By Marcus Leach
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has warmly welcomed the decision by Mr Justice Kenneth Parker of the High Court to reject the majority of claims made by BT and TalkTalk in the judicial review.
“The ISP’s challenged the Act on the grounds of ‘basic rights and freedoms’ and that the legislation did not receive sufficient scrutiny in the wash-up period before the General Election. The review led in turn to rights’ holders being blocked from using the anti piracy provisions of the DEA. However this decision has recognised that the measures in the Act are acceptable and we must welcome that decision,” stated Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, General Counsel, at FAST.
“Those suffering from runaway Internet piracy were receptive of the Act after years of work battling with other solutions. A number of ISPs held the view that such infringement online is simply not their issue,” he added. “The risk was that the Act would be made technically redundant as pirates are advanced in adopting new methods of getting products, which should be purchased, for free. It is about maintaining a choice in taking product to market,” added Julian.
“The news means effectively that no longer does the Act reside in the hands of the court (subject to an any appeal) and that means the intellectual property rights’ of a great many businesses, the fruits of labour, can now be better exploited for the benefit of our prosperity when it is most needed. That must be the central issue.
In the judicial review BT and TalkTalk had claimed the Act's provisions were disproportionate and incompatible with EU laws on privacy, freedom of information and the responsibilities of ISPs.
The companies also said the Act should not be enforceable because it had not been submitted in draft form to the European Commission, as required.
Judge Parker disagreed with all these points, agreeing only that BT and TalkTalk were entitled to relief over the administrative fees associated with carrying out the terms of the law.