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UK High Court upholds the Digital Economy Act

The UK's High court has rejected a legal challenge by Talk Talk broadband and BT at the legality in light of European law of the right of content producers to force ISPs to disconnect suspected illegal file sharers from the internet. The powers became law under the extremely controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 which was rushed through parliament in the "wash up period" prior to the 2010 general election.

The UK government will now proceed with the logistics of putting the necessary framework in place to bring the law into force. The question remains, however, over the cost of enforcing measures. The court upheld one aspect of the two giant UK ISPs petition in the judicial review that the legislation highlighted that as it stands, to high an administrative, technical and therefore financial burden is placed upon ISPs.

The key issue remains that on the word of a copyright holder, your household could face bandwidth capping and ultimately disconnection from the internet. Many have questioned the ethics of doing so, not least the UK's Pirate Party, who argue that broadband internet is a fundamental human right.

The copyright holders focus isn't on this point, however, it's all about protecting their existing business models and revenue streams despite the way we consume information having changed beyond recognition in the past 15 years. The BPI's (UK equivalent of the RIAA) chief executive, Geoff Taylor, wade his position clear:

This judgement gives the green light for action to tackle illegal downloading in the UK.

Green light in hand however, the big question is, who foots the enforcement bill?


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