Digital Legal Top Stories

Net sector fails in second attempt to block UK three-strikes through courts

By | Published on Tuesday 6 March 2012


Internet service providers BT and TalkTalk have failed again to block the copyright section of the Digital Economy Act through judicial review. As previously reported, the net firms object to the three-strike provisions of the DEA, and have tried to force a rethink of the new anti-piracy laws through the courts on the grounds they contravene European legislation. But those arguments have now been rejected twice by the courts, the ISPs having appealed the first ruling on the matter last year.

The three-strikes or ‘graduated response’ system – whereby ISPs will be forced to send warning letters to suspected file-sharers, with some sort of penalty at some point in the future against web users who ignore the warnings – is still yet to go live in the UK, of course, despite the DEA passing through parliament in 2010. The delay has been partly because of the judicial review proceedings, though there have been other issues around how exactly the process will work. Whether today’s court decision will help speed up getting three-strikes actually launched, remains to be seen.

We are yet to get responses from the net sector, though various organisations representing the creative industries have issued statements welcoming the ruling, as follows…

Geoff Taylor, boss of record label trade body BPI: “The courts have confirmed, once again, that the Digital Economy Act is legal, proportionate and fair and can now be implemented. The ISPs’ failed legal challenge has meant another year of harm to British musicians and creators from illegal file-sharing. The ISPs now need to work constructively with government and rightsholders to implement the Act”.

Christine Payne, General Secretary of actor’s union Equity: “Once again the court is on the side of the almost two million workers in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk because creative content is stolen on a daily basis. Once again a judge has made it extremely clear that the Digital Economy Act is a fair, focused, proportionate and efficient system for consumers and the creative industry. Rather than individuals being hauled into court, the DEA makes it possible to conduct a mass consumer education programme. BT and TalkTalk need to stop fighting and start obeying the law”.

David Puttnam, President of the Film Distributors’ Association: “Hopefully this brings to an end a long chapter of uncertainty, and the DEA can now help in implementing a mass consumer education programme so that people, especially young people, can come to appreciate the damage piracy inflicts on the whole of the creative community”.

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association: “The British Video Association, whose members are blighted by the endemic use of unlawful P2P file-sharing to avoid paying for video content, is delighted that the government can now press on with implementation of the 2010 Digital Economy Act. The DEA offers a fair, proportionate and entirely reasonable way to help promote a change in behaviour. Several other countries are adopting this measure and it would be bad for Britain’s creative industries to be left behind more forward thinking nations who are supporting their creative economies at this difficult time of transition towards increased digital consumption during this period of recession”.

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