Federation Against Software Theft calls it “staggering” that after “years of consultation, of debate and of Parliamentary time” the Act is being challenged by ISPs. Says ISPs are using the review as a “fig-leaf for their own agendas” and that it’s merely a “last ditch attempt…to ensure they are not hit financially.”
Soon after it was announced that Justice Wyn Williams had granted a request by UK ISPs TalkTalk and BT for a judicial review of the controversial Digital Economy Act the Federation Against Software Theft chimed in to make its displeasure with the decision known.
“The underlying issue here is not that the Act was pushed through Parliament in the so-called ‘wash-up’ period, but that the ISPs are trying to use this as a fig-leaf for their own agendas,” says FAST CEO, John Lovelock.
TalkTalk and BT believe the Act was passed into law without going through the correct parliamentary procedures, that it was rushed through Parliament in the so-called ”wash up” period, and that this haste meant it became law without being properly scrutinized and without its impact being properly assessed.
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%).
Lovelock glosses over this fact, calling it “staggering that this Act, bourn out of years of consultation, of debate and of Parliamentary time, is now being challenged in some last ditch attempt by the ISPs to ensure they are not hit financially.”
Consultation and debate were sorely lacking, and ISPs aren’t likely to see any reduction in profits. Any costs associated with enforcing the Act will passed on to consumers like any other others that arise as a result of government action. The govt already decided that the cost will be split 75:25 with the latter being the share borne by ISPs, and it’s precisely why TalkTalk called it unfair that “ISPs and their customers will be forced to pay for the costs of the music and film industries to enforce their own copyright.”
UK ISP Timico even pointed out that the “govt is indirectly subsidizing the Creative industry by taxing the internet industry and giving the taxes to Rights Holders.”
Lovelock criticizes the review as a “rear guard action” that is trying to undermine the Act through the courts, but isn’t that how a democracy works? He doesn’t seem to know, and it’s made more clear by his statement that the Act will create “more tax revenue and more workers in employment” via an increase in legitimate sales. This is patently false.
By cracking down on UK citizens alone all the Act will do is shift preexisting revenue streams. Every new dollar a file-sharer spends on legally acquiring content is a dollar they longer spend on clothes, food, or even other types of copyrighted material. There is no pot of gold in waiting from which to create new revenue, taxes, or employment.
But, I guess what would you expect from the group that at least up until April of this year thought Swedish BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay was “under new ownership,” that it had been sold for £4.7 million ($7.4 million USD) last Summer, “providing the owners with a multi-million pound windfall.”