Antigua punishes US with state blessed "piracy"

Antigua’s government has hit on a wizard wheeze to force the US to stop illegally killing off its internet gambling industry.

The US government went on a puritan push against online gambling under the Bush administration. Since the tiny country made most of its money from online gambling, the US set up a trade blockade.

A few years ago, five percent of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the US prevented the island from accessing its market, the industry collapsed.

The World Trade Organisation rulings were in favour of the small country and the US ignored them.

Now, Antigua’s government is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying US copyright holders.

The idea is that the country will recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.

It has been a long time coming. The WTO allowed Antigua the right to suspend US copyrights up to $21 million annually.

According to TorrentFreak, the authorities want to launch a website selling US media to customers worldwide, without compensating the makers.

While the country will make money from the move, it is likely to drive Big Content insane. They will then lean on their tame US Senators to smooth things over.

The US saw which way this was going and tried to stop the WTO talking about it. However, the plan will be talked about this month and if Antigua succeeds, its media hub is expected to launch soon after.

Any business set up by Antigua to sell music, film and software cannot be considered piracy. It will be just as legitimate and legal as a regular shop.

The amusing thing is that the US’s puritan moves to stop gambling will have to be paid for by Hollywood and the software companies.

The US has warned that if Antigua does not do what it is told and proceeds with a plan for its government to authorise the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests.

Antigua will ruin its chances of getting a settlement. Given that the US has not shown that it is willing to give any settlement so far, that is not much of a threat.