Online Gambling Sanctions May Be Unenforceable
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The WTO has ruled in the favor of the small nation of Antigua & Barbuda. The ruling allows for Antigua to get back $21 million per year in sanctions in the online gambling case. The WTO ruled that the way to recoup that money is through the suspension of intellectual copyrights.
That is where the trouble could occur for Antigua. While the WTO has claimed that method of recouping their money as acceptable, there are other treaties that might block that from ever happening.
The TRIPS Agreement, which is the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights, via the WTO, would allow for this form of action for repayment to Antigua.
There is, however, something in the way of moving forward with that plan. The United States and Antigua and Barbuda are both a part of the Bern Convention.
“The TRIPS Agreement says that the contracting parties shall comply with the Bern Convention, with one exception, but the bulk of the economic protection under the Bern Convention is referred to in the TRIPS Agreement,” Jorgen Blomqvist, an international expert on intellectual property, told the Antigua Sun.
The Bern Convention appears to be in the way of the nation claiming back money from the U.S. The WTO has been behind Antigua the whole time. They have repeatedly won battle after battle in the WTO. Although they were victorious, it now appears they will have an uphill battle to receive any of their money.
“The fact that under one treaty you can make such sanctions does not relieve a country from responsibilities under other treaties,” said Blomqvist.
While it might be hard for Antigua to enforce what the WTO has done, it also does not relieve the U.S. of the responsibility to pay.