Anti-piracy groups welcome failure of Digital Economy Act challenge


Anti-piracy groups welcome failure of Digital Economy Act challenge

Simon Quicke

Those fighting software piracy have been quick to welcome the collapse of the legal challenge by Talk Talk and BT over the ISP blocking aspects of the Digital Economy Act.

The ISPs had challenged the concept of being forced to block those users that were sharing illegal content after giving them warnings but lost their appeal.

The system BT and Talk talk had been fighting allows copyright holders to monitor file-sharing networks and then get the ISPs to check IP addresses against user records and start issuing warning letters and ultimately sanctions if the user persists in sharing and downloading pirated material.

"The ISPs originally challenged the Act on the grounds of 'basic rights and freedoms' and that the legislation did not receive sufficient scrutiny in the wash-up period before the General Election.

"A review then led in turn to rights holders being blocked from using the anti piracy provisions of the DEA. However, this decision means both BT and TalkTalk have lost their appeal, which is a step forward in stakeholders taking on board to some degree some responsibility the fight against piracy," stated Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel, at FAST.

"Under the terms of the Digital Economy Act all ISPs will now have to get ready to send warning letters to alleged illegal file downloaders, and to keep lists of repeat infringers which can be requested under established legal procedures," he added.

Talk Talk has consistently held a position that argues against forcing ISPs to share information about downloaders stating: "Protecting copyright is important but it cannot be done at any cost - it must be done in a way that protects consumers' most basic rights to only be punished if they have broken the law and to have a backstop judicial process to protect them that is based on a presumption of innocence."

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