[Martin Caton in the Chair] — Intellectual Property
Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire, Scottish National Party)
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention. That is why I did not make that point. I just knew that he was bursting to make it on my behalf, and he made it so much better than I ever could have, so I am grateful to him.
Nowhere in the Hargreaves report is there a real economic impact assessment. No assessment is made of the threat to existing businesses and existing business models from the recommendations. I am conscious that I have been speaking for almost half an hour. I want other hon. Members to be able to speak, so I will just say a couple more things.
What are we doing about the Digital Economy Act 2010? When will the recommendations be implemented? We need to get a move on. I know that it is not this Minister’s responsibility; it is down to the DCMS. That goes back to the problem that I was trying to explain earlier of the responsibility being split being Departments. That is of no use or value whatever. However, we need now to address the Digital Economy Act. We need to implement the recommendations. I am sure that the Minister saw the fantastic report done by the film industry that said that we are losing out by not tackling piracy effectively. We have seen the example of France. We know that measures similar to those in the DEA work. France has been able to direct traffic towards legal downloading sites, and there has been a decrease in pirated works, so we know that that works. The UK is falling behind countries such as New Zealand, France and Italy. We need to get on with implementing the recommendations in relation to the DEA.
I know that there is still work to be done with regard to Ofcom’s assessment, but the Minister should be on the phone to Ofcom daily, saying, “What’s going on? Come on, Ofcom. Get a move on. Make sure you put this code of practice in place.” We are still in the appalling situation in which very powerful internet service providers are, through various court actions,
thwarting and frustrating the implementation of the DEA recommendations. Let us get on and ensure that we fix that.
This is an important sector. We need to fix or resolve a number of things. We need effective political control. We need to ensure that the IPO is properly managed, with ministerial authority and control over what is going on. We should remember that there is no content without the creator, the artist or the inventor. If we predicate our whole approach to the digital economy on the idea that those who abuse or use that content are of more concern and interest to the Government than those who create it, we will be in serious trouble, and we will cause serious damage.
We are at a crossroads with some of the consultations I mentioned. We could still have world-class creative industries; we have the greatest creative sector in the world, and we export more content per head of population than any other nation, so let us do absolutely nothing that threatens that. I trust that the Minister will take these points away with him and ensure that we continue to do everything we can in the best interests of our creative industries and our creative sector.