HL Deb 30 October 1956 vol 199 cc1151-3

Clause 7, page 9, line 24, leave out from second ("the") to end of line 26 and insert ("librarian knows the name and address of a person entitled to authorise the making of the copy, or could by reasonable inquiry ascertain the name and address of such a person.")


My Lords, Amendments 10 and 11 go together. These Amendments are really moved for the benefit of the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, and I am sorry that he is not in his place to take a little credit. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, will be kind enough to pass it on to him when next he sees the noble Lord. These provisions about the making of copies by librarians have been the subject of a good deal of discussion during the passage of the Bill, notably by the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. Your Lordships will remember that he moved an Amendment to permit copying when the address of the copyright owner could not be ascertained, even if his identity was known. We looked at this point carefully.

It is not easy to find an arrangement which is fair to both sides. On the one hand, the copyright owner is entitled to protection against copying by librarians as well as by anyone else; it would be the negation of his rights to assume his consent to such copying. On the other hand, a librarian is in a quandary if he cannot find the place to which to direct his inquiries. In most cases no difficulty need be expected, but there may be exceptional instances where the name of the author is known but where no-one knows his address. I have made a few inquiries into this point, since the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, first raised it, and I have found that there is more force in his argument than I thought at the time. The number of authors who contribute some fine work and then disappear into the wilds of Tahiti or Walthamstow and cannot be found is much larger than I originally thought.

It may be suggested that the consent of the publisher should suffice, but this is open to the objection that the publisher may not himself be the copyright owner, and that, accordingly. no consent from him ought to be regarded as giving the cover the librarians want. Indeed, a reference simply to "the publisher" would itself open up other questions. An author does not necessarily have one publisher, and one publisher only, even during his lifetime, and it would be necessary to specify the publisher as being either the publisher of the edition of the work which it is desired to copy (who might no longer have any interest in the work or in its author), or the author's current publisher, who might not be known to the librarian and whose nomination might bring in the reprint houses.

The Amendments have been drafted without specific reference to either copyright owner or author but to "a person entitled to authorise the making of the copy," thereby bringing in an exclusive licensee. As a practical matter, the librarian knows the name of the author, and must know the name and, presumably, the address of the publisher of the edition in his library. If he makes inquiry from these two sources, he ought to be able to ascertain without undue delay who can authorise the copying. But if, after reasonable inquiry, he still finds himself unable to trace anyone able to give the necessary permission, he will be free to copy. I think that that strikes a fairly just bargain among all the people concerned. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Mancroft.)

On Question. Motion agreed to.