Firms press for DEA review

Major ISPs BT and TalkTalk are jointly seeking a High Court judicial review of the Digital Economy Act (formerly the Digital Economy Bill), the BBC reports.

The challenge could lead to a delay to the expected October arrival of the new laws that will see PEGI become the sole arbitrator of games age ratings in the UK as those plans were set to be implemented as part of the DEB.

Both companies argue that the DEA was rushed through” parliament with insufficient scrutiny”, echoing calls that were repeatedly made as the bill made its speedy journey through the Parliamentary chambers.

Most contentious amongst the DEA policies are proposals to cut off the internet access of those repeatedly accused of file-sharing and the granting of powers to block access to websites accused of hosting copyrighted material.

ISPs will be required to send warning letters to those identified of circumventing copyright, but will only apply to ISPs with 400k users or more. Ofcom predicts that new practices will be in place by 2012.

BT and TalkTalk argue that this will place them at a competitive disadvantage compared to smaller ISPs who will exempt from the new requirements. They are hoping to argue that the laws contravene areas of EU legislation.

The Government, however, insists that it will not budge.

The Digital Economy Act sets out to protect our creative economy from the continued threat of online copyright infringement, which industry estimates costs the creative industries, including creators, 400m per year,” a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills read.

We believe measures are consistent with EU legislation and that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the rights of consumers and ISPs and will continue to work on implementing them.”

Current deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg had vowed prior to the election that his party would repeal the DEB should the Lib Dems be elected into power.

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