Antigua, China, the WTO and the US

Anyone in the online gambling industry, like my friend Joe Deacon, is well aware of the restrictions of the US gambling regulations. For those of you coming across this story for the first time there is a good timeline at Techdirt.

In short Antigua is arguing that the US is breaking the terms of its trade agreement with them by disallowing US citizens from placing bets. The WTO made a ruling in Antigua’s favour and since then the US has been trying all manner of tactics to wriggle out of liability even to the point of unilaterally altering the terms of the trade agreements to exclude online gambling.  

This story does get crazy though. Antigua is pushing for the WTO to rule that as compensation for US breaking the trade agreement Antigua may infringe copyrights of music/film. Aside from being an unusual and headline-grabbing form of compensation it is fraught with mis-application. Firstly it might be prohibited by Antiguan copyright laws and secondly how would Antigua ensure that the copyright owner is US avoidnig inadvertant copyright infringement on content from another country.

It is hard to take this situation seriously but will no doubt get some press as it plays out.

Meanwhile the US has requested that the WTO make a ruling on the complaint against China regarding copyright piracy made a few months ago. The complaint is not only about copyright infringment but includes issues relating to local Chinese law putting Western companies at a disadvantage in the distribution of entertainment products. More here.

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