I beg to move amendment 23,
page 47, line 17, at end insert—
“( ) But regulations under this section may make only such provision as may be made under subsection (2) of section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 or such provision as could be made under that subsection if paragraph 1(1)(d) of Schedule 2 to that Act did not apply.’.
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:
Government amendment 24.
Amendment 75, in clause 59, page 49, line 19, at end insert—
‘(7) The Secretary of State must have regard to any feasibility study commissioned on the licensing of orphan works in advance of the regulations being laid before Parliament.’.
In Committee, a number of questions were asked about the scope of what was then clause 56—now clause 57—on copyright. Norman Lamb, who was a Minister in the Department at the time,agreed to reflect on the clause and we have also had further discussions with interested parties.
The Government have considered this point carefully and think that amendments to clause 57 are the best way to address the concerns expressed by Committee members and industry stakeholders. I reassure hon. Members that the policy intent behind the clause remains unchanged. The clause was never intended to give the Government the ability to change copyright exceptions in ways that we cannot already change them and I hope that the amendments now make that abundantly clear.
Changes to copyright exceptions are subject to a tightly prescribed list set out in the EU information society directive. The European Communities Act 1972 provide the mechanism by which EU law is applied at a national level—in this case on copyright exceptions. The clause will permit the Secretary of State to make any changes that remove or narrow an exception without affecting the maximum criminal penalties that Parliament has set. Without the amendment, the criminal penalties might have had to be reduced and I do not think that is the aim of the Bill.
The stakeholders who had raised concerns about the clause, including the British Copyright Council, UK Music, the Publishers Association, the Creators’ Rights Alliance and the Premier League, have written to the Secretary of State confirming their support for the Government’s amendments.
The Minister mentioned the enormous concern across the creative sector about the clause and, more particularly, its purpose when it was first introduced. His reference to the fact that all it does is endorse existing law will have confused many people, as they will have wondered why, if that was so, the clause was needed at all. If it is needed, and if the amendments we are discussing go some way to addressing the problem, can he give us an assurance that any exception arising from Hargreaves, the Intellectual Property Office or any other source will be treated as primary legislation? If he cannot do that, will he undertake that every piece of secondary legislation will be introduced individually and will include a comprehensive impact assessment before it is brought to this House?
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that any proposed exceptions will be the subject of secondary legislation and will therefore be debated. Each separate element of a statutory instrument can be debated—that is the function of the secondary legislation procedure.
It is usual to give way during this stage. What does the Minister think is the maximum number of exceptions that ought to be included within one statutory instrument, given that he has been unable to give the assurance sought by my hon. Friend Jim Dowd that each exception will be treated separately if secondary legislation is used? Also, will he confirm that in all cases the affirmative procedure will be used?
I give the assurance on the second point: the normal procedures will be used. The normal procedures will govern what goes into one statutory instrument and then, as we all know, debate on a statutory instrument covers all elements of the instrument. That is the procedure for a statutory instrument that is debated.
Amendment 75 proposes that account be taken of any feasibility study before the Government lay regulations on the orphan works scheme—that is, I think, the essence of the amendment. In principle, we understand the need for studies and consideration of such important questions, but we do not think that such a requirement is appropriate in primary legislation. If the proposal is that the conclusions of a feasibility study should automatically and immediately have legislative effect, we have to ask what would happen if the recommendations of a commissioned study could not, for good and legitimate reasons, be accepted. However, I can assure the House that the Government will carefully consider which bodies or body should be responsible for licensing orphan works, including whether they have the necessary independence, expertise, resources and processes.
Although there is some work still to do on deciding which organisation should be responsible, it is unlikely to be a new body. We looked at the arrangements in other jurisdictions: in Canada, the copyright board has that responsibility; in Hungary, the intellectual property office has it. Jurisdictions overseas locate the role in different parts of Government, according to where the appropriate expertise is found. There could be a role for collecting societies to license orphan works of a type where a collecting society already operates in that sector, but many of the orphan works held by museums and archives, for example, are not of types that are currently collectively licensed; such works include unpublished diaries, old photographs and oral history recordings.
In the light of those reassurances and given that the regulations cannot be laid until the work is completed, I ask Mr Wright not to press amendment 75 and the House to support Government amendments 23 and 24.
I was broadly reassured until the Minister made his comments, but now I am as uncertain as ever. The Public Bill Committee spent significant time debating copyright, and rightly so, as the legislative framework—not regulation, but a legislative framework—governing copyright has been a crucial ingredient in allowing Britain to be at the heart of the global creative and cultural industry.
We lead the world in many parts of that cultural and creative sector, from publishing—as we heard, in Committee the then Minister was keen to talk in vivid and animated terms about “Fifty Shades of Grey”—to the video gaming industry, where we lead the world, to music, and I was particularly keen to talk about the Stone Roses, which was fantastic. The Minister does not strike me as being a Stone Roses man; he strikes me more as a JLS-One Direction man. I imagine that he would be keen on that. One Direction seems appropriate, given his closeness to the Chancellor.
We lead the world in different parts of the sector. With a rise in the global middle class, which wants to be entertained, it is important that we continue to lead the world. There are many reasons for our pre-eminence in the industry, not least the solid legislative framework governing copyright and intellectual property. We lose that at our peril.
As I mentioned in previous debates throughout the passage of the Bill, a partnership approach is needed, with Government identifying the competitive sectors in which Britain can lead the world and working closely with business and with those sectors to ensure growth and potential opportunities. We have not yet seen such a partnership approach. It did not seem to exist in the Government’s original drafting of the clause on copyright. The unilateral approach taken by Ministers, without consultation with the industry and—surprise, surprise—without empirical evidence or an impact assessment—where have we heard that before?—caused alarm and uncertainty among stakeholders in the industry and threatened significant and long-term investment decisions for this country.
I quoted in Committee, and it is worth repeating to the House, the submission from UK Music, which said:
“The inclusion of copyright clauses in this Bill came as a surprise to many copyright stakeholders. We widely anticipated copyright legislation, but we did not anticipate that the copyright legislation would be attached to this particular Bill. This ‘surprise’ generated a degree of confusion and alarm amongst our community. This was needless. Better communication between the Government and its key stakeholders would have prevented this.”
Opposition Members entirely agree with those sentiments.
The clause as originally drafted would have given the Secretary of State order-making powers to allow amendment of any exceptions via secondary legislation. This power was considered necessary to deal with the situation where, under the EuropeanCommunities Act 1972, the Government are able to amend exceptions to copyright and performance rights which may, so the Government stated, restrict the maximum statutory penalties. We argued in Committee and tabled amendments to the effect that the wording of the clause was too loose, lacked clarity and provided the Secretary of State with too wide a power to deal with this issue.
In Committee the Government stated that this was not so and that there was no case for our amendment. I therefore welcome the fact, although I am surprised, that the Government tabled amendments 23 and 24, which specify that regulations under this section may make only such provision as may be made under section 2(2) of the 1972 Act. I do not want to be churlish on this point and I am pleased that the Government have listened, albeit somewhat late in the process, to us and, more importantly, to stakeholders.
However, as we have hinted in interventions, there is not complete unanimity throughout the industry when it comes to Government amendments 23 and 24. Some stakeholders, who are looking to invest in the UK, such as British Pathé, are still concerned that the Government have misinterpreted section 2(2) of the 1972 Act. They argue that if that part of the 1972 Act gives the Government powers to change copyright exceptions by statutory instrument, the Government have that right. Nothing in the Bill would change that. There is therefore no need to clarify the point in the Bill, because the power already exists. The only reason for writing the power into the Bill in clause 57 would be if it did not exist. The managing director of British Pathé said to me in an e-mail last night that “the statement is redundant” unless that is the case.
There remains a concern among some stakeholders that clause 57 merely allows extensions to criminal penalties relating to exceptions. However, it has been noted that nearly all copyright infringements relate not to exceptions, but to matters such as piracy and theft, which are neither covered in clause 57, nor addressed by the Government’s amendments. Therefore, given the Minister’s move in this regard, which has been welcomed by much of the industry, will he respond to the specific concerns of companies, such as British Pathé and ITN, that remain despite the Government’s amendments? Will he reassure me on that point?
Will my hon. Friend also seek an assurance from the Minister that, when in future he considers any piece of legislation containing clauses relating to copyright, never again will the umbrella body for the UK music industry be given absolutely no prior knowledge of it? Perhaps the Minister could give the House that assurance when he responds.
I absolutely agree. I will take this opportunity to wish my hon. Friend a happy birthday for yesterday—a birthday he shares with several other Members, not least the eminent Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Mr Whittingdale. My hon. Friend made two important interventions. When he intervened on me he mentioned the lack of consultation and the surprise of important stakeholders, such as UK Music, about these provisions. That is not the way to have clarity about Government policy on something as important as the creative and cultural sectors. I hope that that is a wake-up call, because we have seen the Government do the same elsewhere, for example with the feed-in tariffs and the oil and gas tax charges. To move without any concern for what stakeholders are thinking is not in the best interests of the British economy and industry.
The second point that my hon. Friend made, when he intervened on the Minister, relates to the use of statutory instruments. I rose to say that I felt more confused as a result of the Minister’s comments than I did when I entered the Chamber today. Part of our discussions in Committee was about the fear of bundling some of these points into a single statutory instrument. The Minister must have served on a delegated legislation Committee during his time in the House and will know that the only way the House can express a view on such instruments is by voting in favour or against; there is no way we can express a view on individual provisions. Therefore, will he clarify to what extent he will be able to bundle points relating to copyright exceptions into single SIs, which would not allow the House to express our views?
“must have regard to any feasibility study commissioned on the licensing of orphan works in advance of the regulations being laid before Parliament.”
We are not against the concept of orphan works, as I mentioned in Committee, provided that safeguards are in place to ensure that the party that wants to use the work has undertaken a diligent search. I recognise—the Minister alluded to this—the huge benefits that could be unlocked as a result of orphan works licensing. For example, I can anticipate SMEs building new platforms and applications for the re-use of digitised content, with innovation and new business models coming forward to use the content commercially so that Britain can lead the world, enriching the research and cultural environment and thereby consolidating the UK’s position as the destination of choice, whether literally or online, in the 21st century as the place for education and research, particularly in the cultural sector.
The Bill provides the legislative framework for orphan works licensing but is, as is probably inevitable and desirable in primary legislation, high-level and somewhat vague in detail. The crucial details that stakeholders will be looking for are yet to be determined and will be available via regulations. However, it would be useful to get on the record as much certainty and clarity about the Government’s intended direction of travel in order to allow the industry, including existing players and potential new entrants to the market, to start gearing up to use the licences commercially. The purpose of our amendment is to probe the Minister on his intended direction of travel and ensure that a feasibility study considers certain aspects of the policy and that the Government take these findings into account, not in a completely solid way but making sure that these matters are addressed.
Will the Minister indicate the identity of the authorising body or bodies? He mentioned it briefly in his opening remarks, but it would be useful to put a little bit more meat on the bones. What sort of time scale is he working towards? When does he anticipate that the introduction of such schemes, and the laying down of regulations as a preliminary step, will take place? What will be the scope of the orphan work licensing schemes? Will this be done on a sector-by-sector basis? Will it be based on a “specific types of work” approach, or will there be a big bang in which all possible orphan work schemes will be incorporated from day 1?
Will the Minister outline how he anticipates that any diligent search on a work-by-work basis will move forward? I am fairly sure that every such search will have to be done on an individual work basis rather than by batching works together. Am I right in that thinking, or is he considering any change in the individual works versus batch approach? Could diligent searches be re-used within a certain time period? How will the Minister—again, this is part of the feasibility study leading into the regulations—strike the balance between the rights of the licensee, allowing the licence holder to commercially use the rights arising from that licence, and the rights of the relevant rights holder? What will happen in the event that the parent comes forward? How will remuneration be worked out in such an event? Will a certain amount of time be stipulated in regulations following the awarding of an orphan works licence?
We lead the world in the cultural and creative industries, and many people will want to take that away from us for a variety of reasons. We need to make sure that we can maintain our competitive advantage. That requires close co-operation, with an active industrial sector strategy between the industry and Government. Sadly, during the passage of the Bill, that has been lacking in the provisions on copyright. I hope that the Minister has learned his lesson and look forward to his comments.
We do not have a lot of time, and I do not want to detain the House unduly. However, although it is recognised that this matter forms only a small part of the Bill, the importance of the creative industries to our national economy, and the contribution that they are making to growth, is so essential that we need to look very carefully at anything that affects the livelihoods of those working there—and the creative industries rest on the protection of intellectual property rights.
On Second Reading, I suggested to the Secretary of State that clause 57—then clause 56—could be used to make substantial changes to copyright law through statutory instruments. I am grateful to him for meeting representatives of a wide range of creative industries to discuss those concerns. That has led, to some extent, to the amendment that the Government have tabled. As the Minister said, several representatives of the creative industries, such as UK Music, the British Copyright Council, the Publishers Association and the Premier League have said that they are now satisfied.
However, as Mr Wright said, that is not a unanimous view across the industry. The Minister has assured us that this is about enforcing penalties but, despite the Government’s amendment, the clause does not mention penalties. I am therefore still not clear as to why the Government did not accept the suggestion that they make it absolutely explicit in the Bill that it is all about penalties. Instead, it talks about exceptions, and it still allows changes to be made to copyright law by statutory instrument. Following the Hargreaves report, there is still great suspicion on the part of many of those in the creative industries that there is an intention to try to dilute intellectual property rights. They fear that the clause could be used—perhaps not by this Government but by a future Government—to bring forward changes to copyright law.
Those fears have been expressed, as the hon. Member for Hartlepool said, by a wide range of organisations, including Associated Press, ITN, Getty Images, the Press Association, British Pathé, Agence France Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur. I will quote one sentence from the letter they have sent that sums up the problem that the Government face:
“It therefore remains our concern that…the true purpose of Clause 57…as drafted” is that
“it will be used as a vehicle to push through a number of changes to copyright exceptions recommended by the Hargreaves Review, which we discussed with you at our meeting because of the detrimental impact to business and the creative industries as well as…ultimately…to the UK’s future economic growth.”
I welcome the Minister’s assurance that that is not the Government’s intention, but it must be of concern that a number of organisations that are important to this country retain that suspicion. Anything that the Government can say or do now to allay that suspicion and make it clear that they do not intend to implement the Hargreaves recommendations in a bundle, via a statutory instrument, would be extremely welcome and would reinforce the point that the provision is not about that, but about criminal penalties.
I do not know whether I should break out into song and wish a belated happy birthday to the hon. Members for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan) and for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale), or declare my favourite band. Whenever the hon. Member for Cardiff West and I appear in the Chamber together, I always try to plug MP4, because we comprise half the band. We will conclude our world tour of UK party conferences this Saturday, which is worth noting as a landmark occasion.
I agree with and endorse what the Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said about the value of copyright to our creative industries. It is the very essence of what underpins our success and probably makes the UK the leader in so many sectors throughout the world, from music, drama and film to Premier League football. It is the one thing that makes sure that we can continue to deliver that immense conveyor belt of talent that excels right around the world.
We muck about with copyright at our peril and must tread carefully with regard to copyright exceptions. We have to know exactly what we are doing, which is why impact assessments are vital and why the Minister’s confused response alarms me and is of concern. We have to know what the exact impact will be on all the sectors and everybody involved in the creative industries, and listen carefully to what they have to say.
I welcome the amendment, but only half-heartedly. For once, the Government have listened to representatives from the creative industries, who have not received a particularly good welcome from them over the past few years. They feel undervalued and sense that their concerns, which they make eloquently to the Government, are ignored and that, if they are listened to, it is in a half-hearted way.
The issue of copyright exceptions is important. We have had the Hargreaves report, the Government’s response to it and the Intellectual Property Office’s examination of how the report’s recommendations could be implemented. I am sure that the Minister will be thrilled to know that he is about to receive the report by the all-party group on intellectual property, of which I and the hon. Members for Maldon and for Lewisham West and Penge (Jim Dowd) are members. It will suggest various ways in which IP policy could be better formulated across Government and across Departments, and suggest the need for a real champion of IP copyright, because that is what is missing.
We need a proper investigation and an impact assessment. The assumptions that underpin a number of the Hargreaves recommendations are nonsense. The examples that caught our eye related to copyright exceptions, such as the assertion that an exception for format shifting would be worth £2 billion to the UK economy. The funniest assumption was the claim that an exception for parody of intellectual property could increase the UK economy by £600,000. Those assumptions were challenged, but they were asserted by the IPO without any real foundation. That is why this House has properly to consider copyright exceptions. If we do not, we will be left with that sort of nonsense. We have to make sure that that does not happen again.
I join others in calling on the Minister to listen to the concerns that the creative industries still have about the potential bundling together of proposals in secondary legislation. The Rolls-Royce model is primary legislation, whereby Members of Parliament can come to the House to have a proper debate and kickabout on proposals for copyright exceptions. If that is not to happen, the Minister must provide a better assurance that there will be separate pieces of secondary, delegated legislation, with full impact assessments, so that we can understand the impact that any further copyright exceptions will have on all the relevant sectors.
To reinforce that point, the wooliness of the Minister’s response, if it is left like that this evening, will have created an awful lot of work for his colleagues at the other end of the building. There are people down there who know better than most Members of this House precisely what the Government’s lack of decision—or else their attempt to hide what they are doing—really means.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman because he is spot on. The other House has people who have looked at these issues over a long career, who know the dangers and who understand that we have to tread sensitively and carefully when we look at copyright exceptions.
I hope that the Minister listens to the concerns that have been raised not only by the creative industries, but by hon. Members who have an interest in copyright issues. I hope he will give us the assurance that there will be no bundling of copyright exceptions in secondary legislation and that we will have full impact assessments if there are further copyright exceptions. He must also do something to convince those of us in the House and those in the creative industries who still have major concerns about what is being proposed.
I will touch briefly on the Labour amendment. I support it and think that it is sensible to ensure that we have a proper assessment before we move on to the licensing of orphan works. Orphan works have been hotly debated a number of times in the House, particularly when discussing Hargreaves. The matter has caused great anxiety and unhappiness, particularly among photographers, who have massive concerns about how their industry is threatened by the Hargreaves exceptions on orphan works. It is entirely sensible to have a proper assessment before we proceed with the licensing of orphan works. I heard the Minister’s response to the plea from the Labour spokesman for the assessment. I hopethat the proposal will be considered properly. We need to hear more about what the Minister intends to do to ensure that we do not do anything wrong in the licensing of orphan works.
Most importantly, we must hear from the Minister that he will do the right thing by the creative industries, that there will be no bundling of legislation, and that Members of this House will have a proper opportunity to scrutinise and debate such measures.
I defer entirely to the Members who have engaged in the debate hitherto, but I have been alerted this week to outstanding concerns among those involved in intellectual property that the
Government have not fully taken account of their concerns and reservations. I heard what the Minister had to say, including his assurance that the Government amendments are designed to achieve that. I have also spoken to the Secretary of State and passed him the detailed reservations that have been communicated to me.
Nevertheless, I have been advised that the uncertainty that the creative industry or intellectual property sector feels may be having a negative effect on commercial decisions. It has been reported to me that some business interests are actively considering relocating out of the UK because of their concerns about the uncertainty. The Minister has made it clear that that is not the Government’s wish or intention. I accept that that is said in good faith. However, I ask him to consider the representations that are being made and to reflect on whether the Government amendments will allay the practical concerns. I appreciate that our consideration is at a late stage, but, as has been mentioned, the legislation will go to another place. Those who are in that place will no doubt want to bring forward more detailed proposals if they are required.
The concern, which has been articulated much more eloquently by others, is that we could lose intellectual property rights in a bundle of legislation that goes through in a Committee Room, without adequate debate or amendment. That could have far-reaching and negative commercial consequences. In recognition of the Government’s dilemma, I would say that we need to strike a balance. It is understood that excessive protection of intellectual property rights can be contrary to free trade. Of course, it is important that we get the balance right. Equally, those who are creative in any sector have the right to know that they will not suddenly find their intellectual property taken away from them at short notice. Protection against that must not be weaker in the UK than elsewhere in the EU or in the rest of the world.
The importance of this matter has been communicated to me by people who know better than I do. They are still concerned that what the Government are doing will threaten the commercial viability of UK investments, and I am sure that is not the Government’s intention.
I welcome the Opposition Front Benchers’ support for the two Government amendments in this group. I want to reiterate the value of intellectual property, which is underpinned by our copyright regime, to the UK economy not only in the past but, I imagine, increasingly in the future. A strong IP regime is vital to the creative industries, in which we thrive and are hugely successfully. Ensuring that that regime is right and strong is a crucial part of having a strong economic future. The Digital Economy Act 2010, which strengthened many areas of law, and the extension of the length of copyright in music indicate the Government’s commitment to a strong and supportive intellectual property regime.
I will go through the points that Members have made. It is simply not correct to suggest that these proposals have not been widely consulted on. Indeed, they are based on recommendations in the Hargreaves review, which itself drew on extensive evidence. The response to that review was followed by a formal consultation, which received almost 500 written responses. There has been extensive work with interested parties following that. I reiterate the Government’s willingness to engage with stakeholders including Members, many of whom have a long-standing interest in the subject. Members throughout the House share not just birthdays but interests, and their engagement must and will continue.
The Government will announce their policy intent with regard to the exceptions recommended in Hargreaves this autumn. Exceptions can be introduced, extended and updated using the existing provisions of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. The proposed way forward represents no change to how exceptions can be introduced and updated under the existing provisions. The problem is that the criminal penalties available in statute brought in under that Act carry a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment. In the case of many of the offences that we are discussing, penalties are longer than two years and can be up to 10 years. It is in the interest of those who want to ensure that their copyrights are protected to make sure that criminal penalties are that high. We do not want to have to bring them down to two years, in order to use the 1972 Act. Clause 57 is not needed to implement Hargreaves, but it allows us to do so in a way consistent with the existing, stronger criminal penalties, which I know the industry and many stakeholders support. Having received that reassurance, the British Copyright Council, UK Music, the Publishers Association and the Premier League are happy to support the Government amendments.
Because we want to ensure, as and when technical amendments are considered, that we do not have to water down criminal penalties because of the way that the measures are introduced.
We are not in a position to announce a precise timetable for work on orphan works, but we expect it to be concluded during 2013 and certainly before any regulations are made. I commit the Government to discussing the details with Opposition Front-Bench Members, and others, during that process.
The Government amendments have been tabled with strong support for the IP regime on which much of our industry is based, and although the Government recognise the probing nature of the Opposition amendments, and commit to continued analysis of and engagement on those issues, we do not think that they should be included in the Bill.
Amendment 23 agreed to.