Antigua & Barbuda issues warning before instituting copyright sanctions on U.S.

Gaston Browne, Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister has issued one final offer and one final warning before instituting copyright sanctions.

Antigua & Barbuda.- Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has issued one final offer and one final warning before instituting copyright sanctions. Browne hopes to settle a dispute with the United States which has lasted more than 10 years.

Antigua became an important licensing authority in the late 1990s, when the online gambling industry began to flourish. English and Canadian gaming operators were licensed in Antigua, even placing their headquarters there.

A large number of these sites with servers based in Antigua catered to the United States gambling community. Then in 2003, the U.S. government decided to block American gamblers from accessing gaming sites in Antigua. The nation sued the United States in the World Trade Organization’s international court.

The dispute has cost Antigua and Barbuda around US$200,000,000, by most estimates. The WTO court ruled in favour of Antigua but the United States ignored the ruling. In 2009, Antigua once again sought restitution before the WTO court. The court ruled that the country could institute copyright sanctions against U.S. intellectual property, in order to collect revenues lost to the online gaming interdiction.

Antigua’s officials have declined to enact the copyright sanctions, as they feel it would be punishing American musicians, filmmakers, and television producers for the infractions of their government. However, after seven years Gaston Browne has lost his patience.

Browne announced he would executive the copyright sanction programme in September, if no agreement was reached by then. After September 2016, Antigua and Barbuda may start pirating American intellectual material and selling it for profit.