ISP legal challenge to Digital Economy Act fails

A Judicial Review of the terms of the UK Digital Economy Act brought by BT and TalkTalk has been thrown out by the High Court. The Court rejected claims that Parliament had overstepped it powers with anti-piracy measures.

The ISPs’ only win was that Justice Kenneth Parker upheld one of the objections, relating to who pays for the legislation’s enforcement.

The act, which was rushed through before the 2010 general election, obliges internet service providers (ISPs) to co-operate with rights holders in identifying computer users who may have downloaded music, software and videos illegally.

BT and Talk Talk claim the legislation violated several European laws on commerce and privacy. The Court rejected four of the five points put forward by the ISPs, but rejected part of the bill that made service providers liable for 25 per cent of the cost of policing their users.

BT said it was disappointed by the ruling: “We are reviewing this long and complex judgement. Protecting our customers is our number one priority and we will consider our options once we have fully understood the implications for our customers and businesses. This was always about seeking clarity on certain points of law and we have to consider whether this judgment achieves these aims.”

BT and TalkTalk and other ISPs may still take their objections to the law to the European Court.

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