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BT, TalkTalk in court seeking axe for Digital Economy Act

Don't care to rat out lucrative customers

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Two of the UK's largest internet service providers are appearing in the High Court later today to try to overturn the government's Digital Economy Act.

BT and TalkTalk say the Act is in breach of European privacy and human rights legislation. The law was passed during the fag-end days of the last government and saw little debate in Parliament.

The service providers object to playing the role of policeman to their own customers. They also have a vested interest in selling bandwidth.

The government and its supporters in this matter, which include Equity and the BPI, will claim file-sharing damages their markets or members.

The basis of enforcement of the Act – which necessitates identifying IP addresses as being associated with individual subscribers – has been questioned recently in court.

Swinish ambulance-chaser Andrew Crossley and ACS:Law have made at least £300,000 by sending letters to alleged infringers. But in February a judge said Crossley's tactics were questionable and that problems remained with linking an IP address to an individual subscriber.

The case is expected to last at least six weeks. ®

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