back to article High Court squashes Digital Economy Act challenge

The High Court has tossed out a legal gambit by BT and Talk Talk to derail the copyright infringement portions of the Digital Economy Act. The judges rejected the arguments that the provisions designed to clean up their networks were unfair. The ISPs did get tossed a scrap, though, but it is a technicality relating to costs, and …


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  1. Mad Mike

    They still haven't worked it out yet.......

    The various industries affected (mainly music and films etc.) and the government (various over time) still haven't got it. No matter what they do, they will never stamp out copyright theft unless they tackle one fundamental issue. People will find ways round any measures they put in place to try and stop it. The genie is out the bottle. All the evidence suggests the major industries/companies being impected by this are those who have ridden roughshod over the consumer and been taking the p**s for years. Evidence shows that most people are quite willing to pay for content provided it is a reasonable cost. That's why music, films and software (as in the major players) are the ones primarily affected. They want completely unreasonable costs for their works and therefore when an alternative came about, people went for it.

    The only way to stop copyright theft (or a large proportion of it), is for these people to reduce their charges etc. to a reasonable level. Unfortunately for them, some of the copyright theft at the moment revolves around 'getting your own back', where people are getting their retribution for prior acts in now. Basically, unless they made the content free, it won't stop the theft. But, that's their problem and maybe they should invest some of their previous ill gotton profits into some payback.

    Free and community software normally has an ability to pay a donation and money does come in. So, the idea that everybody wants everything for nothing is plain wrong.

    Another area these industries and companies need to start addressing is their completely stupid claims of the size of the issue. If people can get something for nothing, they'll use it, but if they had to pay for it (even a modest amount), they probably wouldn't bother. So, all the illegal installs are not all lost money/profit. That's plain rubbish and makes the people claiming that look stupid as well.

    A substantial number of people who use Microsoft Office at the moment would simply switch to OO or something similar if they started having to pay. After all, OO is fully compatible, does pretty much everything a home user could desire and costs nothing. So, Microsoft Office takeup at home would drop like a stone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Poor example

      Because OO sucks, isn't macro-compatible, and looks like something from 1983.

      1. Cunningly Linguistic


        ...still perfectly adequate for the average home user who doesn't spend hours in front of a word processor and rarely uses macros.

  2. Sam Liddicott


    "Several other countries are adopting this measure..." that's adoptING - meaning they haven't yet, presumably (and from the news) they are hosting debates in those other countries too....

    I guess it's equally accurate to say "Several other countries are also not adopting this measure" if you have the perspective that it refers to a process that will cause the measure to eventually fail to be adopted in those countries.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge


      You could truthfully say "Several other countries are considering these measures (and may in fact never adopt them)"

      Rather than their statement which seems to read like "everyone else in the world is happy with it, so why aren't you??"

      I also find it interesting that there's never any mention of the likes of France who _do_ have a three-strikes rule. Last I checked it had made about as much difference as you'd expect from offering a free Creme egg to anyone who goes a whole year without downloading illegally.

      The pedant in me would love to think of a way to get the courts to prohibit them from using the word 'piracy' instead of Copyright infringement. One involves murder, pillage and rape whilst the other (depending on your interests) generally doesn't!

      I hold copyright on a number of things, and whilst I will pursue infringement the DEA is massively overblown and based on dodgy numbers. If I sell an image at £5 and you download it elsewhere and set as your desktop, have I lost £5? Or is it more likely that you'd simply have used a different photo? So what's the point in me doggedly pursuing individual users in the way that's happened in the past.

      I might fire an email to whoever's hosting the unauthorised copy, and hopefully might even reach a compromise which means more customers for me. Ultimately though, whilst it's my right to control my work, it's your right to decide whether to purchase or not. If I was to turn around and sue my own customers can I really complain about takings being down? That's what the *IAA's etc are doing.

      Wow, bit of pent up frustration there I guess

  3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    That's that then!

    Get ready for a load of shitty letters through your door 'cos your IP was used 2 miles down the road to torrent the latest blockbuster, roughly 8 weeks ago!

    I'd like to invite the assembled Reg readers to hazard a guess as to the ratio of innocents to genuine felons who will get a letter, I'll start with roughly 4 in 10 will be incorrectly accused!

    1. John G Imrie

      Doesn't matter

      The press will be able to publish lots of headlines about x number of arrests, where x is a large number, while ignoring the number of convictions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Shortly after they'll publish that "only one in ten are convicted"

        And do you think they'll claim that's a terrible thing that so many people 'get off', or that it's terrible that so many innocents are arrested for no reason?

  4. Eponymous Cowherd

    How to beat the pirates

    Give people the stuff they want at fair prices.

    Take the latest debacle over eBooks. For a large number of best sellers and new releases the eBook price exceeds that of even the hardback edition. This is profiteering, pure and simple.

    And now the publishers that concocted this price fixing "agency" model are starting to whine that their eBooks are appearing on BitTorrent.

    Its not about "educating" people, its about trying to force them to buy overpriced goods and services. And that's how "freetards" are born.

    I'm not much into music or movies, but I love a damn good read. Up until this week I was quite happy with my Kindle. So far every book I've looked at has been priced at, or just below, the paperback price. I've been working my way through Ian M Banks' "Culture" novels and bought every one through Amazon. Just got to his latest "Surface Detail".

    The price of the Kindle edition is *more* than the hardback!!!

    Am I going to pay that? Not a chance!!

    So, for the first time, I looked to see if I could find it on BitTorrent, and there it was!!! Still umming and ahhing over whether to download it and dive into "fretardery", or not, but I have to admit its bloody tempting, and, in some ways, justified. The publisher is trying to rip me off, so is there anything morally wrong in repaying the compliment??

    Now, I can well imagine how someone pissed off by stupid prices, etc, for a single title (book, music, or movie) could download *that* title, think "that was easy" and a "Freetard" is born.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Premier League???

      What does kicking a ball around a field have to do with the "creative industry"?

      Otherwise, what he said. ^^^^^

      1. Eponymous Cowherd

        Is it just me.....

        Or does that reply make no sense whatsoever?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've had the same

      _Bought_ Cats for the missus last year, only to find that the download was DRM'd and wouldn't play on my systems (all Linux or similar). Wasn't advertised at all on the page that it was DRM'd so you can image how impressed I was.

      So I popped onto Bittorrent and obtained a working copy, which incidentally downloaded at a higher bitrate than the one I just paid for.

      Being the cheeky bugger I am, I even fired an email off to the label telling them what I'd done, why I'd done it and that I wouldn't be bothering with the purchase bit until they either started admitting to the DRM or stopped insisting on it being there.

      Never got a reply, but also didn't get a knock on the door

    3. There's a bee in my bot net

      Download the torrent...

      and email the author explaining the situation and that you would like to pay them directly rather than overpaying for something that costs less to copy and distribute than a hardback does to print.

      I would use an throw away email account just in case the publisher owns the copyright rather than the author... let us know how you get on, I mean, M Banks might be a reasonable chap...

  5. g e

    So what's the excuse going to be

    When, following the DEA implementation, profits don't soar.

    Maybe the shareholders are just thick but they should have been shouting for real digital solutions from their investments years ago. Perhaps being backed into a corner is what they need.

    Nice that they're doing the 'backing' as well as the 'into' parts of that, though.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      'When, following the DEA implementation, profits don't soar.'

      They'll demand more from Vaizey and Hunt - stiffer fines, more interceptions, fees for using the Internet / buying a blank disk / buying a music player - honestly there is no end to the creative parts of the media industry (apart from actually creating good material). We'll hear more heart-bleeding stories about artists living in poverty and the trillions lost each year through privacy and once again the government will roll over to the media business.

      If they stopped treating their customers quite so badly it might help. New Blu-Ray, popped it in - ten trailers none of which were for the same demographic as the movie I wanted to watch, then when I got to the movie itself, an unskippable advert for Maltesers.

      Last week when travelling abroad I wanted to buy an eBook for the flight home. Waterstones refused to deliver the book to a computer located outside of the UK even though I had logged in to my own account and provided the correct CVS number on my card. One sale lost.

      1. Luther Blissett

        I can't believe you wrote that

        "...ten trailers none of which were for the same demographic as the movie I wanted to watch..."

        Truly hyperreal.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cue the whining

    Where do I pay to get these freetards booted off my network?

    Most people download a bit, and shouldn't be criminalised for it. I don't think these people are the target of the Act anyway, and wouldn't incur several letters but stop after one or two.

    But if an ISP promised to pass on the cost-savings it pocketed from kicking out the hardcore freeatards, I'd consider switching ISPs.

    1. M.A

      what savings

      any one who gets kicked off is a lost subscriber to that ISP therefore if a hundred people get kicked at even the lowest price per month i can find for a decent connection is £7.99 call it £8.00

      is 800 a month lost revenue. the cost gained from kicking those off would not equate to that.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Do you really have to ask?

        Someone using 100GB of traffic a month costs the ISP a fortune in traffic costs, because most of this bandwidth has to be bought and paid for. A tiny per centage of customers account for most of the costs, and eat up most of any profit. Torrentards also congest the network, which then needs traffic shaping.

        Losing the freetards makes good business sense.

        I know you copyright pirates are a bit thick, but do try and look up the numbers before you hit the Submit button.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Do you really have to ask?

          "I know you copyright pirates are a bit thick, but do try and look up the numbers before you hit the Submit button."

          Video streaming can easily use 3gb/hour, that’s only 1 hour a day for your 100GB freetard limit without any other internet usage whatsoever.

          I think it’s you that needs to throw less insults and spend that time getting your facts straight.

          So, who's a bit thick exactly?

        2. Anonymous Coward


          As all the ISP's now have a fair usage policy which has zero reference to fair usage and total reference to the amount of money they pay for the bandwidth, your argument is as full of hot air as you are.

          You clearly are a bit thick and need to learn about how ISP's work before hitting the submit button

  7. Anonymous Coward


    "...British Video Association's chief Lavinia Carey. "Several other countries are adopting this measure and it would be bad for Britain's creative industries to be left behind..."

    The BVA don't have a problem if I only copy stuff that originates outside the UK then?

  8. GarethJones

    This will all end in tears

    The DEA is ill thought out and in my opinion will only catch the innocent and IT illiterate people. As everyone with enough knowledge will know how to bypass the measures they put in place.

  9. a_c_g_t


    mad mikes post sums it up really.

    The amount of my hard earned cash in the past spent with them it's only right that I sometimes "not always" think I deserve a free top up of my cup.

    It's not as some might think a stab at lame self justification as I believe you should pay for things this is a Capitalist Society we live in after all.

    But with "the genie being out of the bag" the 40+ years of paying over inflated prices the prverbial waiter has left the coffee mug on my table and I wouldn't be human in helping myself to a free top up now and again.

    I'll leave a decent tip on the way out :)

  10. M.A

    doesnt matter

    what the DEA does is just drive file sharing further under ground encryption etc. not to mention legitimate files that may contain copyright material I work in Radio send large files of shows all over the world for broadcast I will be out of work as my ISP will not be able to tell the difference. so thanks britain this law stinks

    1. Elmer Phud


      You'll just get an email asking if you need to upgrade to a 'business' connection.

      And if you don't . . .

  11. The BigYin

    Here's the thing

    "The TUC's general secretary Brendan Barber described it as "a major boost to people who work in the creative industries and whose livelihoods are put at risk because creative content is stolen on a daily basis."

    By and large people WANT to support the creatives, but the current business model prevents that. People know that most of the money will vanish up the noses of execs and be squandered elsewhere, with the actual talent getting very little.

    Now, you can call "Bullshit" if you want and I will agree that there are quite a few bad-eggs out there who need a punch in the face, but if one looks at the success of attempts to work WITH people rather than AGAINST them, then one can see a glimmer of hope.

    Now, sure, these initiatives won't keep EMI or Sony afloat; but who gives two craps about them? So long as money gets to the creatives, that's the important thing.

    One would have thought that empowering creatives to directly connect with their customers and taking the creatives out from under the yoke of the majors would have been something the TUC is in favour of!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a positive note

    At least our legislators are able to draw up a bill that is resistant to challenge thereby saving parliamentary time that would be needed to redraft.

  13. Mark C 2
    Thumb Down

    Copyright Theft?

    No, you mean Copyright Infringement.

    If I steal your CD collection that is theft.

    If I illegally copy your CD collection then that is copyright infringment and the issue is with the copyright holder, not you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Sharing != Theft


      Theft Act, 1968: "A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it."

      By their logic, I could accuse the paytards of stealing the word theft. Not sure they'd get the irony though.

      1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

        Theft Act

        Unfortunately there is a bit in there which goes something like 'to obtain pecuniary advantage' ie end up either in profit or not out of pocket.

        Still don't think they should be using the phrase though as it is stretching definitions beyond their elastic limit.

        And no, they are NOT pirates, if you want to play word games go buy a scrabble set (am I allowed to use that word without acknowledging trademark/copyright etc etc?)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Freetard fail

    The old "infringement isn't theft" chestnut.

    If you make an unauthorized copy of that CD onto another CD it's copyright infringement. The internet just means you can have a mass CD burner running 24x7.

  15. Ivor 1

    RIPA vs DEA

    Have I misunderstood, or does not the RIPA amendments preventing "interception" make it impossible for an ISP to even examine your traffic to see whether illegal filesharing is taking place without the permission of both parties involved? Now THAT I would call entertainment.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: RIPA vs DEA

      The ISP doesn't examine any traffic. The copyright holder must do the digging, and provide accurate information. All the ISP does is identify the suspect and inform them.

  16. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    They complain about a "long and complex judgment", but

    they use the words "sufficiently definitive enough". Any one of those words would have been sufficiently definitive enough, surely!

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I find myself agreeing with Talk Talk and BT.

    Whatever your thoughts on copyright infringement (it's not theft because you're not depriving the copyright holder of their work) there is no way the DEA makes sense.

    It should not be up to the ISPs to police their users any more than it's up to a highways contractor to police the roads. We have law enforcement agencies for a reason.

    Furthermore this law should work like every other law. If the "creative industry" has a complaint about somebody it should make a complaint to the police who then investigate. We should not have a system where one business can approach another and ask for evidence against a private individual. At a time when RIPA is supposedly being tightened up the DEA goes against so many legal principals it's unbelievable.

    However given that our legal system is not one of administrive certainty there's a reasobable chance that when this is tested in a court of law by the first prosecution it will fail.

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