This week the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda charged a local businessman , Giancarlo Bettini, and his Antigua based offshore company Slyloft Inc. with breaching laws under the W.I.P.O. Treaty. Bettini is the first to face the courts since Antigua and Barbuda ratified the WIPO Treaty (World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty) in 2003.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.
Advanced Access Content Systems Licensing Administrator (AACS/LA) of the United States filed a complaint against Bettini and Slyloft Inc, accusing the company of manufacturing and selling software designed to decrypt AACS technology. AACS is made up of some of the world's leading computer companies, motion picture studios (including Walt Disney, IBM, Sony, Toshiba and Warner Bros. Studio) and electronics manufacturers and licenses to motion picture distributors, consumer electronic companies and manufacturers a technology by which High Definition HD DVDs, Blue-Ray discs, are encrypted from digital copy.
Only licensed companies may decrypt or re-broadcast the protected material under WIPO's laws. Director of Public Prosecution Anthony Armstrong said the product Slyloft produces is illegal in the twin island nation. "These products can be repeatedly reproduced and sold and distributed, with each subsequent digital copy typically retaining the clarity and quality of the original," Armstrong said.
"The activities of Slyloft have a potential to impair the reputation of Antigua and Barbuda, generally, and more specifically, it's reputation in allowing a company incorporated here to breach the country's international treaty obligations and its domestic laws while yielding, to the country, very little benefits," Armstrong added.
If found guilty the maximum fine Bettini faces is $10,000. Or two years in jail while millions of dollars are lost by companies operating legally.