Antigua preparing to lauch website to sell media sans copyright fees

By on January 25, 2013, 11:15 AM

The small island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean is planning to launch a website that will sell music, movies and even software without paying copyright holder fees. The whole idea stems from a United States blockade preventing the island from offering online gambling services to US-based residents.

The country once had a flourishing gambling business led by online casinos. According to Antigua’s High Commissioner to London, Carl Roberts, the multi-billion dollar industry used to employ nearly five percent of all Antiguans. The market has since collapsed to virtually nothing after the US prevented the country from accessing their market several years ago.

Antigua initially filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization way back in 2003. The organization ruled in 2005 that prohibiting Antigua from accessing US markets violated free-trade. Two years later, the WTO said Antigua had the right to suspend US copyrights up to $21 million annually.

Now here we are six years later and it appears the Caribbean nation is finally taking steps to act on that ruling. As TorrentFreak points out, the country put the issue on the WTO docket last month but the US blocked the discussion, saying it was untimely. Antigua is expected to try again this month and if successful, the aforementioned website will likely go live shortly after.

Attorneys representing Antigua have been quick to shy away from the term “piracy” as they have been given permission to sell media without paying for copyrights by the WTO. Attorney Mark Mendel said no governing body in the world can stop them from carrying out the plan. The US, however, said that doing so would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests.




User Comments: 5

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Tygerstrike said:

Well, it seems as if they have found yet another way to circumvent the copyright protection. I see this failing so bad. And I know how its going to fail!! The US will claim that since the person purchasing the material is in the US they have to abide by the US Laws. They will also claim that although the carribian island may be able to sell without any copyright fees, it can only be sold that way PHYSICALLY. Not over the web.

Also since when has the WTO have jurisdiction over copyright law? I mean really. Seriously. How exactly does the WTO have the power to supercede copyright jurisdiction.

RzmmDX said:

Well, it seems as if they have found yet another way to circumvent the copyright protection. I see this failing so bad. And I know how its going to fail!! The US will claim that since the person purchasing the material is in the US they have to abide by the US Laws. They will also claim that although the carribian island may be able to sell without any copyright fees, it can only be sold that way PHYSICALLY. Not over the web.

Also since when has the WTO have jurisdiction over copyright law? I mean really. Seriously. How exactly does the WTO have the power to supercede copyright jurisdiction.

I suppose it is like the UN Security Council.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

@Tygerstrike, copyright laws are within a given state, not a global policy, but some standards do transcend borders. Every country can set their own laws regarding copyright and most do, with the United States being in many cases the most stringent.

Regarding the WTO, it's a supranational organization, one country/government doesn't control it but some have more sway than others. From my understanding the WTO ruled against the US for violating international trade treaties, and they later failing to comply with said ruling. This opened up the door for Antigua to force compliance, and their means appears to be suspending intellectual property rights for American holders. Essentially putting pressure on the US government to comply by depriving US businesses of compensation the same way the US has hurt Antiguan businesses. If I'm not mistaken this has happened before where the US has played favoritism towards its own businesses depriving foreign companies, allowing their home countries to retaliate in trade. How this will affect US consumers I can't say.

1 person liked this | PinothyJ said:

Launch not lauch...

psycros psycros said:

Who cares? All parties involved are equally bankrupt. Morally and financially.

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