[Martin Caton in the Chair] — Intellectual Property
Eric Joyce (Falkirk, Labour)
I hear what my hon. Friend says, but in debates about intellectual property and copyright, as we have seen today—with one exception, on the matter of parody—the traffic all goes one way. It is quite easy to understand the importance of copyright, intellectual property and the creative industries. Conversely, it is easy to label people who copy things without paying
for them as pirates and say they are committing illegal acts. However, without lauding that, it is a fact that the internet is a fantastic copying machine, and that is what happens. If we want to criminalise everyone who does it, we are on a hiding to nothing. We are criminalising everyone’s children to start with.
People sometimes say, “It’s exactly the same as theft. People download a record track and don’t pay for it. That is money that the industry forgoes.” That is a highly debatable and questionable proposition. Frequently, people want their stuff to be spread around the place and be copied, because it encourages other revenue streams.