The WTO, Gambling, and Intellectual Property
The United States Puritanical values collided with its neoliberal ideology in passing a law that prevented online gambling. Several companies — Microsoft, Google, Yahoo — just paid fined for posting ads for Internet gambling. Antigua and Barbuda protested since the US allows other forms of domestic gambling. They demanded huge compensation for their loss of business. The WTO judgment offers a much smaller amount, but it gives the country the right to violate intellectual property up to $21 million.
Kanter, James and Gary Rivlin. 2007. “In Trade Ruling, Antigua Wins a Right to Piracy.” New York Times (22 December).
“Antigua and Barbuda won compensation from the United States on Friday in a long-running trade dispute about gambling, but the amount was far lower than the tiny Caribbean nation had been seeking. A World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitration panel granted Antigua’s request to levy trade sanctions on U.S. intellectual property, for instance by lifting copyright on films and music to sell it themselves, prompting concern from Washington.”
“The WTO panel said Antigua was entitled to compensation of $21 million a year from the United States for being shut out of the U.S. online gambling market. The ruling is only partial consolation for the former British colony, which built up an Internet gambling industry to replace declining tourism revenues, only to find itself shut out of the world’s biggest gambling market.”
“The award falls far short of what Antigua had demanded — $3.44 billion in “cross-retaliation,” allowing it to seek damages outside the original services sector. Washington had argued Antigua was entitled to only $500,000 in compensation.”