The campaign against the Digital Economy Act took a new turn with reports from the BBC that BT and Talk Talk are jointly mounting a legal challenge against the act.
The two companies consider there is a case for a judicial review as they believe that the Act received insufficient debate and that the proposals harm basic freedoms, according to the BBC. The Act was pushed through in the last days of the outgoing Labour government after a very truncated debate and despite a vocal minority of MPs against it and despite a massive campaign run through blogs, Twitter and email from outside parliament.
Talk Talk has been the most vocal of the ISPs against the Act and was already spearheading a campaign against its provisions, notably the requirement for ISPs to police suspected copyright breaches. Campaigners against the Act were disappointed when the new coalition government decided to support – even though the Liberal Democrats had been the only major party against the Act.
BT and Talk Talk hope that the judicial review will clarify whether the Act infringes EU legislation, particularly as to whether ISPs can be held responsible for what's on the their networks.
According to a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Act will protect the economy from the continued threat of online copyright infringement "We believe measures are consistent with EU legislation and that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the rights of consumers and ISPs and will continue to work on implementing them," the statement said
Neither BT nor TalkTalk was available for comment at time of going to press.