Antigua Gets $21 Million


Cato's Sallie James writes that the WTO has awarded Antigua $21 million in damages for its trade dispute with the U.S. over our Internet gambling laws. The little island country will get to recoup the losses by suspending copyright laws within its borders, I guess until it estimates its economy has absorbed $21 million in revenue.

The amount is far less than what Antigua wanted ($3.4 billion), and far more than what the U.S. claimed Antigua was due ($500,000). Unfortunately, I doubt that $21 million is enough to instigate a war between the copyright lobby and the moral blowhards behind the gambling ban. And the recent settlement between the U.S. and Europe, Canada, and Japan means more damages taken out in copyright aren't likely.

I wonder if U.S. citizens will be able to take advantage of the ruling to buy pirated CDs and movies from Antigua, or if the RIAA and MPAA will pressure the federal government into banning Internet and postal transactions with copyright violators who set up shop in Antigua.

The good news I guess is that trade, globalization, and techology have made it much more difficult for the government to enforce dumb morality laws. The bad news is, they're still trying.

MORE:  I probably wasn't clear enough in the post: The $21 million is an annual reparation until the U.S. changes its laws.