HC Deb 19 July 1982 vol 28 cc13-4
12. Mr. Alton

asked the Minister for Trade whether, in view of the level of audio and video piracy, he will seek to amend the Copyright Act 1956.

Mr. Sproat

Audio piracy is in fact very low in the United Kingdom. Industry figures put it at under 5 per cent. of the market, due to the effective application of the existing civil remedies under the Copyright Act 1956 by the record industry. However, the Government are very concerned at the growth of video piracy. Although the civil remedies can also be very effective against video piracy, as recent cases have shown, the Government are looking closely at the possibility of increasing the maximum penalties on the criminal side.

Mr. Alton

I thank the Minister for that reply and the earlier replies that he gave on the Green Paper. Can he say how long it will be before he is likely to come to the House with recommendations to change the law?

Mr. Sproat

No, Sir, I cannot do that, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that it will be as soon as possible. As soon as the memorandum which we are awaiting from the European Commission is before us, we shall take matters forward as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Gorst

My hon. Friend's assurances of discussions and consideration are welcome. Does he agree that it is essential that amendments to the Copyright Act should be made, or there will be dire consequences for the recording industry?

Mr. Sproat

Indeed, and, as I think I made clear in the House when I replied to the debate that was initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) recently, we are well aware of that matter and not rule out any interim measures.

Mr. John Fraser

Does the Under-Secretary recognise that waiting for Europe to do things has proved disastrous in many aspects of trade—for example, doorstep selling? If legislation is needed, will he confirm that we will legislate for our own best interests without waiting for Europe?

Mr. Sproat

Yes, Sir, if necessary.