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US Gambling Law May Cause Flouting of IP Laws 231

Posted by Zonk
from the tit-for-tat dept.
Red Flayer writes "Slate Magazine reports that the US's recent actions to clarify restrictions of on-line gambling may have some very important unintended consequences. Antigua has challenged the legitimacy of the US's partial restrictions under the WTO, claiming that the laws represent a free trade infringement. What is so significant about this is that Antigua would be fully justified (and I imagine, would get a lot of support from other nations) in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws. Freetrade.org has a more in-depth analysis (albeit with a predetermined opinion on the topic). Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista."
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US Gambling Law May Cause Flouting of IP Laws

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:27PM (#16876010)
    .... but do you think the US gives a fuck about that either?
  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by h8macs (301553) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#16876068) Homepage
    They want less of the money leaving the country and more being spent here in the country. I think it has less to do with protecting "the public" and more about protecting particular interests in the states.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#16876078) Journal
    FTFA if piracy is indeed a breeding ground for money laundering and terrorist operations...

    Huh, I wasn't aware that piracy was actually used as a legitimate front for laundering money - and since it isn't a legitimate business, why not just nab the money launderers on IP infringement charges? I'm also suprised that terrorists are the ones making money by selling infringing media to support their attacks on the western world - it seems that most of the cash in piracy is the simple loss of revenue through supression of sales of new material.

    Sounds like a full helping of FUD.
  • the right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#16876086) Homepage
    Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling? And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

    The same can be said of prostitution and many other illegal things.

    Really, our government should be protecting our rights, however trivial, unless there is an obvious, and scientifically-supported public health/safety reason to do otherwise.
  • by Hankenstein (107201) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:34PM (#16876138) Homepage

            Yes, it is a stretch, however, anybody else see any similarities between the U.S. forbidding offshore gambling and China forbidding everything *we* think is good?
  • Re:the right? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daravon (848487) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:38PM (#16876216)
    Like cigarettes? *ducks*
  • Re:the right? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:39PM (#16876230)
    And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

          "A lottery is but a tax on fools" - Unknown.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:39PM (#16876232) Journal
    Hey, how about putting that quote in its context?
    FTA:
    Two drawbacks of retaliating through intellectual property rights may give pause to Antigua and Barbuda. First, if piracy is indeed a breeding ground for money laundering and terrorist operations, then encouraging the development of a safe haven for intellectual property rights violators may not be in Antigua and Barbuda's interests. Second, Antigua and Barbuda may decide that suspending its obligation to protect the intellectual property rights of American companies is not in its trading interests.
    Maybe you misunderstand -- the US can't nab the launderers on IP charges if they are in Antigua, short of invading.

    it seems that most of the cash in piracy is the simple loss of revenue through supression of sales of new material.
    No, most of the cash in piracy is from selling bootlegged material. What you are describing is potential losses by the IP holders.
  • No similarities (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:40PM (#16876252)
    US government officials must pledge to protect a document that limits their powers to legislate these very issues. So the US government is acting in a much more criminal manor than the Chinese government.
  • Re:the right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AJWM (19027) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:41PM (#16876260) Homepage
    Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling?

    Probably not, but it's amazing what the Supreme Court has let Congress get away with under the coloring of the interstate commerce clause. (Congress is constitutionally authorized to regulate interstate commerce, so they throw some fiction about same into almost every bill they think might be a little dodgy. Works, too, except where they're trying to do something explicitly forbidden to them by the constitution.)
  • Re:Well sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:49PM (#16876394)
    But the problem is that the US hasn't banned internet gambling. It has only banned some internet gambling, including all internet gambling outside the USA. If all internet gambling were banned, the US could cry 'moral grounds' and the problem would go away. But since they aren't, and instead only allow US-based internet gambling...
  • Re:the right? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:50PM (#16876424) Journal
    Probably not, but it's amazing what the Supreme Court has let Congress get away with under the coloring of the interstate commerce clause.
    When the Supremes allows Congress to make regulations affecting food grown by a farmer on his own land and eaten in his own house, they gutted the limitations on the federal government's power. Look also at the recent decision about CA's medicinal marijuana law -- essentially what they said was that the Feds could control it because they have a legitimate interest in so doing -- do they understand the concept of a circular argument?
  • Re:the right? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheDukePatio (621176) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:53PM (#16876478)
    The US Government didn't outlaw gambling. They outlawed the method of monetary transfer to gaming sites. While it's a very fine difference, it is a difference nonetheless. They couldn't outlaw gambling because it's a state decided issue (i.e. Nevada & Jersey). The law's intended consequence was to *effectively* ban on-line gambling because US citizens have no way to get funds to/from those sites. They knew they couldn't outlaw gambling so they took away the foundation, the money.

    One of the main problems with the way US laws are passed is the ability to slip things like this in to a larger bill that noone would dare vote 'no' on since it would be political suicide and very few politicians have the balls to stand up on issues like this.

    Sen. Jones: "Don't re-elect Sen. Smith. He voted 'no' on the bill that would outlaw killing babies"
    Sen. Smith: "I voted no because someone slipped in an unrelated ammendment banning sending money to gambling sites"
    Sen. Jones: "But you still voted 'no' to outlawing killing babies! Sen. Smith thinks that babies should be killed on sight!"

    While the above example is extreme, it represents the mentality of politicians in Washington DC with regard to things like this. It's also the amount of swagger that the PACs have in US government. What ever happened to voting on common sense and doing what's right for a change.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Feyr (449684) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:54PM (#16876492) Journal
    the us is part of the WTO, but only obeys it when it suits them. that's nothing new and good luck doing anything about it
  • Re:the right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:59PM (#16876564)

    Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling? And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

    No they don't have any right. This is simply the result of successful lobbying by the casinos. Since when does it matter if it is unconstitutional?

    The same can be said of prostitution and many other illegal things.

    You chose a bad example. Prostitution is not illegal in the US. Most states have made it illegal, but that is a different topic.

    Really, our government should be protecting our rights, however trivial, unless there is an obvious, and scientifically-supported public health/safety reason to do otherwise.

    Yeah, if only here was a method we could use to elect people that would do that. Unfortunately, the majority of people no longer value freedom. This includes both democrats and republicans. Most people think it is perfectly fine to pass laws that take away the rights of others if other people are doing things they disapprove of. The last time I pointed out freedom for individuals to make choices I was told "you're afraid of the democratic process." Freedom is dead as cultural value. It lives on only for a tiny minority and as a buzzword for corrupt politicians trying to pass another law to remove more of it.

  • by Uthic (931553) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:59PM (#16876570)
    I'll bite. This troll was amusing. You presume a lot there. It's akin to a teacher looking at a mistake a student has made and then pronouncing that student is utterly incapable of solving that problem ever again. The US has enough infantry to invade Antigua, of all places. And what nation can invade three nations and wage war against them currently ? Pretty high bar to set.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:15PM (#16876806)
    I wonder why there are making such a fuss about this

    The Feds did not ban Internet gambling. They banned certain wire transfers of money.

    Follow the money.

    KFG
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:21PM (#16876910) Homepage
    1) The US government clearly has the authority to make it illegal for a US citizen, inside the US to gamble, on or off the internet. Such laws already exist and have existed for MANY decades.


    2) The act in question does not do that at all. Instead it makes it illegal for US credit card companies to send payments to Internet Gambling sites. Again, this is entirely legal for the US to do. It is not a free trade issue at all. In fact, it gives a HUGE advantage to non-US companies. Foreign Credit card companies are happy, they may break into the US market. If you get a European Credit Card, even when in the US, you may use your European Credit Card to pay gambling debts to Internet gambling sites, because the European Credit Card company is not subject to US laws.


    3) The problem that Antigua is claiming is that the US does allow certain types of Internet gambling, and therefore under WTO agreements, it must allow all. The WTO has offered the US to either fully ban all internet gamblign of any kind, or to let all in. The US has not yet decided which to do. The WTO would be fine if the US banned everything.

    4) The problem has NOTHING at all to do with the recently passed Act, the Antigua law suit was begun in 2003, the Act passed in 2006.

    5) I think the idea that Antigua would violate patents and copyrights more than it already does is silly. The US has so many, many, ways, far short of violence to punish Antigua, such as cutting off ALL payments of any kind to any company based in Antigua, that it would stupid for Antigua to do this. Instead, they will do something smarter, like impose a Tax on US services.

  • Re:Well sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king-manic (409855) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:25PM (#16876968)
    It's also consistent with our status as an independent nation-state.

    It's incredibly funny that the WTO is being used to abuse the sovereignty of the US. However, it is still an abuse of our right to run our affiars amongst ourselves the way we see fit. Next these jokers will tell Saudi Arabia that the Dutch should be free to export porn there.

    It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.


    The US already uses the WTO to blugeon other nations. They tend to ignore any incovenient rulings against them though. But they freely use it to threaaten others. See the soft wood lumber deal with canada.
  • by dAzED1 (33635) <brianlamere&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:30PM (#16877052) Homepage Journal
    "free trade infringement" - if it's being made illegal in general, then the same opportunities exist outside the US as do inside the US. Thus, "free trade."

    Sortof like the Supreme Court case a couple years ago that said if a state allows wineries within the state to ship wine to indivual people, they have to allow other states to ship wine into the state to individual people.
  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:48PM (#16877302)
    Of course its a dreadful troll, but...he has one thing right. You don't own a piece of earth until you have one of your guys with a rifle standing on it. You can inflict damage up to the limits of your arsenal; nuke it into a sheet of glass if you like; but without the guy and his rifle you don't own it.

    General Shinseki told Rumsfeld he needed N guys with rifles to hold Iraq. Rumsfeld said you'll do it with N/3. Guess who was right?
  • free trade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:09PM (#16877560)

    It's also consistent with our status as an independent nation-state.

    So India would be consistent in banning US agricultural products then? Maybe you didn't know or don't recall but the WTO trade talks during the summer fell apart because the US and EU refused to stop subsidizing their agribusinesses. Because of this refusal India walked out. Indian farmers can't compete with US or EU farmers who get paid billions of dollars and Euros and then are able to sale food cheaper than it costs to grow. Indian farmers are committing suicide by the thousands because they can't compete in such a lopsided market. Basically the same is happening in Mexico because of NAFTA. Big UG agrobusinesses are able to export corn to Mexico below prices Mexican farmers can grow corn thus causing Mexicans to "illegally immigrate" to the US.

    It's incredibly funny that the WTO is being used to abuse the sovereignty of the US.

    And Bush violated Iraq's national sovereignty by invading Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Also it's trying to vilate many other countries sovereignty by trying to force them to accept US exports while restricting their exports to the US.

    It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.

    Not all gambling it banned, only some is.

    Falcon
  • Internet gambling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:17PM (#16877654) Homepage
    The problems with this are regulation, taxation, and operation. You would not believe the hurdles that have to be gone through to set up a casino in the US. Any jurisdiction. Tribal casinos have the same issues as do those on "riverboats" and in Nevada.

    An online casino has none of these. You can operate out of a basement somewhere. No rules, no oversight, no regulation. And, perhaps most importantly, no taxation. The rules the casinos have to follow in Las Vegas ensures two things: fair play and reporting every dime of "take" by the casino as well as every dime won by players. An offshore online casino is not going to be subject to these requirements.

    Of course the "fair play" regulation is going to be waved about. As well it should. How the heck do you know anything about an online casino, anyway? Through their advertising? Player testamonials? Somehow I don't think that comes anywhere near reality.

    And I doubt very much if you open the door to Internet gaming in general if you are going to be able to regulate it in any manner whatsoever. How would any government prevent some Ponzi-style operation from having a casino where everyone wins for the first couple of weeks? How long would you really need to keep it going? A month? Two? I guess it would depend on how greedy you were. I can't imagine any way of regulating such operations. And believe me, I would want to set up my very own online casino tomorrow if I could. Can't imagine a better way to bring in a lot of cash fast. Even a quasi-legitimate operation that returns 99.99% of all money bet would have incredible payoff to the operator.
  • Re:Well sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:37PM (#16877872) Journal
    "It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically."

    They banned gambling in the US? Oh, only gambling OVERSEAS. I think that is the issue.
  • Re:Well sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tweek (18111) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:44PM (#16877954) Homepage Journal
    THANK YOU!

    This is another stupid attempt by congress to control people's lives. I don't understand how someone gambling online affects my life or my liberty.

    I base my interpretation of life on pretty much one quote from Thomas Jefferson:

    "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    What the hell do I care if someone gambles online? Sure there's the whole "greater good" argument but I never liked that one ;) I don't care if someone is gay, smokes pot or pays for sex either.
  • Re:Well sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tet (2721) <slashdot AT astradyne DOT co DOT uk> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @08:15PM (#16878268) Homepage Journal
    Show me one. No state permits internet gaming, not even Nevada

    Sure they do. To the best of my knowledge, every single US state permits online gambling. Residents of any state can quite legally go to an online broker and gamble on commodities or forex futures.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:56PM (#16880078)
    > Yea, And canada wasn't dumping government subsidised lumber in the US forcing mills to close shop in the 90's.

    No it f'n wasn't and WTO agreed. So STFU. Imagine that, a country with a lot of trees couldn't possibly have a natural advantage. Na, they must be dumping. Nevermind the 75 cent dollar exchange advantage for the US for most of that time.

    And you're surprised why the world despises the US? All high and mighty on ideals then breaks them when convenient. If you can't affort to lose on any one industry, DON'T sign free-trade deals!

    > I'm wondering why anyone would buy food from the US with all the bad stuff it does.

    The same reasons people still eat at McDonalds. It's cheap. Most people don't ask too many questions about the things they buy. And the ones that do find everthing else is made in China.

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