This has already been hashed out before. The tiny country of Antigua filed a WTO complaint against the U.S. last year, well before this latest law was passed. Antigua won its complaint in March. The Bush administration -- free trade champion through and through -- has chosen to simply ignore the ruling.
What's interesting is that under WTO rules, Antigua is then permitted to retaliate. And what's really interesting is just how the plucky little islanders might retaliate:There's no appetite for slapping trade sanctions on US goods; that would hurt Antiguan companies and consumers far more than Americans. Instead, the country may refuse to enforce American patents and trademarks. This would make it possible for Antiguan-based companies to produce knock-offs of American intellectual property, like video and music recordings or computer software. Such a tactic would get the attention of major US firms like Microsoft Corp. and entertainment titan Time Warner Inc. It would also put tiny Antigua's trade war against the United States on front pages around the world.
All of this could well mean a mammoth clash of wills and special interests is in the offing, with Big Pharma, Hollywood, Big Software, and RIAA butting heads with the moral crusaders, eBay, and professional sports. And that, of course, would be terrific fun for the rest of us.
Yet more problems with copyright law, yet more examples of the Republican coalition self-destructing - what's not to love?