…and topple the government there, here’s the actual reason.
On January 28, 2013, the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) authorized the small, Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua) to suspend its obligations regarding American intellectual property rights. As a result, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will be able to authorize the sale of products of innocent holders of copyrights, trademarks and other important intellectual property rights, free of those legal protections. Unfortunately, the Office of the United States Trade Representative is already accusing us of being “pirates” and “thieves” of intellectual property and of acting contrary to International law.
This is not the case.
Via Instapundit, and more here and here. Short version is: Antigua likes online gambling. The US government does not, particularly when it’s being run by Antiguans. The latter has been pushing on the former for the last decade or so, and the former has been pushing back against the latter via the World Trade Organization. I would type successfully pushing back, except that the US government has visibly been indifferent to either Antigua or the WTO’s opinions on the matter. So Antigua has formally requested the right to start ignoring American copyright when they sell intellectual properties. Which means, explicitly, that Antiguan companies could start selling digital downloads of the latest Hollywood movies, at whatever price they like, without paying the studios a dime for the product… and without international sanction*.
None of the above is an exaggeration. The idea here really and truly is to punish the innocent – and oddly, Hollywood is more or less innocent, in this one particular case** – in the hopes that the resulting screaming will force the guilty to comply with WTO rulings. Having only found about this entire situation in the last hour or so, I am not competent to tell you who is in the right with regards to the original dispute; I also don’t know whether the WTO is unduly trying to urinate in our soup. What I can tell you is that this administration doesn’t think things through, and has a surprisingly comprehensive Reagan/Bush fetish for a bunch of urban liberals; so it’s entirely possible that they’ll end up thinking that if Reagan could reverse a Commie coup in Grenada, then they could Ugly-American themselves a more pliant government when it comes to online poker access…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*If you’re an American, I would really, really, REALLY recommend against taking advantage of this offer. Even if the planet decides that it’s legal to sell Antiguan warez, the USA is unlikely to decide that it’s legal to purchase them.
**Although it is true that Hollywood’s general support of this administration is sufficiently comprehensive to suggest that ‘innocent’ may not exactly be the right word, here. Certainly the potential for karmic backlash against the entertainment industry would be high; in fact, one could argue that this is the karmic backlash against the entertainment industry…