Intellectual Property

Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 20th November 2008.

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Photo of Ian Gibson Ian Gibson Labour, Norwich North 10:30 am, 20th November 2008

What assessment he has made of the likely effect on creators of the proposed changes to the UK intellectual property framework.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Minister of State (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Higher Education & Intellectual Property)

The Government value our creators and the strength of our creative industries. Our work in this area responds to the challenges of the digital age and the needs of creators, rights holders and users of the copyright system. We consider the impact of the proposals on all stakeholders, including creators, as part of the process of evaluation.

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Photo of Ian Gibson Ian Gibson Labour, Norwich North

I thank the Minister for that answer. I am sure that he agrees that we are blessed by this country's writing community, who produce such creative work and help economically in the creative industries, as he points out. He knows, however, that they face a serious challenge involving the digital environment in which they operate, where they are calling for fair pay for fair use of their work. As he spins things out in terms of people's right to use downloading, new digital forces and so on, will he ensure that the measures that his Department comes up with comply with the European copyright rule, which allows the people who develop and drive the creative industries to get fair compensation for their work?

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Minister of State (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Higher Education & Intellectual Property)

I thank my hon. Friend for his question and assure him that we are looking at these issues closely. I discussed them for an hour and a half yesterday morning with a group of publishers whom I met for breakfast. They included book publishers and some of our newspaper publishers, who are particularly concerned about their online content. He is right to say that we must value the creator as we balance the interests of consumers in using those rights. In the end, all that writing is the product of hard endeavour and many years of study, and it is a testimony to the quality of our publishing industry and of our books and newspapers.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury

Artists and illustrators are also important in the creative industries. Is there any justification for not fully implementing the artist's resale right by 2010?

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Minister of State (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Higher Education & Intellectual Property)

The hon. Gentleman will know that we are looking closely at that issue. Artists make representations expressing their desire to ensure that not only themselves but often, after they have died, their families are recognised for the creative endeavour that they have put in. However, there are also important representations from the art market about the effect that any change would have on the British art market, which is among the strongest in the world and has until very recently held up particularly well in the global downturn.

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