Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 8:25 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard Labour, Walthamstow 8:25 pm, 6th April 2010

The hon. Gentleman may say that, but I suspect that it had rather more to do with a campaign that came rumbling along, with a lot of e-mails being sent, and in typical Liberal Democrat fashion they jumped on the campaign, no doubt thinking that it would get them one or two votes. The serious point is that we will not have enough time tomorrow. We should not be rushing through a Bill that could have serious effects on individuals.

We have heard in earlier comments that the provisions on orphan works might not end up in the Bill. They started as a discussion about opening up the use of archives at the British Library, photograph libraries and so on, where there is a lot of interesting stuff whose copyright holder nobody knows. The Bill now seems to have moved a long way from that. One or two professional photographers who have approached me about it are worried what the effect on their work may be. Although the Bill states that people are supposed to search for the copyright holder, will they actually do so or will it provide an opportunity to exploit the work of someone who will then have the problem of tracking down their work and getting it taken off the register? Again, the problem is the detail of the provisions and the process that we are going through. I do not know, because I have not seen the timetable motion, but I suspect that we will have no more than two hours to deal with the Committee stage, Report and Third Reading. That is not how we should be going about legislation such as this, although I must say that I have a lot of support for the principles of the Bill.

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