Trade court allows Antigua to violate US copyright

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!)