There might soon be a super simple way to download copyrighted movies, music, and software as well as watch TV online altogether: the Caribbean island of Antigua is reportedly set to host servers that allow users to download content as revenge for a U.S. trade blockade.
As reported by TorrentFreak, “The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders. The Caribbean island is taking the unprecedented step because the United States refuses to lift a trade ‘blockade’ preventing the island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor.”
Antigua lawyer, Mark Mandel, says “There is nobody in the world that can stop us from doing this, as we already have approval from the international governing body WTO.”
Apparently, the government of Antigua is permitted to suspend up to $21 million in copyright annually, because the U.S. defied a World Trade Organization ruling that permitted it to host online gambling. “A few years ago 5% of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the U.S. prevented the island from accessing their market the industry collapsed,” explains TorrentFreak.
In revenge for snubbing the WTO, Antigua plans to “capitalize” on the right to offer copyrighted materials, which means there might be some fee associated with the service.
For now, there are no details on the plans. TorrentFreak’s Ernesto tells TechCrunch that since the downloads are not peer-to-peer (like Napster), it should be much easier for users to disguise their activity from government surveillance. For instance, he says, a virtual private network (VPN) which routes traffic through other countries. In other words, the government may not be able to scare users away from Antigua through prosecution.
Concludes Torrentfreak, “If the Antiguan media portal indeed launches, it will make headlines all across the world, which may result in the site becoming one of the larger authorized suppliers of U.S. media on the Internet.”