BT and Talk Talk lose filesharing appeal, which is nice
BT and Talk Talk have lost an appeal over measures to tackle copyright infringement online. All the ISPs argued that the UK's Digital Economy Act was incompatible with EU law, which says that they'll have to be the ones to send warning letters to illegal downloaders as well as cutting users off.
The firms' lawyers said that stricter measures could result in an invasion of privacy and create disproportionate costs for both ISPs and consumers.
In a statement, Talk Talk said it was now "considering our options". They added: "We're disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties. Though we have lost this appeal, we will continue fighting to defend our customers' rights against this ill-judged legislation."
A spokesman for BT said: "We have been seeking clarification from the courts that the DEA is consistent with European law, and legally robust in the UK, so that everyone can be confident in how it is implemented. Now that the court has made its decision, we will look at the judgment carefully to understand its implications and consider our next steps."
Of course, the ISPs have been long chided by the creative industries. Christine Payne, general secretary of the Actors' union Equity, called on the ISPs to "stop fighting and start obeying the law". Through the medium of dance, she continued: "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."
Adam Rendle, a copyright specialist at international law firm Taylor Wessing, expects BT and Talk Talk to take this to the Supreme Court, saying: "We know how keen internet users are to protect what they see as freedom of speech. When the Digital Economy Act itself was passed in the dying stages of the Labour government, there was a huge amount of disquiet that this kind of important legislation was being introduced without proper scrutiny."
"That kind of disquiet didn't result in the kind of action we've seen against Acta and Sopa. It wouldn't be surprising to see a lot more public outcry than there was when the Act was first passed."