HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc958-9
6. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to mitigate the damage to the income of composers and others caused by the practice of home recording in breach of copyright.

Sir G. Howe

I am aware of this problem which is one appropriate for consideration by the committee which I have it in mind to appoint to look into our law of copyright generally.

Mr. Lyons

When does the right hon. and learned Gentleman propose to set up the committee? In view of the thousands of cases of breach of copyright now occurring daily through home recording, making a laughing stock of the Copyright Act, will he recommend for the committee's consideration the German system, now supported by the British Copyright Council and broadcasting organisations here, whereby manufacturers of recording equipment pay up to 5 per cent. into a fund for distribution among copyright owners?

Sir G. Howe

I am aware of the problem, but the hon. Gentleman will be aware of the difficulty of policing any effective remedy. In that context the German system will no doubt be something that the committee will want to look into. I shall tell the House as soon as I am in a position to answer the hon. Gentleman's question about the date of the committee's appointment.

Mr. Edelman

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman refer to the committee the question of public lending right and authors as well?

Sir G. Howe

That matter has been under review by my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General. It is not clear whether it would still be appropriate for reference to the committee but I shall bear the hon. Gentleman's point in mind.

Mr. Lipton

Is not it impractical to think of any method of effectively controlling home recording, especially in view of the grossly exorbitant price of gramophone records?

Sir G. Howe

The hon. Gentleman's point about the impracticability of control is the one I mentioned in my first supplementary answer. It is because of that impracticability that the German law which deals with the matter in another way is clearly something that the committee will want to look into.