HL Deb 02 November 1988 vol 501 cc245-6

44 Clause 52, page 20, line 25, leave out 'The references in this section' and insert 'In this section—

  1. (a) references to articles do not include films; and
  2. (b) references'.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 44. This amendment corrects an error and prevents the copyright term of cartoon films being inadvertently reduced to 25 years.

The object of Clause 52 is to reduce the term of copyright protection from life plus 50 years to a straight 25 years in cases where artistic works are exploited through the manufacture of articles on an industrial scale; that is to say, by making 50 or more articles. This reduction in term is carried over from the Copyright Act 1956 except of course that the shorter term is now 25 rather than 15 years in line with the increased term given to registered designs by the Bill. As in the 1956 Act, the shorter term does not apply to the normal ways of exploiting artistic works, but only to the exploitation in what might loosely be described as secondary ways. For example, the copyright in a painting is normally exploited by controlling the making of reproductions, say, in the form of prints. It may also be exploited by being reproduced on tin trays. But the clause was drafted in terms of articles; and prints are articles just as much as tin trays. However, this is taken care of in subsection (4)(b) which allows any article of a primarily literary or artistic nature such as a print, or indeed a book, to be taken out of the clause by statutory instrument. In those cases, the full term of copyright continues to apply.

However, a film is also an article, but because it is not one which is primarily of a literary or artistic nature within the meaning of those expressions in the Bill, it cannot be taken out of the clause by statutory instrument. So, if a film is made which is a copy of an artistic work, for example, as in the case of a cartoon film, and more than 50 copies of the film are made, the clause as it stood would reduce the copyright term of the drawings from which the film was made to 25 years. This would allow anyone to copy the film by copying the drawings after only 25 years and that is clearly wrong. The amendment ensures that films are taken out of the clause by not being treated as articles in the first place.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 44.—(Lord Strathclyde.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.