Antigua has won the right to pirate $21 million worth of US copyrights in the World Trade Court, because the US violated the World Trade Organization agreement when it banned Antiguan Internet casinos. The US was an extremely aggressive promoter of the WTO around the world, leaning on countries to drop trade protections that gave their own industries advantages over US competitors -- and now the US is being held to the same standard, hoist on its own petard.
By pressing its claim, trade lawyers said, Antigua could set a precedent for other countries to sue the United States for unfair trade practices, potentially opening the door to electronic piracy and other dubious practices around the world.
Still, carrying out the ruling will prove difficult, the lawyers say.
"Even if Antigua goes ahead with an act of piracy or the refusal to allow the registration of a trademark, the question still remains of how much that act is worth," said Brendan McGivern, a trade lawyer with White & Case in Geneva.
"The Antiguans could say that's worth $50,000, and then the U.S. might say that's worth $5 million." He predicted that "the U.S. is going to dog them on every step of the way."
(Thanks, Lee and Robbo!
The European Union is in the final stage of deciding on net neutrality, and as it stands their proposal contains major loopholes that threaten the open Internet in Europe and around the world. BEREC, the EU regulator, is holding a final public comment period that will end on July 18.
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The monthly Report on Business magazine in the Canadian national paper The Globe and Mail profiled my work on DRM reform, as well as my science fiction writing and my work on Boing Boing.
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