World Trade Organization approves new site full of “pirated” material from US
The United States government has been known to respond rather aggressively toward individuals and foreign entities it believes are violating American intellectual property law. (Ask Kim Dotcom.) But relatively few countries have responded by seeking (and receiving) international authorization to directly, openly flaunt American copyright.
On Monday, the World Trade Organization granted the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda the ability to suspend “certain concessions and obligations it has under international law to the United States in respect of intellectual property rights,” as the result of an ongoing dispute between Washington and Saint John’s. In other words, Antigua and Barbuda will now be allowed to open up its own internationally blessed“pirate” site, undoubtedly full of American films, TV shows, music, and software.
The roots of this disagreement, like many feuds, center on money. The 81,000-person nation has long argued it should be allowed to use its offshore gambling sites to compete in the United States, where gambling is highly regulated. In a statement released Monday, the tiny country’s finance minister said Antigua and Barbuda’s economy has been “devastated” as a result of American action.
The country claims the sector once employed more than 4,000 people (around five percent of the entire country) and has since fallen to 500. Proceeds from the industry “helped fund public education, healthcare, and the country’s infrastructure, and the income boosted consumer spending and other economic activity associated with a vibrant, high-tech industry.”
“These aggressive efforts to shut down the remote gaming industry in Antigua have resulted in the loss of thousands of good paying jobs and seizure by the Americans of billions of dollars belonging to gaming operators and their customers in financial institutions across the world,” said Harold Lovell, Antigua’s Finance Minister, in a statement.