25.05.07 - Piracy response to illegal US Gaming laws
Interesting read in today's metro, next a picture of an extremely anorexic looking Keira Knightley was an interesting article on Antigua's response to the illegal violation of WTO trade agreements by the USA on online gambling.
Essentially, because of the huge hit that this has had on the country's income, under WTO laws they are allowed to 'fight back' by ignoring trade agreements with the violating nation.
In this case, they've decided to ignore all copyright agreements with the USA.
Whilst I'm not sure I'm a big fan of selling pirated goods, or lashing out at another part of international trade... namely the entertainment business, it is very understandable that the US has caused a lot of problems by its illegal gambling laws.
The movie pirates of the Caribbean
The tiny Caribbean island of Antigua is set to take on the might of America and turn pirate by disregarding US copyright laws following a trade dispute.
The move could see Antigua a haven for bootleg versions of copyrighted US products, including films, music and software.
Antigua's plan is totally legal and it wants other countries to follow suit.
It steams from the US's ban of offshore online gambling, which the World Trade Organisation decided was illegal under international trade rules.
While the US cracked down on certain types of offshore gambling, in which foreign companies - including British ones - were strong, they failed to do the same for remote betting on horse and dog races, in which American companies specialise.
Antigua's once-booming gambling sector has shrunk by around 85 per cent as a result of the US's actions.
Under WTO rules, when a country has failed to uphold its obligations, any affected nation can choose to fight back by ignoring its own obligations to that country.
Mark Mendel, chief legal counsel for Antigua, said: 'The American defence was predicated on their theory that Internet gambling was worse than gambling in bricks and mortar shops.
'If they believed that, they would eliminate all remote gambling in America. They have not done that. It's just blatant trade protectionism.'
Antigua is also threatening to push for compensation and similar actions could be launch by the European Union, Japan and China - all of which lost out as a result of the American gambling laws.
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