HC Deb 14 July 1995 vol 263 cc1214-8

Lords amendment: No.3, in page 2, line 40, leave out ("is") and insert ("consists of use").

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 4 to 11 and 13.

Mr. Winterton

The House is aware from the comments already made that the Olympics association right is a wide right which confers exclusive rights in relation to the use of the Olympic symbol, motto and protected words, similar to the right of the proprietor of a registered trade mark. The Bill is assiduous in its protection of existing and deserving rights. I have already set out some of those circumstances.

Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 11 and 13 relate to the exceptions to the Olympics association right in clause 4, subsections (1) to (4) that concern the inclusion of control representation in literary, dramatic and musical works, artistic works, sound recording, film broadcasts and cable programmes.

The Olympic games are public events, as my hon. Friend the Minister and others have stated this morning, and it would be quite unfair and totally impractical for the Bill to prevent broadcasters, journalists, photographers, artists and film makers from making reference to the Olympic games without the consent of the proprietor. That would be unacceptable censorship. Clause 4, subsections (1) and (2), as amended in the Lords, provide that the use of a controlled representation in literary works and so on will not infringe the Olympics association right, provided that the work is not used in relation to goods or services and is in accordance with honest commercial practice.

However, the Bill seeks to prevent the exploitation of a permitted artistic work to get around the Olympics association right. It is not intended, for example, that a person could use a television commercial—itself a permitted broadcast—to advertise a product by reference to the Olympic games. It is not intended that a person could use an artistic work as a design for goods such as T-shirts, sports bags and equipment simply to sell that equipment.

Concerns were raised in another place as to whether the restrictions on the use of a work as previously drafted—that is, that an artistic work cannot be used for advertising or promotional activities—covered the full range of practices by which a person who was determined to use a controlled representation might exploit an otherwise bona fide artistic work.

The amendments introduced in another place make it clear that use of a controlled representation in, or comprising, a work will not be permitted if its purpose or use relates to other goods and services—for example, in a television advertisement for sports shoes—or if a perfectly lawful work is subsequently used to advertise other goods and services. Any of the actions illustrated in clause 3(2) as examples of what may be used in the course of trade may also constitute use in relation to goods and services. Thus, if a trader fixes a design to a T-shirt which is exploited commercially, he will be in breach of the Olympics association right.

Amendment No. 11 makes that quite clear. It is the same as the test for determining whether the use of a registered trade mark is an infringement under the Trade Marks Act 1994. There is nothing contentious or novel about the amendment; it merely clarifies what was intended, and closes loopholes that would be available to an unscrupulous dealer.

Mr. Luff

I am keen for the point raised by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) about use of the slogan in political campaigning to be properly dealt with. On 3 February, my hon. Friend the Minister suggested that that might fall foul of the Bill. Do the amendments deal with the problem?

Mr. Winterton

They do indeed. I shall come to that in a moment.

Of course, a controlled representation should be capable of being used in relation to literary or artistic works that are themselves genuinely about the Olympic games or the Olympic movement, rather than being merely a commercial exploitation. Provision for that is made in clause 4(4), which would allow, for example, trailers for television coverage of the Olympic games or merchandise promoting films about them.

Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 11 and 13 make much clearer what is and is not allowed with regard to use of a controlled representation in a literary or artistic work, but they make the example raised on Second Reading by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone)—the use of a satirical cartoon featuring the games in a T-shirt design as a campaign against the games—an infringement. The cartoon itself would not constitute such an infringement, but its use on the T-shirt would.

The Secretary of State, by directions or regulations or in some other manner, would make it clear that the BOA would have no remedy in such circumstances. Lords amendment No. 10, however, puts the matter beyond doubt by providing that use of a controlled representation in a work that is, to an extent, about the Olympic games or the Olympic movement should be allowed when the use of that work is not for the purpose of gain for any person, or loss for another. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff).

I am sure that the House will agree that clause 4(1) and (2) make the position relating to films, broadcasting and so forth entirely clear, and that they have closed a loophole that might have been available to unscrupulous dealers.

Until now, the United Kingdom has been glaringly alone among the great sporting powers of the world in not having legislation to protect commercial property rights relating to the Olympic symbol. The House can be content that the Olympics association right will be secure in the able hands of the BOA. I am grateful to the BOA for the help that it has given me with the Bill—and to my hon. Friend the Minister and his Department, and other Departments that have helped me to draft the legislation.

The Bill will assist the BOA's attempts to build on the nation's success in the Olympic games. It will also safeguard the revenue that, in the modern age, is so important to ensuring success. I warmly welcome this morning's press announcement, and what has been said in the House, about the Government's initiative: my hon. Friend the Minister and the Prime Minister have announced the production of a fairly dramatic document about the future of sport, and the need for coaching and training so that the country can go from strength to strength.

As I have said, revenue is important to the ensuring of success—success not only for such people as Linford Christie, Colin Jackson, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards, but for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other competitors who sacrifice their normal life and, perhaps, their careers for the pride of competing in international sport on behalf of our nation. It is to them that we owe the dignity of statutory protection that my Bill affords to the Olympic symbols.

I am pleased to be able to say that sponsorship raised with the benefit of the Bill will be available for British athletes to compete in the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996, at which I am sure that British sport will take its customary place at the high table of sporting achievement.

I commend the amendments and the Bill to the House.

10.45 am
Mr. Fabricant

I seek clarification on two matters. First, however, let me express the hope that Mr. Spencer Duval will be taking part in the Atlanta games in 1996. He is a constituent of mine, living in Lichfield; he is also the son of Mr. Derrick Duval, the immediate past chairman of my Conservative association.

I am concerned about two aspects of the visual representation of the Olympic games. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) will know that the Select Committee on National Heritage recently examined the film industry. I, certainly, was delighted with the response of the Department of National Heritage, which is to take innovative action in regard to the film industry. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do the same in his Budget.

One of our best film producers is David Puttnam, who, as hon. Members will know, produced "Chariots of Fire", a very successful film. Would the production of a film of that kind, depicting the Olympic games in the past, present or future—fictional or historical—be inhibited by any of the proposals of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield?

My visit to Barcelona made me very aware that television rights are tremendously important to the funding of the Olympic games. Their sale is the largest single source of income for the provision of the games in a city. Will my hon. Friend assure me that other broadcasters would be prevented from breaking those rights, thus reducing the amount of income available to a city promoting or holding the games?

Mr. Winterton

My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) has posed some sensitive and difficult questions. I hope that what I have already said makes it clear that we considered them when drafting the details of the Bill. I understand that the legislation covers both his points. I do not believe that there would be any impediment to the production of the kind of film with which David Puttnam—a very distinguished producer—was involved; however, safeguards are built into the legislation.

I believe that the Bill takes care of my hon. Friend's second point as well—but my hon. Friend the Minister may well wish to say a final word.

Mr. Sproat

I rise, somewhat unexpectedly, to respond to the two interesting questions posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant). The answers are simple. "Chariots of Fire" could certainly have been made under the provisions of the Bill; as for television rights, they would not be a matter for the BOA, but would be negotiated by the central Olympic body.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 15 agreed to.

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