The UK Digital Economy Act’s measures to tackle illegal filesharing have been thrown into doubt by a successful application for a judicial review.
Implemented shortly before this year’s General Election, the Digital Economy Act incorporated multiple measures intended to reduce illegitimate music and film filesharing and downloading.
Broadly welcomed by many organisations connected to the recording and cultural sectors, the Act was criticised by some internet service providers, who feared it was both unworkable and held the potential to infringe the basic freedoms of internet users.
In July, two of these ISPs – BT and TalkTalk – submitted a request for a judicial review of the legislation, partly on the grounds that it had received “insufficient scrutiny” in Parliament. The complex legislation was one of the final Acts to be introduced by the Labour Government at the end of its 13-year tenure.
On 9 November, it was confirmed that both companies would be granted a review at the High Court, with a hearing expected to take place in February. The judge, Justice Hickinbottom, agreed that there was cause for a review on three of the contested points, two of which concern compatibility with relevant existing EU legislation.