High Court to consider DEA judicial review this week

By | Published on Tuesday 22 March 2011


BT and TalkTalk’s application for a judicial review of the copyright section of the Digital Economy Act will be assessed in more detail by the High Court this week.

The High Court agreed last November to consider the internet service providers’ gripes with the way the copyright bit of the DEA was constructed and rushed through parliament, and will this week give those gripes more consideration before deciding whether to proceed to a full judicial review. If they do, it could take a full year for the courts to rule, further postponing the launch of the three-strikes-style anti-piracy system the DEA put in place.

As previously reported, BT and TalkTalk claim the anti-file-sharing measures in the DEA infringe the “basic rights and freedoms” of net users, and that the proposals did not get sufficient scrutiny when the Labour government rushed them through parliament to ensure they were passed before last year’s General Election. If the courts agreed, they could force ministers to rethink the DEA’s copyright provisions and take them back to parliament for another vote.

Even if the legal action is ultimately unsuccessful, if the full review goes ahead those who support the three-strikes-style system will be disappointed by the inevitable delay, given some hoped initial letters would already be going out to suspected file-sharers by now, whereas it increasingly looks likely that won’t happen before spring 2012 at the earliest.

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