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BT and TalkTalk challenge “unfair” Digital Economy Act in court

by Sarah Griffiths on 8 July 2010, 14:25

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A), TalkTalk

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Walking the walk

Charles Dunstone, Chairman, TalkTalk Group, said: "The Digital Economy Act's measures will cost the UK hundreds of millions and many people believe they are unfair, unwarranted and won't work. So it's no surprise that in Nick Clegg's call for laws to repeal, this Act is top of the public's ‘wish list'. 

"Innocent broadband customers will suffer and citizens will have their privacy invaded. We think the previous Government's rushed approach resulted in flawed legislation. That's why we need a judicial review by the High Court as quickly as possible before lots of money is spent on implementation."

Defending the act, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) told The Daily Telegraph: "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."

It also reportedly believes the measures match guidelines set by EU legislation as well as protecting the rights of consumers. 

TalkTalk previously launched a report concluding the act will not achieve its aim of reducing illegal filesharing and protecting the revenues of the music and film industries. The report branded the government's attempts ‘futile' as it found 80 percent of 18-34 year olds would switch to using methods that are undetectable instead of P2P services. 

Interestingly, two thirds of filesharers said they would buy less than 2% of the tracks they downloaded illegally, which would seem to scupper the act's aim of protecting and encouraging Britain's creative industries.

TalkTalk's director of strategy and regulation, Andrew Heaney, said: "Over the past few years consumers have become used to accessing music and video content online for free. We don't condone it or encourage it but this behaviour is embedded in a whole generation of music fans."

As some filesharers admitted they would hack into neighbours' Wi-Fi networks to steal music, therefore implicating innocent people, Heaney said before the Bill was made law:  "The Digital Economy Bill proposals create a new and unfair duty on broadband customers. It asks them to implement complex and expensive security measures on their connections to make it more difficult for their neighbours and others to use their connection for copyright infringement.  The Bill reverses the core principles of natural justice by requiring customers to prove their innocence."


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