If it all falls together, the Antiguan government will soon launch a website based around selling movies, music, and software — all without paying United States copyright holders. That’s on purpose and it’s not piracy — it’s revenge. The small-island nation is subject to a U.S. blockade which prevents them from offering online gambling websites to U.S. residents.
This online blockade has upset Antigua where, according to TorrentFreak, 5 percent of all Antiguans worked in gambling-related fields. When the U.S. closed its borders, the industry collapsed. Antigua filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization in 2003. In 2005 the WTO sided with Antigua, saying the U.S. violated free trade agreements. The small country now holds the right to suspend up to $21 million US copyrights annually, according to Techspot, though it so far has refrained from doing so.
Now, TorrentFreak reports, they’re going exploit their new legally-sound options. Antigua told the site that they’ve had plans for several months, and will move as soon as the WTO approves of them — and as soon as the U.S. wants to face them. The small nation tried to bring the issue to table last month, but the U.S. considered it “untimely,” TorrentFreak reports.
This month, Anitgua is trying to bring the issue to table again. If it’s successful, the small country will launch its site in a short period of time, and, as it’s a legally recognized method of recouping lost trade, it’s not technically piracy, according to Antigua’s attorney.
The details of the operation are currently under-wraps, though the possibility of charging a $5 fee for unlimited U.S. media has been tossed around.
It’s a lucrative offer which has many U.S. copyright holders worried, and infuriates the U.S. government. In a letter to the WTO, the U.S. claims that Antigua would scuttle their chances of a settlement if it follows through on the website.