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High court to consider all of BT and TalkTalk’s DEA gripes

By | Published on Wednesday 17 November 2010

By the way, we forgot to say, a High Court judge last week ruled that all four of BT and TalkTalk’s grievances with regards the copyright section of the Digital Economy Act can now be considered by a judicial review of the controversial legislation.

As previously reported, last week the High Court agreed to hear the net firms’ claims that the DEA, as a result of it being rushed through parliament by the last government, conflicted with European privacy and e-commerce rules, and that UK ministers did not give the European Commission sufficient time to scrutinise the new laws before they were put before the British parliament. 

However, the fourth of BT and TalkTalk’s basic claims, that the framework put in place by the DEA to ultimately suspend the net connections of persistent file-sharers is “a disproportionate penalty” for the crime, based on human rights grounds I think, was still to be considered by judges when the judicial review was announced last week.

Anyway, said considering has now taken place, and on Friday last week it was confirmed all four arguments would be fully heard in court. It is expected the judicial review will now take place next April, and not February as originally thought. As previously reported, record label trade body BPI says it is confident the judicial review will ultimately back the DEA in full. 

In related news, this week’s Music Week revealed that culture minister Ed Vaizey had a “constructive” meeting with both rights holders and net firms a few days before the judicial review of the DEA was announced to discuss various online copyright issues. He says among the topics discussed were fast-tracking the licensing of ISP-owned legal digital music services, persuading search engines to give legal content services priority in search results, and setting up a system for taking action against “websites dedicated to mass copyright infringement” similar to that currently used by ISPs to screen for images of child abuse. 

Music Week quotes Vaizey as saying: “The meeting I had with ISPs and content providers led to productive and useful discussions”.