You may remember back in July that we mentioned the ongoing Digital Economy Act debate. Well, suffice to say that the discussion on the Act is now turning from a debate into a saga , as TalkTalk and BT have been granted judicial review of the Digital Economy Act by the High Court.
By way of recap, one of the issues that BT and TalkTalk had with the Act was not only its content, but the way in which it had been debated. The companies argued, along with a number of MPs, that the legislation had been ‘rushed through parliament’ before the election, and was debated too briefly for its complex nature, with apparently only 6% of MPs attending the debate.’
Another problem the internet service providers have with the Act is that parts of it require them to take action against suspected illegal file sharers where the ISP has 400,000 or more subscribers. Both BT and TalkTalk were concerned that this would drive their customers to smaller ISPs. Part of the review will consider whether these parts of the Act are in breach of the e-commerce directive, which rules that ISPs cannot be held liable for traffic on their networks.
Now the courts will look at the Act in detail and consider whether it is legal and justifiable.
Andrew Heaney, director of strategy and regulation at TalkTalk, has called on the government to put the legislation on hold pending the enquiry. On the other side are the music industry, who believe the Act is necessary to reduce online copyright infringement by way of file sharing. But is either side going to be satisfied with the judge’s ruling?
We will keep you updated on this…..