TalkTalk and BT to resume legal challenge on Digital Economy Act

Darren Allan

May 28, 2011

TalkTalk and BT, along with many others, aren’t happy with the Digital Economy Act (DEA) which was rushed through in a not-at-all-suspicious-manner during the dying days of the last government’s reign.

Specifically, the two ISPs have argued that the copyright infringement facets of the legislation are unfair and elements are inconsistent with EU law, taking the matter to the High Court last month.

The High Court carried out a judicial review, but the ruling dismissed the central complaints, insisting that the DEA was “broadly compatible” with EU regulations, except on the point of ISP cost contributions which were overturned, a minor victory.

So now the pair of providers have decided that they’re going to seek leave to appeal that decision, and get the remaining major areas of concern examined by the Court of Appeal.

BT and TalkTalk cite worries about the impact of the DEA on businesses and indeed the basic freedoms of individual citizens, and quite rightly so.

Last month’s report by Freedom House might have ranked the UK fifth in a global table of Internet freedom, but it noted that “both the government and private parties have presented ongoing challenges to free speech rights in connection with… intellectual property”.

The DEA being singled out as the biggest offender which dragged our freedom rating down.

BT and TalkTalk are seeking to appeal on four out of the five grounds which were considered in the High Court case last month.

These relate to the fact that the DEA is at odds with EU Directives on Technical Standards, E-Commerce, Privacy and Electronic Communications, and also the Authorisation Directive.

The ISPs have to be commended for their persistence, but of course this will still likely fall on deaf judicial ears given the interests behind the DEA.


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