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Antigua Gets WTO Approval To Suspend US Copyrights

The World Trade Organization has granted the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda permission to suspend some limited US copyrights in order to satisfy a trade dispute between the two countries over internet gambling.

With the approval, Antigua and Barbuda residents will be able to download US movies, TV shows, games, and music to a certain dollar amount without facing any legal hassle from the copyright holders.

The issue is likely to be a hot button topic in the US, with intellectual property owners the first in line to fight the decision.

Steve Metalitz, a lawyer for the International Intellectual Property Alliance is one of those opponents. Speaking about the issue he said: “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."

For its part, Antigua has defended its action by saying that the US cost Antiguans thousands of jobs when it cracked down on internet gambling several years ago. The country's Finance Minister Harold Lovell went on to say that: “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."

The US government has gone on to issue warnings against Antigua if they plan to launch the website to download copyrighted material, claiming that trade between the two countries could be impacted.

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