BT and TalkTalk have lost their appeal against the Digital Economy Act which is now set to try and curb online file-sharing. Both ISPs argued that the law was incompatible with EU legislation, however the courts disagreed. So what does this mean for the average consumer? Well from now on UK ISPs must essentially monitor their customers’ activity online and anyone they suspect of illegally file-sharing will be reprimanded. Initially letters will be sent warning them that if they continue to illegally download files they will face having their internet cut-off as a last resort.
TalkTalk have issued a statement with part of it reading “We’re disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties”. Thankfully they continued to say that “Though we have lost this appeal, we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights against this ill-judged legislation.”
So is this the end of the fight? I doubt it. Although they have lost this particular court case I expect them to take their appeal to the Supreme Court for final clarification. On the side who initially lobbied for the bill Christine Payne, general secretary of the Actors’ union Equity, had the following to say:
“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”
As a technology blog we’re naturally against any form of legislation that is misguided and hurts both the rights of the people and the internet, while the film and music industry are entitled to their opinions… it doesn’t make their actions valid. For example, there’s no real proof that pirating hurts the film and music industry to the lengths it describes. If Joe Bloggs downloads a film illegally there’s a pretty high chance he was never going to go out and buy the DVD nor see it in at the cinema; thus no lost revenue as he was never a potential customer. Others argue that the draconian methods used by the film and music industry to distribute their media is outdated and a more up-to-date approach is required.
However that’s an argument for another article; let’s hope, for the sake of the internet, that the supreme court finds the act unlawful.