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BT, TalkTalk lose final appeal against Digital Economy Act

An expensive verdict for telcos

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Updated BT and TalkTalk today lost their final appeal against the UK government's measures to stamp out illegal file-sharing online.

The telcos want certain sections of the Digital Economy Act repealed, and took their fight to Blighty's Court of Appeal after most of their arguments were tossed out by a High Court judge in April last year. The DEA requires ISPs to warn file sharers that they are suspected of infringing copyright if a rights holder complains.

However, this morning a trio of judges sitting in London dismissed the telcos' appeal.

Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Patten all ruled against BT and TalkTalk's arguments and upheld the High Court's earlier judgment on all grounds other than on the matter of costs.

"I would dismiss the appeal, save in relation to the issue of 'case fees'," said Lord Justice Richards.

"We’re disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties," TalkTalk told The Register.

"We are reviewing this long and complex judgement and considering our options. Though we have lost this appeal we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights against this ill-judged legislation," the telco added.

A BT spokesman said: "We have been seeking clarification from the courts that the DEA is consistent with European law, and legally robust in the UK, so that everyone can be confident in how it is implemented. Now that the court has made its decision, we will look at the judgment carefully to understand its implications and consider our next steps."

The judgment can be read here [PDF]. ®

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