TalkTalk and BT win review of online piracy law

December 2010


BT and TalkTalk have won their battle for a judicial review of the controversial Digital Economy Act designed to crackdown on music and video piracy. The telecoms companies had argued that the law, which calls on internet service providers (ISPs) to block illegal file sharing from accessing the internet, had been rushed through parliament in the “wash up” period before May’s general election.

Mr Justice Hinkinbottom in the High Court has now granted a review of the Act on the grounds that it may conflict with European Union privacy laws and the Government may be forced to amend the law following the review, which is due to take place in February. Andrew Heaney, executive director of strategy and regulation at TalkTalk, said the Act had serious flaws, and the debate that saw it passed in to law was attended by only 6 per cent of MP saying “The provisions to try to reduce illegal file-sharing are unfair, won’t work and will potentially result in millions of innocent customers who have broken no law suffering and having their privacy invaded,” he said. “We look forward to the hearing to properly assess whether the Act is legal and justifiable and so ensure that all parties have certainty on the law before proceeding.” A spokesman for the record label’s trade association the BPI, which accused BT and TalkTalk of putting self-interest ahead of plans to bolster Britain’s digital economy.

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