HC Deb 25 October 1956 vol 558 cc843-907

4.0 p.m.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)

I beg to move, in page 52, line 16, to leave out from "and" to the end of line 33 and to insert : the broadcast is an authorised broadcast, any person who, by the reception of the broadcast, causes a cinematograph film to be seen or heard in public, shall be in the like position, in any proceedings for infringement of the copyright (if any) in the film under section thirteen of this Act, as if he had been the holder of a licence granted by the owner of that copyright to cause the film to be seen or heard in public by the reception of the broadcast". I wonder. Mr. Speaker, whether it would be convenient at this point to take the associated Amendment in page 53, line 30.

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Alport

These are both drafting Amendments. They make no change in the subsection as it at present stands, except to make it very much more simple and to make it conform to the new wording which, I think, is followed in both Amendments to page 52, line 35, one in the name of the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) and the other in the name of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, which the House will be called upon to consider next.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. William Wells (Walsall, North)

I beg to move, in page 52, line 35, to leave out from the beginning to the end of line 14 in page 53 and to insert : and the broadcast is an authorised broadcast, any person who, by the reception of the broadcast, causes a programme to be transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service, being a programme comprising a literary, dramatic or musical work, or an adaptation of such work, or an artistic work, or a cinematograph film, shall be in the like position, in any proceedings for infringement of the copyright (if any) in the work or film, as if he had been the holder of a licence granted by the owner of that copyright to include the work, adaptation or film in any programme caused to be transmitted by him to subscribers to that service by the reception of the broadcast". This, of course, is in many ways associated with the Amendment which stands in the name of the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Speaker

I think a discussion might quite conveniently include both of them. I could put them separately, of course, but they seem to me to be very much on the same point, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says.

Mr. Wells

Yes. Mr. Speaker, that is so, and, with respect, that would be the convenient course.

The issue that is raised by this group of Amendments is the most difficult and complicated question involved in this highly complex and difficult Bill—complicated in its nature and difficult because of the nature of the decisions which the House has to take upon the various Amendments that are tabled.

The underlying question behind all these Amendments is this. When a literary, dramatic or musical work is broadcast and transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service, how should the owner of the copyright in that work be remunerated, and by whom? It may be useful to limit the discussion by saying that no issue arises here on these Amendments where the broadcast is originated by the British Broadcasting Corporation or by the Independent Television Authority. The question here only arises where a broadcast is originated overseas.

What our Amendment does in relation to the Amendments tabled by the Government is to retain with greatly improved wording the position reached after prolonged debate in Standing Committee. To explain what this is, it is, I fear, necessary to look in detail into the history of the matter. This Bill was introduced in another place, and the first question that one must ask is in what state in relation to this issue did it reach this House from that other place? That was tersely and, with his accustomed happiness of phrase, summarised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in the Second Reading debate.

The hon. and learned Gentleman said : The next point with which I wish to deal is this difficult technical question of the broadcast relays, raised again by the hon. Members for Rossendale and Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher), and my hon. Friends the Members for Hornsey and Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop). It is quite true that this Bill does not give copyright protection to works which are piped by the operation of broadcast relay stations. That is clear from Clause 2 (5) and Clause 46 (3) (a). The position was not quite clear under the old law, but now it is clear under this Bill. As I understand it, from what hon. Members have said, there is no particular difficulty in the way that the matter has worked in this country up to now, by reason of the fact that the copyright owners receive their fees from the B.B.C. based on the inclusion of the relay audiences. These audiences are taken into account because the relay companies require Post Office licences, and the B.B.C. pays the Performing Right Society on the basis of all holders of Post Office licences. I appreciate that although there is nothing particularly wrong in the present operation, there are certain apprehensions. There is the apprehension with regard to television which was voiced by various hon. Members. There is the position in the Colonies, and in particular in Hong Kong and Malta, to which reference has been made today, and I suppose there is also the position concerning foreign broadcasts which are picked up and piped in this country. We should like to meet those apprehensions so far as we fairly can without infringing any of the principles of copyright law. We have been thinking about it and we are continuing to try to find appropriate solutions. My right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General is going to discuss the matter with the representatives of the relay companies, and I hope that by the time we get to the Committee stage I shall be able to be more clear and comprehensive in what I have to suggest on this point."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th June, 1956 ; Vol. 553. c. 808–9.] Indeed, with all respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman, although he was quite clear, he could not have been less comprehensive because, in fact, he made no suggestions at all. I am not blaming him at all for that.

On the Second Reading, my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) had voiced apprehensions on behalf of the copyright owners in this respect, and he said : One other provision which I wish to touch upon is that relating to the relay companies. That provision, at the moment, is, I believe, another example of the way in which, no doubt quite unintentionally, we are eating away the rights of the composers. Here again, I think that the Copyright Committee did the problem less than justice. There is only one paragraph—paragraph 120—which relates to the relay companies, and in that it is stated : 'We do not suggest any alteration in the present relationshihp between the Postmaster-General, the B.B.C. and the relay companies But, under the Bill we are now going to say that the operations of the relay companies do not constitute public performances. That is a point of view which, at the moment. I do not feel prepared to accept."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 4th June, 1956; Vol. 553, c. 732–3.] It is important to emphasise that my hon. Friend at this stage used those words because this matter has aroused a great deal of interest and, indeed, apprehension outside the House, and I think that many of my hon. Friends have been somewhat disturbed to think that after the statements he made on Second Reading in support of our interest on behalf of the copyright owners, we should now appear—and I say only "appear" because it is not the reality of the matter—to be backing the interests of the relay service companies against the interests of the copyright owners.

From the very start, we were most anxious that the proper interests of copyright owners should be respected, and those of my hon. Friends who have received representations on this score, and who have not taken part in the proceedings upstairs, really need have no apprehensions about it.

When we came to the Committee stage, my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale and I put down a series of Amendments designed solely to raise the widest possible discussion. But the Government moved what is now Clause 2 (5, e) of the Bill. That Clause, which is within the knowledge of the House, states that The acts restricted by the copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work are…(e) causing the work to be transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service. After a lengthy debate in Standing Committee, we voted against the Amendment proposed by the Government which incorporates Clause 2 (5, e) into the Bill, but we voted against it on the failure of the Government to give certain assurances as to its practical effects. The Government subsequently moved a new Clause the effect of which, like the Government's present Amendments, was to make the relay companies liable for the payment of fees.

We moved, and carried against the Government, an Amendment designed to ensure that the copyright owner shall negotiate with the broadcaster for a certain fee to include relay rights, leaving, of course, the remedy clear against the relay company where the original broadcast was not the subject of a proper agreement and where, in fact, it was pirated, in which circumstances, under the normal principles of common law, a civil wrong has been committed within the jurisdiction of the court, and the relay company is responsible.

In the series of Amendments which the Government are putting down today, the Government are seeking to reverse the position reached after prolonged debate and reached with the support of hon. Members on both sides in Standing Committee.

The Copyright Committee brought in its Report in 1951. Admittedly, the Copyright Committee, in its otherwise mainly admirable document, did deal quite inadequately, in my opinion, with the very difficult issues raised by the problem of rediffusion. But, having made allowance for the fact that perhaps the Government did not receive all the help it might expect on this particular issue, I must say that the Government remained the arbiter, and the sole arbiter, of the time at which they should introduce this Measure in this House or in another place.

Who would have complained if the Copyright Bill had been postponed until next Session? It might, indeed, have saved the Government from entering into other legislative commitments which, while received with acclaim in the heady air of Llandudno, may stand less well up to serious examination on the Floor of this House.

If the Government had not introduced this Measure in the present Session, it would indeed have been a Session very bare of Government legislation, but I think that the House and the country are well accustomed, after nearly five years of Conservative Government, to having a very inadequate legislative programme.

Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)

If the hon. and learned Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) expects to get any support from this side, he might, I think, be a little more tactful.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is all very amusing and pleasant, but it is out of order.

Mr. Wells

If I may just be allowed to say a word in reply to the intervention of the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell), I never base any political calculations on expectations that hon. Gentlemen opposite are going to do what, from their words, one might expect them to do. We shall have to wait and see.

The issue is now before us, and the question we have to ask is : what is the case for reversing the all-party decision of the Standing Committee? I should like to be quite fair, and, if I may, I will quote from the letter I have received from the General Manager of the Performing Right Society. I have received his permission to quote it, and I do so because I think it states the case for the Government in its most succinct and neat form. I should like to deal with the case which Mr. Walter presents. In his letter to me, he says : I am sorry to see from the Amendment you have tabled in respect of Clause 40 that you still cannot go as far as the Government has in its own Amendment. Our difficulty is that when a foreign broadcasting station makes its contract with the local composers' society (which as P.R.S. does in England, represents composers of all nationalities) the station must necessarily be 'authorised to broadcast', even though the payment is related only to the listeners in the country where the broadcasting station is established. Thus, the station makes no payment in respect of the English audience organised in this country by the diffusion services. The station is unlikely even to have any knowledge of the fact that its programmes are being picked up and relayed to a fresh audience ; certainly, it has no control over the diffusion services operations. Yet, under your Amendment the diffusion services can escape liability to the author on the ground that the broadcast was 'authorised'. I do sincerely hope that even at this late date you will agree that the author ought to have, in respect of an operation taking place in this country, a remedy against those who are conducting the operation, and should not be told to try to get a fee from the foreign broadcaster, who is not liable under his national law."' I should be the first to concede that the problem raised by that letter is a real one ; but, although genuine enough, it is a problem purely on the technical level. It is one of those problems which look very complicated and difficult for those, like most hon. Members, who are not familiar with the intricacies of the copyright world. It is possible to explain the simplest engineering problem in terms that make it appear one of incredible difficulty to one who is not an engineer.

When one comes to this particular problem, one is dealing with Performing Right Societies in different countries, highly organised bodies with the best legal advice that they wish to have available to them, free to negotiate any arrangements which they choose and to which they can come.

Therefore, it really is not, as it seems to us, a very difficult task to set the Performing Right Societies to ask them to negotiate fresh arrangements with the parties with whom they deal in their own countries by which, when arrangements are made, they can cover the possibility that diffusion of the services will take place in just the same way as that contingency is provided for in arrangements with the B.B.C. and the I.T.A.

There is no magic difficulty about negotiating international agreements. There is no insuperable barrier to enforcing rights in foreign courts. There are, of course, countries which are difficult, but this is a sphere in which I venture to say that hard cases and exceptionally difficult cases make very bad law. In the ordinary way, it is a quite simple procedure for those who have the know-how, and I think that the House can rest well assured that the owners of copyright have at their disposal resources which are very adequate for dealing with this problem.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman now be good enough to go on and deal with the situation which would arise if the foreign broadcasting stations said, "No, we are not disposed to negotiate an agreement to cover an audience in a foreign country with whom we are not primarily concerned "?

Mr. Wells

That is a very hypothetical difficulty. Why should a broadcasting station take that line? Provided that the country—I always make this proviso, for otherwise the whole question does not arise—is a party to the Copyright Convention, provided that it accepts the basic principles of copyright law, it has to make the choice of either using the material or not using it. I cannot believe that any serious broadcasting organisation which wished to employ material would refuse to use it simply because a rather modest addition—and in the nature of the case it must be a rather modest addition—to the fees otherwise claimable is made.

Of course, if one is speaking of countries which are not parties to the Copyright Convention, the issue does not arise, because in that event the relay companies are plainly liable for breach of copyright if they redistribute, as, equally, they are liable if through inadvertance or any other cause a broadcast originated in a country which is a party to the Convention is not covered by a proper copyright agreement.

What is our case for presenting the matter in the way that we do and for moving our Amendment? Fundamentally, we say, it may be no particular hardship to the relay companies to negotiate first with the Performing Right Society, but in our opinion the public interest is better served by an agreement or type of agreement comparable with the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. agreements. In our view, they are more in the public interest, because they ensure, or tend to ensure, stable prices, which are equally to the advantage of the public and of copyright owners. Our first duty is to protect the public.

It may well be that the Government Amendments will not lead to any material increase in the charges made to subscribers to diffusion services, but the Government have refused to accept responsibility for conducting any inquiry into the economics of rediffusion. For that reason, to move as the Government are moving today is to take a risk and one for which, in our opinion, there is no justification whatever.

We must protect the listeners. The subscribers to the diffusion services almost all come from the lower income groups. There could be a real hardship to them. In our opinion, there could not be any real hardship to the composers. We have put forward a compromise which, we believe, is just and which, we hope, will commend itself to the House, as it did to the Standing Committee.

Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)

I beg to second the Amendment.

We had long discussions in Standing Committee and I think that all of us who are interested understand the case very well indeed. We were affected by two aspects of the whole problem. One was that the Committee was determined to scrutinise most carefully the whole matter so far as it affected the just remuneration of authors ; and the Committee showed itself determined to protect the inalienable right of the author to proper and just remuneration.

With that, however, there was a second matter. We realised that there was an implication that roughly 1 million people, which means some hundreds of thousands of households, whom the Assistant Postmaster-General rightly described as being among the poorer households of the country, were the very people who in the main make use of the diffusion service. At first, it appeared to us that an added burden would rest upon them and the Committee found itself unwilling to add that burden.

As we went forward, it became clear from the helpful observations of the Assistant Postmaster-General and of the Parliamentary Secretary, although this was more particularly the province of the Assistant Postmaster-General, that there were certain things upon which we could be utterly agreed. They are worth mentioning and I hope I am putting them fairly. One of them was that, certainly in the United Kingdom, radiodiffusion is never a second performance. That, I think, we all agreed upon and it came to us in the first place from the Assistant Postmaster-General.

Another point made by the hon. Gentleman was that the head copyright owner is not entitled to a second royalty ; that, too, we were all agreed upon. So that, in the end, we began to realise that what we were discussing was not only the protection of the million subscribers who make a particular use in order to get television or radio in this way and do so in the main because it involves no capital expenditure for themselves. It was not only they whom we had to consider, but the author himself, whom we were driving to two authorities for his remuneration instead of to one authority.

If I am right in this, I think that the Government have made a sad and serious mistake. There is no evidence that if we give way to the Government's view, the head copyright owner will be better off than if he is left alone. Indeed, if there is any change he must be worse off, for he now must go to two sources for his just remuneration, and this makes life more complicated for him than it has been in the past.

4.30 p.m.

We know that the Assistant Postmaster-General led us to believe that Radio Luxembourg was rather different from the broadcasting of another nation, such as Germany. He accepted that Radio Luxembourg is a commercial broadcasting station which receives its revenue as a result of and in proportion to the number of listeners it gets, particularly here in Britain and particularly to English broadcasts. It would be rather absurd, when we come to think about it, that they should get any fee or that there should be a further fee paid by the diffusion companies in this country, who are doing the very thing that Radio Luxembourg wants them to do.

Indeed, if there were to be any obligation by the diffusion companies in this country to pay any fees at source, as it were, to Radio Luxembourg, I can imagine they would have a good case if they went to the Assistant Postmaster-General and said, "You must vary our terms of contract which we have with you. We pay you two guineas or three guineas, or whatever it may be, as the full and proper fee for every subscriber in Britain, and if we have to pay a further fee to Radio Luxembourg, you must allow us to charge Radio Luxembourg for the listeners we provide for them." Everyone knows that the diffusion companies are not allowed to approach any broadcasting stations and ask for any remuneration from them for picking up their relays and transmitting them throughout this country.

Where Germany is concerned, it appeared to the Assistant Postmaster-General to be different, for he advised us that they were broadcasting essentially for their own people and did not take into account the fact that what they broadcast would be picked up outside. We did our best to explain to him what I know the hon. Gentleman knows full well—that it seemed to us to be invidious to divide people in this country into those who can hire a receiver on weekly payments or purchase one outright or by means of hire purchase, and then leave them utterly free to do what they wish to do, to get any station they want to which they are free to listen, but that those who receive their programmes from the diffusion companies, together with the company that gives them the broadcast, must pay more, or at least must pay something.

I would not dream of entering into a discussion on the financial side of the matter. I do not understand it, but it is the principle that it is involved, and I prefer to think of that principle and that alone. To me, it does not matter whether £1,000 or £1 million is involved. If the principle is right, this will go through ; if the principle is wrong, I think the Amendment which I am now seconding should be accepted.

There is a conflict of evidence as to whether broadcasting stations, when they pay the remuneration to authors and performers, do or do not take into account the fact that to some extent the broadcast will be picked up outside the territory of that country. Indeed, the Performing Right Society has, I believe, said that it is taken into account, and that the Dutch broadcasting stations take into account the fact that the broadcast will be picked up by the British, and, vice versa, that British broadcasting stations, when they pay remuneration, do take into account the fact that Continental countries will also be listening.

The real point is that the Performing Right Society has a very deep interest in this matter. The Society has said that it would like either the status quo, that is, the original position before the Bill was presented, or the Bill as amended by the Standing Committee. As the Society is the most interested party and represents all the very people for whom we are now legislating and whom we wish to protect, why cannot we take its advice?

Mr. Alport

I hope it may be convenient to the House if I intervene now to place the arguments in favour of the Government's case in direct juxtaposition to those advanced by the hon. and learned Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) and the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross). My hon. and learned Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will be available, if necessary, to answer any points that may be brought forward during the course of the debate.

I do not intend to be tempted into the paths of party controversy which the hon. and learned Member found himself following during his speech. I am quite certain that it is the wish of both sides of the House to achieve an equitable and proper solution of what he quite rightly said is an extremely difficult and complicated point. Especially, I do not want to take any particular stand on a drafting point, although the hon. and learned Gentleman agreed very fairly during our previous discussions that, at this point in considering the Bill, its drafting is of some considerable concern to the House.

I would call attention to the fact that the only definition of an "authorised broadcast" which the Bill will contain is that inserted, or which we hope will be inserted, by the Government Amendment in page 53, line 30, which we considered in conjunction with a previous Amendment, and in which it is defined as— 'a broadcast…made…with the licence of the owner of the copyright. The "owner of the copyright" in this context can only mean the person who owns the copyright given by United Kingdom law. It would not include the person who owns a right equivalent to copyright given by the law of a foreign country.

The Amendment which the hon. and learned Member moved, therefore, would not be effective in achieving the Opposition's intention, except perhaps in exceptional cases in which the same person owns both the United Kingdom copyright and a right conferred by foreign law in the country from which the broadcast takes place. That, however, is a drafting problem, and I wish to apply myself to the general principles which I think are at issue.

I am sure that there is an increasing number of hon. Members who have followed this Copyright Bill who find the solution put forward by Sir Alan Herbert recently to be one which commends itself to them. A burst of flame and a puff of smoke and lo! a solution ; and the copyright problem in this country is solved, if not for forty years, at any rate for the time being. However, this Bill is not for burning, and in spite of its complexity we have to see it through to the end.

The hon. and learned Gentleman outlined in some detail, during the various stages of the Bill's passage, the previous progress of this problem of relay. I do not want to go over the whole of the ground again, but to draw the attention of the House to certain points which, I think, are important to a full understanding of the Government's case. I do this because it is alleged—I think it was inferred by the hon. and learned Gentleman—that we have not been entirely consistent in our approach to this problem.

Mr. W. Wells

I certainly would not blame the hon. Gentleman for not being consistent in his approach to the problem, because the problem is a very difficult one. It is very natural that at different stages in the argument the matter presents itself in a different way to one's mind. It has certainly happened to me. What I would blame the Government for, and not the hon. Gentleman, is presenting the Bill to Parliament before they had heard the arguments more exhaustively than, from the admissions made by the Parliamentary Secretary during the Second Reading debate, it seems they did.

Mr. Alport

I cannot accept the hon. and learned Government's interpretation of the position. What happened was that a distinguished and important Committee, the Copyright Committee, sat for some time considering the whole of this subject. It did not include more than a passing reference to the question of relaying, and, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, no one was more emphatic in condemnation or criticism of this than his hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) during his Second Reading speech. It seems to me perfectly logical and proper that when a Bill is first presented, as this was, in another place, it should follow closely the recommendations of that Committee, and that it should be the responsibility of this House during its consideration of the Bill to decide whether any additions or subtractions should be made to or from the general principles recommended by the Copyright Committee.

That was certainly made clear by the fact that before the Bill left another place, in response to the initiative of the Opposition, particularly to a speech by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, I think it was, the Lord Chancellor had already undertaken to consider what action was necessary to repair this omission.

Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that that Copyright Committee made no recommendation whatsoever along the lines of, or even approaching, the Government's Amendment?

Mr. Alport

I have already drawn attention to the paucity of the reference in that Committee's Report to relay, and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Walsall, North has done precisely the same thing as also, indeed, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rossendale did during his Second Reading speech.

However, that is not the point at issue. The point is that by the time the Bill was taken into consideration in another place attention had been drawn to this omission by the Copyright Committee by inference, but certainly by a noble Lord speaking from the Opposition benches, and as I was saying, an undertaking was given by the Lord Chancellor that consideration would be given as to what action was necessary to repair this omission.

During the Second Reading of the Bill in this House, as the hon. and learned Gentleman pointed out, there were a number of references to it, and I think it was quite clear from the references which he quoted from the speech by the Parliamentary Secretary that the Government were at that time, and had been since the undertaking given by the Lord Chancellor, searching round to ensure that any solution that they provided or proposed for this problem would be an acceptable and just one. We have noticed from our own experience of discussing this, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said in a recent intervention, that our attitude to this problem necessarily changes because of its essential complexity.

4.45 p.m.

The delay which may appear to have taken place was the result of the fact that the Postmaster-General was properly and responsibly discussing the problem with the relay industry. Accordingly, it was not until just before the Committee stage that a series of Amendments was tabled by the President of the Board of Trade to bring relay into the scope of copyright.

I turn to discuss very briefly the principles upon which the policy of the Government has been based ever since the tabling of those Amendments. The Government have based their policy upon two principles. The first, as the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central recognised in his speech, is that the head copyright owner should receive just remuneration for the use of his property by the relayer, and that, consequently, nothing should be included in this Bill to prevent him from doing so. Our second principle is that in no case should he be entitled to be paid twice in respect of the same relay audience for the use of his property by a relay company.

I will deal with the second of those principles first. We have made effective provision in this Bill by the various Amendments which have been proposed—some of which, I should add, were to meet points of view expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly in connection with Radio Luxembourg—to see that that second principle is carried into effect. The copyright owner gets his payment for the use of his work by the B.B.C. or I.T.A. on the basis of the broadcasting licences current, and we make it clear in Clause 40, the Clause now under consideration, as simplified by our Amendment, that he will not be entitled to a second fee for the relaying of his work.

Earlier, by Clause 24, we have enabled disputes between relay companies and such bodies as the P.R.S. to be brought before the Performing Right Tribunal. If a dispute of that kind relates to a licence to relay foreign broadcasts, then, under Clause 28, the Tribunal has to see that a relay company is not made to pay charges which have already been covered in the licence given to the broadcasting authority in the foreign country by the head copyright owner in that country.

This is recognised by the relay companies, and now, I think, by hon. Gentlemen opposite, as safeguarding them from the liability for having to pay copyright fees for programmes from commercial stations such as Radio Luxembourg who already pay a fee on the basis of advertising revenue which, in turn, takes into account the number of listeners reached both by direct reception and by reception from subsequent rediffusion or relay. Therefore, we have narrowed down very considerably indeed the liability of the relay industry in this matter.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

Will the hon. Gentleman define what that liability is now?

Mr. Alport

If the hon. and learned Gentleman will be kind enough to allow me to develop in my own way what is a somewhat complicated argument I think he will find that I shall define that liability very carefully.

It is in respect of the relaying of foreign stations which are not of a nature similar to that of Radio Luxembourg.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

This is very important, because it might narrow the margin of the disagreement between the hon. Gentleman and those who are seeking to protect the position of the relay services. The greatest service that could be done to the discussion now would be to define plainly what will now be the liability of the relay services.

Mr. Alport

I have already explained that to the hon. and learned Gentleman. It was explained to him in the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Walsall, North and the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central. Therefore, I hope he will feel that we have done our best to ensure that he, amongst other hon. Members, is clear about this issue. I shall refer to that issue—the extent of the liability—now, and if the hon. and learned Member will allow me to develop my argument I shall be very grateful.

The liability of the relay companies has been very substantially reduced, and we are concerned only with the problem of how the head copyright owner gets just remuneration for the relaying of his work in this country from a foreign station which is under no obligation to pay a fee to the head copyright owner in respect of a relay audience here. I hope that that makes the point clear to the hon. and learned Member.

It has been suggested that foreign stations at present pay in respect of all listeners, and here I quote from a letter on behalf of the relay companies, whether by relay or ordinary receivers and whether in the country of origin or elsewhere. That is the point made by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central. That, however, is strongly contested, as hon. Members will have seen if they have studied recent correspondence in The Times. It is hotly contested by the Performing Right Society, and it may be that there has been some misunderstanding in this matter between the Relay Services Association and the Performing Right Society. But looked at objectively it seems most unlikely that a foreign broadcasting body would be willing to pay a fee for a United Kingdom relay audience any more than the B.B.C. could be expected to pay a fee for an audience which receives its service through a relay organisation abroad.

If I have carried the House with me in the argument as far this—and I realise that it is a complicated one—I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that this proposition, which I have just enunciated, is confirmed by a resolution passed by the International Federation of Authors' and Composers' Societies, which comprises 60 societies in 32 countries, a copy of which was sent to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

This resolution refers to the exception provided in the Bill to the author's right to communicate broadcasts to the public by means of a diffusion service. It goes on to draw attention to our obligation under Article 11 bis and respectfully draws the attention of the British Government to the grave consequences which may eventually result from the said provision in the Copyright Bill if it should be maintained. The provision referred to is the Clause as amended by hon. Members opposite in Committee, and by the Amendment which we are now considering.

That is surely strong evidence that if the owner of a copyright is left to get his just remuneration from the foreign broadcasting organisation he will not do so. Although, for reasons of convenience and in accordance with our rights under the Brussels text, we have recognised that the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. make payment in respect of relay listeners in this country to the head copyright owner, we cannot take this line in respect of foreign stations. If we try, as the Opposition wishes us to do in the Amendment, it will mean that the head copyright owner will not get his just remuneration.

The hon. and learned Member for Walsall, North said that it would be quite easy for a powerful body—and these bodies are very powerful—like the Performing Right Society to make an agreement through its opposite number in a foreign country to ensure that a proportion of the fee paid by the broadcasting organisation to the head copyright owner was in respect of relay audiences in this country. Not only does it seems to us improbable, but I think that the hon. and learned Member minimised the weakness of the position of the owner of the head copyright in this matter. It will not be so easy for him to make that contract even if he is supported by, or acts through, such a powerful organisation as the P.R.S.

After all, the head copyright owner has to decide whether he will not allow his work to be performed and so lose the whole of his fee, or allow his work to be performed and take as much of the fee as the broadcasting authority will give him. By that I mean the part of the fee in respect of the listening public in the country concerned, exclusive of any listening public outside the country concerned. I suggest that he is in a very weak position indeed and that the practice would be that the broadcasting authority would not include in the fee any recognition of the fact that the work was being "used" by an audience outside the country of origin.

The second question is whether the relay companies should be made responsible for this payment. It has been suggested that such an obligation would place an unfair burden on the relay services, and not only on the services but, what is more, on the subscribers to the relay service, who the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central alleged would have to carry this burden. A reply to the hon. Member's point was made by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Walsall, North when, in Standing Committee on 24th July, the hon. and learned Member said, referring to this point : We are not convinced on this side of the Committee that those practical inconveniences"— that is the deleterious effect on subscribers having to pay more— need exist at all. There has been a great deal of propaganda, to an extent to which one or two of my hon. Friend, though not myself, have had reason to take exception. We have had no hard figures"— that is from the relay companies— which have suggested that the implementation of the Convention will lead to an increase in the charge to the British consumer. It may be that that result will follow, but the interests of the relay companies are widespread and their financial interests are very great. Had evidence existed, it would have been within their power to adduce it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B. 24th July, 1956 ; c 494–5.] 5.0 p.m.

Therefore, if I may say so with respect, it was a little late in the day when the hon. Gentleman said a few minutes ago that we were remiss for not having made some inquiries into the effect of our proposals upon the relay subscribers, when he knows perfectly well, and has admitted, that if any evidence were forthcoming the relay associations would be the last to be remiss in putting that forward.

Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there are thousands of people who depend on the relay or rediffusion services because the B.B.C. cannot reach them? That is particularly true of my part of the country. If the hon. Gentleman tells us that improvements have been made recently, I would agree, but at a cost which the average subscriber cannot possibly meet, so I should like him to pay attention to that point.

Mr. Alport

I am grateful for the point made by the hon. Gentleman, because it helps me with my next one. His hon. and learned Friend has said there is no evidence that any additional cost or total of payments in respect of head copyright paid by the relay companies will involve an additional charge to their subscribers. As has been pointed out, it is important that we should regard this as what it is, a controversy not between the subscribers to a relay service and the head copyright owners, but between, on the one hand, the Performing Right Society, and, on the other, the relay companies, which are powerful and legitimately wealthy organisations concerned with providing a valuable service in parts of Wales and in many marginal areas in different parts of the country. I am not questioning that, but they are engaged in a legitimate business for gain. It seems to us no reason, and no valid reason at any rate, that in these cases the author should not be able to look to them for his just remuneration, since he cannot look elsewhere with equal effectiveness.

Mr. W. Wells

I do not want to keep on popping up, and I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. However, I want to draw his attention to the fact that as far back as the debate on the Amendment to Clause 2, I asked him to give assurances. I said : Will the Assistant Postmaster-General also consider the economic side of the question before we reach the next stage of the Bill? Will he consult the relay companies and see whether there is any justifiable reason for raising the rates to subscribers if the Amendment goes through in its present form?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 21st June, 1956 ; c. 84.] It was because we got no help on that, amongst other questions, that we divided in Committee on Clause 2 (5, e).

Mr. Alport

I am sorry to go back to what is of great interest to those of us who sat on Standing Committee B but may not be of so much interest to the rest of the House. I said on that occasion, and I think it is still a valid answer, that the hon. and learned Gentleman should not ask a Government Department, the Post Office, to intervene in what is an entirely commercial arrangement between the companies and their subscribers. Later in the Committee stage the hon. and learned Gentleman had himself come genuinely to the conclusion that if there was any serious evidence of the effect on the subscribers the relay associations would have put it forward.

I am sorry. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to have kept the House so long and I am coming now to the last point of my argument—

Mr. F. P. Bishop (Harrow, Central)

Before my hon. Friend leaves that point, does he not remember that in c. 75 of the Report of Standing Committee B, an estimate was given of the extra cost which would be involved for the rediffusion companies, and that a figure of £50,000 was mentioned?

Mr. Alport

My hon. Friend, who I know has considerable knowledge of this matter, is correct. An estimate was given and, as far as I can remember, it was £25,000 to £50,000 which, I think the House will agree was a very wide one. The original estimate was given by the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun). Subsequently those interested in this matter closed on the maximum figure of £50,000, but I pointed out that it was no estimate which would guide the Committee or the Government or anybody else in this matter.

Mr. H. E. Randall (Gateshead, West)

This is an important point. Is the Assistant Postmaster-General in a position to say to the House this afternoon that there will not be a rise in the charges that are made to the subscribers? We are getting estimates. That unqualified statement, however, has not so far been made, and it would be important if a statement could be made that there is no reason to believe that the charges would rise. Can the hon. Gentleman say even that?

Mr. Alport

If the worst occurred the increase would be of the order of one farthing a week, but it would be quite wrong for a Minister standing at this Box to give an undertaking on behalf of a private authority, legitimately in business, as to how it should conduct its affairs in the future. After all, the relay associations have recently raised their charges to their subscribers, irrespective of anything in this Bill. The hon. Gentleman is asking too much. This is something which must be left to the companies.

I was about to pass to the last point which I want to make to the House. Up to the present I have only made a passing reference to the terms of the Brussels Text of the Berne Convention and, in particular, to something that haunted us throughout the Committee stage, Article 11 bis. During that stage my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) contested the Government's interpretation of the obligations inherent under that Article, and the Opposition, while accepting that the Government were under an obligation to bring re-diffusion within the law of copyright and consequently that the head copyright owner was entitled to just remuneration, argued that the effect of their Amendment which we are considering in principle at the moment, was within the terms of Article 11 bis.

I realise, and I hope that hon. Members generally will do so, that any international convention, which is necessarily drafted on fairly broad lines, is open to more than one interpretation. We have seen from the earlier reference which I made to the resolution passed by the International Federation of Authors' and Composers' Societies that there is strong support for the construction which the Government put on this matter at an earlier period. But even though my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central and the Opposition are right in their contention, and the Amendment moved in Committee and the Amendment which they now are asking the House to consider are within the Convention, their solution would lead, I submit, to certain anomalies and indeed to injustices.

Mr. Kenneth Pickthorn (Carlton)

Will my hon. Friend permit me? I am trying to be helpful. He said just now "even though they are right". I thought that his argument really involved "even though they were right". I think it is of some importance that the right word should be there. I take it that he was not admitting that they are right.

Mr. Alport

My hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Mr. Pickthorn) was a very patient and very respected lecturer of mine when I was an undergraduate at the university. He did his best to keep me right on constitutional law on those occasions, and I am very grateful to him for keeping me right on a matter of grammar on this occasion too.

Leaving out any question of drafting, as I have said that we do not want to make a point of that, the Amendment that we are considering leaves the author to get the best he can from the foreign broadcasting authority. If the foreign broadcasting authority refuses to pay any fee for the exercise of relay rights in this country, as it almost certainly will, the author would get nothing from it unless he could obtain an order for payment from the local equivalent of the Performing Right Tribunal, if such existed.

What would be the result if he obtained such an order? It is likely—I think it is generally admitted—that the other parties to the Convention will follow our lead in this matter. The result would clearly be that the P.R.S. would certainly be driven, as a result of corresponding foreign legislation, to seek to obtain from the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. a fee for the exercise by foreign relay organisations of relay rights in those foreign countries. If they failed, the final result would be that the British author would either not get paid for his foreign relay rights or the British broadcasting authorities would be made to do so. To put it bluntly, the result of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment would be either that the composer would go short or that the wrong body would pay.

Therefore, taking the Amendment at the legal valuation of the Opposition, and accepting for the sake of argument my hon. Friend's interpretation of the legal position, either a serious anomaly would be created or a serious injustice—that is certainly claimed by the composers—would be inflicted on the composers.

As has been said all through, this is not an easy point. I have done my best to elucidate the background to the Government's argument in this matter. We have tried all the way through not to take sides with one interest or another but to strike a just balance between what are sometimes—they have been at many points in the Bill—conflicting interests, interests between those who have what appear to be equally just claims. We have done so upon the principles which I set out earlier on in my speech. I hope that, on the basis of the arguments which the House has been so patient in allowing me to put forward, the House will feel, when the time comes, that it can look favourably upon the Amendment which the Government will move rather than upon the present Amendment.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. James MacCoIl (Widnes)

The first point, the drafting point, which the hon. Gentleman made illustrated what some of us find so very irritating about the attitude of the Government in connection with this very complicated and difficult problem. After all, who introduced the words "authorised broadcast "? As far as I can gather from looking at the Order Paper, they came originally in the draft which the Government introduced into the Bill after it had been through Committee. As I understand it, the original meaning of "authorised broadcast" is connected with the rediffusion licence and refers primarily to wavelength and not to copyright. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) discussed that point with the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) when it arose.

The Government have now dragged the phrase into their own Amendment and given it their own interpretation, and yet they now turn round and blame us because their interpretation Amendment is too narrow. The sensible thing to do would have been to leave it out altogether, allowing the Bill to remain in its original form. One might think that we were the ones who were being difficult about it and introducing complications at the last moment, but we were content with the Bill as it emerged after careful consideration in the Standing Committee. It is the Government who are at the last moment, as the sands of the Session are running out, seeking to introduce entirely novel phraseology into the Bill and to give it entirely novel interpretations.

Mr. Alport

The objections which we are putting forward, which are drafting ones, to the present Amendment apply in exactly the same way to the Amendment which was passed in Committee and now stands as part of the Bill.

Mr. MacColl

As to the Standing Committee, it is a recognised fact that when the House expresses an opinion a Government who are discharging their responsibilities with reasonable courtesy to the House put at the disposal of the House the technical skill of their draftsmen in order to tidy up matters. The Government have been sitting on the Bill throughout the long Recess, and they have had plenty of time to tidy up the Bill and to deal with drafting points since it came from the Standing Committee. With a Bill of this character, no one could expect even my hon. and learned Friend, who is an exceedingly skilful draftsman, to produce something which will stand up to the criticisms of the Parliamentary draftsmen. However, that is a matter with which the Government can deal. I do not want to waste a lot of time splitting hairs and chopping logic about an interpretation. It is something upon which we can agree if we can agree upon policy.

We are faced with an exceedingly complicated and difficult question about which we all have different points of view. Vested interests on each side have been pushing and pulling. We have to work out something which will do rough justice as between the conflicting interest. Whatever may be the fault and whoever ought to be blamed for it, the Government have been behaving like a lot of frightened old hens scuttling from one side of the road to the other. When the Bill was introduced originally, they said there was no problem and no need to worry and that rediffusion should not be subject to copyright charges at all. In that form, the Bill passed through another place. When it came to this House the Government shot right across to the other side and insisted on going as far as they could and putting the highest possible obligation they could upon the rediffusion authorities. Being faced with this difficult problem, we have to find a midway between the two points of view.

I do not for a moment accept everything that the rediffusion authorities have said. I think that, like many vested interests, they have tended to overstate their case. I do not accept the view that having rediffusion is merely like having another wireless set and that the rediffusion hearer is in no different position from the person who switches directly to the foreign station. I think that the argument put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. S. O. Davies) and my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) about what happens in the shadow areas is an argument against that. If one can hear opera in Italy while sitting comfortably in one's armchair instead of lying flat on one's tummy with one's ear glued to the loudspeaker, that means that one is getting something different. I think rediflusion is a different operation and ought to be regarded as such.

Also, I do not attach very much importance to the emphasis which has been put upon the number and poverty-stricken character of the people who subscribe to rediffusion. At one stage I rather got the impression that all the widows who had been dispossessed of their shares in railway companies had invested their compensation in rediffusion. I think that kind of argument, put forward quite fairly and as part of the game, is something which one ought to approach with caution. At the same time, I do not accept the more passionate statements, well-written, as one would have expected, from great names in the musical and literary world, that if they do not screw the last halfpenny out of the foreign stations which happen to be picked up by rediffusion companies, every literary person in this country will be bankrupt. That equally, I think, is an exaggeration.

What we have are two sets of people with reasonable points of view which they both tend to exaggerate, and we have to find some way of compromise which, while reasonably satisfying both, is not too much of a distortion of the law of copyright. That is the problem which we have all had to face. I think that it is greatly to the credit of my hon. Friends who have led us throughout these arduous discussions that they have succeeded with great statesmanship in producing a workable compromise and a tolerably fair one.

What they say, cutting out all the law, which I will leave to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Turner-Samuels) who will, no doubt, be able to help us in expounding it, is that in lay language it means that so far as piracy is concerned, where an unscrupulous foreign station is not paying anything at all to the head copyright owners and is just not discharging its obligations at all, the rediffusion people have placed upon them the responsibility for seeing that the copyright charges are paid. That is a pretty onerous responsibility. It is not a thing to be looked at lightly. It places a substantial burden on them to make quite certain that the stations which they are picking up have, in general, done the decent thing by the copyright owners.

In other cases where they are satisfied that there has been an attempt to seek out a composer, or a poet, or whoever it may be, and make an agreement with him about broadcasting his work, the rediffusion authorities are exempt from responsibility and it is left to fair negotiation between the two parties concerned. I should have thought that was a fair way of doing it. In other words, provided that the rediffusion authority is satisfied that there has been a negotiation between the two parties, the station and the copyright owner, the precise terms of that negotiation is not their concern. That is something which they cannot really be expected to go into in detail, but they are responsible for seeing that there has been a negotiation of that kind and responsible for seeing that the foreign station has searched out the British copyright owner and has been prepared to talk to him. I should have thought that that was a proper concession and a very substantial one to the copyright owner.

Therefore, I ask why, at this late stage when a workmanlike solution has been evolved as a result of our discussions, the Government must pigheadedly disregard the views of all people on both sides of the House who have considered this matter, and say, "Our prestige is at stake. We got panicky in the Standing Committee. We took a certain line and were defeated. Therefore, to show that we are still masters of the nation we are determined, whatever the cost, to push this thing through, regardless of all reason, common sense and compromise."

Mr. Philip Bell

I share a great deal of the hon. Gentleman's views, but I cannot share his extravagance. The Government are worried about the meaning of the Brussels Convention. That is what is at the back of their minds, and why they are worried.

Mr. MacColl

I am happy that the hon. and learned Gentleman knows what is worrying the Government. I would not venture to make too many guesses as to what is worrying them. I thought that there might be quite a lot of things worrying them at the moment, but I did not think that the Brussels Convention was the major one. I do not think that there is much substance about the argument about the Brussels Convention. Quite frankly, I do not understand it, and am unable to make up my mind about it. I know that my right hon. Friends understand it, and all the other important skilled experts in this field understand it, but there is certainly sufficient dubiety about it to have made the Government in another place accept that there was no obligation under the Brussels Convention to do anything about it. There is sufficient room for doubt for us not to be too fussy and sticky about the letter of the law, and I should have thought that the British House of Commons would want to do what it always wants to do in a position of complexity and that is take the reasonable common-sense point of view and the reasonable fair, middle-of-the-road point of view. That, I should have thought, would have presented itself to everybody as always being entirely desirable.

Mr. Bishop

I am very glad to be able to agree with my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General on one thing. It was the point on which he started his speech and I was hoping that, as he went along, he would develop it. I agree with him that it was unfortunate that the mover of this Amendment should have introduced an element of party feeling into it because in Standing Committee this matter was considered in an entirely non-party spirit. It was in that spirit that the Standing Committee reached its conclusion on this point.

I feel that I must say a word or two about some of the other points which have been made in the debate. My hon. Friend suggested in his speech that the Government had rightly adopted the course in this case of presenting a Bill to Parliament in something like a tentative form, leaving it to Parliament to shape the Bill as it should ultimately be. It seems to me that that is a course which might be followed in other cases, but I find it a little difficult to reconcile that principle with the fact that the Standing Committee exhaustively debated and examined one of the particular features of this Bill—the only one in which they disagreed with the Government's recommendation—and that the Government now state that they will not accept it.

I hope that the House will consider very carefully the points which are at issue. I do not want to enlarge upon the question of the extra cost to the rediffusion companies if the Amendment, in the form proposed by the Government, goes through. The figure of £50,000 was mentioned in Standing Committee and some justification for it was given, although everyone admitted that it was a highly speculative figure. It is not so much a question of whether, as I see it at any rate, this £50,000 will have to be passed on to the subscribers to the rediffusion services in the form of an increased subscription. Whether it is a farthing a week or any other figure I do not know, although I assume that it would be necessary, sooner or later, to pass on any increased charge of that kind.

From a wider point of view, the serious thing is this. It is a question of another £50,000 which has to be paid by the rediffusion companies in this country instead of by the foreign broadcasting companies who are responsible for the performances and who, under the present law and the present practice, are paying the copyright fees on the works which they put into their programmes. My hon. Friend finished his speech by drawing a picture of the injustice that would be done and the various consequences which would follow if the Amendment in the form proposed by the Opposition were to go through. We must surely point out that it is the Government who are proposing to alter the law, and that the law as it stands and the practice as it operates at present have gone on for a very large number of years with no complaint from anybody.

At least there has been no complaint from any responsible source, because in his last letter in The Times the General Manager of the Performing Right Society said : Our members would be quite happy if the provisions of the existing law were left unchanged. If that is the view of the Performing Right Society, I cannot understand all this fuss on behalf of its members.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Alport

The hon. Member has referred to the letter from the Performing Right Society about this matter. I think that I should draw his attention and that of the House to the next paragraph in that letter in which the writer refers to a mis-statement which he claims was made in the Committee stage. He said : ' The second mis-statement is that authors and composers are paid by a broadcasting authority in respect of listeners, whether by relay or ordinary receivers, and whether in the country of origin or elsewhere. In nearly every country broadcasting authorities pay the authors' societies on the basis of the number of listeners (whether by relay or ordinary receivers) in the country in which the broadcasting authority operates, and only in that country. I said that I thought that there had been a misunderstanding on this matter and the hon. Member will recollect that I referred to this point earlier in my speech.

Mr. Bishop

That brings me to my next point, the attitude of the Performing Right Society on the question of who pays the copyright fees and in what form they are paid. I was astonished to hear the hon. and learned Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) read a letter from the manager of the Performing Right Society in which I understood him to say that the foreign station pays everything in respect of listeners abroad. My hon. Friend referred to the difficulty of the head copyright owner in respect of relays from foreign stations which have no liability to pay for relays in this country.

I am compelled once again to refer to what was said on this matter in Committee. It is very important. In Committee I read out a considerable passage from a letter written on 22nd March, 1950, to the Malta Rediffusion Company of which I must declare myself to be a director. It dealt with the question of the liability of fees in respect of copyright on behalf of the head copyright owner. The letter explained that the B.B.C. in this country paid copyright fees based upon the number of licences, so much per head per subscriber, whether the subscribers were subscribers to rediffusion services or used listening sets. The letter went on to refer to the position of overseas broadcasting stations and said : All overseas broadcasting stations in our territory are now assessed on the tariff of which we have given you particulars and most of the new licences are either completed or in course of negotiation. That was in 1950. It went on : Broadcasting organisations in other countries are charged by their respective national Performing Right Societies for what they transmit. The charge takes account of the fact that to some extent the transmissions may be picked up by listeners in other countries, even though primarily intended for home listeners. Thus, to take a concrete example, the Dutch Society charges the Dutch broadcasting organisation for its transmissions, taking due account of the fact that some listeners in England or elsewhere may occasionally tune in to them ; conversely, we charge the B.B.C. for the Corporation's transmissions and likewise take due account of the fact that some listeners in Holland or elsewhere may tune in to them. But this is not very material, for a listener who tunes in to the foreign station cannot at the same time listen to his national service, and this kind of cross-listening therefore cancels itself out. That was the statement made by the Performing Right Society of the principles on which it operated in 1950 and the basis on which it said it had already signed agreements with other countries relevant for the purpose of this discussion, or was then in negotiation with them. Presumably by now the negotiations have been completed.

The position surely is that the head copyright owner under the present system gets his fee through his performing right society and gets a fee based upon the number of listeners in each of the countries concerned. Whether the B.B.C. may be paying too much, because there are more people in this country listening to France than there are in France listening to the B.B.C, or vice versa, is a matter which the Performing Right Society says is irrelevant. The Society takes a sort of knock-for-knock basis and assumes that it works out on balance.

So the head copyright owner at present gets his fee in respect of programmes listened to in this country from foreign broadcasting stations and that is equally true whether they are listened to on a receiving set or through a subscription to a rediffusion service, which, as has been said over and over again in these discussions, is simply an alternative method of reception.

The trouble is that there has been a good deal of misunderstanding due to the very natural sympathy that we all feel for the man who through his own brain produces the work which is broadcast. I have been bombarded, as most other hon. Members have been, on this subject. Yesterday I received a long letter from an old school friend of mine of whom I had not heard for more than twenty years. He is now living in the country writing lyrics and composing music. What he said about the attitude which I have taken in debates on this subject is something which hon. Members would not be allowed to say to me here. He sent me a copy of a printed circular which no doubt other hon. Members have received in great profusion.

When I received it I wondered whether my friend had read it as carefully as I read it when I first received one. If so, he would have seen that on page 2 the Performing Right Society puts forward two alternatives for what it calls the achievement of common justice. The first of its two alternatives is that we should revert to the status quo under the Copyright Act, 1911, by removing all references to rediffusion services from the Bill. It is too late to do that. The damage was done in Clause 2 which was inserted in Standing Committee and which the House had no opportunity of discussing yesterday. We are now dealing with a series of Amendments designed to minimise the consequences of bringing rediffusion within the scope of copyright in Clause 2.

My hon. Friends in charge of the Bill have gone a very long way to help us to diminish the consequences that might otherwise follow from what I think is that mistaken course. They have gone 80 per cent. of the way. I wish they could have gone the full 100 per cent., because I think that would have been a right and a sound thing to do. I apologise for detaining the House so long. But this is a very complicated and important matter. I should regret very much if it had to be dealt with purely on a party basis, because I think it goes much deeper than that. The point is one which will settle the issue on this aspect of copyright perhaps for half a century to come.

Mr. Randall

Despite the discussion in which we have engaged, I am left unconvinced that the Government have a case for altering the present law. As so many hon. Members have said, this is a technical and a difficult Bill. Equally, this particular subject is difficult, but I thought that during the Committee stage discussions we were attempting to consider the interests of all who are involved ; not only the owners of the copyright, not only the Performing Right Society, not only the relay services, but also the listeners. As a result of those discussions I thought that we got at any rate somewhere near an arrangement which would prove satisfactory.

I have no quarrel at all with the bringing of rediffusion into the scope of copyright. I think it right and proper that that should be so. But as hon. Members who sat on the Standing Committee will know, our objection and my objection is to the conditions under which that will apply. That is the whole trouble. But I think hon. Members will agree that, first, whatever are the conditions which we shall apply, they should be simple to operate. I think I can secure the agreement of the House about that. The conditions should be fair and equitable. We should be just—I have already said so—to the copyright owners, but without differentiation in our treatment of the listeners and subscribers. They also must be considered. I do not think that that aspect has been sufficiently ventilated today. The Government's Amendment does not attempt to deal with the discrimination against the subscriber, and because of that, I am prepared to support the Amendment of my hon. Friends and to oppose the Government.

I agree with my hon. Friends that re-diffusion is not a second performance. The Assistant Postmaster-General referred to this during the Committee discussion, and it is of vital importance to the matter which we are now considering. The rediffusion relay of a broadcast is the first performance and that is most important. My approach to this matter starts from there. We are not dealing with something which is being performed for the second time. It is the first performance of a work—of music or whatever it may be.

I next ask myself, what is the service given by the relay people to the people of this country ; what do they seek to do? They provide, so far as possible, a programme for householders and give a service which is not dissimilar to the service which the owner of an ordinary wireless set would have. There are limitations. The owner of an ordinary wireless set can tune in to home stations and also to foreign stations without extra charge, provided that he has a receiving licence. The service which the relay services are giving represents an effort to provide, in certain parts of the country which are "shadow" areas, an opportunity to listen in the same way as the owner of an ordinary wireless set. Therefore, the service given is very necessary to the people of this country. For a large number of people it is a "must," and it is the only way in which they may get effective reception.

5.45 p.m.

If there is no doubt about that, my next approach and the next question I ask myself is, do the relay users have receiving licences? Of course they do, in the same way as the owner of an ordinary wireless set. They must have such a licence. The licence makes it clear that the owner is entitled to listen in, not only to home stations, but to foreign stations. What he is not allowed to do is to operate a station of his own and to broadcast. It seems to me, therefore, that the user of a relay service who holds a wireless licence is entitled to listen in, and that relay services are providing a service which they ought to provide for those areas in this country where it is difficult to listen in.

What of the copyright owners? When a programme goes on the air it can be picked up at home or abroad even though the programme is intended only for listeners at home. It is perfectly true that the number of home listeners can be calculated, because the number of licences is known. What is not known is the number of listeners abroad.

The hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) has repeated today what he told us in the Committee ; that the Performing Right Societies in several countries in the world, when negotiating contracts with broadcasting corporations in other countries, must, without doubt, take into account that there will be foreign listeners. That seems to me absolutely inevitable because the very nature of a wireless programme prevents it from being confined to home consumption. Therefore the organisations safeguarding the rights and interests of copyright owners in their negotiations with broadcasting authorities will take into account the fact that the listening public extends far beyond the borders of the home country.

Despite the correspondence which has been read this afternoon, I am persuaded that in the majority of countries which accept the Copyright Convention consideration is given to the fact that there are listeners abroad. So I come to the point about the payment of royalties. Who pays the royalties? They are paid by the licence holders, at least in Great Britain, if not in other countries. The relay users are equally paying their licence fees. They are not exempt and, if that is so, they are making their contribution to the royalties due to the copyright holders, in whatever country they live or in whatever country their works are used.

Why does the Government Amendment discriminate against relay subscribers? Relay is not a second performance, and there appears no justification for amending the law. I know of no request or agitation to change the law. Because of the very nature of wireless it is not possible for the Government's Amendment to be applied with satisfaction to the relay users. I do not want to emphasise the political differences in the House but to preserve our unity on this matter. I hope that we shall tell the Government that this Amendment is not in the interests of the relay users and that they ought not to discriminate against them. The Amendment in the name of my hon. Friends is to be preferred to that of the Government.

Sir Frank Medlicott (Norfolk, Central)

I am glad to have an opportunity to make a brief contribution to this discussion, but I must make it clear that I have an interest, since I have been associated with the relay industry in a legal capacity for more than a quarter of a century. That perhaps qualifies me to speak with some knowledge of the matter.

I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Randall) when he says that the bringing of relay into the field of copyright is justified. A great mistake has been made and a great amount of unnecessary confusion has been caused by this. I have found for a number of years that there is widespread misconception as to the nature of relay wireless. The hon. Member emphasised that relay is not a second performance. It was once said that because of the echo the Royal Albert Hall was the only place where a British composer could count on hearing his work performed a second time. That does not apply in any sense to the relay industry. Relay is a first performance and in no sense a transmission. I speak as a lawyer when I say that the original basis of liability for copyright was related to the active sending out or reproduction of literary or musical matter. That is in no sense a function of the relay companies.

It might be of historical interest to recall the origin of relay, which is believed to have started in the home of a Dutchman whose wife was ill and unable to listen to the wireless downstairs. The husband therefore provided an extension for a loudspeaker upstairs so that they could both listen. Neighbours later also wanted to listen in through his receiver. That was the origin of relay wireless. It is simply a method by which a very much larger number of people can listen to the programmes through the same receiver.

It has been made plain throughout the history of rediffusion and relay that the companies are not to have any power to transmit. That has been laid down most firmly and categorically by the Post Office. The relay industry would no doubt have welcomed the opportunity of activating programmes, but it has been a condition of their existence that they must not activate any programme whatever, but merely organise reception.

It has previously been quite simple to enforce copyright by going to the fountain head, and the Performing Right Society has demonstrated its ability to do so in no uncertain way, in order to collect what was due.

I would take up another point made the hon. Member for Gateshead, West, that those who receive relayed programmes are all holders of wireless licences. We have been told that some people manage to escape holding a licence. May I point out that the relay companies are responsible for seeing that every person who listens to the relayed programmes has a current wireless licence before getting any entertainment. In that way, and also because relay carries wireless programmes to areas which would not otherwise be reached, the authors and composers themselves get the advantage of increased revenue.

We have heard a number of arguments on behalf of the Government in support of the Amendment. I was disturbed by that which suggested that the imposition can be justified because relay companies are wealthy. If that argument had come from the Opposition side it would have sounded more consistent, but I was sorry to hear the Assistant Postmaster-General say it. I hope there are stronger arguments than that for placing the proposed imposition upon these companies. They may be substantial and they are well run, but that is no reason for imposing a penalty upon them.

Do not let us bring confusion into the law relating to copyright. I hope, even at this late hour, that the Government will think again.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

The final remarks of the hon. Member for Norfolk, Central (Sir F. Medlicott) almost tempt me to turn aside to examine the financial position of radio relay and radio rediffusion. If I did it might not be germane to the matter that we are discussing. That is a political problem which we have to tackle between us in other ways and at other times.

Hon. Members who were on the Standing Committee on the Bill did a good job of work and showed such keenness, and their loyalty during the Report stage has been so evident that I feel that I am almost infringing their copyright in taking part in the debate.

Heavy weather has been made of the political quips which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) introduced into his excellent speech at the beginning of the debate. We all know that if this matter goes to a Division the resources of the Government will be used to persuade their Members-We do not want a Division, because we want to carry on the sweet reasonableness which prevailed upstairs, as I gather from a close study of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee proceedings. We therefore urge the Government to accept an Amendment and not to put any of their supporters into the difficult position of going into a Lobby into which they do not wish to go.

An Hon. Member

They often do that.

Dr. H. King

It is beyond my compass to deal with the highly technical points in the speech of the Assistant Postmaster-General. I leave the questions arising out of Article 11 bis in the Brussels Convention, which haunts the pages of the Committee Report and has cast its shadow on our discussions tonight, and even the fascinating question of what the Brussels Agreement meant by "radiodiffusion", to my right hon. and learned Friends. I will take up one point made by the Assistant Postmaster-General, and which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade made in the debate yesterday.

I am alarmed at the new argument that we cannot make an Amendment to a Bill at the Report stage if its drafting is not satisfactory—not even when the Amendment which we seek to introduce is designed to protect the Bill as it came from Committee. When my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) was referring to this argument in his speech the Assistant Postmaster-General intervened and said, to my astonishment, "We also object to the drafting of the Clause even as it left the Committee, even if there had not been this new Amendment." With all the resources of the Parliamentary draftsmen, draftsmen who have achieved a miracle of definition in this Bill by redefining on Report what is meant by "cinematograph film", I think that there was a moral duty on the Government, if the Committee had come to some decision and its drafting was wrong, to come to the House on Report and say, "What we are proposing is not to alter the principle which the Committee accepted, but to put the drafting right." The Government have failed in their duty by not bringing a redrafting of what the Committee accepted in principle, but what the Government found to be technically wrong.

6.0 p.m.

I want to call attention to what I think is the inconsistent attitude of the Government over this matter of broadcasting copyright. In Clause 14 the Government have given a new extra copyright to two broadcasting companies, the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. And that extra copyright, is, I fear, for the benefit of the companies, and not for the authors and performers who create the broadcast. By altering the Clause as it came from Committee and by resisting this Amendment they seek to impose a new charge on radio-diffusion or radio relay, a new and extra charge, not for the benefit of foreign broadcasting companies, but for the benefit of creative artists. In Clause 14 all the benefits are for a broadcasting company and we tried in vain in Committee to get protection for the artists who provide the broadcasts. In this they are seeking to provide benefit, not for a foreign broadcasting company, but an extra benefit for authors and composers.

I would emphasise the word "extra". I understand—it has been referred to again and again in these debates—that one of the sheet anchors of principle held by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee was that there should not be double rewards. Foreign companies have no broadcast copyright so this new charge on radiodiffusion cannot benefit a broadcasting company abroad. Now, if there is piracy or an unscrupulous use by some broadcasting company of the creative work of artists, and if the relay company is taking the programme from a source which it knows to be a pirate source, it is compounding a felony. My legal term may be wrong, but it is certainly committing piracy and ought to be punished by having to pay, as I think the whole House would agree. We believe that our Amendment makes that distinction perfectly clear.

The Amendment moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Walsall distinguishes between the bona fide foreign broadcast—what he called the authorised broadcast, and if that was not the right term it should be within the wit of the Parliamentary draftsmen of the Government in another place to achieve the right term—and the piratical one. If we assume that the radiodiffusion company is normally using the services of a reputable foreign station then one can assume that already performing rights have been arranged by the broadcasters.

I am glad that the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop), whose very lucid arguments in Committee convinced me of the Tightness of this case and who, tonight, has referred to what he said in Committee, requoted the correspondence which, I gathered from his description, took place between a radiodiffusion or relay company in which he is interested and the Performing Right Society.

I do not want to re-read the whole of the letter which I did propose to reread into the OFFICIAL REPORT, but I would again bring to the notice of the House just this sentence : broadcasting organisations in other countries are charged by their respective national Performing Right Societies for what they transmit, and the charge takes account of the fact that to some extent transmissions may be picked up by listeners in other countries.

It is for this reason that I say if this Amendment is not accepted authors and composers in some cases will be paid twice for the same broadcast. There may be foreign broadcasting companies who do not pay. I know that the hon. Member, again quoting from the letter he had received from the Performing Right Society, said : All overseas broadcasting stations in our territory are now assessed on the tariff of which we have given you particulars…

It may be that the Performing Right Society—the hon. Member can intervene and correct me if I am wrong—was only making reference to a group of broadcasters inside its own territory.

Mr. Bishop

The specific case, the hon. Member will remember, was quoted as an example and is the case of Holland. I cannot give a list of the countries. I do not know what "in our territory" means, but I take it to mean within those countries where national Performing Right Societies are, in fact, operating.

Dr. King

That is what I suspected, that there may be some area in the world in which authors and composers through Performing Right Societies, or in some other way, are entirely unprotected.

Mr. Bishop

Such countries are unlikely to be among those whose programmes are relayed in this country.

Dr. King

I would agree and I would imagine that the radio diffusion company—for whom I hold no special brief, as I hope to show in a moment—would use its judgment and sense in choosing only reputable foreign broadcasts to relay to British people.

The individual pays no licence fee to Radio Luxembourg or Radio Milan. No one outside the totalitarian States—which, I am happy to see, seem to be shrinking in number at the moment—thinks it is wrong to pick up a foreign broadcast. Indeed, the motto over the. headquarters of the B.B.C. is, I understand, "Nation Shall Speak Unto Nation." It must be to the regret of all who love culture, all who love radio, all who love music, all who love international communication, that today we are not allowing nation to speak unto nation by radio.

I think that the Government's proposals will impose financial checks and will discourage radiodiffusion companies from bringing from abroad to British people something which was the supreme virtue of radio—its international quality. If we do not charge the ordinary British citizen for twiddling the knobs on his set and picking up programmes from Radio Milan, Radio Rome, or Radio Luxembourg I do not see why we should charge the listener to radiodiffusion. And it will be the listener who pays. Most hon. Members do not need convincing that when this House, by law, imposes a charge on private enterprise the shareholders of private enterprise take good care to see that the charge is passed on to the consumer.

I have said in previous debates, in defence of what I thought were the rights of radiodiffusion, that I am not a radio-diffusion user. I have no interest to declare in this, not even a literal interest in radiodiffusion. I like to get my own radio entertainment. I can see, however, that to those who like myself are high fidelity enthusiasts—I apologise for using the jargon of radio—but cannot afford the very considerable expense needed to get high fidelity reception with all the possibilities of good, modern radio, people who cannot afford the equipment or who are without the technical know-how to look after the equipment, radio-diffusion within certain limits provides that high quality reception, it gives a certain choice of programme and that is something we ought not to discourage.

There are people too poor to get all that modern radio can provide without the aid of radiodiffusion. As has been pointed out in an intervention in this debate by an hon. Member from Wales, there are people in this country who, deprived of radiodiffusion services, would be deprived of radio altogether.

Until the Postmaster-General can solve the problem of the really bad reception areas in England then, for some of those people, radiodiffusion is the only source of radio. I think that to impose an extra charge on someone because he has radiodiffusion apparatus instead of the ordinary wireless set is an injustice. Everybody who uses an ordinary set, everybody who uses a radiodiffusion set pays a licence. No one would accept the claim of a man who had paid his year's licence if he said, "I listened to Radio Luxembourg all the time ; I want a reduction in my licence-fee for part of the English programmes to which I did not listen."

It seems to me that we would be wrong to impose an extra charge. The Committee thought so also, and amended the Bill accordingly. I hope that the Government are to get back to where the Committee was, and will have third or even fourth thoughts on this Measure, and, roughly, leave it as it was in Committee with, of course, any necessary drafting improvements. I believe that this part of the case was stated by the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell), when he said : If we can stop the man who issues the programme from stealing people's copyright, there is no problem at all. That is the fountainhead to get at, and it has always been so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 26th July. 1956, c. 519.] I think that the Performing Right Society, the British Government, the Postmaster-General—all who believe in international radio—have to seek to build up a standard of morality of international radio, but they should not take a little section of the British public which chooses one technical method of receiving radio programmes and inflict on it the sins of the international radio community. As I have said, I hope that the Government will have third or fourth thoughts on this and that they will accept our Amendment.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

As both my hon. Friends the Members for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) and for Norfolk Central (Sir F. Medlicott) have declared an interest, and lest it might be thought that it is only because of that interest that some opposition to the Government comes from this side, I want to declare at once that, like the hon. Member for Itchen (Dr. King), I have no interest whatever in rediffusion or relay. I have, however, a large number of constituents who are rediffusion subscribers and I am very much concerned with the effect upon them of the Government's Amendment.

I find great sympathy with the argument put forward by the hon. Member for Itchen and the theme which was developed by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross). Why should there be discrimination in this case between the rediffusion subscriber and other set holders? I have looked in vain at the two principles put forward by my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General as being at the back of his mind throughout, to see whether they gave any reason for this discrimination.

It will be remembered that the first principle is that the head copyright owner should receive his just remuneration, and the second, that in no case should he be entitled to be paid twice for his copyright. With regard to the first principle, this Government Amendment recognises that there shall be no further fee paid when the B.B.C. or I.T.A. are broadcasting and there is rediffusion of that matter, but does the B.B.C. really take into account rediffusion in foreign countries? It has been suggested by correspondence which has been read that, to a certain extent, it may do so, but can it really be the fact?

I should have thought the fees paid by the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. were based far more on the eminence of the author or composer than on the assumed audience. I am sure that if I went to the B.B.C. with a sheet of music that I had written, that Corporation would not pay me as much for it as they would some very well-known composer. I cannot think that this is really taken into account and that there is a careful summing up of how many rediffusion subscribers there are in France, Holland, Germany and all over the Continent. Can we really balance it in that way?

The second principle enunciated by my hon. Friend was that in no case should the head copyright owner be entitled to be paid twice for his copyright. It seems to me that under the Government proposal he is very likely to be paid twice. If his matter is being broadcast from a foreign broadcasting station he has given authority to that broadcasting station, and he is being paid. But that broadcasting station wall say, "We shall not pay you anything for the rediffusion of this in your country, because it is not allowed. You get it in another way. You go to your rediffusion stations in your own country."

He then comes to the rediffusion companies in this country and says : "If you want to relay my matter you must pay me for it." They say, "No, we shall not pay you if the foreign broadcasting stations pay you." The rediffusion companies here then go to the foreign broadcasting stations and say, "Let us look at your accounts. What have you paid the author or composer for this?" What are the foreign broadcasting stations likely to say to the rediffusion company? They will say, "We shall not tell you what we paid the composer—and why should we? You find out for yourselves." There will, therefore, be a playing off by the Performing Right Society of the rediffusion companies in this country and the foreign broadcasting stations, one against the other.

Dr. Stross

Would it be fair to say that the gist of the hon. Gentleman's argument is that the author will be paid from two sources, but not necessarily more? He will be paid twice, but the sum total will be less than it would have been originally?

Mr. Page

I think that is so. But the effect will be that the rediffusion company in this country will be paying something which the foreign broadcasting station is paying now—if it is paying at all—and will obviously pass that on to its customers, the rediffusion subscribers.

I cannot understand the argument of, "Oh, this is only a small sum"—£50,000 or whatever it may be. The fact remains that the Performing Right Society and the authors and composers are making a lot of fuss about it. They seem to think that there is something of good value in this, yet they use the argument, "It is not a large sum. Either the rediffusion companies are capable of paying it, because they are big and wealthy, or they will pass it on to their subscribers at a farthing a time." But why should the rediffusion subscriber have to pay any more than does the man who owns a set or he who hires one? That is where I think this point of non-discrimination is very important.

There are, I suppose, three categories of listeners to wireless and viewers of television. There is the man who owns his set, there is the man who hires his set, and there is the rediffusion subscriber. I suppose that I should add a fourth category—the man who listens to or looks at someone else's wireless or television set.

So far as the three categories are concerned, why should there be any discrimination between a man who hires a set and the man who, being a rediffusion subscriber, hires the wires which run from a communal set and hires the right to listen in to that communal set? Each one of those people pays a licence fee to the Postmaster-General ; each one is charged for listening, and there is no discrimination when it comes to taking the money from them.

By this Government Amendment we are saying to the rediffusion subscriber, "Your neighbour who hires his set can tune into a foreign broadcast but you must not do so unless you pay a little more to the rediffusion company." That seems most unfair. In fact, the Government have recognised that this discrimination is unfair by doing away with it in the case of broadcasts from the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. It is thus recognised that discrimination is wrong.

Indeed, I do not think I am misinterpreting what was said in Committee when this was put forward as a fair and proper arrangement when the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. are broadcasting and their material is rediffused. The Government attitude appeared then to be, "We wish we could do the same thing about the foreign broadcasts. We think it is right not to discriminate, but the Berne Convention prevents us from doing what we think right." Article 11 of the Berne Convention does not prevent the Government from making a similar provision for foreign broadcasting stations to that which they desire to make in the case of the B.B.C. and the I.T.A.

I do not want to go through those arguments because they have to be taken step by step, and it takes rather a long time to deploy them, but I ask hon. Members to believe that there is no objection in the Convention to our dealing with the foreign broadcasting stations in the same way as it is desired to deal with the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. Even if there were, the countries who are parties to this Convention are meeting again in July, and surely the Government could take up this point then ; they could respect what was agreed to in the Standing Committee and, if they felt that there was some doubt about the Convention, they could take up the matter with the other parties. The other parties will not have passed any legislation by then, and the matter could be put right there and then.

Therefore, it is with great regret that I disagree with my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General because he has been so kind to me in connection with other matters which I raised in Committee. He has been most generous and I am grateful to him, but on this point I cannot accept this Amendment.

Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester)

I quite agree with the final observation of the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) when he referred to the kindness of the Assistant Postmaster-General. He is a most amiable person and is always ready to help. I believe that this afternoon when he endeavoured to explain this matter he did what he thought was just, but it is quite clear that in the result he is not in fact doing what is just. He did not deal in his speech with the salient point, because he obviously saw that he was in a difficulty.

I do not think there could be much objection to the manner in which the hon. Gentleman dealt with most of the aspects of this matter, but he left out one vital thing. He failed to deal with the qestion of the discrimination between two sets of listeners in circmstances where it is absolutely incomprehensible why such discrimination should occur, I am very much concerned about this because in Gloucester there is a very large body of subscribers to the wireless relay service.

Indeed, I think I am entitled to say that the City of Gloucester was the first place in any county to which this service came and that we were able to beat America in the introduction of it by exactly one week. Many of these Gloucester subscribers in the city and county are in places where it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to receive a programme at all except by means of this special relay apparatus, either because of the distance from the transmitter or because of electrical and other interference. In passing, I am sure that many people are profoundly grateful to the City and Corporation of Gloucester for having initiated this service, which has become such a widespread boon.

What is the fundamental issue which has to be considered here? If this were a question of someone trying to take advantage of the work or industry of another person, that would be another matter. If there were a class of people getting something for nothing which others were paying for it would be quite right that this Amendment should be promptly accepted. There is in this connection one noteworthy point, namely, that the present situation has been going on for many years—

Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale)

For thirty years.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

—Yes, for thirty years, I am told.

It has never once been suggested that there was anything wrong about it, or that there was an injustice to rectify. Indeed, in the original Measure, in another place, there was no such provision as is contained in this Government Amendment. It was only at a later stage that the matter was mentioned at all in quite an indeterminate form. It was, apparently, suggested that there might be some difficulty associated with the Berne, or as it is often called, the Brussels Convention. But all that happened in the other place was that the Lord Chancellor very properly said that he thought this was a matter which should be looked into and that if it were found necessary to do something the Government, as would be their duty, could take the proper steps.

I do not want to go into the technicalities of the matter, but the fact is that the Brussels Convention does not really apply to this matter at all. Indeed, if the language of the particular article of the Brussels Convention which is relevant to the matter is studied, it will be seen that the Convention expressly does not refer to relay rediffusion at all.

In any event, even in relation to that to which it does refer, namely, a wireless diffusion of another kind, it is not conclusive, because it still leaves it for the particular Parliament in any particular country, if it wants to, to determine and legislate upon it. It is, therefore, really quite wrong, that there should ever have been any doubt about whether there was a contravention of the Brussels Convention, because its provisions do not even begin to introduce any doubt on this issue at all. When the relevant Article is looked at carefully, in all its language, it is seen that, on the contrary, the provision it makes is perfectly clear and safe so far as any interest of an author may be concerned.

6.30 p.m.

I now want to put this very important consideration to the Assistant Postmaster-General, because, as I say, I know he wants to be very careful about the matter and that he wants to do what is right. He has raised the question of protection under the provisions of Clauses 27 and 28 because, as he says, quite rightly, thereby one is enabled to go to the Tribunal for protection about matters of this kind. But I wish to point out to the Assistant Postmaster-General—and I ask him and his advisers to look at the matter again very carefully—that his Amendment will have this serious effect : it will not be controlled by Clauses 27 or 28 at all, but it will have the important effect of enabling the Performing Right Society to draft a new form of licence excluding specifically the picking up of any programme by relay services at all.

The mere talk about foreign stations only does not approach anywhere near the essence of this matter. The effect will be—and I say this advisedly, after having given it the most careful thought and brought some degree of technical knowledge to bear upon it, as I think the Assistant Postmaster-General would at least agree—that not only will a burden be put upon the relay service companies and their subscribers as regards merely the foreign stations, but the Performing Right Society will, as I have said, be enabled to construct an entirely fresh type of licence whereby the relay services will be excluded from picking up any stations whatsoever unless some fee or copyright royalty is imposed specially in respect of it.

This is therefore, a very serious matter. There are about 10 million broadcast licence holders in this country. One million of them are subscribers to relay wireless services, in circumstances such as those to which I have already adverted, which make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to get any or any worthwhile reception otherwise. These subscribers to the relay services would by the effect of the Government's Amendment be put under a great disadvantage. Such a result would be neither proper nor right, and I am quite certain that neither the Post Office nor the Board of Trade would desire it.

Of course, it has been said—even by one of my hon. Friends, with whom I profoundly disagree on this—that the people who are less well off will not be affected. In my submission, they definitely will be affected. There are many people all over the country who find themselves unable to afford the type of expensive set which would be necessary to pick up the stations from abroad, or even in this country, which they are now enabled to receive through these relay wireless services. Why they should be deprived of that facility, or discriminated against, for the life of me I do not know.

This is the gravamen of this matter, and I wish to bring it home forcibly to the Assistant Postmaster-General, as his hon. Friends on the other side have done. What we are complaining about, and the important thing we are complaining about, is this incomprehensible, illogical discrimination which his Amendment imposes between two sets of people. If a person having a set is in his home getting private reception of music, or whatever the performance may be, this Amendment will not affect him. On the other hand, if he happens to be sitting in his home and reception comes to him through the relay wireless services, then he will be prejudicially affected. It is very difficult to understand what justness, sense or logic there can possibly be in that.

It must be understood by the Government that the relay wireless service is not an original service at all ; it is an alternative form of reception. That is all it is. What it amounts to is this : instead of the holder of the licence receiving his programme through the medium of his radio or television set, he receives it through the alternative medium—nothing else—receiving it simultaneously as he does through the medium of the relay services. In those circumstances, it seems very difficult to understand why relay service subscribers should be penalised over and above ordinary licence holders, who, in fact, hold the same broadcast licences as do subscribers to relay wireless.

I do not wish to delay the House any further, because that one point, more than anything else, is what urgently matters here. If that one point is right, then the Government ought to withdraw this Amendment. If it is wrong, then no one would support their policy on this question more than I. If it be right for one person under ordinary broadcasting to receive a programme without the burden of the Amendment applying, them it surely cannot possibly be sense, and it cannot possibly be right, for another person receiving the identical programme simultaneously, only in a slightly different way, namely, by an alternative form of receiving, to have to suffer the discriminating burden the Government Amendment imposes. I ask the Assistant Postmaster-General, therefore, to look at this matter further.

Mr. Philip Bell

At this late stage I do not wish to detain the House, and I shall not go over the ground which has been covered so admirably already. I really rose only to recapture my quotation from my hon. and learned Friend the Parliamentary Secretary which I thought I had used, indeed I must have used, very effectively in Committee, because he would not have used it in the House if it had not been a success.

That was the phrase, "When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change". Hon. Members will remember that that saying was deployed very effectively yesterday when dealing with the question of compulsory licence on records, which had gone on since the last Copyright Act, and, therefore, unless one could think of some really good and overwhelming reason, one should leave it alone.

The result of all our long debates in Committee and here is that still I am not convinced that there is really any reason why we should alter the law in such a drastic way as is proposed. There is no good reason for thinking that authors are not now getting a fair deal. It is doubtful how much will be involved either by leaving it as it is or altering it.

There is, however, one argument which is always difficult to deal with, the rearguard argument of the Ministry that, "We do not like this very much anyway. We have minimised the damage"—as my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow. Central (Mr. Bishop) said—" we have minimised the damage with Clause 25 and made it as pleasant as we can ; but we are, of course, bound by this Brussels, or Berne, Convention—whichever it is—which hangs round our neck and forces us to do it." Those are positive reasons, but, of course, the argument has never, in fact, been deployed through the whole of this debate. Perhaps it is rather late to do it now but it was deployed most effectively by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central in Committee, when he pointed out—and no convincing argument was made against him—that the translation which is given of communications publique is rather misconceived in the form that it turns out in the English article as being then something corresponding to public communication, and that the idea that this meant radio-diffusion was challenged seriously a great deal, although not on party lines.

I wonder what my hon. and learned Friend the Parliamentary Secretary would do if he were convinced that we were not bound by this procedure. I hope that he would not press on with it and would say that even a small, insignificant, unimportant group of his colleagues might carry a little weight with him, including a person, like myself, who has no material interest in the success of this matter. My hon. and learned Friend might think that on balance, in view of the decision in Committee, we should minimise the effect of Clause 2, as it is sought to be minimised by the Opposition Amendment.

Apart from that, if it be true that the signatories to the Convention are meeting next year, it would be much easier for us to hold the ground and, if it becomes necessary that we must go further, give a right against British rediffusion companies by means of a small Bill. I am certain that nobody on this side, nor on the other side of the House, would object if we had to do it in our international conventions.

We must, however, take the matter step by step. Let us give only as much as we must give under the Convention. If there are any complaints we must put them right but we would be jumping the gun if we said that we must do this now because of 11 bis. Therefore, for the 11 bis I would not operate. So far as the merits of the proposition are concerned, I remind my hon. and learned Friend of that quotation with which by now he must be so familiar : Where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I understand that the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) wishes to defer his observations until after I have spoken, so perhaps I might reply now to the matters which have been raised in debate. I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) should think that I have plagiarised his remarks. I thought I had made it clear that the copyright in the remark, if still existing, rests with the late Lord Falkland. The only difference between our respective uses of it was that I acknowledged the source.

My hon. and learned Friend referred to Article 11 bis. That has loomed, I am glad to say—I imagine that most hon. Members feel the same—a good deal less large in our discussion today than in our protracted discussions upstairs. One thing which nobody who is interested in this problem can say is that Parliament has been in any way grudging of the time it has accorded to it, both today and in Committee. Why Article 11 bis has, fortunately, loomed less large today, and why the debate has been simplified, is because, as my hon. and learned

Friend said, we are willing to make the assumption, for the purposes of this debate only, that Article 11 bis does not preclude the exemption from copyright protection of relays in the United Kingdom of programmes from abroad broadcast under licence of the copyright owner.

We made that assumption so that the House could discuss this matter on its merits. I am bound to say to my hon. and learned Friend and to the House that after much anxious consideration, after a great deal of entirely objective study of the varying and conflicting viewpoints in this difficult and complex matter, we have come to the conclusion that the course which we are recommending to the House is right on the merits of the case as such.

6.45 p.m.

There has been no lack of information or exhortation to hon. Members from the partisans in this matter. A kind of battle of the circulars has been going on between the contending interests and there has been war, if not to the knife, at any rate to the tuning fork. So far as we in this House are concerned, we want to try to stand a little aside from the representations and conflict of these interested parties and to try to view the matter as objectively as we can.

There are certain simple basic propositions on which, I think, we would all be agreed and which form the background against which we must try to find the solution. We should all be agreed that the composer or author is entitled to copyright protection for his creative work and that that protection is effective only if he is paid an appropriate fee for the performance or dissemination of his own work. I think it follows from that that he is entitled to a reasonable fee or royalty for his work and that such fee or royalty should have regard to the total number of listeners which his work has.

I think we would also all be agreed that the composer or author is not entitled to a double fee in respect of the same listening public to the same performance of his work but that he is, however, entitled to a reasonable single fee, based on the listening public, without demarcation of national frontiers, because copyright is in its essence an international system based on the principle of reciprocity. I do not believe that any fair minded or reasonable person—all hon. Members are both those things—would dissent from any of those propositions.

Dr. King

Surely, if we take it in that simple form, every author or composer is entitled, for any of his work which is broadcast by any station in the world, to assume that the whole of the world are potential listeners.

Mr. Walker-Smith

No. I think that the evidence of the facts would be against the hon. Member on that. We must look at the practicality of it and see at whom the programme is beamed and what is its likely potential coverage.

I am glad that the hon. Member at least did not rise to dissent from any of those propositions. I apprehended that there would not be any dissent from them because all yesterday we listened to very high-flown pronouncements from hon. Members opposite as to their concern for the well-being and just remuneration of the author and composer. It would make a mockery of those protestations if they did not accept these propositions now.

As for my hon. Friends, I am confident that they would accept all those propositions, not only because of their genuine interest in culture, but because of their proper regard for the legitimate protection of private property, especially when it is the creation of a man's own effort and artistic skill. If this be so, our problem really reduces itself to finding a solution which satisfies these basic propositions, and our right and inevitable course must be to reject any solution, whatever its other attractions may be or may appear to be, if it is in conflict with one or more of those basic propositions. In my submission, the Opposition's proposed solution fails to satisfy the basic proposition that a composer or author is entitled to a proper fee or royalty which takes appropriate account of the full extent of his listening audience.

We take the case of a composer who licences a broadcast of his work by a non-advertising foreign broadcasting station ; that is, the normal sort of foreign broadcasting station which is primarily concerned to direct its programmes to its own domestic public, like Radio Paris or the German example which my hon. Friend gave in Committee upstairs. In those cases, the composer would normally get no return at all in respect of the rediffusion of his programme in the United Kingdom from foreign broadcasting stations, and this is because the foreign broadcasting authority is concerned with its own domestic public and would not expect to pay the composer for the relay audience in the United Kingdom. Why indeed, should it? It is not particularly concerned with that part of the matter at all.

The hon. and learned Gentleman, in his opening speech, sought to deal with this point by saying that it should be possible for the Performing Right Society to negotiate a comprehensive agreement, which would do what is not now normally done and give effect to the relay audience, but, as my hon. Friend has already pointed out, the composer would be in a weak position in seeking to make that sort of condition an indispensable condition to the broadcast of his work. Why should the composer imperil his chance of having his work broadcast by having to insist on the inclusion of relay audiences in another country, as part of a sort of package deal? It is putting a quite unfair burden upon the composer to suggest that that is a possible proper or practical solution to this problem.

Dr. King

Why does the hon. and learned Gentleman say "relay audiences"? Surely, in Britain, apart from the areas in which the relay brings, as we have said, an added service, all the people with wireless sets are the potential audience? Why pick out relay audiences in the argument which the hon. and learned Gentleman is now putting to us?

Mr. Walker-Smith

If the hon. Gentleman's point is that some people by cross-listening, can hear broadcasts from other countries which are not primarily intended for them, that is so, and to the extent that these people listen, the composer is deprived of his fees or royalties. [Interruption.] Certainly, he is, in respect of that part of the listening public, and it really is a novel proposition that the best way of consoling somebody for not getting his just fees in one respect is to see that he forfeits them in another at the same time.

I want to refer to what my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) said. It appears that there is some conflict of evidence about the method of payment by foreign broadcasting stations, although that really arises from a confusion between the method of payment in regard to this haphazard cross-listening, as it is called, and the organised rediffusion of broadcasts in other countries.

As I understand the position, part of the difficulty between the hon. Gentleman and the Performing Right Society is that they have had these two different types of transaction in mind. I fully admit that there may be some diversity in practice regarding these payments, and it is precisely for that reason that we have written into this Bill Clause 28, to provide a proper and just solution for the various methods of payment or non-payment that may operate in the case of these foreign broadcasting authorities.

If it be right that this is as I have suggested it to be, two results would seem to emerge. First, that a composer would rarely receive any fees at all for the performance to relay audiences in the United Kingdom, and, secondly, that the relay companies would never have to pay the composers anything for using the fruits of their labours. With the most careful study that I have been able to make of this matter, I cannot see that either of these propositions is one that ought to commend itself to hon. Members.

After all, as my hon. Friend said, why should not the relay companies pay something to the composer? They relay the composer's work to make money. They could not operate if it were not for the fruits of his labours. This is not a social service ; it is a commercial proposition, and there is no clear reason that I can see why they should not expect to have to pay a fair fee to the composer.

At the same time, we have been careful to safeguard the relay companies against the possibility of having to pay the composer what is, in effect, a second fee for the same work. There is a safeguard in Clause 40, which we are now debating. We have provided that there should be no relay fee for works broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation or the Independent Television Authority, and that is because the Performing Right Society levies its fees for these broadcasts based on the total audience, including both broadcast and relay.

We have provided a similar safeguard in respect of foreign broadcasts in Clause 28 (1, b). Where these fees paid by foreign broadcasting authorities include relay audiences, then there will be no right on the part of the composer to receive fees from the relay companies. That seems to me to be a fair approach and entirely in accord with the basic propositions to which the House has assented.

There is one other aspect of this and it is the economic aspect. Hon. Members have expressed apprehension, both here and during the Committee stage, that this would result in a raising of the charges made to the subscribers, and if that were a necessary consequence of this, it is, of course, one that should weigh heavily with this House. Although this matter has been going on for many months, I am bound to tell the House that we have not heard or been placed in possession of any accurate evidence or estimate of the amount involved.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central very fairly agreed in his speech that the estimate of £50,000 was a highly speculative figure, although he admitted that he did not know the figure. If we take £50,000 as the maximum, and I think we are probably entitled to do that, that would be one farthing a week if it is necessary to pass it on at all, but, here again, we do not need to make the assumption that it has to be passed on to the subscriber. There is no evidence on this matter, and, on the whole of the economic aspect, my experience in my own profession teaches me that if there is a strong case, it is very clearly and closely particularised at an early stage.

The hon. and learned Gentleman said the Government have not taken the responsibility of making an inquiry into the economics of the radiodiffusion industry. It is not for us to do that If there is a case to be made, we have at all times been willing to consider any evidence and statistics in support of it, but, in default of that, I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman can charge the Government with the duty of instituting a roving commission into the economic workings of a particular industry.

Mr. W. Wells

The hon. and learned Gentleman is seeking by his Amendment to increase the expenses of running an industry. Surely, if he is doing that, he would be willing to take the responsibility for seeing what extra charge the consumer has to pay.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I do not think that there is any necessity to make the assumption that there will be an extra charge to the consumer. What we are here concerned with is to get a just and equitable solution which will take account of the basic rights of the composer and author, which is, I understand, acceded to by hon. Members opposite.

7.0 p.m.

I say, in conclusion, that there is this conflict, and a bitter conflict it would appear, between two interests involved, the Performing Right Society on behalf of composers and authors, and the relay companies. Our duty is to stand above and apart from that conflict and to seek to get a just and equitable solution which will take into account the duty that we owe to the public to make our copyright law as good as we can. That we have tried to do.

We have tried to strike a fair balance, after very full and careful consideration of this matter. I do not say that that solution is perfect, but I am convinced that it is as good a solution as can be found to this difficult, complex and intractable problem. On that basis I do with confidence commend our solution to the House.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

I deferred my own remarks until after the Parliamentary Secretary had spoken because I had hoped that he would have announced a concession which I, in my usual spirit of co-operation, would have been only too willing to have accepted. I am disappointed that that has not happened, but I doubt if my disappointment is anything compared to the disappointment the hon. Gentleman must feel at the fact that not a single speech has been made, in a debate of more than three hours, in support of the proposition the Government are advancing.

I have no doubt that the Parliamentary Secretary and his right hon. Friends are hoping to rely on the support of those less well informed of their colleagues who have not been here for the discussion but who will, no doubt, coming trooping in when the Division bells start to ring However, as there are already some hon. Members here who have not had the benefit of listening to the whole debate I will touch on some of what seem to be the main points that we should take into account.

Throughout the discussion on the relay services there has been a good deal of confusion on both sides of the House. I make no complaint of that. I think it is very natural, for this is a highly technical problem, and I think all of us at times have found it difficult to know what the right decision is. Moreover, the Bill. as it appeared before us on Second Reading, made no provision at all for altering the law about the relay services.

I have no doubt that the Government were influenced, in not proposing any change at that time, by two considerations. First, there was the consideration to which some hon. Members have referred, that there is a good deal of doubt about the translation of the Brussels Convention itself. There are many specialists who hold that the word radiodiffusion in the French version should not have been translated "radiodiffusion", but was intended to mean ordinary broadcasting. If that is the case then, of course, it is extremely relevant to the problem we are discussing.

In addition to that, I am sure the Government were influenced by the fact that the previous Government had set up the Gregory Committee on the law of copyright in order to consider what changes were necessary in the light of technical developments and in the light of the Brussels Convention.

Sir Edwin Herbert appeared before the Copyright Committee to put the point of view of the relay services, and he was rigorously questioned by the members of the Committee. Members of the Committee were not themselves coming new to this problem for they included, for instance. Mr. Skone James, who is, perhaps, the leading authority on copyright law in this country, and who is the editor of the leading work, Copinger on Copyright.. Mr. Skone James questioned Sir Edwin Herbert for a considerable period, and it appears from the Report of the proceedings of the Committee that Sir Edwin Herbert was able to convince. Mr. Skone James and the other members of the Copyright Committee that the relay services, which is an organisation for profit, did not come legally within the scope of radiodiffusion as used in the Brussels Convention.

Certainly, when the Committee presented its Report, as hon. Members have reminded the House, they dismissed this subject in just one sentence : We do not suggest any alteration in the present relationship between the Postmaster-General, the B.B.C. and the Relay Companies. There is no qualification whatsoever in that. There is no saving clause. There is no condition which applies to it. It is an absolute rejection of any suggestion that the law ought to be changed to bring it into line with the Brussels Convention.

We were not unnaturally a little perplexed that the Government should not have found it necessary and the Copyright Committee should not have found it necessary to introduce this change, in view of what appeared to us at that time to be the very clear implications of the Brussels Convention.

We were also a little puzzled by the fact that although, in another place, 300 Amendments to this Bill were discussed it was only at one of the very latest stages that the Lord Chancellor gave an undertaking that the Government would consider their attitude to the relay services. In spite of that, on Second Reading the Parliamentary Secretary made no reference to the relay services, in presenting this Bill to the House.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Gentleman must have been listening with less than his usual attention when his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. W. Wells) read that passage earlier today.

Mr. Greenwood

I am sorry if my memory is at fault on that. My impression was that the Government at that time when presenting the Bill, and in the opening speech on that occasion, which I thought was made by the Parliamentary Secretary, did not say they intended in Committee to amend the Bill in the way they ultimately attempted to do.

In Committee we tabled a purely probing Amendment in order that it should be possible to discuss the position of the relay services in relation to the law of copyright, and to our surprise, and, I think, to the consternation of a million subscribers to relay services, the Government tabled an Amendment the effect of which would have been to have made all relays of programmes other than those put out by the B.B.C. and I.T.A. liable for copyright.

We were faced, therefore, with two alternatives. We could have done what we have tried to do, leave the law as it stands by objecting to the inclusion of the provisions in Clause 2. I still think, with the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell), that that would have been the proper course for the Government to have adopted in view of the recommendations of the Copyright Committee.

It is interesting to note that on 22nd October. Mr. Walter, General Manager of the Performing Right Society, wrote a letter to The Times in which he said : Our members would be Quite happy if the provisions of the existing law were left unchanged. That proposition would have been quite acceptable to the Relay Services Association, who immediately made an approach to the Performing Right Society suggesting that the two bodies should make a joint approach to the Board of Trade asking the Board to leave the law as it stood before those Amendments were introduced.

I should have thought that, if it was acceptable to the Performing Right Society and also acceptable to the Relay Services Association, probably, on balance, it was right to leave the law as it stands. It would have been protecting the rights of the composers and would have been protecting the position of the public as well.

However, the Government went ahead with their Amendment, and, therefore, at a later stage we amended the Bill, or sought to amend the Bill, in a way which freed the relay companies in respect of broadcasts from stations which accepted their copyright liability ; but we imposed upon the relay companies liability if they relayed pirate stations which did not accept their obligations under the law of copyright. That was the Amendment which we put to the Standing Committee, and it was accepted by the Standing Committee by a majority of Members, to which hon. Members on both sides of the Committee contributed.

The Parliamentary secretary said, earlier, that we should view this matter objectively. I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary that in the Standing Committee we did not put on the Whips on issues of this kind. We allowed hon. Members complete freedom of choice whether they voted for the Amendments which we were putting forward, or not. I think that any hon. Member who was on that Committee will agree that all of us tried to view this matter objectively, and I think it was significant that in the light of those discussions a majority of Members of the Committee, in spite of the Government Whips, nevertheless rejected the advice which the Parliamentary Secretary tendered to us.

Today, we have put forward this further suggestion in the hope that it will avoid some of the damage which the Government are proposing to do. If our Amendment is accepted, it will really mean that the copyright owner must negotiate an agreement providing for a fee which shall be deemed to include remuneration in respect of relays in this country. If a relay company diffuses a programme from a station which refuses to do so, the relay company will be liable in copyright.

Mr. Philip Bell

What is the difference between the hon. Gentleman's Amendment and the one we had in Committee? Why did not the hon. Gentleman leave the Committee one?

Mr. Greenwood

That one would have been much preferable, but, in effect, there is no difference. It was because we saw that the Government were going back on the decision of the Standing Committee that we felt it necessary to table our new Amendment in the hope of undoing some of the harm which the Parliamentary Secretary was hoping to do by the imposition of the party Whips. As the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) implies, the effect is very much the same as with the earlier Amendment.

I do not think it is fair to say that the Amendment will in any way impair the rights of the composer or author. It will not be difficult for a relay company in this country to find out from the Performing Right Society whether a station overseas is playing the game with British composers and authors. It has only to telephone Mr. Walter at Langham 3864 and I am sure that the information will readily be made available. On the other hand, if Mr. Walter feels that the relay companies are in danger of relaying work upon which copyright royalties have not been paid, I have no doubt that he will be perfectly free to approach the Relay Services Association and warn it against relaying programmes from a certain station.

I am sorry—I am very serious about this—that the Government have not left the position as it was before the Bill was introduced, which would have been acceptable to all the interested parties, and that they have decided not to take the advice of the Copyright Committee and the advice of the Standing Committee, which met for 13 days to consider the subject. I am sorry that, in spite of doing that, the Government have decided to put forward their Amendment, which will undo some of the good which we did in Standing Committee.

All along, we have tried to approach the problem upon a non-party basis. We have tried to be as objective as we can. All of us on the Standing Committee thought that we had made the Bill a great deal better than when it first came before us. I hope that even at this late stage the Parliamentary Secretary, remembering that not a single speech has been made tonight in his support, will agree with us and accept our Amendment.

Question put. That the words proposed to be left out, to the second "or" in line 35, stand part of the Bill :-

The House divided : Ayes 184. Noes 146.

Division No. 289.] AYES [7.14 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Balniel, Lord Biggs-Davison, J. A.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Barber, Anthony Body, R. F.
Alport, C. J. M. Barter, John Boyle, Sir Edward
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Baxter, Sir Beverley Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Beamish, Maj. Tufton Bryan, P.
Arbuthnot, John Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.
Armstrong, C. W, Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.
Atkins, H. E. Bennett. Dr. Reginald Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Waiden)
Baldwin, A. E. Bidgood, J. C. Cary, Sir Robert
Channon, H. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Pott, H. P.
Cole, Norman Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J Powell, J. Enoch
Conant, Mal. Sir Roger Hughes-Young, M, H. C. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hurd, A. R. Raikes, Sir Victor
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hutohlson, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Rawlinson, Peter
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hyde, Montgomery Redmayne, M.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Renton, D. L. M.
Currie, G. B. H. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Ridsdale, J. E.
Dance, J. C. G. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rippon, A. G. F.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Deedes, W. F. Joseph, Sir Keith Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Joynson-Hicks. Hon. Sir Lancelot Roper, Sir Harold
Doughty, C. J. A. Keegan, D. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Drayson, G. B. Kerr, H. W. Russell, R. S.
du Cann, E. D. L. Kimball, M. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lagden, G. W. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R
Duncan, Capt. J. A, L. Langford-Holt, J, A. Sharples, R. C,
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Leather, E. H. C. Shepherd, William
Errington, Sir Eric Leavey, J. A. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Erroll, F. J. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Fell, A. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Finlay, Graeme Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Fisher, Nigel Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Freeth, D. K. Lloyd, Mai. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Studholme, Sir Henry
Gammans, Sir David Lucas, Sir Jooelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Summers, Sir Spencer
George, J. C. (Pollok) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Teeling, W.
Glover, D. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Maodonald, Sir Peter Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Cough, C. F. H. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Gower, H, R. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Graham, Sir Fergus MoLaughlin, Mrs. P. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Grant, W. (Woodside) Maomillan, Maurice (Halifax) Touche, Sir Gordon
Gresham Cooke, R. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maddan, Martin Vane, W. M. F.
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Gurden, Harold Marples, A. E. Vickers, Miss J. H.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Maude, Angus Vosper, D. F.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Milllgan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Wall, Major Patrick
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nairn D. L. S. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Heath, Rt. Hon. E, R. G. Neave, Airey Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Hesketh, R. F. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Nugent, G. R. H. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Hill, Mrs. E (Wythenshawe) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Woollam, John Victor
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Pickthorn, K. W. M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES :
Hornby, R. P. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Mr. E. Wakefield and Colonel H. J. Harrison
Ainsley, J. W. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bacon, Miss Alice Fernyhough, E. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Baird, J. Fienburgh, W. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.) Forman, J. C. Hunter, A. E.
Benson, G. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Beswick, F. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Irving, S. (Dartford)
Blackburn, F. Gibson, C. W. Janner, B.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Gordon Walker, Ht. Hon. P. C. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pancras, S. V.)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.) Greenwood, Anthony Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Boyd, T. C. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Grey, C. F. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Griffiths, William (Exchange) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Chapman, W. D. Hale, Leslie King, Dr. H. M.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hamilton, W. W. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Clunie, J. Hannan, W, Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Hastings, S. Lewis, Arthur
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hayman, F. H. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Healey, Denis Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) MacColl, J. E.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Herbison, Miss M. McInnes, J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hewitson, Capt. M. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Holman, P. McLeavy, Frank
Delargy, H. J. Houghton, Douglas MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Dodds, N. N. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Mahon, Simon
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hubbard, T. F. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Mason, Roy Randall, H. E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Mellish, R. J. Rankin, John Thornton, E.
Messer, Sir F. Redhead, E. C. Turner-Samuels, M.
Mikardo, Ian Reeves, J. Viant, S. P.
Mitchison, G. R. Reid, William Warbey, W. N.
Monslow, W. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Weitzman, D.
Moody, A. S. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Moyle, A. Ross, William Wheeldon, W. E.
Mulley, F. W. Royle, C. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
O'Brien, Sir Thomas Shurmer, P. L. E. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Oliver, G. H. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Wilkins, W. A.
Oram, A. E. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Orbach, M. Skeffington, A. M. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Oswald, T. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Owen, W. J. Sorensen, R. W. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Steele, T. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Parker, J. Stones, W. (Consett) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Peart, T. F. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Winterbottom, Richard
Pentland, N. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Plummer, Sir Leslie Summershill, Rt. Hon. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES :
Proctor, W. T. Swingler, S. T. Mr. Holmes an, Mr. Deer.
Pryde, D. J. Taylor, John (West Lothian)

Amendments made : In page 52, line 35, leave out from "Authority" to end of lines 14 on page 53 and insert : and the broadcast is an authorised broadcast, any person who, by the reception of the broadcast, causes a programme to be transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service, being a programme comprising a literary, dramatic or musical work, or an adaptation of such a work, or an artistic work, or a cinematograph film, shall be in the like position, in any proceedings for infringement of the copyright (if any) in the work or film, as if he had been the holder of a licence granted by the owner of that copyright to include the work, adaptation or film in any programme caused to be transmitted by him to subscribers to that service by the reception of the broadcast".

In page 53, line 19, leave out from "was" to end of line 20 and insert : not an authorised broadcast".

In line 23, leave out from "copyright" to "but" in line 24.

In line 30, leave out subsection (5) and insert : (5) For the purposes of this section, a broadcast shall be taken, in relation to a work or cinematograph film, to be an authorised broadcast if, but only if, it is made by, or with the licence of, the owner of the copyright in the work or film.—[Mr. Alport.]