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Sunday, March 25, 2012

British ISPs’ Appeal against Copyright Law Got Ditched

For a while now a couple of the country’s largest Internet service providers (BT and TalkTalk) have been making attempts to fight against controversial copyright violation law, claiming that the UK’s Digital Economy Act comes into conflict with the laws of European Union.

British Digital Economy Act, if passed into law, would turn broadband providers into cyber police, forcing them to send notifications to suspected pirates, and even disconnect them from the web. At the same time, the entertainment industry keeps complaining that piracy caused loses of $670 million annually. The attorneys of both BT and TalkTalk emphasized the fact that harsher rules could endanger privacy rights and raise costs for the ISPs and their subscribers.

Nevertheless, the latest appeal of the ISPs was denied. TalkTalk said the company was disappointed that the appeal was unsuccessful, but it still welcomed the additional legal clarity that had been given to all parties. Despite the fact that TalkTalk has lost that appeal, it will keep fighting to defend their subscribers’ rights against that “ill-judged legislation”.

BT, in its turn, explained that it has been seeking clarification from the courts that the Digital Economy Act was consistent with EU law, and legally robust in the United Kingdom, so that anyone can be confident in how it is implemented. After the court has taken its decision, the company would look at the ruling carefully in order to understand its implications and consider its next steps.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Actors’ union Equity asked the ISPs to stop fighting and “start obeying the law”, explaining that the court would always take the side of the almost 2,000,000 employees in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk by digital piracy.

At the same time, the leader of the UK Pirate Party pointed out that there are no reasons to believe that the legislation in question will have any impact on unauthorized file-sharing. But this court decision still brings the draconian law another step closer. The latest study on a similar “three-strikes” law in France proved that there was no benefit for music sales. The matter is that threats to disconnect entire households from the Internet will be bad for everyone: the economy, the society, and for a creative nation as well.

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