Industry bodies have welcomed the news that the European Union and major nations have agreed not to use a three-strikes approach to combat copyright infringement as part of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks.
The ruling is at odds with the recently passed Digital Economy Act that contains measures for internet service providers to send letters to persistent file sharers and potentially disconnect them from the internet.
Copyright lawyer Robin Fry from Beachcroft LLP suggested that the move could have significant repercussions for the UK.
"In essence anyone disconnected under the Digital Economy Act could challenge that ruling in the European Courts of Justice claiming the UK laws are not good enough as they don't follow the ACTA agreement," he said.
"This could pose some significant international challenges as organisations may be prepared to back any individuals who looked to challenge a UK ruling in the European courts."
Fry also said that it is interesting to note the way in which ACTA had been put together, as countries have "given up" on the usual structures such as the World Trade Organisation to discuss these issues as a small group.
Florian Leppla, a campaigner for the Open Rights Group, which vigorously opposed the Digital Economy Act, was upbeat about the announcement, but called for even greater transparency.
"It appears from this statement that we are finally going to see what is being proposed in the ACTA negotiations. If it is true this will be a great victory for campaigners calling for transparency," she said.
"However, it seems that individual countries' opinions will not be disclosed, so we won't know who is pushing for the most dangerous enforcement policies.
"We need an open process that allows consumer and citizens groups to influence the document."
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