While anti-piracy legislation is at a standstill in the US, the path was cleared in the UK today for the Digital Economy Act, a law that requires Internet providers to crack down on suspected pirates. London’s Court of Appeals thwarted a challenge to the Act from two of the country’s leading broadband companies, TalkTalk Telecom and the BT Group, by upholding a lower court’s decision that the Act is consistent with European laws. The move allows officials to finally begin implementing the legislation which has been slow to move forward since it was originally established in 2010. Under the Act, rights holders will inform ISPs when they have suspicions of material being illegally downloaded. The ISPs will then be required to alert suspects in writing under a graduated response system that could ultimately result in penalties. The 2 operators in question contended that it was not for them to police their customers, citing excessive costs and the question of invasion of privacy. The decision comes a little less than 2 months after the US put the controversial PIPA and SOPA bills on hold. Industry groups in the UK today welcomed the news. Lavinia Carey, chief of the British Video Association, said the org was “delighted that the Government can now press on with implementation of notice-sending under the 2010 Digital Economy Act. The video industry generates the single largest source of returns on investment for film producers and takes the greatest hit in terms of damage inflicted by illicit file-sharing of video content. The DEA offers a fair, proportionate and entirely reasonable way to help promote a change in behaviour to support our industry’s public awareness campaigns which are designed to signpost the many legal options for accessing video entertainment.” The full Court of Appeal decision is here.
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