Monday, December 24, 2007

Antigua's Minor Victory

"PARIS — In an unusual ruling on Friday at the World Trade Organization, the Caribbean nation of Antigua won the right to violate copyright protections on goods like films and music from the United States — an award worth up to $21 million — as part of a dispute between the countries over online gambling."

Story here.

Is this progress? Yes.

Does it matter? Maybe.

The problem is the US Gubmint and its cowtowing to the right-wing (which in this case has been a complete disaster) isn't going to change with the current administration. To the rest of the world, the States looks like the schoolyard bully, brandishing the WTO as its bat. They've gone after country after country with the WTO, fighting against what they see as unfair trade practices that hurt US interests. If someone doesn't comply, they whine to the international community that China isn't playing fair.

But when the WTO gets turned on them, they curl up in a corner and hope it goes away. They're now rewriting their trade laws and treaties so the WTO doesn't have a say over gambling-related trade. Brilliant. You don't like the answer? Change the question. The country sounds like a bunch of lawyers, fishing for the words that can be twisted to help their case. Why not just send out a press release that says "nuh-uh!" Oh, wait... they did that the last time the WTO called them out on this.

The world has been tired of the big swinging dick of the US for a long time. I imagine the EU will still get involved, and they'll be harder to ignore. Then we can talk about progress.

1 comment:

maths said...

Astin, your comments echo similar sentiments expressed here at the Music2.0 site, where the implications to the music industry are examined in greater detail.