WTO Allows Antigua to Open Piracy Site

Antigua and Barbuda have been given the power by the World Trade Organization to sell or give away U.S. copyrighted media downloads without compensation to the rights holders.

The WTO issued the ruling suspending U.S. copyrights in the islands late Monday, and is part of the fallout over a 2007 legal flap concerning online gambling.

Antigua’s lawyer, Mark Mendel, told Wired’s sister publication, Wired.co.uk, that he was unsure when a possible Pirate Bay-like website offering games, movies, software and movies might be up and running. “We are definitely working on it and are hopeful that the U.S. will choose to negotiate fairly and honestly in the very near future so that we do not ultimately have to implement the remedy,” he said.

The act would not be, as the United States is arguing, ‘theft’ or ‘government-authorized piracy,’ but a legitimate means for the Caribbean island to make back some of the billions in earnings lost when the U.S. violated a free-trade agreement that forced Antigua to shutdown its online gambling industry — reportedly putting 5 percent of the island’s 90,000-strong population out of work. The U.S. continues to refuse to lift this blockade.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is clearly unhappy with the move, which it said would “sour” business.

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