Economy: Creative Industries
Lord Clement-Jones (Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, what a distilled debate—we could probably sell bottles of it. I want very briefly to raise issues raised by the Select Committee, and referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Smith, in its excellent New Media and the Creative Industries report. The committee expressed strong concern about the lack of progress by the Government on copyright development, which in itself makes the argument for establishing a strategic advisory board on IP policy, as the Gowers review recommended. What plans do the Government have to include that in their Green Paper? I hope that they will take it forward.
The committee urges the Government to press the European Commission to bring forward proposals to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings to 70 years. We on these Benches have always thought that that extension should be combined with archive protection and compulsory licensing. However, the industry itself is now moving voluntarily down that track. We strongly support the committee's recommendation. What are the Government doing in this respect? I asked an oral Question on this subject in December last. What consultations are taking place on the Government's recommendations to the European Union? The European Union is clearly in pole position on this, but the Government's attitude—since the UK has such an important position on music and recorded music copyright—will be vital.
Then there is the question of piracy. The Government are simply not doing enough, the committee concludes. Exemplary damages need to be considered. The committee says that the deterrent effect of the current enforcement regime is zero. Action needs to be taken on unauthorised copying of films by camcorders in the cinema. There is also the question of the so-called file sharing of music.
Finally, there is the question of fostering the investment climate in new media business development. In many ways we have gone backwards in this respect. I hope that the Green Paper will address all those issues. I hope that it does not consist only of a new task force—the previous one seems to have disappeared without trace. Even the Creative Economy Programme set up in 2005 is likewise not very visible. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.