Digital Economy Act sent to Ofcom for reviewOfcom to decide if 'certain sections are workable'

01 February 2011

Digital Britain

Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has asked Ofcom to review elements of the Digital Economy Act to decide if the provisions are workable.

The Digital Economy Act, which is intended to protect copyright holders in creative industries by blocking illegal file sharing, was passed in April prior to the coalition government coming to power. 

Ofcom will review the website blocking elements of the bill that are aimed at preventing illegal streaming of live TV from outside the UK.

Specifically, Ofcom has been asked to review:

  • Whether ISPs can effectively block websites
  • How robust the blocks would be and how easily they could be circumvented
  • Whether specific parts of a website could be blocked
  • How much it will cost ISPs to implement the blocking required.

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Response to public feedback

A statement issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport states that the review was prompted by public feedback through the Your Freedom website, which was set up by the government to canvas public opinion on issues.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

"When we launched Your Freedom, I promised that the ideas submitted would be given proper consideration. Although reform of the Digital Economy Act did not form part of the Coalition Agreement, we have listened to the views expressed. The Government will look at whether we have the right tools for the job in addressing the problem of online copyright infringement."

Judicial review imminent

As Which? reported in November, the Digital Economy Act is also subject to a judicial review brought by BT and Talk Talk. They allege that the act doesn't comply with European law. The review is due to be heard on 22 to 24 March 2011.

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