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WTO Awards Caribbean Country Right to Ignore US Copyright 460

Posted by Zonk
from the virtual-pirate-league-arrr dept.
The WTO's recent ruling on Antigua's complaint against the US over the banning of online gambling resulted in a payment to the island nation much less than they asked for. It appears, though, that this payment was just part of the WTO's compensation package for Antigua/Barbuda. Via Kotaku, the Hollywood Reporter notes that the Caribbean country can now freely ignore US copyright laws - legally. This dispensation is apparently limited to some $21 million a year. "The WTO often takes decisions awarding trade compensation in cases where one nation's policies are found to break its rules. But this is only the second time the compensation lets one country violate intellectual property laws. In this case, Antigua will -- in theory -- be allowed to distribute copies of American DVDs, CDs and games and software with impunity. 'That has only been done once before and is, I believe, a very potent weapon,' Antigua's lawyer Mark Mendel said. 'I hope that the United States government will now see the wisdom in reaching some accommodation with Antigua over this dispute.'"
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WTO Awards Caribbean Country Right to Ignore US Copyright

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  • by bigdavex (155746) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:39PM (#21831624)

    Since when did "free trade" translate into an abandonment of sovereignty in favor of having an unelected global organization dictate national policy? If the people of the United States (or any country) want to ban online gambling then what business of the WTO is it? At least when the WTO steps in over protective tariffs that makes SOME sense. If a product is completely outlawed though, how the hell is a free trade issue?

    You haven't been following this issue. Countries can prohibit trade on moral ground under the WTO. They just can't treat the domestic businesses differently than the foreign ones, which the US does explicitly.
  • by Soulcat (841274) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:40PM (#21831630)
    That is the problem, that States did not Ban Online Gambling Completely. The Problems is the US Allowed online Gambling on horse races, The Majority of sites most likely in the states.. Since the states does allow one form of online Gambling, banning other forms is seen as a protective tarriff.
  • by PieSquared (867490) <> on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:44PM (#21831696)
    I believe the point is that gambling is legal in the US. But the US went and decided that the perfectly legal (in their countries, and if they were in the US and not online) gambling institutions on offshore islands were illegal.

    This is more like saying "smoking X is alright in the US. smoking X is alright in the Netherlands. Smoking X you bought online from the netherlands is illegal."
  • by Pfhreakaz0id (82141) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:50PM (#21831772)
    I'll quote from a summary I had lying around: "The trade body found that the U.S. had the right to prevent offshore betting as a means of protecting public order and public morals. But it said Washington was violating trade law by targeting online gambling without equal application of the rules to American operators offering remote betting on horse and dog racing."
  • by JoshHeitzman (1122379) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:56PM (#21831834) Homepage
    Because its isn't a guy its a state. It also isn't property its a right created by states via treaty just as the WTO is created by states via treaty.
  • Re:Hah. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:13PM (#21832022)

    Really? Which ones?
    Peugeot, for example. They make cars. Lots of americans seem to think they don't exist (since they just gave up selling in the USA), but they're only slightly smaller than Volkswagen globally.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#21832064) Homepage Journal

    is there something that treats American horse-racing betting sites different then ones from overseas?

    Yes, if you use less specific terms. Change "horse-racing betting" to "gambling" and re-ask the question.

    Apparently, WTO sees the US government's uber-specific microlegislation, where it permits some kinds of gambling and not others, as an absurd joke that is obviously derived from special interests (i.e. private industry's desire to use government power to put money into their own pockets) rather than any sort of principles. In other words, they saw it the same way that we, the citizens of US, do.

  • by rewt66 (738525) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:26PM (#21832188)
    No, not really. The US will permit its citizens to gamble in casinos in the US, and also in casinos overseas. The US will not permit its citizens to gamble online with sites hosted in the US, and also will not permit it with sites hosted overseas.

    So where's the difference between domestic and foreign?
  • by Best ID Ever! (712255) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:54PM (#21832516)
    Several states offer their lotteries online, several states allow horse racing bets to be placed online, and there was even a carveout in the UIGEA for fantasy sports leagues. So yes, there is legal online gambling offered by US companies to US citizens.
  • Re:yea,, (Score:2, Informative)

    by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:54PM (#21832518)

    Enjoy Freedom? - Register as Republican - Vote Ron Paul in the primaries. -

    Cause we really need another Creationist nut job in the White House. Religious Whack-Jobbery []

    No thanks.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:59PM (#21832578)
    The camel's nose came through the interstate commerce clause.

    The ruling was that

    your wheat which you are going to use privately on your own farm impacts the state market.
    your state trades wheat with other states.

    So your all your private wheat are belong to us.

    Once that was ruled, if they could argue something would have even a secondary affect on interstate commerce, they could regulate it.
  • by voidptr (609) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:00PM (#21832602) Homepage Journal

    In poker, there is no house.
    If you're playing online or at a casino, there's still a house. It's just instead of having a few percent advantage in the odds like all other table games, the house rakes a couple percent of each winning pot.
  • by Fox_1 (128616) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:25PM (#21832878)
    I hate to ruin the cool stat that you posted of the US never losing WTO cases before Bush, but, well, by some counts the US has lost more then 40 cases before the WTO out of almost 90.

    Here is some more information on this []
    or the source (warning PDF) from the US gov't rather then a random blog: [].

    I didn't realize that number was so high, but as a Canadian I could think of a couple of cases that didn't go so well for you guys (not that you haven't taken it to us as well).
  • by Viceroy Potatohead (954845) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:48PM (#21836200) Homepage

    That's about 15,000 pounds of extra wheat. Even at today's prices ("prices soar to $10 per bushel"... , that's about $150,000 dollars worth of extra wheat today so assume similar purchasing power back then.
    No, at today's prices of $10/bu, 239 bushels equal $2390. Today's prices aren't what existed then, anyways, so $10 is way off. Right now, wheat is priced like nothing I can recall growing up. Depending on grade, protein, year etc, $1.75 - $4.50 is generally what I recall. I'm pretty sure I saw it as high as $7 at a couple of points before I left home. The point is, $10 is a current aberration in the history of the market (if you had sold it last spring, instead of this fall, I think it was $6-something), and it's $2390, not $150,000. And that's at today's prices. I'm not going to bother looking up the prices back then, but I'd bet they were well under $2/bu. Granted $500 beyond a normal crop year would have been huge, but farming requires those kind of years to offset the $0 years.

    He must have had a weird year, though... Planted 23 acres, and harvested 40bu/acre from 12... half his crop would have been a stunning bumper crop back then and the other half wiped out. That seems strange, though possible. I agree with you, though, it is a miniscule amount. I doubt most people have any idea how miniscule that is. When I was a kid, I could have shovelled that into a truck in under an hour, easily. When I left the farm, we had an augur that would have 130bu in it when loaded. Small U-Haul cube vans could pretty well hold that amount, although it wouldn't be legal, I'm sure.

    As far as the livestock angle, no farmer would ever feed cattle on grain alone for a year, unless it's some bizarre specialty market, like veal or something. The 720 cow-days would exclusively happen in the winter, and even then, hay would be the primary sustenance. More than likely, it would have been fifteen to thirty head of cattle (I don't know, we got rid of cattle when I was pretty young), getting half a bushel every two or three days, only when they weren't grazing. Plus chicken feed (???), seed for next year (2-3bu/acre: ie 50-75bu), and (possibly) some milled for personal use (???5-15bu, I have no idea how much flour a bushel makes).

    Anyhow...I grew up on a farm, and that's my take...

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar