Digital Economy Act

Now that the legal challenge by BT and TalkTalk has failed in the Court of Appeal, the government has been given the go ahead to implement the Digital Economy Act 2010.

Amongst other measures, the Digital Ecomony Act requires internet service providers (ISPs) to take action against subscribers accused of illegal filesharing. BT and TalkTalk had complained that the Act was incompatible with European law and put an unfair burden on ISPs to pay the costs of the copyright owners’ crackdown on illegal downloading.

The Court of Appeal, however, ruled that the Digital Economy Act is legal and compatible with European law with the effect that ISPs will have to pay:

  • 25% of the qualifying costs incurred by Ofcom in running and setting up an appeals body for alleged illicit filesharers; and
  • 25% of operating fees incurred when identifying which subscribers are accused of illegal downloading.

The ruling brings to an end almost two years of legal challenges against the Act by the ISPs. The Government will now be able to compel ISPs to send out warning letters to subscribers accused of illegal downloading and, ultimately, suspend such subscribers’ service.

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