Lettersending to file-sharers on hold for now

29 March 2011

A musical pirate, yesterday

Government plans to send warning letters to alleged illegal downloaders have been punched in the side of the head by the strong arm of the law. If this pleases you, you might be bemused to find that the people you should be thanking are BT and Talk Talk, two companies that are widely disliked by their past and current customers.

The letter-sending frenzy was part of the Digital Economy Act, but that whole big stinking mess has now been held up by the announcement of a high court judicial review that could hold it up until next summer at the earliest.

BT and Talk Talk have lodged a series of challenges to the Act, claiming that it infringes net users’ ‘basic rights and freedoms’ – although we find ourselves wondering just what’s in it for them.

The result of the judicial review should be announced within six to eight weeks but the side that comes off worst is likely to appeal. That could mean an outing in the European courts, and maybe even the inter-galactic and celestial courts before it all gets sorted out.

In the meantime, why don’t you kids carry on downloading your Tom & Jerry cartoons and your Jeremy Clarkson eBooks with impunity, safe in the knowledge that the law is unable to send you any warning letters for now.

Make the most of it – it won’t last forever.


TOPICS:   Technology


  • Rob
    Bt and Talk Talk - It's obvious what's in it for them - if lots of those premium "unlimited download" account holders are scared off by the treat of legal action they'll all downgrade/cancel their subscriptions and cost BT/TalkTalk a whole of heap of monthly moola ... ?
  • Zleet
    'What's in it for them' is the fact if they capitulate to this then everyone will switch to a provider that doesn't. Rather than spending millions trying to influence government policy or prosecute some thirteen year old downloading episodes of Lost they (copyright holders) need to spend that money adapting their business model. It wasn't long ago that those same people came down hard on stuff like Napster desperately trying to save CD's then Apple looked at what was happening and created Itunes. Illegal downloading was never stamped out but they took the idea of getting digital copies of music from the internet and made billions, pretty sure Jobs and co have money fights in the boardroom now.
  • Jason
    I assumed that the ISP's were concerned that it would cost too much to enforce it. Monitoring, administration, correspondence with offenders, actioning blocks / cuts...it would all eat into their profits. I typical case of 'not in my backyard'...they recognise that ISP's are one of the stop-gaps in file-sharing, but don't want to foot the bill.
  • Whisky
    Rob got it in one. Why the hell would I want 8/20/40mb if there is nothing to download? 2mb would be sufficent, and I would only need a 2 or 3gb month allowence.
  • Jo j.
    I hope you have permission from viacom to use the photo of the pirate from spongebob you slimy thieves!!!!

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