For the first time ever, the government of a small country will launch a global online store selling all US media without compensating its original American creators. And what's more, it will be perfectly legal.
Posted on Jan 27, 2013 03:05 pm
In a remarkable turn of events, the government of Antigua plans to launch a global store selling all US media at a huge discount - and will refuse to compensate its original creators.
It means US musicians, film makers and authors will not earn a share of any profits generated by the scheme, which some believe is an new form of international piracy.
The move is in retaliation to the US shutting down the multi-billion dollar online gambling industry in Antigua, a country in the Caribbean. But while the US blocked the Antiguan operation, similar gambling sites based in the US were allowed to continue.
"What was once a multi-billion dollar industry in our country, employing almost 5% of our population has now shrunk to virtually nothing," Antigua's High Commissioner in London said.
Antigua filed a dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because of the unfair blockade, and won.
The WTO later granted Antigua the right to suspend US copyright up to $21 million every year, which will allow them to trade US media without permission or having to pay royalties.
The US has warned Antigua against the plan, but it is pressing ahead.
"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," Antigua's attorney Mark Mendel told Torrent Freak.
While Antigua can only earn up to $21 million from the scheme, it could lose the US significantly more. For example, it could charge as little as $1 per month for full and free access to US media of all kinds, and in turn 21 million less people would be paying the full price through regular channels such as iTunes.
What do you think of the scheme? Is Antigua just being spiteful, or should the US stop the unfair gambling blockade? Let us know what you think in the comments.