Digital Economy Act is challenged in UK

Mike Halsey MVP
Jul 8, 2010
Updated • Nov 30, 2012

The UKs leading Internet service providers, BT and TalkTalk are set to seek a judicial review of the controversial Digital Economy Act, as reported by the BBC.  The two ISPs are reported to want the UK's High Court to clarify the legality of the act prior to it coming into force.

The act was one fo the last  actions of the UK's Labour government before the general election last may that saw them thrown out by British voters in favour of a Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition.  It was controversial legislation that many felt was rushed through parliament without proper scrutiny.

The act allows for the disconnection of persisten illegal file sharers from the Internet, and rights for copyright holders to block websites sharing illegal content.

Critics including TalkTalk said that the new law would potentially criminalise the innocent who, due to the complexity of computers and network security, may not be aware of someone else in their property sharing files and who may accidentally leave their wireless network open to abuse by others.

Under thelegislation, persisten file sharers would be placed on a blacklist, a copy of which could be shared with copyright owners.

The current government has the right to repeal any previous legislation and, during the election campaign, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said that the Digital Economy Act "badly needs to be repealed".

Despite this the coalition told the BBC it has no plans to repeal it.

"The Digital Economy Act sets out to protect our creative economy from the continued threat of online copyright infringement, which industry estimates costs the creative industries, including creators, £400m per year," read a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

"We believe measures are consistent with EU legislation and that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the rights of consumers and ISPs and will continue to work on implementing them."


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  1. The Music Void said on July 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Since the passing of the Digital Economy Act 2010, the assent of which evoked a (not entirely) resounding cry of joy from the music industry, its swift passage into law appears to have caused some turbulence amongst ISPs, and all for valid reasons.

    More on this available:

  2. Anonymous said on July 12, 2010 at 6:46 am

    open all pages take off unblockes and lockpages

  3. Jack said on July 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Doesn’t matter which political party, it’s one story when they’re in opposition, another when they’re campaigning, and to hell with promises once they’re in power. When was it ever different?

    If voting ever changed anything, they wouldn’t allow it. Don’t think I’ll even bother next time.

    1. Martin said on July 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      Well you need to vote for different parties then. I can only say that it does not help to vote the “other” big party next time if you have been disappointed by the one you voted for in the last election. They might make some minor changes here and there but in the end it is the same crap. They see that they get the best out for themselves, families and friends and give a rats ass about the population or the country.

      The system is not really that democratic if you think about it. A system like the Swiss have, where the people are asked to vote on “hot” topics would be a welcome change. And the industry and other interests groups are to strongly influencing politicians, that has to stop as well.

      But that’s just my opinion. I know a lot of voters who are fed up with politics, curse left and right only to make their damn cross for one of the big parties come next election. That’s stupid, utterly.

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