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TalkTalk Chief Executive Dido Harding believes there is light at the end of the tunnel for the broadband industry where copyright protection is concerned.

Under the controversial Digital Economy Act, broadband providers face meeting the cost of reducing access to websites which breach copyright laws.

However, communications regulator Ofcom recently ruled that existing legislative provisions forcing service providers to block access to pirate websites are "not effective".

And Ms Harding believes the government could be ready to consider an alternative course of action.

She explained that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested that responsibility for reducing access to sites which carry or distribute unlawful content should fall on content providers, carriers and advertisers.

This represents a shift from the position taken by the Digital Economy Act, which puts the onus on broadband providers rather than rights holders.

"We believe the measures set in the act are grossly unfair and will result in innocent customers suffering and being presumed guilty," Ms Harding stated.

"We respect the need to reduce copyright infringement but believe it must be done in a fair way which protects customers' interests."

Speaking last week, Mr Hunt said broadband providers would only be asked to block access to sites which a court has determined carries unlawful content or has promoted the distribution of such material.

"We have long argued that it is for the courts to decide whether a site is infringing copyright and should be blocked and we are pleased that the Culture Secretary agrees with this position," Ms Harding stated.

"We believe it is far more sensible and workable to focus on tackling sites which promote illegal filesharing rather than scaring innocent customers."

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