back to article BT, TalkTalk lose final appeal against Digital Economy Act

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 The telcos want certain sections of the Digital Economy Act repealed, and took their fight to Blighty's Court of Appeal after most of their arguments were tossed out by a High Court judge in April last …


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  1. LesC

    Pot, meet Kettle

    Isn't this a bit rich from the company that trialled Phorm without its subscribers' knowledge and from the other one that uses Son of Phorm for it's so-called 'award winning' parental control software that allegedly tracks everywhere you go?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      SILVER LINING.....?

      Could this mean that if you have your account snooped on by some third party WITHOUT a court order, under EU legislation it is an invasion of privacy.

      The answer is yes, so this may still drag on for years.

      May even raise the question of compensation.

      M'lud my client is 86, she only ever emails her daughter in Australia, she does not understand what p2p means, this letter from her isp has caused her untold stress. I think £100,000 would be adequate compensation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protect customer privacy

    The best way they can do this is to provide a free VPN service - or set up a new company to provide the service for their customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Using VPNs to protect privacy only makes sense if the VPN server is located in a country whose laws take privacy more seriously than the country hosting the VPN client. The upstream ISP for your VPN server can otherwise be asked for the contact details of its operator just as easily as a broadband ISP can be asked for the contact details associated with use of a domestic IP address.

      So if you are thinking of setting up such a service for this purpose, consider first the laws and the enforcement of these within your preferred hosting jurisdiction very carefully.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: VPN

        Quite possibly. I'm not sure if the laws for ISPs extend to VPN providers though. If a connection comes through a VPN is the VPN provider obliged to disclose the originating IP address? There are some VPN providers out there who (like certain proxy services) state they don't record this info, and do not give it out (as they can't) - their claims are to be tested admittedly.

        If this does extend to VPN providers then does it also extend to operates of TOR exit nodes? Undoubtedly the media companies will try to extend the rules as people switch to VPN, TOR, I2P etc but I don't think it does yet.

        Worst case, if you are correct, is as you say - set up the VPN in a safe harbour (who knows, maybe Scotland in the near future could generate some revenue from this if they break away from the UK).

        Anyway, we still have the UK supreme court - who may yet see sense - here's hoping.

  3. Steve Evans
    Big Brother

    I for one do not welcome our big brother overlords.

    So, have us peasants got any form of appeal against a warning, or are UK pensioners doomed to receive three warnings for downloading west coast gangstar rap before being banished from the intarweb?

    1. cannon
      Big Brother

      Re: I for one do not welcome our big brother overlords.

      you are guilty until proved innocent & legal aid has removed for appeals. you sit in front of an appeal board paid by the media industry that you have to fund..

      corporate police state uk

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How I learned to love TOR

    If you want to hide your activity from the ISP, etc then use TOR.

    As long as you are aware that your messages can be intercepted using Tor you will be o.k - the important thing is that although non SSL content can be seen by sniffers, etc ISPs/gov's, etc can't see the ip address of the originating traffic.

    i.e as long as you don't login to your email/facebook, etc or give away any personal details you are safe.

    I suggest using the Linux based tails live cd - not only can you trust this (unlike running Tor in Windows) but it forces ALL connections though Tor meaning you can't accidently give yourself away by clicking on a video file , etc.

  5. irish donkey

    I would rather recieve a warning

    Than a letter from ACS:Law or their like.

    Not that I do download. (Steam is way good enough for me). The only thing that worries me is what if they get it wrong. My understanding is that if a Rights Holder see's my IP in a torrent swam or such like then they can write to my ISP who will send me a warning letter.

    I am then notified that 'something' is amiss as I don't download. I can then query the letter.

    And say not me 'Yer Honour'. Or will they just look at my spending habits and say this dude isn't spending enough money with us. Better send him a warning letter?

    Clarification required here.


    "we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights"

    That's new.

    BT weren't so concerned to defend customer's rights when they covertly rolled out Phorm's spyware. And TalkTalk weren't so concerned when they imposed Huawei's involuntary spyware.

    So it can't come as any surprise to them then to lose this case (again).

    What I guess they meant to say was "we will continue fighting in an effort to establish and maintain a commercially attractive regulatory environment that allows us to continue to violate our customer's rights with total impunity".

    1. Michael 47

      Re: "we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights"

      Of course BT don't care about your rights or privacy. Allow me to translate:

      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."


      A BT Spokesman said "We have spoken to every possible court to get this law struck down as we don't want to pay to implement it. Now the courts have decided it's okay, we are going to get a lot very smart lawyers to find any loophole possible so we can safely ignore this law, and continue doing as we please.

  7. Purlieu

    False positives

    what could possibly go wrong

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I would rather recieve a warning than a letter from ACS:Law or their like."

    Eh? Those ACS Law letters were just speculative invoices which could have been safely ignored (just like scam private parking tickets).

    Anyway, if the likes of BT are so determined to fight this bill, what appetite will they have to send out threatening letters?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not final

    Apparently they can, and are expected to, take this to the UK supreme court - according to comments made to the BBC by a copyright lawyer, Adam Rendle mentioned in the Torrent Freak article.

  10. Derichleau

    It's a pointless law

    So I can record a TV programme on a video recorder or a hard drive recorder, I can keep it for years or even decades, and no one has a problem with that. Yet if I download the same programme from a torrent I'm breaking the law. Where's the logic in that?

    And the argument that downloading is costing millions in lost revenue is rubish. In the early days of eBay I actually used to make money by buying a series cheap from somewhere like, watching it at my leisure, and then selling it on eBay. I then bought another series, and another and so on. I watched lots of series this way and not only did it not cost me anything, I actually made money from it. The only thing it cost me was the hassle of packaging and posting the items.

    My point is, it's not the downloading that's costing millions, it's the fact that people can buy and sell second hand goods that is costing millions. For many, downloading the files is just an easier way of doing it. If this has to stop then they'll find another way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a pointless law

      This is exactly the problem. The moral justification for the licensing laws are based on 1950's-1960's tech where the public could not hold onto broadcasts or reproduce recordings.

      I recently rented a film from Blockbuster but didn't get around to watching it before I had to take it back, as it was a one-day new release. I paid, therefore I'll watch, by hook or (in this case) by crook. Tech has outpaced concepts around licensing, because licensing hasn't progressed past the VCR so we've ended up with weird and nonsensical laws. When laws don't make sense, people tend to ignore them.

      Hopefully Ultraviolet will bring back at least a semblance of sanity, imperfect though it is. I'd like to see UV codes for catchup-tv. I'm a little surprised that the catchup-tv people don't run p2p trackers and seed them with the catchup-tv version of their shows once they have been broadcast.

      I suspect that the real problem is that the advertising model doesn't work when you make the advertising really, really obnoxious. I remember (I'm not sure how accurately) the days of ITV having three twenty-second ads every twenty minutes. For that, I'm willing to sit through them. For five or six minutes of ads with an equal amount of programing in between, there isn't a chance I'm going to sit through them and I'll be very active in avoiding them, quite possibly ditching watching the show completely.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protection of Privacy - TOR support

    If BT and Talk-Talk are so in favour of customer privacy perhaps they should come out with a statement whereby they "approve of the use of TOR exit nodes", and support operators of those nodes against abuse complaints and disconnection notices - or even operate some high speed TOR exits themselves.

    It would be nice to see both of them appear on this the GOOD section.

  12. Keep Refrigerated

    Working to Spec

    It seems to me that this was always less about "protecting our users" and more about "not bearing the costs of implementing this thing" - whilst attempting to co-opt privacy advocates in a kind of mutual enemy-of-my-enemy bargain.

    Of course, if they're forced to pay for it and really interested in subverting these measures, they would allocate $0 budget to the cost of mailing. Simply send the letters out en masse without stamps, causing big media to have to pay for another court case in order to enforce the cost and usage of stamps. If they lose again, print the letters with disappearing ink... then print the letters on very thin paper that gets shredded in transit... and so on.

    After all, the court order says ISPs have to shoulder the costs, does it go into specifics about how they implement it - i.e. stationery they must use?

  13. Lallabalalla

    Here we go again.

    I remember the 70's, when home taping completely killed off the music industry. Record companies and artists have not made a single penny since then, and now the movie industry is going to suffer the same fate.

    Oh, wait...

    I for one side with The Grateful Dead. Not only do they encourage bootlegging, as it used to be called, they actually provided stereo feeds direct from the mixing desk at their gigs so that fans could produce tapes & vinyl. Their POV was that their music should be heard as widely as possible. Almost 2,200 shows were taped, and most of these are available online (wikipedia). In their book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From the Most Iconic Band in History, David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan identify the taper section as a crucial idea in increasing the Grateful Dead's fan base.

    The Dead have often been the world's top-grossing band. I particularly "like" the fact that when Uncle Jerry died, it crashed the Wall St. email system.

  14. Purlieu


    In fact the movie industry has already suffered the same fate - VCR killed it stone dead in the 80's/90's

    Oh wait

    It didn't do that, though they very vehemently (more so than now) fought to ban VCR, in the end it saved their businesses. Did they learn from that ? Hahaha

  15. David 45

    Well, well.

    Why am I not surprised?

  16. Pirate Peter

    lets put this through the bullshit detector !!!

    <b>Though we have lost this appeal we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights against this ill-judged legislation," the telco added.</b>

    good god the detector overloaded and exploded

    lets put it through the isp speak translator now


    "we can't make any money out of enforcing this and it will cost us a fortune in time to respond to request, not to mention the cost of sending out all those letters

    and if we are forced to disconnect any customers we have lost all that revenue that we have fought so had to lock in with unfair long term rolling contracts with no easy get-out options.

    we also reserve our right to be the only company to exploit our customers"

    i think that says it all

  17. h 2

    Film/Music industries should now be making massive profits ?

    On the BBC site it quotes "The creative industry argues that piracy costs £400m"

    So now that the main file sharing sites have effectively closed for file sharers, their profits should now be up,

    In the two months since Christmas they should have made an extra £66m , but something tells me they have not.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More efforts to curb piracy are good

    Each pirate that is convicted should pay $10K per copy to reimburse ISPs for the efforts required to reduce piracy. No money means mandatory prison time.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 crusty old judges

    with no idea of how the internet works making a judicial decision on this?

    British in-justice for you!

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