HC Deb 12 February 1986 vol 91 cc950-1
15. Mr. Greg Knight

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received concerning the effects on the recording industry of home taping; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Pattie

The record industry has made many representations expressing its concerns about the effects of home taping. It submitted a formal response to the 1985 Green Paper "The Recording and Rental of Audio and Video Copyright Material"—Cmnd. 9445—and has reiterated its concerns since then.

Mr. Knight

Is my hon. Friend aware that every day millions of people in this country copy music from records, pre-recorded tapes and the radio? Is he further aware that nine of every 10 tapes sold are used for that purpose? Is that not a breach of copyright? Is it not disgraceful that authors, composers and artists receive no benefit from that activity? Will my hon. Friend consider introducing a royalty levy on the sale of blank tapes?

Mr. Pattie

It is precisely the concerns expressed by my hon. Friend and others that are being weighed carefully in the preparation of the Government's White Paper on this subject.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the industry makes an enormous contribution to the British economy and, indeed, is the most successful of its kind in the world? When will he make an announcement on this matter?

Mr. Pattie

I accept the hon. Gentleman's comment about the importance of the industry to the United Kingdom. The White Paper will be published in the near future, perhaps shortly after Easter.

Mr. Richard Page

Is it not true that certain continental countries were faced with exactly the same problem, but overcame it by the introduction of a levy on blank tapes?

Mr. Pattie

My hon. Friend is correct.

Mr. Bermingham

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that this is not only a matter of levy, but involves the whole question of copyright? When will his Department tackle that minefield, which so badly needs tackling, not only in this respect, but in many other areas?

Mr. Pattie

The hon. Gentleman may be aware that a White Paper on the whole subject of intellectual property, innovation and copyright is in an advanced state of preparation.

Mr. Watts

Could not the recording industry do much to combat the problem of home taping by not allowing its music to be broadcast? Is it not the case, however, that it benefits from free advertising? Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the concern in many quarters, especially among those providing talking newspapers for the blind, about the possible outcome of a levy on blank tapes on the valuable service that they provide?

Mr. Pattie

The interests of the blind will be most carefully considered and safeguarded should any proposals be put forward along the lines suggested by my hon. Friend.

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