Broadband News

TalkTalk present pitfalls of Digital Economy Bill to government

The Digital Economy Bill cannot protect copyright, MPs and Peers were told today at a briefing from Internet provider TalkTalk, the largest residential broadband provider in the UK. The company presented the case that the Bill will just encourage people to develop new ways around restrictions that are put in place, and showed examples of some of the tools that are currently available to allow people to do this. These included:

  • applications that scan Internet radio stations to download and catalogue tracks from selected artists
  • services to conceals the users IP address to avoid detection
  • websites that stream pay-to-view sporting events outside the UK
  • tools to rip content from TV and music players such as iPlayer

These are just a small sample of ways that people can work around copyright protection and don't include the current commonly used methods of downloading from sharing websites or P2P networks which the Digital Economy Bill hopes to address.

TalkTalk also pointed out that the reason users resort to copyright theft isn't always financial. Many people are just irritated by digital rights management which restricts what they can do with media that they buy, such as restricting it to only play on one device.

"The measures in the Digital Economy Bill will hasten the migration away from P2P, ignite the development of new tools and popularise the notion that stealing content is socially acceptable, akin to breaking the speed limit by one or two miles per hour. The inevitable consequence of persisting with this legislation will be to increase the moral chasm between labels and fans and between government and citizens..

"Record labels and film studios need to find new ways of persuading fans to pay for their content. Those that can't find new ways of making money in the digital age won't survive. They will be replaced by new ventures which see the online environment as an opportunity rather than a problem."

Charles Dunstone, (Chief Executive) TalkTalk

Whether those who make the laws will pay attention to what is being said will be seen in time. The Bill is currently in the House of Lords and has some way to go before it would see light of day as UK law. If you want to help persuade those who makes the decisions that this Bill needs changing, the Open Rights Group is running a campaign to encourage people to contact their MP to stand up against the Digital Economy Bill, and TalkTalk created an E-petition at which currently has around 32,000 signatures.


just listening to the debate in the Lords at the moment. Think Charles is knocking his head against a brick wall. The good Lords bring up objections and suggestions, and the minister just spins it and kills it. The dark lord has no intention of listening to Lords, Charles or grassroots. He is trying to break our internet to protect an obsolete business model. This whole bill is a total farce.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 11 years ago

All four of the above mentioned workarounds are readily accesible by anyone. Ultimately its all about time and money. I bought a really good CD while passing an HMV shop recently, encouraged by a price of less than 10p a track to add to my collection. Tomorrow I won't bother with poor quality streaming football because the main game is free from the old Astra satellite. To be successful in business you have to provide the product to the customer at the price they are prepared to pay!

  • meldrew
  • over 11 years ago

While Talk Talk need to be giving a pat on the back by trying to show people can still use workarounds you do have to question why they cant look at their own business as sensibly and logically.

  • over 11 years ago

Well if the Media Companies Has 2 Brain cells to rub together they would realise that this is the 21st Century and that the Internet is in nearly every home (and if the Government pull their finger out IN every home).

  • Fixer109
  • over 11 years ago


Maybe(?) they would earn more money and finally pay the artists that created the output more money as their share of the medium revenue.

  • Fixer109
  • over 11 years ago

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