HC Deb 11 July 1995 vol 263 c507W
Mr. David Porter

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about his plans to(a) introduce, (b) amend and (c) veto new harmonised copyright laws of the European Union in this country. [33006]

Mr. Ian Taylor

[holding answer 10 July 1995]: Three European directives in the copyright field await implementation into United Kingdom law: 92/100/EEC on rental and lending rights, and rights for performers, producers and broadcasting organisations; 93/98/EEC on duration of copyright; and 93/83/EEC on satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. The Government are satisfied that the harmonisation of national laws brought by these directives is necessary to remove distortions from the internal market. The directives have all been formally adopted by the Council of Ministers, and the United Kingdom is obliged to implement their provisions in national law. This will be done by means of secondary legislation made under powers conferred by the European Communities Act 1972 and amending the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to the extent necessary to comply with the directives. The legislation will require approval by both Houses.

The European Commission has a substantial programme for harmonisation of the copyright laws of member states, from which these three directives stem, and it is possible that further proposals may be submitted by the Commission. To the extent their purpose will be to eliminate market distortion, any new proposals will be subject to qualified majority voting, no single country having a veto. The United Kingdom will have a full opportunity in negotiations before the Council to make its views known, and to seek amendments to the content of the Commission's proposals.

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