Copyright Law

Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 20th December 2012.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Vice-Chair, Conservative 1922 Committee 9:30 am, 20th December 2012

What steps he plans to take to reform the law on copyright; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I am taking a number of steps to reform copyright law, in response to the Hargreaves review. Today, I am publishing the Government’s decision on changes to copyright exceptions, which I believe will achieve the right balance between creators, rights holders and users. The document, “Modernising Copyright: A modern, robust and flexible framework”, has been placed in the Library.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Vice-Chair, Conservative 1922 Committee

Does the Secretary of State agree that intellectual property rights and copyright underpin the success of our creative industries, which are so important to the economy? Is he concerned that many in those industries feel that the Government, on the back of the Hargreaves report, will dilute their intellectual property rights, not least in the area of exceptions to copyright law?

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The hon. Gentleman is right that the creative industries sector, which is crucial to the economy, depends heavily on intellectual property rights. However, we are dealing with a body of law that is extremely old—I believe that it goes back to Queen Anne. It certainly needs modification in the digital age. He is right that we need to move extremely carefully. That is why, over the last few weeks, we have been in discussions on some of the sensitive issues in relation to copying music and photography. When he studies the report in the Library, he will see that we have got the balance right between rights holders and liberalisation.