New UK file sharing law challenged by ISPs in court

New UK file sharing law challenged by ISPs in court

Summary: Two major ISPs are at the UK high court to challenge elements of the new counter-piracy laws, that relate to illegal file-sharers.


ISPs in England are challenging parts of the Digital Economy Act, which targets illegal downloaders and file-sharers.

BT and TalkTalk, both leaders in the broadband marketshare in the UK, are at the High Court today, arguing that elements of the bill were rushed through parliament last year without adequate scrutiny.

Under the current law, film and music providers can monitor illegal activity on peer-to-peer networks and collate IP addresses of those who infringe copyright. They can then apply to a court to force an ISP to hand over the name and billing address of the person alleged to have downloaded illegal content.

But there have been several cases where people were wrongly accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material.

In the United States, however, recent legal proceedings states that an 'IP address does not equal a person', referring to co-habitants and student households in particular.

A similar principle is hoped to be applied in the UK, with the ISPs in court hoping to clear up the definitions of the act, arguing that an IP address does not identify the particular user but only the location of where the alleged infringement occurred.

Yet more and more people are resorting to upload sites and checking links on blogs to download music and films, instead of using peer-to-peer networks where users are becoming more aware of the risks involved.

The bill was passed shortly before the new government was formed, during what is known as the 'wash up' period, where outstanding bills and legislation are cleared up and voted on before Parliament is dissolved.

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Topics: Browser, Networking, Telcos

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  • Must be great

    It must be wonderful to live in a country where they have stamped out robbery, rape, and murder and can now move on to other important crimes.
    Robert Hahn
    • Greater penalties for doing less

      @Robert Hahn,

      In the U.S., if you steal a $900 laptop, you pay less fines than if you steal a $1 music track. Someone needs to beat the entertainment industry over the head with the Eight Amendment. Even the White House, which shamelessly lies in bed with the entertainment industry, wants to make it a felony to consume streaming media that is not legal - which very few people are able to determine with certainty.

      With the rest of the economy, if your business environment changes, you adapt to it or go away. With the entertainment industry, if your business environment changes, you go to Congress to pass laws to keep it from happening.
      P. Douglas
      • RE: New UK file sharing law challenged by ISPs in court

        @P. Douglas wrote: Someone needs to beat the entertainment industry over the head with the Eight Amendment"

        The RIAA/MPAA (the most dangerous criminals in the know universe) must be shutdown, all their member need to be fined at least a billion EACH, DRM need to be declare illegal and price of entertainment need to be regulated (DOWN) and a % of profit must set which once reached, the ? work instantly become PUBLIC DOMAIN.

        Only in the USA (and UK it seem) you can have a group(s) (MPAA/RIAA) commiting crimes on a hourly basis, and yet are permited to operatred and destroy countless live and family accross the world.

        the MPAA/RIAA as done more damage to USA citizens then all the wars and terrorist attacks combined ever did.