Much in the news yesterday was the request from BT and TalkTalk for a judicial review into the Digital Economy Act. Nobody I spoke to from the ISP industry had any further details of this other than to say that Sky and Virgin were notably absent from the story line.
This is likely to be because the latter two are far more closely aligned to the content provision industry with BT and TalkTalk being really just (or largely in the case of BT) connectivity providers.
People should not get too excited at the prospect of a Judicial Review. This is just a process of checking to see that the legal process was followed. Did it receive the required number of readings in Parliament? etc.etc
The Act, as we all know, was rushed through with outrageous haste as the last gasp of a dying government. The issue will be whether, in the rush for the door, the government made any mistakes in process that could invalidate the Act. This would mean that Parliament would have to start the whole process again.
There is clearly no desire on the part of the present government to revisit the Act although if the review did find any transgressions they would have no choice. I imagine if the review did uncover an issue a head might roll in the civil service – the politicians’ heads have already been lopped off for unassociated reasons.
How long a Judicial Review will take is also in my mind an issue. It wouldn’t surprise me if this lasts into next year by which time much of the damage, in terms of costs having to be incurred by ISPs, will already have been done.
The picture below is me with Feargal Sharkey at last night’s ISPA Awards. Feargal gave a speech and expressed the sentiments that two industries (ISPs and music rights holders) need to get the lawyers out of the equation and get on with the job.
Unfortunately the lawyers are already gathered firmly around the trough, are chomping away to their hearts’ content and won’t be shifted in a hurry.
PS I get to meet al the celebs – check out me and David Beckham here.
Additional news later on Friday – BT and TalkTalk press release here.