Could Piracy Become Legal?

28 December 2007

Could Piracy Become Legal?
Dec 28, 2007
Keeping up with the online gambling lawsuits being evaluated by the US, the EU (European Union), and the WTO (World Trade Organization)? What happens in this study of international online laws may affect Internet laws for the coming years.

“The New York Times” reports the WTO on December 21 imposed a $21 million sanctionagainst the U.S. in response to a complaint made by Antigua, the home of many online casinos. After WTO ruled in 2005 that a U.S. law prohibiting online gambling was illegal, Antigua and Barbuda claimed $3.4 billion in annual damages as a result of the U.S. prohibition.

“As part of the WTO ruling, the tiny island nation of Antigua was awarded compensation up to $21 million — but not in cash. Under the WTO ruling, Antigua basically gets a free to violate up to $21 million in copyright and trademark protections from the United States.”

As “The New York Times” puts it:
“…the ruling is significant in that it grants a rare form of compensation: the right of one country, in this case Antigua, to violate intellectual property laws of another — the United States — by allowing it to distribute copies of American music, movie and software products.”

What?

Were the U.S. media companies consulted about this offer before it was made? I am thinking if there are people in Antigua right now snapping up all the video-related domain names at this moment. This is something worth thinking about? Huh?

This could explode in the face of the U.S. Could this essentially be giving people, and or companies in Antigua a free pass to distribute content without the copyright holder’s permission? The WTO is opening a Pandora’s Box of video and music piracy. This one will be very, very difficult to close back up.

“If the U.S. government was to strictly enforce the perceived dollar value of copyright violation, it’s been proven many times before that it’s difficult to assign a mutually agreed-upon value to each offense.”

Could we be looking at another video distribution free-for-all like in the early days of Napster and Kazaa, before anyone in a suit knew what was going on — but every college kid sure did. It’s the wild West Indies, and every major copyright holder may be taken along for a ride.

“A U.S. trade representative recently warned Antigua to avoid acts of piracy or other intellectual property rights violations while the talks continue.” But will this actually be enforced?

“The irony is, the only advertisers that will be willing to go near advertising inventory on sites or services that spring up will be online gambling and porn — at least half of what the U.S. government wants to curb with this resolution.”

Read the entire story here: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3627982