Antigua Gets WTO's Green Light

January 30th, 2013
Back Antigua Gets WTO's Green Light

The Caribbean government of Antigua and Barbuda asked for and apparently received a final green light for its imposition of a limited World Trade Organisation approved suspension of US copyrights in the absence of the US meeting its dispute resolution obligations from earlier proceedings.

The promised green light means that Antigua has right to continue with developing an online website through which the general public can download the US-copyrighted movies, TV programs, CDs, and games to a defined value without the holders of such rights having legal recourse.

The ferocity with which US rights holder protect their intellectual property is likely to cause major waves. Consequently, US officialdom has issued several warnings and implied threats that if the Antiguans go ahead with their plans, various benefits such as trade and investment could be impacted.

One of the first reaction came from Steve Metalitz, counsel to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, who said Monday: “We are of the firm view that suspending intellectual property rights is not the right solution, and that state-sanctioned theft is an affront to any society."

Defending his government actions, Antigua Finance Minister Harold Lovell said that aggressive US legislation against online gambling had resulted in the loss of thousands of good paying jobs and seizure of billions of dollars belonging to gaming operators and their customers in financial institutions across the world.

“If the same type of actions, by another nation, caused the people and the economy of the United States to be so significantly impacted, Antigua would without hesitation support their pursuit of justice,” claimed Lovell.

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