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Entanet UK Seek Revoke of Anti-Piracy Act as MP Predicts 2 Years to Fix its Flaws

Posted: 28th Mar, 2011 By: MarkJ
pirate flagisp entanet broadband ukCommunications provider Entanet UK has today expressed its desire for seeing the controversial Digital Economy Act (DEA) "revoked", while at the same time expressing admiration for an act that "has already proven to be as tough as old boots" in the face of mounting criticism.

The act seeks to tackle "illegal" internet copyright infringement (P2P file sharing) by imposing a series of new measures, including a system of customer warning letters (notifications) and potential account disconnection ("suspension"), upon broadband ISP customers.

However, issues such as the apportioning of costs (25% ISPs : 75% Rights Holders), the legality of certain measures and the questionable standards of evidence involved (i.e. risk of penalising innocent individuals and businesses) have all served to undermine some its credibility.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing at Entanet, said (blog):

"This latest news does not bode well for the future of the DEA. This highly unpopular Act is already facing a barrage of criticism and any further delays simply open it up to more. From the beginning we have continually raised our concerns over many elements of the Act, from the allocation of costs to the identification of offenders by IP address.

We have continually argued that the Act is too heavily weighted in favour of the rights holders and does not adequately consider the needs and impact on ISPs and the public."

Today marks the final day of Judicial Review hearings for the DEA (further details), although we're not expecting to learn the outcome of this BT and TalkTalk instigated court case for at least another month or possibly two.

Entanet believes that the act now risks being thrown out entirely, although in reality such an outcome seems unlikely. That's not to say that some adjustment won't be necessary. The Labour MP for Falkirk and chair of the Digital Economy All Party Parliamentary Group (DEAPPG), Eric Joyce, hinted to PC Pro magazine today that it could take two years to iron out all of the problems.

MP Eric Joyce admitted:

"It’s quite clear that there were some arguments that were used when the legislation was going through that were nonsense. To be honest, I think Labour could have done better, and listened more. ...For example, I find that – among the strong valid arguments that come from rights holders – that every download is a theft is a ludicrous argument. I don’t know why anyone would say that.

I think in a year or two it will be useable, but I think it will be through experience gained through the application of the Act."

Joyce also said that the act had been "well scrutinised" in the House of Lords but conceded that the House of Commons had not given it the same treatment. The MP further agreed that evidence based off IP addresses, especially in light of the recent ACS:Law case (here), was "pretty ropey" and by itself of little use when trying to secure a conviction.

The MP now anticipates that "significant amendments" will need to be made in order to "take account of reality in a way the original Act didn’t" and we've already seen some of that starting to happen (i.e. the review of website blocking).

However, the government is not expected to "rip it apart". The Digital Economy Act (DEA) looks set to continue its forward march, the question now is over what will end up being changed in order to ensure that it happens.
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