BT and TalkTalk beaten in Digital Economy Act appeal

BT and TalkTalk have failed with an appeal over copyright infringement with regards to online file-sharing. The appeal by the two ISPs was a protest against the UK's Digital Economy Act that was passed in the last few weeks of the Labour government in April 2010.

It was back in July 2010 that BT and TalkTalk took their opposition to the Digital Economy Act to the High Court, after both companies filed papers asking for a judicial review of the controversial act.

The ISPs' appeal was based on a claim that the Digital Economy Act is incompatible with EU law. It means that, as stated by the Act, internet providers will have to send warning letters to illegal file downloaders (or at least those it deems to be downloading illegally) with the threat of disconnection also a possibility.

Christine Payne, general secretary of the Actors' union Equity, praised the decision and said that ISPs should "stop fighting and start obeying the law".

"Once again the court is on the side of the almost two million workers in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk because creative content is stolen on a daily basis," she said.

Not surprisingly, TalkTalk and BT didn't agree. In a statement, Talk Talk said it was considering its options. "We're disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful, though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties," it said.

"Though we have lost this appeal, we will continue fighting to defend our customers' rights against this ill-judged legislation."

BT said: "We have been seeking clarification from the courts that the DEA is consistent with European law, and legally robust in the UK, so that everyone can be confident in how it is implemented.

"Now that the court has made its decision, we will look at the judgment carefully to understand its implications and consider our next steps."

It's still not clear if the ISPs are concerned for the rights of the everyday user, or whether they are more concerned that they'll have to splash out on new technology to monitor users' downloads. We'll let you be the judge of that.



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