Legal piracy might become a reality soon, if the Antigua Government goes through with its plans. Antigua has been trying for more than a decade to get United States to repeal its prohibition of cross-border gambling services. Gambling revenues, which forms a significant chunk of Antigua’s GDP, fell from $2,392 million in 2001 to $948 million in 2007 as a result of the US ban. Now, Antigua is looking to fight back by striking at the US entertainment industry.
Antigua Government wants to run a pirate site, which will offer movies, music, and software for free. TorrentFreak is reporting that in a meeting held in Geneva, the World Trade Organization authorized Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights. This confirmed the preliminary authorization Antigua received in 2007, after the WTO found the Internet Gambling Ban to be illegal. The original ruling had basically granted Antigua a free ride in matters of copyright violations, as well as patent and trademark infringements.
“These aggressive efforts to shut down the remote gaming industry in Antigua has 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,” Antigua’s Finance Minister Harold Lowell explained to TorrentFreak.
Ideally, the Caribbean island hopes to resolve the dispute before having to open the warez site. However, so far, USA hasn’t shown any inclination to comply with the 2007 WTO ruling. Antigua’s piracy website will be more about registering its protest than causing real harm. Downloaders seeking pirated material already have plenty of sources, including the notorious ThePirateBay. However, that hasn’t stopped music records from going platinum and movies from raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s unlikely that Antigua’s website will.