HC Deb 01 July 1996 vol 280 cc591-3

'.—(1) After section 135G of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 there is inserted— "Power to amend sections 135A to 135G

135H.—(1) The Secretary of State may by order, subject to such transitional provision as appears to him to be appropriate. amend sections 135A to 135G so as—

  1. (a) to include in any reference to sound recordings any works of a description specified in the order; or
  2. (b) to exclude from any reference to a broadcast or cable programme service any broadcast or cable programme service of a description so specified.

(2) An order shall be made by statutory instrument; and no order shall be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament."

(2) After section 151 of that Act there is inserted— "Award of interest

151A.—(1) Any of the following, namely—

  1. (a) a direction under section 123(3) so far as relating to a licence for broadcasting a work or including a work in a cable programme service;
  2. (b) a direction under section 128(3) so far as so relating;
  3. (c) an order under section 135D(1); and
  4. (d) an order under section 135F confirming or varying an order under section 135D(1),

may award simple interest at such rate and for such period, beginning not earlier than the relevant date and ending not later than the date of the order, as the Copyright Tribunal thinks reasonable in the circumstances.

(2) In this section "the relevant date" means—

  1. (a) in relation to a direction under section 123(3), the date on which the reference was made;
  2. (b) in relation to a direction under section 128(3), the date on which the reference or application was made;
  3. (c) in relation to an order section 135D(1), the date on which the first payment under section 135C(2) became due; and
  4. (b) in relation to an order under section I35F, the date on which the application was made."

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply in any case where the reference or application to the Copyright Tribunal was or is made before the commencement of this section.'—[Mr. Ian Taylor.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Ian Taylor

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The new clause gives effect to the commitment made by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of National Heritage, in Committee when possible changes to the scope of the statutory licence were discussed. He explained that the Government did not feel that it was appropriate to go ahead with any changes at present, but the new clause will allow an order to be made in future to vary the application of the statutory licence. That will include restricting the categories of broadcast or cable programme service to which the statutory licence applies. The Government have in mind in particular the possible removal of on-demand services from the statutory licence.

The new clause will also give the copyright tribunal the discretion to add an element of interest to awards that it makes when resolving disputes, for example, under the statutory licence. This will include a back-dated payment or repayment to compensate any party financially disadvantaged by the unreasonable behaviour of another. Because of the scope of the Bill, the new clause has been limited to cases involving broadcasting and cable programmes, but when a suitable legislative opportunity arises the Government intend to apply the change to all disputes that can be heard by the tribunal.

Mr. Geoffrey Hoon (Ashfield)

I welcome the new clause on behalf of the Opposition. It has been tabled in response to an amendment tabled by Opposition Members in Committee and it will allow the Government to respond flexibly and sensibly to perceived difficulties in the music industry, in particular, as a result of the development of new on-demand services. We welcome this response to changing technology and we hope that the Government will look at suggestions made by the music industry to deal with what it believes are considerable difficulties in the present arrangements as a result of technological changes. We are grateful to the Minister for tabling the new clause and we shall support it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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