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!)
Ten days ago, the European Parliament dealt a major blow to a radical proposal that would force online services to deploy copyright bots to examine everything posted by users and block anything that might be a copyright infringement; the proposal would also ban linking to news articles without paid permission from the news sites.
Axel Voss is the German MEP responsible for Article 13 of the pending EU Copyright Directive, which says that it's not good enough for companies to remove infringing material posted by users once they're notified of its existence; instead, Voss wants then to spend hundreds of millions of dollars implementing automated filters that prevent anyone […]
Ray Corrigan (previously), a campaigning computer scientist at the UK's Open University, has an excellent explainer on the EU's disastrous copyright directive on the progressive academic group blog Crooked Timber (previously).
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