HC Deb 02 March 1999 vol 326 c697W
Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effects on information technology in the United Kingdom of the implementation of the resolution by the European Parliament to outlaw Internet web caching. [73383]

Mr. Wills

Unauthorised reproduction of copyright material in electronic form is generally prohibited under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The European Parliament's proposed amendment to the draft Directive on copyright in the information society, which would mean that temporary copies such as occur in caching could infringe copyright if right owners have not agreed to use of their material in the relevant service, would not therefore change the situation in the UK. Current UK copyright law does not seem to have inhibited the development of information technology services, or placed undue burdens on those providing such services. However, we support moves to clarify the liability of service providers under copyright and other laws, along the lines proposed in the draft Directive on electronic commerce.