The Copyright madness inflames the relationship between US and Antigua/Barbuda

Update 27/04/2014 : un going battle of the pot de terre contre le pot de fer.

contreUpdate from Eric Goldman’s blog: :Territorial Implications of Antigua’s Internet-Based IP Sanctions Against the US (Guest Blog Post) By Guest Blogger Marketa Trimble’.
The author underlines:
1- the inherent danger that exists when IP issues are included in general trade negotiations and trade treaties, such as the WTO negotiations and the TRIPS Agreement.
2- the problems that arise when a country attempts to design sanctions on the Internet against another country in such a way that the sanctions will both target intellectual property and remain territorially limited.
the complexity of international copyright rules of applicability, country of origin or the country of the first publication or the country of the author’s nationality, or “country with the most significant relationship?
3- the problem of evasion of geolocation and filtering measures.
All very difficult and uncertain issues.

A decade long conflict around the US protectionism from outside e-commerce and the recent turn to ban foreign companies intrusion in gambling business has flamed up.

According to Harold Lovell, Antigua’s finance minister, “The economy of Antigua and Barbuda has been devastated by the United States government’s long campaign to prevent American consumers from gambling,”…  “These aggressive efforts to shut down the remote gaming industry in Antigua have resulted in the loss of thousands of good-paying jobs and seizure by the Americans of billions of dollars belonging to gaming operators and their customers.”

Marc Gibbs, in a Forbes article “Pirates of the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda Turn From Internet Gambling to Legalized Piracy” gives a comprehensive historic overview of the conflict. In the US, the Federal Wire Act prohibits all forms of online gambling.

It’s on 1994 that “[the] Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing act, allowing licenses to be granted to organisations applying to open online casinos. In 2000 the Caribbean revenues were exceeding $2.000 billion and 59% of the global online gambling these figures came down to less than a half iby 2007 as a result of a sever US clamp down.

Antigua has been suffering from the loss of revenue and employment, consequently, they  “commenced the dispute resolution process of the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) to challenge the United States’ total prohibition of cross-border gambling services offered by Antiguan operators.” It was in 2004 that the WTO backed Antigua, ruling that the “US restrictions against online gambling violated international treaties”. The US appeal gave 1 year to the US to modify its legislation which did not happen. After a continuous battle, Antigua and Barbuda recently asked WTO to authorize them to wave the US copyright protection.

It’s on January 28, that the WTO authorized Antigua to suspend US copyrights!

Despite what some call ‘pirated’ music, this is a very formally authorized wave of copyright protection.

The questions that remain here are:

1- what is the situation of customers from outside the Caraibians?

As the cross border nature of the internet implies, anyone could access a website and purchase a copyright free material.

2- what are the legal implications of such purchase for consumers outside the Caribbean?

Many might reply the applicable law is the law of the targeted audience, others would say for a healthy international commerce the law of the country of origin should apply.

What are your thoughts?
I have compiled all links and connected articles on this subject on my Pearltrees to find here (just click on each pearl to access the link)

One thought on “The Copyright madness inflames the relationship between US and Antigua/Barbuda

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