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Coalition looking like backtracking on DEA

smiffyb36
Grafter
Posts: 81
Registered: 11-05-2010

Coalition looking like backtracking on DEA

Digital Economy Act challenged by BT and TalkTalk
08 Jul 2010 | 09.35 Europe/London
Two leading British ISPs are seeking to challenge the Digital Economy Act at the High Court. The new law was one of the last to be passed by the previous Labour Government before May’s election brought a Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government to power.
Critics accused the previous Government of rushing through the legislation at the end of the last parliamentary session. The most controversial elements of the Act allowed rights holders to ask ISPs to shut down sites hosting pirated material and similarly to require ISPs to disconnect persistent illegal file sharers.
The ISPs have argued this is contrary to European law which sees ISPs as conduits of content who cannot be blamed for what third parties host on their website. In addition, they argue that cutting off persistent file shares could be contrary to their human rights and also those of anyone they share a house with who would also be disconnected.
BT and TalkTalk also claim the Act is unfair because it only applies to ISPs with more than 400,000 subscribers.
The ISPs are taking the High Court action to test whether the Act is legal and will doubtless point to many MPs at the time, including the now Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, complaining the Act was too complex to be so short a time to be debated.
A date for the hearing has yet to be given.
Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Retail, said: “It’s disappointing that we feel the need to take action but we feel we have no choice. We have to do this for our customers who otherwise run the risk of being treated unfairly.
“Our dispute is not with the current Government but with the previous administration which pushed this through without due process. We need clarity about whether this legislation is compatible with important EU laws.”
Charles Dunstone, Chairman, TalkTalk Group, said: “The Digital Economy Act's measures will cost the UK hundreds of millions and many people believe they are unfair, unwarranted and won't work.  So it’s no surprise that in Nick Clegg’s call for laws to repeal, this Act is top of the public’s ‘wish list’.  Innocent broadband customers will suffer and citizens will have their privacy invaded. We think the previous Government's rushed approach resulted in flawed legislation. That’s why we need a Judicial Review by the High Court as quickly as possible before lots of money is spent on implementation