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By: MarkJ - 14 December, 2010 (12:27 PM)
fastiisThe UK Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a not-for-profit group that campaigns for the legitimate use of software, has said that it plans to involve its "lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate" on the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).

The DEA threatens to use notoriously unreliable IP address based evidence to identify broadband users "suspected" of unlawful ("illegal") copyright P2P File Sharing activity to Rights Holders for legal action. It could also lead to the blocking of legitimate websites, service speed restrictions, limits on open Wi-Fi usage or even account disconnection ("suspension") from your ISP.

However two of the country's largest broadband internet providers, BT and TalkTalk UK, recently threw a wrench into the machinery by winning an 11th hour style Judicial Review of the act (here). A full hearing is now expected to follow by April 2011 that could result to significant changes.

As a result FAST's Legal Advisory Group (FLAG) has organised a unique event at the House of Commons on January 12th 2011 (08:45 for 9:30 am start. Close 11:30 am) to discuss hot topics, including the future of the DEA, which will seek to bat the corner of copyright owners against any potential changes to the act's text.

FAST General Counsel, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, said:

"The specialist legal knowledge that FLAG has built up on digital issues and copyright will enable valuable insight into those who are considering the rights and wrongs of the Act. Considering the profile of the Digital Economy Act Parliamentary Party Group, we anticipate involving our lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate."

FLAG was established shortly after FAST was founded in 1984, and consists of lawyers from many of the UK’s leading firms with Intellectual Property practices. FLAG meets several times a year to receive presentations on pertinent topics and review legal developments affecting the software industry.
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