The Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda now has permission to effectively ignore U.S. copyright covering items such as films, television music and games after a legal battle lasting nearly five years.

The legal battle began when the U.S. blocked gambling sites from Antigua and Barbuda, yet allowed online betting on horse racing. The World Trade Organization ruled that this was illegal and as part of the compensation have said the state can freely violate intellectual property protection worth up to $21 million per year.

Although much less than the $3.44 billion per year asked for by the small Caribbean state, it is still significantly greater than then $500,000 offered by the U.S. This is only the second time that the WTO has allowed copyright violation as part of compensation for a dispute. Mark Mendel, Antigua’s lawyer, said “I hope that the United States government will now see the wisdom in reaching some accommodation with Antigua over this dispute.”

With a population of around 80,000 this theoretically grants each inhabitant of the two islands permission to copy around $260 worth of films, music or games.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

WTO Approved.