(Hypebot) – For music, video, and intellectual property pirates to thrive, they need a safe haven. Fortunately for musicians, labels, and other content creators, no nation wants to take on that role and risk being an outcast from the global economy. That could change if a tiny Caribbean nation follows through on its threat to the WTO.
The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been locked in a battle with the United States over online gambling services.
The U.S has been blocking gambling sites based on the islands for more than a decade. Now, in a letter to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the country warns that unless the US stops blocking or compensates its gambling services, it will lift all protections on US intellectual property in 2017.
As much as 5% of the local workforce had earned a living working for online gambling firms. Now that number had shrunk to almost nothing, according to Torrentfreak.
In a letter to the WTO, an official from Antigua and Barbuda wrote:
“It has been 12 long years since an Arbitration panel, established under the rules and procedures of this body, issued a decision that found the United States of America in violation of international obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
Over that entire 12-year period, my small country with a Gross Domestic Product of just $1 billion has been deprived of trade revenues which now exceed $250 million. For my country’s tiny economy, $250 million is a meaningful sum of money.
… We advise this body that we are now engaged in a final effort with representatives of the US Trade Representative’s Office to reach an agreed settlement. We hope that a sense of right will prevail. But, we cannot go beyond the end of this year.
In light of the above, Antigua and Barbuda now informs the DSB that, if an appropriate and beneficial settlement is not reached with the US by year-end, the government will be compelled to take action to enforce the suspension of copyright on the sale of US intellectual property, consistent with the award of the DSB.