TalkTalk and BT had asked High Court to look at whether it was passed into law without going through correct parliamentary procedures, and whether some of proposed measures fight illegal file-sharing could “harm the basic rights and freedoms of citizens.” Expect a ruling this Thursday, but acknowledge a likely delay.
They argued the Act was passed into law without going through the correct parliamentary procedures, that it was rushed through Parliament in the ”wash up” period, and that this haste meant it became law without being properly scrutinized and without its impact being properly assessed.
As I mentioned after the Act’s passage, a process that would’ve normally taken several weeks or even months of legislative scrutiny was squeezed into a two-hour Commons debate where only 39 of 646 MPs took part (5%). Worse still, only 236 MPs actually voted (189 Ayes, 47 Noes).
“In addition to having these procedural concerns, we believe the measures proposed to try to prevent illegal file-sharing could harm the basic rights and freedoms of citizens,” said Charles Dunstone, Chairman of the TalkTalk Group.
“In particular, we are concerned that obligations imposed by the Act may not be compatible with important European rules that are designed to ensure that national laws protect users’ privacy, restrict the role of ISPs in policing the internet and maintain a single market.”
Now, according to Trefor Davies, Chief Technology Officer for business ISP Timico UK, Andrew Heaney, Director of Strategy and Regulation for UK ISP TalkTalk, expects to hear the results of this judicial review as early as this Thursday.
“Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk tells me that they are in theory expecting to hear the result of the Judicial Review into the Digital Economy Act this Thursday,” Davies writes in a blog post. “He didn’t seem hugely optimistic that this date would actually be met. I guess considering the obscene haste with which the DEBill/DEAct was rushed through we should reasonably expect the judge to take his time on this one and make sure he gets it right.”
Considering the dramatic consequences the DEA will have on UK citizens, particularly the death of public Wi-Fi, website filtering, and Internet disconnection for entire households, let’s hope the court does take its time.
The DEA stipulates that Ofcom must have a code of practice in place delineating how ISPs will be forced to comply within 8 months from the time of Royal Assent, the Queen’s formal approval of the legislation, giving the court several months worth of leeway before it’s too late.
Let’s hope it side with the majority of UK citizens who believe the legislation goes to far to protect copyright holders, especially in light of the fact that one of its most vocal proponents – the UK music industry – is enjoying another year or record revenue.