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US Ignores Unwelcome WTO IP Rulings

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do dept.

United States 448

Eye Log writes "The United States is a big fan of leaning on other countries to tighten IP and copyright protection, but has a tendency to ignore its own obligations when it doesn't get its way. 'Two ongoing cases illustrate the point. First, the European Union is pushing for the US to change a pair of rules that it calls "long-standing trade irritants." Despite World Trade Organization rulings against it, the US has not yet corrected either case for a period of several years... Apparently, it's easy to get hot and bothered when it's industries from your country that claim to be badly affected by rules elsewhere. When it comes to the claims of other countries, though, even claims that have been validated by the WTO, it's much easier to see the complexity of the situation, to spend years arguing those complexities before judges, and to do nothing even when compelled by rulings.'"

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Proper syntax (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876538)

<?xml version="1.0">
<comment>
<sarc>Yeah, but everyone knows that Irish music sucks so its just not the same as when people copy Brittney Spears.</sarc>
</comment>

Re:Proper syntax (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876926)

no, no, no! use the "tone" attribute on the "comment" tag!

Re:Proper syntax (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877086)

You might use sarcasm for just one sentence in your comment though; it doesn't make sense to mark the whole thing as the same tone.

Re:Proper syntax (3, Funny)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877498)

Hah!

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<comment xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xslashdotcomment">
<phrase style="voice-tone:sarcasm;">Yeah, but everyone knows that Irish music sucks so its just not the same as when people copy Brittney Spears.</phrase>
</comment>

Uh oh (2, Funny)

dingo8baby (1262090) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876552)

This just in... Al Gore is pissed.

Re:Uh oh (5, Funny)

exploder (196936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877006)

URGENT NEWS ALERT! United States applies double standard to international dispute!

Re:Uh oh (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877080)

URGENT NEWS ALERT! Europe upset that over 200 years later, US still won't do what they want.

And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Insightful)

coutch (157269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876556)

Given the way this administration has been handling Foreign Policy, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone ...

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (4, Insightful)

MoonlightSeraphim (1253752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876644)

Honestly, I was about to make the same comment. Which part of this article is a news? If it's about the facts and events where US still didn't comply with WTO rulings then it was a good read. However, if the article was supposed to articulate the fact that US doesn't comply unless it is in their favor ... well, it is really an outdated news. Even though, I'm sure I will be modded either Troll or Flaimbait but it is a sad truth. Whenever it comes to harassing other countries in favor of US or, just to be more precise, US companies & corporations, then it is a first priority for them. While if it is otherwise situation nothing will change since US government considers themselves to be kings of the world and that their laws and points of view should prevail over everything and everyone else.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876696)

I don't think that's flamebait at all: US corps act in their own interest exclusively, with no concern for "fairness". That's even a legal requirement of the directors and officers of a corp.

Of course a corporation uses it's influence to try to get favorable WTO rulings enfored with an iron fist, and unfavorable rulings delayed or ignored. That's how they're supposed to act. Ideally congresscritters would care about the people they represent, but it's hardly news that they instead care about they corporations that they represent.

I disagree that the "US government considers themselves to be kings of the world and that their laws and points of view should prevail over everything and everyone else", as the "US government" isn't a person, it's composed of people who are just trying to do what's best for their campaign contributers.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876872)

US corps act in their own interest exclusively, with no concern for "fairness". That's even a legal requirement of the directors and officers of a corp.
Except that this isn't a "corp", it's the fscking US Government

It's hypocritical for representatives of the US government to lambaste other countries for WTO "violations", when the US Government turns a blind eye to infringement happening in their own country.

Either the US government is for strict interpretation and enforcement or it's not. Pick one.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (4, Funny)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877000)

It's hypocritical for representatives of the US government to lambaste other countries for WTO "violations", when the US Government turns a blind eye to infringement happening in their own country.

In the words of our Vice President: So?

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (3, Insightful)

navtal (943711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877182)

I apologize but i am having trouble seeing where corporation and the US Government begin and end. Dare I use the word fascist? I fear for our future.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877494)

Politicians the world over are always for strict interpretation. The stricter the better, with leather, whips, dungeons and Cynthia Payne's phone book...

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877058)

Well when you put it like that, makes me feel like it's all okay.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877128)

Ideally congresscritters would care about the people they represent,

Uhhh... The last time I checked, US congresscritters were not supposed to represent foreign people or companies. While a tad unfair, it is what they are supposed to do in this case. However, I am sure that congress doing the correct thing in this case is purely unintentional... :)

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (2, Insightful)

Ambidisastrous (964023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877164)

The "US government" isn't a person, it's composed of people who are just trying to do what's best for their campaign contributers.
(Just wanted to make sure it didn't slip past anyone's irony detector.)

It's also interesting that given the choice of making relatively small changes to the law versus coughing up fines, the U.S. is consistently choosing to pay fines. As I understand it, the fines don't actually come directly out of lawmakers' bank accounts, but also affect a number of citizens who weren't even involved in the violation. Shocking!

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877248)

I don't think that's flamebait at all: US corps act in their own interest exclusively, with no concern for "fairness". That's even a legal requirement of the directors and officers of a corp.

If this was true then corps would be obliged to boil babies if they could get away with it and that was the best use of their funds. I don't even need to read the law(s) you're referring to to know that it would not oblige executives to be amoral.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (3, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877604)

Is there any government for whom this isn't true? Most theories of nations and international politics indicate that national leaders move largely according to what they can get away with. Anyone expecting different is projecting quite a bit of idealism onto a process that really isn't.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876846)

It's nothing new to Canada and our long-standing disputes over softwood lumber and other issues. The US even ignores it's own courts when it doesn't like the rulings.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877098)

But what do you want us to do? It's our policy to regularly destroy hard drives after they've been subpoenaed by a federal court.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1, Insightful)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876902)

Exactly. And it's not just the US blowing off the WTO when it suits them. It's "the way the game is played." France has a 15% tariff in all but name that they'll administratively fix real soon now ;-) (It's a VAT dodge of some sort.)

Canada dumps lumber in the US at subsidized prices, but the subsidy is the less than fair market price for the wood on their equivalent of national forests. Who determines what they call fair market price? The Canadian government. And correctly so. Whether Canada wants it's money from stump royalties or income taxes on employed workers is their call.

It's about time the US had as much enlightened self-interest as the French. All that consistently "taking one for free trade" has gotten for us is bankruptcy. Wages haven't moved since 1973. First we put the women to work. Since then the standard of living has been maintained by home equity loans on the ever rising value of a house. Now that that has stopped, pain will ensue. Whether the pain will be inflation (raise prices on everything else so that housing isn't over priced anymore) or deflation (as book-keeping entries develop the same marginal value as other "IP") is the question of the year.

Stay tuned.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Informative)

rbrander (73222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877196)

>>Canada dumps lumber in the US at subsidized prices

Well, that would be YOUR point of view. Canada's point of view is different.

That's why we have courts...in this case, the WTO.

And the WTO court found your point of view to not reflect reality, and Canada's point of view to reflect reality much, much better. Repeatedly.

And every time, the US effectively ignored the court ruling. Please, I don't want to start an argument over softwood lumber. I'm just stating the facts: the WTO ruled against the US, and the US did not adjust its behaviour the way they would have insisted on another country doing had another country received the same ruling.

The headline on this story would have been more correct by removing the "IP" from the sentence. "The US ignores unwelcome WTO Rulings" - of every kind. Maybe not ALL of them, but certainly some cases that are matters of much, much journalistic coverage. Many of these cases pre-date the Bush2 administration.

You are both on same side I believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877506)

I think you to are both taking Canada's side on this, just worded differently.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (3, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877162)

but it is a sad truth.

No, it's a glad truth.

The Revolutionary War took place due to a foreign "government" trying to rule US citizens. The breaking point was taxation without representation, but mostly it was all laws without representation.

Of COURSE the US laws and points of view prevail IN THE US over anything else. We are a soverign nation. We have our own laws and our own courts. We aren't SUPPOSED to be controlled by every other country on the planet. Our SCOTUS isn't SUPPOSED to be considering other country's laws when they rule on laws we have passed here, they have a Constitution they are supposed to consider as supreme.

That Constitution says nothing about the WTO getting to change US laws they don't like. It says nothing about UN Resolutions. Our government tops out at the federal level.

I'm GLAD that it is that way. If I wanted to live under the laws of Germany, I'd move there. If I wanted Sharia (sp?) law, I'd move to a country that has that. If I think Germany has a stupid law, I have every right to say that, but there is no mechanism for me to force them to change their laws, NOR SHOULD THERE BE. Nor should there be a mechanism for Germans to force a change to our laws. And if using a specific country as an example confuses things, simply replace Germany with any other country. England, Germany, China, Japan, Sweden, whatever.

If that sounds like flamebait, well, I get tired of hearing people say things like 'The WTO says we are wrong to do X, so obviously we are wrong to do X and our laws must conform.' No. It is not obvious. We do NOT have to do what the WTO says we must. If we listen to the WTO and AGREE, well, that's one thing, but agreement isn't automatic. We can also listen and disagree, and if we disagree, we don't have to act.

It's like saying that the President doesn't listen to Sheehan or any other protesters because he doesn't immediately do what they demand. Yes, he listens, but he was elected to make choices, and not every person is going to agree with every choice. That's life.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877282)

You are missing two things. First, the Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) specifically states that any treaty obligations shall be the law of the land, and so you are legally, according to the constitution, bound by WTO rulings since the WTO powers are granted by a treaty. Secondly, you are ignoring the fact that the USA is expecting US law to extend over most of the world and is attempting to use the WTO to enforce this. Since the principle export of the USA is IP, your economy would be in an even worse state than it is now if the rest of the world took the same attitude the USA does to WTO IP rulings.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (5, Insightful)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877312)

Look, you can't have trade without rules. Americans are able to trade with each other because the US has laws enforcing contracts and agreements. It is no different between states: some agreement about the rules is required to protect people who want to trade across borders. If the US wants to ignore the agreements it has made, then other countries will ignore their agreements and everyone will be worse off. International trade is for the most part beneficial to all parties. Actions like this are the result of special interests and are damaging not only to other countries but to Americans who aren't part of that interest group.

The US is a sovereign nation with a sovereign government given the power to enact treaties with other nations. If you expect other nations to live up to their side of the treaties you like, then you have to stick to your obligations under the ones you don't like. The US is no longer in the position where it can violate whatever treaty it likes without consequences. This is not 1950. You aren't even the world's largest economy any more and the status of the dollar as reserve currency is the lowest it has been since the signing of Bretton Woods.

Simple self interest ought to be enough to motivate the US to abide by the agreements it has made.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (2, Insightful)

MoonlightSeraphim (1253752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877336)

Good read. And I do agree with you. If you like the law of your country than live there. Also, we are not saying that US is obligated to comply with what WTO rules and change their laws to suit others. HOWEVER, if your government makes such stand then it should also gtfo with their demands towards other countries to comply in favor of US laws and preferences.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877350)

but it is a sad truth.


If that sounds like flamebait, well, I get tired of hearing people say things like 'The WTO says we are wrong to do X, so obviously we are wrong to do X and our laws must conform.' No. It is not obvious. We do NOT have to do what the WTO says we must. If we listen to the WTO and AGREE, well, that's one thing, but agreement isn't automatic. We can also listen and disagree, and if we disagree, we don't have to act.


It's like saying that the President doesn't listen to Sheehan or any other protesters because he doesn't immediately do what they demand. Yes, he listens, but he was elected to make choices, and not every person is going to agree with every choice. That's life.

You sir are clueless.

If you tell the WTO China is allowing rampart piracy, copyright infringement and even setting up fake Starbucks stores.... China can say, "These businesses make money and we like them. We dont give a fuck if this takes money away from US businesses because hey, We are looking out for number 1."

Whats the point of having a WTO in the first place if they have no power?

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (4, Informative)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877418)

Of COURSE the US laws and points of view prevail IN THE US over anything else. We are a soverign nation. We have our own laws and our own courts. We aren't SUPPOSED to be controlled by every other country on the planet. Our SCOTUS isn't SUPPOSED to be considering other country's laws when they rule on laws we have passed here, they have a Constitution they are supposed to consider as supreme.

That Constitution says nothing about the WTO getting to change US laws they don't like. It says nothing about UN Resolutions. Our government tops out at the federal level.
There's a loophole in the Constitution however...

From Article VI:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Technically you don't need an amendment to change the Constitution and the supreme law of the US, all you need is 67 Senators and the President to concoct and agree to a treaty with a foreign power. That treaty then has the same weight as the Constitution.

Retired NJ Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano has written a couple of books which touch on the subject of how the federal government has been able to subvert the Constitution. Check out "Constitutional Chaos" and "The Constitution in Exile"

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877566)

That Constitution says nothing about the WTO getting to change US laws they don't like. It says nothing about UN Resolutions.


You need to read your Constitution more often...Article IV:

"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

In case you missed it:

"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;"

The US participation in the WTO is by treaty. That makes it "the law of the land". The same goes for the UN resolutions. The UN exists by treaty that the US Congress signed into law.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (4, Insightful)

krlynch (158571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876866)

Actually, this has next to nothing to do with this or any Administration unilaterally ignoring WTO rulings. The issues raised in the article have to do with laws passed by the Congress of the United States. Without the Congress of the United States repealing those laws, the current (or indeed, any future) Administration has no power to do anything about these WTO rulings.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877370)

Exactly. I find it hard to fault the administration (however much I like to) without more facts.

Like, for example, how many other countries are not currently complying with WTO rulings. I doubt that the answer is zero. There might be some countries ignoring a dozen rulings, but we have no idea. The US might be doing really well in this regard (although I doubt it just due to the world economic structure). But it would at least be good to know!

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (2, Insightful)

wasted (94866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877386)

Actually, this has next to nothing to do with this or any Administration unilaterally ignoring WTO rulings. The issues raised in the article have to do with laws passed by the Congress of the United States. Without the Congress of the United States repealing those laws, the current (or indeed, any future) Administration has no power to do anything about these WTO rulings.


True, but if you look at it that way, the justification for flaming the U.S. and/or Bush is diminished, and the ignorant masses won't be able to gain as much self esteem by insulting the U.S. or Bush.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877578)

Actually, this has next to nothing to do with this or any Administration unilaterally ignoring WTO rulings. The issues raised in the article have to do with laws passed by the Congress of the United States. Without the Congress of the United States repealing those laws, the current (or indeed, any future) Administration has no power to do anything about these WTO rulings.

Ummm, well, actually, under the US constitution, treaties that have been signed by the administration and approved by the Senate are the law of land. Congress has nothing more to say aside from repealing the treaty.

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (1)

slawo (1210850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877334)

I believe suspending all US copyright and patents until the US complies would be a great idea...
Ok, maybe not the copyrights... that would be a disaster to all the real artists whose music would be replaced in stores around the world by cheap crap like Britney Spears and other highly promoted and talentless junk.
Although I doubt it would have any impact on Bollywood's irrational constant success ;-)

Re:And you are surprised because ... ? (2)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877374)

Given the way this administration has been handling Foreign Policy, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone ...
This isn't limited to "this administration" (though they are worse than the last one), this is the USAs' default behavior, and not just for IP (see: lumber dispute with Canada, WTO rulings in favor of Canada, US ignores them).

I'll be modded down for not acknowledging the absolute divine perfection of America the pure and eternal shining beacon of holiness in all things, but the USA acts as a bully, has been doing for all my life, and long before, but talks as though they didn't.

Hypocricy rampant in the Whitehouse... (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876576)

movie at 11:00....

Re:Hypocricy rampant in the Whitehouse... (1)

syzler (748241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877356)

Shouldn't that be:

after 8 seasons, the series finale airs January 20th

Re:Hypocricy rampant in the Whitehouse... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877560)

Shouldn't that be:

after 8 seasons, the series finale airs January 20th
No. After 8 seasons, we get a new cast, but the story lines will remain the same.

People are hypocrites (2, Insightful)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876580)

News at eleven.

Re:People are hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876978)

Both a movie *and* news at 11? What shall I watch?

Re:People are hypocrites (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877280)

Well, if you're American, you should watch the movie. If you're from Europe, you should watch the news. And if you're from *mumble*, you should go to bed.

Re:People are hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877190)

Damn, so is it a movie or news?

Re:People are hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877470)

Damn, so is it a movie or news?

So what's the second option?

Lack of Campaign Funding (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876606)

If the WTO wants American politicians to listen them, then they need to pony up with the 'campaign funding' like everyone else.

Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (5, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876614)

Back in the 80s the US even ignored a ruling from the World Court to cease it's terrorist activities in Nicaragua, which included mining the harbours and putting civilian shipping in great danger. It even ignored the two subsequent UN General Assembly resolutions demanding that it observe the World Court Ruling.

It basically comes down to this. If you are powerful, you can ignore the rules. If you are not, you may well be in serious trouble.

And that is the problem (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876680)

Many nations of EU will ignore their legal obligations. They are signatories to Kyoto, but are doing their best to play games with it. Germany, and even France are great examples of this. And yes, as I recall, all of the great nations of EU have violated various WTO rulings as well.

Re:And that is the problem (2, Insightful)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876784)

Nice troll. Even got modded up.

Germany is one of the greenest countries in Europe, even giving citizens a fixed rate on solar energy they produce. France produces most of it's electricity through Nuclear power.

Bad Moderators. Go to your room. No soup for you.

Re:And that is the problem (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876964)

But even that amount of Green cannot make up for all the hot air spewed by talking heads worldwide for so many decades with respect to the German contribution to Internet argumentation: Adolph Hitler.

There. Godwin'ed. Fuck you all.

Re:And that is the problem (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877440)

(citation needed) What major infractions of EU rulings have any EU member committed? Also, germany/france thing i have to assume was just a joke.

Re:Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876778)

We don't need diplomacy or foreign policy any more. If you don't like it, we'll be happy to erase you from existence. That's what those nukes are for.

Re:Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (4, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876856)

Back in the 80s the US even ignored a ruling from the World Court to cease it's terrorist activities in Nicaragua
The Supreme Court just ruled [google.com] that U.S. states can now pretty much ignore international law at will. It's not clear to me how this affects the federal obligation to obey treaties (which is pretty clear in the Constitution), but at the state level, we'll be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing.

Re:Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877120)

Well, that's obvious, isn't it? Since there is no world police and no world prison to carry out World Court rulings, anyone can happily ignore those rulings. That is, they can do so until they realize that following a resemblance of international order is the alternative to trade wars, even though your local law allows you to flip the bird to the World Court.

Re:Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877194)

Trade Wars? I loved that game. I just hope I can get my planetary defenses built before someone takes over my planet. Do you know where I can buy some ore?

Re:Powerful Countries often ignore the rules (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877256)

And that is a bad thing how? There is NO SUCH THING as 'International Law', and all countries routinely ignore the bits of said 'law' that don't suit them. Look up the word sovereignty sometime then come back for a cogent discussion.

Well (5, Funny)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876616)

The Federal government here in the US is allowing corporate interests to screw us, it's citizens, why not the rest of the world too? At least it's consistent.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876808)

Well, what you guys do in the privacy of your own country is your business, but here in the rest of the world buggery is generally frowned upon :)

Karma Whoring HOWTO (-1, Troll)

dracocat (554744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876622)

Post anti-US Comment Here.

-----
Meh, had some Karma to burn.. why not..

Who cares really? (5, Insightful)

knivesx11 (1085179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876650)

The big problem with the WTO is that it exists to try to find equities in other peoples laws. In my country its legal to do something that might be illegal in yours. The problem with that is that its great when people are talking about physical properties, however its much more difficult when dealing with the same disputes on intellectual property. If I play a radio in my work than its the station that sells advertisements that pays for the songs. As long as I don't advertise the fact like some kind of main street concert hall than I'm not sure why it matters.

Paying for radio? (4, Insightful)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877144)

If I play a radio in my work than its the station that sells advertisements that pays for the songs. As long as I don't advertise the fact like some kind of main street concert hall than I'm not sure why it matters.



Exactly. How is Europe so completely backwards on this issue? Every pair of ears that listens to the songs is a pair of ears that listens to the ads as well, and those ads pay the bills. I would think the radio stations and music labels would be GLAD to have people listening to them in workplaces and waiting rooms.

If these laws were enforced in the USA, there would be riots, then it would be silence or royalty-free classical music only.

What bureaucratic knot did they invent to justify why should it cost money if you listen in a place of business when it's designed to be a free-to-receive service?

Re:Paying for radio? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877416)

well, there's no advertising if it's a BBC station, and frankly; unless it's Radio 2, it's not worth listening to.

Though, if it is an ad-supported station, those people listening in workplaces and waiting rooms are going to be hard to quantify, and that makes them hard to add to your listener figures, which need to be high and fairly accurate if you're going to point to them the justify charging 20% more per unit time of advertising airtime than everyone else.

Re:Paying for radio? (3, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877492)

How is Europe so completely backwards on this issue?
I agree about the radio royalties. It's absurd that I can listen to my radio for free, and you can listen to your radio for free, and all of our friends can listen to their radios for free, but then if we all meet up together and listen to the same radio, suddenly someone has to get paid for it.

However, let's not lose sight of the point here, which is the double standard. We have some pretty absurd requests of other countries too, and if we expect them to go along with our absurd requests, we're going to have to go along with theirs.

IP stakes are "increasing"? (3, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876662)

"As the stakes continue to grow in the intellectual property arena,


growing?

what fantasy world are these guys living in?

Sure the number of IP claims are going up, but the value to the public is clearly going down, and p2p isnt going anywhere.

They can claim "growing stakes" all they wish, but the voracity of their claims extend only as far as the walls of their ivory towers.

Re:IP stakes are "increasing"? (1)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876774)

One could probably reasonably argue that IP is becoming increasingly important to numerous economies, especially as manufacturing gets outsourced. High end manufacturing and manufacturing of certain large items will always remain to some degree, along with some service jobs, but IP of various natures will become increasingly important, from soft IP (software) to harder IP (patents for physical processes.)

Re:IP stakes are "increasing"? (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876824)

IP should stand for "imaginary" rather than "intellectual" property. It means absolutely nothing if nobody agrees to enforce it, and as such does not provide a secure or stable source of GDP.

Any economist foolish enough to believe in "IP" as a long term foundation for an economy is not only incompetent, but dangerous to whomever he councils.

You either take action against outsourcing or you face the slides happening in the US economy now.

jobs get outsourced
government doesnt take action
rents go up, job opportunities go down, inflation occurs as your constant trade imbalance floods the rest of the planet with fiat money.

economies are based on production of real goods and services, not residual income dependent only on the willing
  compliance of neighbors.

Re:IP stakes are "increasing"? (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876816)

but the voracity of their claims extend only as far as the walls of their ivory towers.
The veracity of their claims only extends to the walls of their ivory towers, but the voracity extends throughout the whole world :-)

Re:IP stakes are "increasing"? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876868)

touche : )

I'm not sorry to see this. (3, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876708)

Yes, there is likely hypocrisy in this on the part of the US, but "do as I say, not as I do" on the part of the US is not news to anyone here. What I am glad to see, though, is that most countries seem to have some willingness to ignore at least some of the ridiculousness inherent in "intellectual property" law. The idea that ideas can be owned and hoarded is dying, and anything that hastens its demise is fine by me. How can one hoard ideas in a world where knowledge, information, and media are simply at the end of one's fingertips on a keyboard?

Hipocrisy in editing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876728)

The Antiguan government has recently stated that it will allow piracy of US intellectual property such as movies and movies


Ars technica apparently hired fry to edit their article?

There is no World Government... (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876742)

thank god.

If I can gain an advantage by getting others to follow phony rules, good for me, but I'm not bound by them.

Note that this is significantly different than treaties, which are between specific countries, and spell out specific remedies, the ultimate being the offended party withdrawing from the treaty (or war).

Re:There is no World Government... (5, Insightful)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876942)

If I can gain an advantage by getting others to follow phony rules, good for me, but I'm not bound by them.

Note that this is significantly different than treaties,

You seem to be under the impression that the WTO is an organisation that just appeared out of thin air -- rather than, say, as a result of lots of countries signing up to binding agreements -- also known as "treaties" (such as GATT and the Marrakesh Agreement).

If you think it's a good thing for your country to abdicate the responsibilities it has itself assumed under the provisions of treaties it willingly signed, then you are simply wanting your country to be a criminal, or rogue state.

By the way, remind me never to sign any contract with you ...

On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877318)

You seem to be under the impression that the WTO is an organisation that just appeared out of thin air -- rather than, say, as a result of lots of countries signing up to binding agreements -- also known as "treaties" (such as GATT and the Marrakesh Agreement).

Or you could say it's a huge bureaucracy created by a bunch of smaller bureaucracies and answerable only to itself.

I'm not sure ignoring it is entirely a bad thing.

Re:There is no World Government... (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877468)

"Note that this [WTO] is significantly different than treaties"

Saying a treaty is different to a treaty is insightfull? - Sounds more like a government press release to me.

Autonomy (4, Informative)

treesloth (1095251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876802)

I really don't see the problem. Member nations are autonomous. Any compliance with demands from the World Court, the UN or the WTO is strictly voluntary for any nation. Their real authority is precisely whatever the member nations decide. That's not just for the US-- it's for any member nation of any such organization. Orders from the UN and similar groups really just don't matter unless they can back them up-- and they can't. I prefer it that way, honestly. The UN and WTO are a bit too socialistic for my tastes, but that's just me.

Re:Autonomy (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876914)

The UN and WTO are a bit too socialistic for my tastes, but that's just me.

Maybe you shouldn't have signed up to them, then.

Re:Autonomy (2, Interesting)

treesloth (1095251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876972)

I didn't, and those organizations have become so hostile to some of the member nations that it's about time to start telling them to go screw themselves. Beyond that, the only remaining option is to withdraw, which also wouldn't break my heart.

Re:Autonomy (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877272)

We should stay in their little play-group for one reason only: To listen to them bitch and moan.

The UN has really only 1 good purpose: for countries to express grievances against other countries. Sort of a world embassy.

Veto Powers Abused too! (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876848)

As a founding member of the UN, the USA seems to think that it controls the UN - and it acts accordingly!
It has a VETO and routinely uses it for its advantage - and ignores the UN when it isn't convenient.

Given their actions in the UN, Why would it acknowledge the WTO? Or even NAFTA... *cough* softwood lumber debate *cough*

Re:Veto Powers Abused too! (3, Insightful)

treesloth (1095251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876880)

Good. They should use it. Just like every other nation uses their powers in their own self-interest. Why should any nation bow to the UN against their own interest? They shouldn't. The UN exists to server, not to rule. It has precisely no authority.

Re:Veto Powers Abused too! (3, Insightful)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877114)

Imagine if the same philosophy was adopted by everyone. Suddenly I could decide that the law doesn't apply to me and opt out. I could rob banks at will and have a lot of fun. The Banks would want me stopped, but because I've opted out, they would not be able to use the law to stop me. Instead they would have to opt out of the law as well and take matters into their own hands, probably violently.

That's the kind of situation that currently exists internationally and it's not a good thing.

Re:Veto Powers Abused too! (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877360)

What conditions (benefits or handicaps) would you give yourself ... if there was an equal chance that someone else would have those conditions, and you would not?

When you can answer that - then we can talk about proper governance and the rights of the individual.

After we've established some individual rights, we can then move to talking about the rights of government.

But until you understand that greed isn't the answer, we havn't even started to talk.

Re:Veto Powers Abused too! (3, Insightful)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877180)

The US has used the Veto the most times, at least since the 80s. Of course all 5 permanent dictators of the UN Security Council have the veto power. Even the threat of Veto (Hidden Veto) is enough to stop resolutions from even being proposed. That's what happened with Rwanda. France and the US threatened to veto anything that had the word "Genocide" in it, because it would have required immediate action. Yet it is not France and the US that people blame for Rwanda. Instead people look at Rwanda and say the UN is to blame (the US and France must be quite relieved at that).

The will of the world is expressed through General Assembly Resolutions, but perversely they are non binding, whereas the UN Security Council dictatorship resolutions are binding. Then again, it wouldn't really matter if the General Assembly resolutions were binding, because powerful countries like the US, Russia, China etc would just ignore them. Since the major powers clearly have no interest in obeying the rules, it comes down to who is militarily powerful, and that is a very poor lesson to teach the rest of the world. The result of all this is that more and more countries will try to develop nuclear weapons in an attempt to join this "power club".

This is rich (3, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876906)

From TFA:

The so-called "Irish Music" dispute concerns the portion of US copyright law that lets restaurants and shops play broadcast music without compensating the copyright holders. As previous coverage of this issue shows, Europe takes a fairly hard-line stance on these payments; a UK car repair chain was even targeted by collecting societies because its mechanics played their radios loud enough that customers could hear them.

Pretty much the very group of people for whom this is an anathema are taking the opportunity to complain that the US has not implemented this draconian bullshit because, well, it's fun to say "the US ignores what it doesn't like".

The chuckle factor is definitely high here.

Re:This is rich (1)

treesloth (1095251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877026)

That is a pretty damn hilarious rule. It's the sort of thing that prompts howls of, "Are you f@)#ing serious?" from anyone that hears it. Anyway, I agree-- it's one of those "anything to criticize the US" matters. Oh, well.

Thank you US government (4, Insightful)

nrlightfoot (607666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877050)

I am very glad that businesses here don't need to pay $30,000 a year to play the radio where customers can hear it. It's nice when our government protects us from abusive regulations, even if it doesn't happen very often.

Re:Thank you US government (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877122)

It happens all the time, but only when the "us" referred to make over 1 million dollars gross income per year and provide "campaign contributions" to the relevant lawmakers.

for the rest of us there's:
the dmca
local monopoly power for ISP's
rubber stamped mergers across the board (you have freedom of choice! you can choose "the x company" or nothing at all!)
the real id act
the patriot act
warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity when we sue for it
continuous streams of supreme court rulings which invalidate the crumbling constitution (see anything signed by souter)
the rise of the fourth estate, which is now so in bed with the government it may as well be state run.

 

Better Examples Please (4, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877108)

US trade policy is self-serving, we all know that. But couldn't the author provide some good examples to really make the point? These are pretty weak:

  • The so-called "Irish Music" dispute concerns the portion of US copyright law that lets restaurants and shops play broadcast music without compensating the copyright holders.
    => I would be willing to wager that most everyone commenting on this thread would consider that fair use.
  • The Havana Club issues stems from the long-standing US effort to impose sanctions on Cuba.
    => Weren't the trade sanctions against Cuba put there and don't they remain there in part because of Cuban human rights abuses? The governments calling USA to task on this have companies which have "invested in Cuban business". The trademarks are not protected in the US to limit Cuban companies profiting from these trademarks in the US. If other countries want to sell their rum in the US under a protected trademark, they seem free to use a different trademark. Whether US trade sanctions against Cuba are moral or justified is a different issue from IP.
  • The second case concerns Antigua and Barbuda, a small Caribbean country home to all sorts of online vices, including gambling and DRM circumvention. Antigua took the US to the WTO years ago over charges that the US was unfairly criminalizing access to Antiguan gambling websites...
    => Legal gambling outfits in the US follow strict gambling laws that regulate, among other things, machine calibration, payout ratios, etc. Online gambling from other countries is outlawed in the USA because the mechanisms to ensure fairness can not be physically confirmed by government representatives.

Re:Better Examples Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877352)

The second case concerns Antigua and Barbuda, a small Caribbean country home to all sorts of online vices, including gambling and DRM circumvention. Antigua took the US to the WTO years ago over charges that the US was unfairly criminalizing access to Antiguan gambling websites...
=> Legal gambling outfits in the US follow strict gambling laws that regulate, among other things, machine calibration, payout ratios, etc. Online gambling from other countries is outlawed in the USA because the mechanisms to ensure fairness can not be physically confirmed by government representatives.


Online gambling across state lines is illegal period. I'm sure if Congress had the power to do so, local gambling would also be outlawed. [In case someone asks, US Congress cannot regulate commerce and therefore gambling within a single state. That is the job of the state legislatures.]

China crisis (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877404)

Weren't the trade sanctions against Cuba put there and don't they remain there in part because of Cuban human rights abuses?

Yes. That explains those extensive sanctions against China too.

Oh, hang on ...

It's True (5, Informative)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877118)

The US has more trade agreements with Canada than any other country and in Canada's experience it is absolutely true. The US government's negotiators howl about DRM, our approach to health care, pharmacuticals, gay marriage, drug "leniency" etc, etc while ignoring rluling after ruling not just by the WTO, but by the NAFTA boards, and other committees that supposedly govern bilateral trade. Largely they do it because they can get away with it.

I have no doubt that the US will recover from it's financial woes. The world economy is changing though, and competition for resources is increasing. The US's negotiating position is changing as well. Instead of being the one of a few major buyers of commodities, they are now among many. Ignoring multilateral trade rulings as a routine is going to end as a consequence. At least if the US government is smart about it.

Re:It's True (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877508)

Good idea. Canadians should place a trade embargo on the US. I'm sure it'd be really good for the Canadian economy.

Usual Drivel (0)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877140)

Of course the US doesn't comply with rulings it doesn't agree with or are not considered to be in the best interests of the people or corporations of the US. That's the *job of government* - to act in the interests of the people of the United States. If they operated against our best interests in favor of other countries, they would quickly and quite deservedly get run out of office. Particularly if the consequences of not complying consist of a strongly worded letter from some toothless international body threatening that if we don't comply, we will receive another strongly worded letter.

      Whether you like it or not, there is no world government nor should their be. EVERY sovereign country should act in it's own interests. And, individual examples aside, the US overall goes along with some pretty crazy nonsense in the interests of getting along. Maybe not enough to suit the typical slashdotter, but more than is probably warranted or necessary. How much money have we poured into the UN, just to get the world's most corrupt and intrinsically fraudlent organization? We are financing one of the most counter-productive, racist, anti-semetic, and needless to say, anti-American organizations outside al-Qaeda.

And need I note the double standard? When other countries defy US rules, everybody cheers and proclaims them to be heroes for standing up to the US. When we do the same, even in a ridiculously minor way, people response like we are the fourth reich.

        Brett

Fixed: (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877204)

That's the *job of government* - to act in the interests of the peo~~ corporations who 'donate' to officials~~ple of the United States.


and accuracy has been restored.

Re:Usual Drivel (1)

kd1966 (1262992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877490)

Bravo! Totally in agreement here; the original poster obviously was looking to scrounge as much sympathy as they could. And the Internet is certainly a great forum for the anti US crowd............. among others...... Yes the double standard/hypocrisy is rampant here; "Do as I want/Not as I think we should act in the same circumstances......... blah-blah-blah.............

Re:Usual Drivel (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877518)

The difference is that the US agreed to follow those rules. If you don't intend to, then you shouldn't have signed the damn treaty in the first place.

We Should Really Give the WTO (3, Insightful)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877152)

something to complain about, and act like we want US companies to be successful. 1) Completely eliminate the income tax, and, just to be clear, that means the corporate income tax, too. 2) Institute a National sales tax to run the country with. In addition to the cessation of wasting all that money to collect the income tax, all American goods reduce in price dramatically from not having to pay income tax. Imported goods stay the same price, since they weren't paying American income tax in all those Chinese and Korean factories anyway. Then American goods get taxed back up to about what they were, while foreign goods increase maybe 23 - 28% or so. Wonder if the WTO would have a hemmorhage, and what they could do about it.

Poor Write-Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22877390)

The US government is supposed to do things that are in its own best interest.

US will not reopen NAFTA (2, Insightful)

metoc (224422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877598)

Both Canada and Mexico have similar problems when it comes to the USA not complying with WTO rulings. These will be on the table if NAFTA is renegotiated.

Why again is the US part of the WTO? (0)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22877600)

Seriously, I don't understand why the US is part of the WTO. Yes, I know that the US helped found it (and its predecessor, GATT) but I don't see why we keep spending resources to have someone else tell us what our tariffs should be, especially if we ignore rulings... All it has done is help shift manufacturing (and technology) jobs overseas, create less oversight of products on store shelves (think China and dead pets), and give cheaper imports to Wal-Mart.
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