High court upholds Digital Economy Act

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the Government in its court battle with ISPs BT and TalkTalk over the legality of the Digital Economy Act (6 March 2012). The Creative Industries “interested parties” which has supported the government throughout the Judicial Review are now calling on the ISPs to put the litigation behind them and work with the creative sector and the Government to implement the Digital Economy Act.

The Digital Economy Act (DEA), came into being in 2010 and included provisions to tackle online piracy and copyright theft which costs the creative industries £400m a year in lost revenue.

The Broadband providers argued that the measures proposed in the DEA were not compatible with EU law and challenged the Act on five separate grounds. However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the challenges ruling that the Act was “proportionate, legal and enforceable”, this follows almost two years of legal challenges against the legislation by the ISPs.

This was the second appeal over the DEA that BT and TalkTalk had brought to the courts, having been defeated on the majority of their challenges in a previous case last year.

The DEA requires that ISPs introduce anti-piracy measures including sending out warning letters to alleged illegal file downloaders and taking action against persistent offenders. As a result of the ruling, ISPs will be required to contribute financially towards the costs of identifying and contacting subscribers accused of illegal downloading and the costs of any appeals.

Directors UK welcomes the ruling from the Court of Appeal. We now hope to see the Government, creative industries and ISPs working together to implement the provisions set out in the Digital Economy Act, as stated in the Court’s judgement yesterday.