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BT and TalkTalk ISPs Anticipate Digital Economy Act Judicial Review Decision

Posted: 28th Sep, 2010 By: MarkJ
uk parliament digital economy actThe Chief Technology Officer for business ISP Timico UK, Trefor Davies, has hinted that the result of a Judicial Review into the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA), which was launched by BT and TalkTalk during July (here), could come as early as Thursday this week. But it probably won't.

The act itself threatens to identify those "suspected" of "illegal" internet copyright P2P file sharing (piracy) to Rights Holders for legal action and could also result in ISP account disconnection, the blocking of legitimate websites and broadband speed restrictions, among other things.

Both BT and TalkTalk believe that the act is flawed because it was rushed through parliament in a "wash-up" process before May 2010's general election and was thus not properly debated. Similarly, Judicial Review's are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.

Trefor Davies blogged:

"Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk tells me that they are in theory expecting to hear the result of the Judicial Review into the Digital Economy Act this Thursday. He didn’t seem hugely optimistic that this date would actually be met.

I guess considering the obscene haste with which the DEBill/DEAct was rushed through we should reasonably expect the judge to take his time on this one and make sure he gets it right."

A victory for BT and TalkTalk could result in all or part of the act being put through new parliamentary scrutiny, which is no guarantee that any changes would be made. However political will dictates that there must be some adjustment, though people should remember that act's can get worse as well as better when opened up to fresh debate.

As for the actual outcome, we would say it's 50:50. Some parts of the DEA, specifically a modified clause forcing ISPs to block websites accused of hosting copyright files, which was notoriously added at the very last moment "without any kind of impact assessment", could prove to be a damaging decision in this case.
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