Antigua Tired of Talking and Takes Action Against the US
Antigua and Barbuda are 'tired of talking' regarding the ongoing debate with the US over online gambling. Attorney General Justin Simon has formed a committee and they have plans to recoup the $3.4 Billion owed by the US government, awarded by the World Trade Organization. The argument has gone on for almost a decade and centers around the fact that the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua stating that the online gambling restrictions in place in the US were actually illegal. After failing to pay up the first time round the WTO then ruled that the tiny Caribbean nation could take action to get their money by ignoring trademarks and copyrights of US artists and filmmakers. This is basically legalized piracy meaning that Antigua has the right, according to the WTO to sell and distribute music and films without permissions and without have to obey copyright laws, and it plans to collect $21 Million annually by doing so.
Whilst some in the US claim that the $21 Million per year is way over the top, the bigger concern is the damage that may be done by what Antigua plans and it is hardly to improve on the countries relationship. Greg Frazier of the Motion Picture Association stated that, "The unfortunate reality is that the failure to offer or enforce adequate protection of intellectual property rights in Antigua could foster abuses in other countries," he continued saying that Antigua could become a copyright haven and add to the already massive problem of piracy.
On the other side, Antigua is claiming that the 3,000 unemployed and the disappearance of the $7 Million a year in licensing fees means that after years of attempting to negotiate with the US, push has indeed come to shove. Antigua is still hoping for a more peaceful solution however the US has been hardly forthcoming in negotiations which has led to the next step being taken.