The Government of Antigua is looking to set up an income approved website that allows users to legally downloads 'pirated' of movies, music, games and other media.

Antigua’s attorney Mark Mendel told website TorrentFreak that he can’t reveal any details on the plans. However, he emphasized that the term “piracy” doesn’t apply here as the WTO has granted Antigua the right to suspend US copyrights.

If the website is launched it could hurt Apple, which is one of the leading suppliers of digital music, movies and television via its iTunes Store.


Piracy due to become one of Antiugua's main industries, in a somewhat ironic fashion 

The strange move on behalf of the WTO – which looks set to approve the plan – follows a United States blockade on the Caribbean island that prevents it from operating gambling services. For several years the island had a flourishing online gambling industry that apparently employed up to 5 per cent of all Antiguan workers.

“What was once a multi-billion dollar industry in our country, employing almost 5% of our population has now shrunk to virtually nothing,” Antigua’s High Commissioner to London, Carl Roberts, told TorrentFreak.

In 2005 the WTO ruled that the US blockade violated free trade agreements, and that domestic companies were allowed to operate freely. In 2007 the WTO went a step further and granted Antigua the right to suspend US copyright up to $21 million annually.

Antigua is ready to launch the website as soon as it has informed the WTO of its plans. Initially the country planned to the tell the WTO last month, but the US blocked it from being discussed.

If Antigua moves ahead with the website it should launch early next month. TorrentFreak speculates that one plan could be to charge as little as $5 per for unlimited access to all media. None of this money will go towards any of the people who created the original content.

“If Antigua actually proceeds with a plan for its government to authorize the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests,” the US warned in a letter to the WTO last month.

See also:

Apple rolls out iTunes Store to more than 50 new countries

Amazon rolls out MP3 store for iPad