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October 10, 2011

BT, TalkTalk permitted to appeal against Digital Economy Act

Controversial anti-piracy law faces further delay as legal challenges mount 

By CBR Staff Writer

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) BT and TalkTalk have been granted permission to launch a fresh appeal against the Digital Economy Act.

Earlier a High Court had upheld most of the part of the law that proposes strong action against online piracy.

The companies argue that the law forces them to keep a tab on users’ online behavior, according to the BBC.

The government had passed the controversial law before the last general election. The government says that the law is aimed to protect content industries such as music and films.

Under the act, ISPs must send warning letters to users about illegal downloading, on being asked by rights holders. The act also allows disconnection of Internet services as a punishment.

However, the law has been plagued by several legal challenges, mostly about user privacy.

BT and Talk Talk have challenged the law. They secured a judicial review of the act, but a High Court dismissed most of their objections.

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The latest ruling have permitted the companies to launch a fresh appeal.

Creative industries representative and chief executive of production body PACT John McVay has expressed disappointment over the move.

"Naturally, we are disappointed at this further delay. However, we respect the decision and are pleased that the appeal hearing will be fast tracked because, in the meantime, online piracy continues to wreak havoc on the legitimate market, threatening jobs and livelihoods," McVay told the BBC.

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