BT, TalkTalk Granted Digital Economy Act Review

BT and TalkTalk have won their battle to have the Digital Economy Act sent for judicial review.

Britain's two biggest ISPs joined forces in July to have the Act reviewed by the High Court, after claiming the Digital Economy Bill had been rushed through Parliament.

The controversial act includes measures to deal with illegal file-sharing and blocking sites that are accused of hosting pirated content. The pair argued that measures to cut off persistent file-sharers could breach European human rights laws.

"We are very pleased that the Court has recognised that our concerns about the copyright infringement provisions in the Digital Economy Act should be considered in a full hearing," said Andrew Heaney, executive director of strategy and regulation at TalkTalk. "The Act was rushed through Parliament in the 'wash-up' with only 6% of MPs attending the brief debate and has very serious flaws."

"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.

"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."

Representatives of the copyright industry claim it's too early for the ISPs to celebrate any kind of victory. "All that the court has done today is to allow BT and Talk Talk's legal challenge to go to a full hearing," said a BPI spokesman.

"We continue to believe that their case is misconceived and will fail. The Act remains in full force and we will continue to work with Government, Ofcom and other stakeholders to implement it."

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