Digital Economy Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:08 pm on 13th September 2016.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 3:08 pm, 13th September 2016

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point and I completely agree. As I said, the arguments I am making about music can equally be applied to books, to films, and to other art forms.

When music lovers see ads in front of streams of music, they expect that what they are hearing will be legal and that the ads are helping to pay for this. When they use a well-known search engine, which I will not name, to find a piece of music they like, they expect that the links will take them to legal sites where the music industry is properly paid for their work. However, that is not always the case. This is where we have to intervene, as lawmakers, to provide a proper framework for the online wild west.

In some parts of the online world, co-operation is working. For instance, internet service providers are co-operating on the “Get It Right From A Genuine Site” campaign, which helps to educate consumers about the importance of legal sources. However, there is still no clear agreement with the search engines. This is despite a Government-chaired round table process that has been discussing the problem for several years. The search engines need to do their part, now, because the UK Music report published yesterday showed that music contributed £4.1 billion to the British economy last year. We need it to do more, and it can through an online presence.

A thriving digital economy requires each part of the value chain in music production and consumption to get its fair share. Huge global companies that are not paying their fair share for the use of the UK’s music on their platforms should be made to do so. This needs to be resolved to ensure a fair digital economy in the UK, with fair rewards for musicians. I could make plenty of detailed suggestions, and I look forward to the opportunity to do so in Committee. I hope that the Secretary of State will consider what I have said about the need for proper remuneration for musicians and those involved in other art forms online.