TalkTalk vows to fight Digital bill as debate rages

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TalkTalk vows to fight Digital bill as debate rages

Alex Scroxton
Consumer ISP and Opal owner TalkTalk has vowed it will not surrender the details of any of its customers from digital rightsholders and will refuse requests to disconnect copyright infringers, telling rightsholders "we'll see them in court".

The controversial Digital Economy Bill passed through parliament on Wednesday evening, and has provoked fierce debate, drawing protest and support from both sides.

In a blog post on the TalkTalk website, Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk director of strategy and regulation echoed the complaints of many, saying that debate over the Bill has been effectively stifled in the run up to the General Election, and barely 5% of MPs turned up to debate the bill in parliament. Out of 647 sitting MPs, only 227 voted.

Heaney welcomed some amendments to the Bill restricting the ability of the government to impose disconnection at will and the removal of the so-called 'Henry VIII' clause that would have allowed the government even more powers.

But, he wrote, "Many draconian proposals remain such as the responsibility on customers to protect their home networks from hacking at a collective cost of hundreds of millions of pounds a year, the presumption that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent and, as in China, the potential for legitimate search engines and websites to be blocked.

"This is made all the more appalling by the ability of big music and film companies to influence government and the absence of any proper debate or scrutiny," he added. "TalkTalk will continue to battle these oppressive proposals."

Heaney claimed that the hoped for benefits in sales of legitimate software, music and video content would never materialise as the most determined filesharers would simply switch to other methods.

Meanwhile, the Bill was officially published this morning as the Digital Economy Act 2010 after gaining Royal Assent, although some clauses will not become law for a further two months pending further public consultation.

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