Legal representatives of the government of Antigua and Barbuda have been quick to distance their client from the activities of the subscription-based, unlimited music and film download site ZookZ, which surfaced this week in an article by Techdirt. The article covered the apparent exploitation by ZookZ of the World Trade Organisation's intellectual property ruling in favour of the Antiguans following US discriminatory and unfair trade practices on Internet gambling.
A statement from Mark Mendel's law firm Mendel Blumenfeld LLP late Friday advised that ZookZ "...is not operating under the authority or with the knowledge of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. More specifically, Zookz.com is not authorized by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, or by the World Trade Organization, to offer entertainment downloads in contravention of international law."
The statement goes on to assure interested parties: "Under the US Online Gambling case before the WTO, Antigua retains its right to implement intellectual property sanctions against the U.S. if the remote gambling matter can not be brought to a negotiated solution. If and when the Government of Antigua and Barbuda invokes sanctions it will follow WTO protocol."
Adding weight to the statement is a comment by Antiguan minister Harold Lovell, who commented: "The operators of ZookZ.com have not played any role in the Antiguan gaming industry or in our country's case pending before the WTO.
"Only the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has the right to implement and oversee the intellectual property sanctions it was awarded by the WTO. As of this time, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has not authorized any person or entity to implement sanctions.
"While we may in the future consider exercising the right to impose sanctions, as of this moment, I am instead looking forward to meeting with the United States Government in the near future and focusing on a mutually beneficial resolution of the issues raised by the remote gambling case."
Meanwhile, the ZookZ issue has been referred to the Antiguan Ministry of Legal Affairs for a full investigation.