot of developers, this is a big blow: thousands of (wo|)man-years, that any corporation may steal and sell back to the public at profit, without crediting the original author.

What does poker have to do with it? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20332957)

I keep seeing this discussed as if it applies to online poker games only. That would seem to be silly. Why wouldn't every sort of computer game simply have a monetary reward associated with it? It would seem to be perfect to translate the video poker machine to online. And slot machines. And blackjack as well. Roulette. Keno. It all would be fair game.

Do you know someone that would play an online slot machine hoping for a big jackpot? I certainly do - I live with someone that would. She has friends that would do it too.

Vegas and Atlantic City are strictly regulated with payouts determined by the state gaming commissions. Indian casinos are a little more free to set payouts, but they are regulated as well. Online gaming would throw all of that regulation out the window and it would be wide open. It would cost almost nothing to "build" an online casino that offered hundreds of different games. You could easily pay off enough to have lots of testamonials about how great this is.

It would rake in billions a year. Americans have utterly no self-control when it comes to getting rich via gambling. Make it easy enough to get to and pay into and you would have a money machine that wouldn't quit. All you really need is a way to allow people to pay with food stamps. Houses would be good. Or take children. You would have people wanting to "spend" all of those.

Liberate Antigua!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20333047)

If happens it wont take long for the first administration invade, err liberate Antigua.

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