A report by the London School of Economics has slammed the Digital Economy Act for failing to address the problems of copyright infringement and treating innocent people as criminals, on the eve of a judicial hearing on the Act.
The report, Creative Destruction and Copyright Protection, argues that the Act has been influenced by wayward information from rights holders which exaggerated the extent of the losses they believe they have suffered from file sharing.
"Claims about piracy and revenue losses are often based on the wishful thinking of rights holders," it said.
"They assume that most unauthorised copies would be replaced by the sale of a legitimate product if file-sharing was effectively controlled."
As such, report author, Bart Cammaerts said the DEA gets the balance between copyright enforcement and innovation wrong and will stifle innovation in the industry.
He argued that the creative industries need to consider other ways of addressing the issue, rather than using the DEA to prop up existing business models.
"The music industry and artists should innovate and actively reconnect with their sharing fans rather than treat them as criminals," he said.
"They should acknowledge there are other reasons for its relative decline beyond the sharing of copyright protected content, not least the rising costs of live performances and other leisure services to the detriment of leisure goods."
The reports other author and LSE expert, Bingchun Meng, agreed that the DEA was too heavily weighted in favour of rights' holders and urged the government to change its strategy.
"The DEA has given too much consideration to the interests of copyright holders, while ignoring other stakeholders such as users, ISPs [internet service providers], and new players in the creative industry," he said.
"I hope the Judicial Review will make the government reconsider its approach toward file-sharing."
BT and TalkTalk are set to challenge the DEA in the High Court on Wednesday and Thursday after having successfully secured the right to a judicial review in November.
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