Oh the irony,Frist of Nashville screws the people and companies of his own city known as Music City!The bottom line here is that the US has put the whole concept of fair world trade in question by pretty much doing what it wants, and suffering relatively minor retribution or censure from the WTO for doing so.
And judging by subsequent reports, it looks as if the USTR is trying wriggle out of even the few concessions to the EU, Canada and Japan with all this talk of "no new concessions, just 'clarification' of existing informal arrangements etc etc."
The principal of this whole affair stinks, I agree - the value of retaliation awarded to Antigua is $21 million dollars a year and that is hardly likely to make a major impact imo on a business as vast as the music industry despite Mark Mendel's comments that: "Although the online gambling industry would see the $21 million per year limitation as a setback, Mendel highlighted that for a start as of now, they can cumulatively add the amount for 2006 combined with that for 2007, and the sanctioned amount will add up to hundreds of millions of dollars after a few years."
He does however, make a more telling point that: "More worryingly for the US music industry, this will also include the right to distribute digital music and as anyone who deals in this will be only too aware, there is no reliable recourse to monitor revenues, and for all practical purposes it seems that Antigua is basically getting an unlimited free pass to gorge themselves silly on US copyrighted and trademarked products.."
I feel some sympathy for the US film and music industry which is being expected to carry the can for infringements by the US in a totally unrelated industry.
Judging by other reports, the WTO panel only took into consideration the impact of horseracing protectionism in reaching the disappointingly low figure.
I'm also suspicious of the inability (or unwillingness) of either the EU negotiators or the USTR to even attempt to quantify the value of the "concessions" that the US made to appease the EU, Canada and Japan.
Because the arbitration is non-appealable (unless the Americans start extending their protectionism on Internet gambling beyond horseracing, lotteries and fantasy sports) it puts the Antiguans in an unfortunate spot. Their legal counsel Mark Mendel has already said that he will go after the US again if it tries to do this.
All in all, the US has escaped with very little cost for its actions, and in the process has hardly added to the credibility of the WTO.