Copyright holders threaten to retaliate against Antigua over piracy

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The country argues the online gambling ban violates international rules and is devastating its economy.

But Schlesinger argued that the WTO ruling does not free Antigua from its other international obligations to respect intellectual property rights.

"Countries have international obligations aside and apart from their WTO obligations," Schlesinger said, arguing that Antigua is prohibited by the World Intellectual Property Organization from setting up a piracy website.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance represents seven trade associations, including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance.

David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association, also slammed the decision.

“Regardless of any dispute over offshore gaming, there is no justification for promoting the theft of the creations of American songwriters,” he said in an email. 

Gina Vetere, executive director for international intellectual property at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that violating intellectual property rights would "sour the business environment and reduce government revenues in the long term." 

"Any action that endorses IP theft would not only undermine any chance at resolving the dispute, but also come at great expense to Antigua and Barbuda,” she added. 

—Updated at 4:55 p.m.