The Digital Economy Act; the battle of the business sectors | FAST

The Digital Economy Act; the battle of the business sectors

User login

High Court Judicial Review delays controversial anti-illicit filesharing scheme

The news that the high court judicial review will delay the anti-filesharing scheme, as set out in the Digital Economy Act (DEA), has left a void according to the Federation Against Software Theft.

Due to a legal challenge by Internet providers BT and TalkTalk, users in the UK were due to start receiving warning letters from their providers later this year.

“ISP’s have challenged the Act on the grounds of ‘basic rights and freedoms’ and that the legislation did not receive sufficient scrutiny in the wash-up period before the General Election. Rights’ holders are blocked from using the anti piracy provisions of the DEA. Despite the controversy, is this right?” he added.

Reading between the lines, this is a battle of one business sector against the other using laws in the tussle. Rights holders suffering from runaway internet piracy wish to see such an Act after years of work seeking other solutions whilst a number of ISPs hold the view that such infringement on line is simply not their issue. 

The poor consumer is stuck in the middle whilst the businesses battle it out with various legal weapons whether IP rights, privacy, human rights, due process and so on.

“The risk is the Act will be technically redundant as pirates are advanced in adopting new methods of getting paid products for free,” added Julian.

“The Act now resides in the hands the court and that means so to does intellectual property rights’ of hundreds of businesses. The ruling is now not expected for another six to eight weeks and even then it will probably face appeal from whichever side loses. And that means this will run and run for months, stuck in the UK and possibly EU legal system.

“The judicial review now means that the Act, which was due to come into force in January this year, now may be held up for the foreseeable future. The Department for Culture, Media and Sports has itself admitted that ‘Our principle concern is to establish a system that works and provides the UK’s creative industries with the tools they need to protect their hard work and investment.’ The question is, what should be done whist we wait? Another solution in the meantime?” asks Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel, FAST.