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WTO Authorizes Antigua and Barbuda To Suspend US Copyrights

Antigua and Barbuda have been getting ignored by the US government in relation to recovering hundreds of millions of dollars lost when the US violated trade agreements by cutting off US customers from regulated online gambling sites licensed in Antigua.

This week, the World Trade Organization delivered a shocking blow that is certain to gain the attention of the US. The WTO authorized Antigua to suspend US copyrights. That authorization could have a lasting effect reaching into the tens of millions in lost funds by the US.

Antigua and Barbuda became a safe haven for online gambling companies looking to launch their Internet sites back in the early part of the new millennium. By 2005, the nation had built a strong industry, regulation online gambling sites. In 2006, the US developed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and soon-after stopped licensed companies from accepting US customers.

The blow cost Antigua hundreds of millions of dollars, which was recovered when the WTO sided with Antigua's claim that the US had violated trade agreements. Antigua has repeatedly attempted to settle that case with the US, but the US has remained steadfast in their refusal to negotiate or pay Antigua.

Throughout the process Antigua lawyers had been preparing for a way to sanction the US legally with the WTO's assistance. This past Monday, the WTO gave Antigua all they needed to combat the US' perceived negligence, a right to suspend all US copyrights.

That means that Antigua could take music, movies, books, photographs, and other licensed material, and sell it around the world without the fear of paying copyrights to the owners of the material in the US. Antigua has not confirmed they will go this route, but Attorney Mark Mendel did mention recently that "piracy" laws would not be violated in such a situation because the WTO authorized the suspension of the copyrights.

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