In the wake of a recent landmark decision in the High court the business secretary, Vince Cable, has announced that the government plans to scrap the controversial provisions in the Digital Economy Act (DEA), as previously covered, to block illegal file sharing websites. He dubbed the provisions cumbersome and unworkable.
The DEA has faced many critics since receiving royal assent in April last year, with many questioning how acceptable blocking access to websites is. None of this, however, seemed to bear any relevance on Mr Justice Arnold’s decision in requiring BT to block access for all their customers to the notorious website, Newzbin2.
Where this case leaves the DEA’s provisions is unclear. There will no doubt be a wave of claims against ISP’s, particularly as BT have chosen not to appeal. However, there are wider implications of imposing a blanket ban on access to a website such as the accidental blocking of ‘innocent’ sites first and foremost. The risk of driving illegal content sharing further underground, or indeed offshore as seen with Newzbin2 or through proxy servers also remains prominent.
One thing that remains certain is that much of the film and music industry welcomed this decision in the High court. However, imposing such regulation may be more complex and legally challenging than originally anticipated.