The government of Antigua is planning to launch a rather unique form of protest, by offering pirated movies, music and software for sale from a new website without paying anything to US copyright holders. The reasoning? The US won't lift a blockade that prevents the country from offering internet gambling services in America, even though the World Trade Organisation has ruled in Antigua's favour several times.
This is an argument that's been ongoing for some time, with the WTO ruling in 2007 that annually, Antigua could ignore $21 million worth of US copyright. However Antigua further complained that this was far less than the estimated $3.5 billion that it claims to have lost because of the US' efforts to block its gambling services.
Still, the government is now looking to cash in on what it can, using the WTO approved sanction to sell movies, music and software. It has yet to launch the site, as it is hoping to seek further approval first, but attempts to discuss it at WTO meetings have resulted in the US blocking it, suggesting that the talk was “untimely,” according to TorrentFreak.
Antigua's lawyer, Mark Mendel, said in a statement that while the United States might consider what it is planning, an act of piracy, that term just doesn't apply to Antigua, as it is legally allowed to suspend US copyright. “There is no body in the world that can stop us from doing this, as we already have approval from the international governing body WTO,” he said.
It is unclear at this point whether the media offered on a per film basis on via a subscription service. There's also no word on what sort of media will be offered, though it would be expected to be big US movies that have made a lot of money in the past.
KitGuru Says: If this comes to pass, it could turn Antigua into a new Netflix over night. It would also be interesting to see what the MPAA does as well, as if the US government itself is ignored, Antigua would no doubt consider the media lobbyists to be pretty toothless.