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Sporting Events (Copyright)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1952

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asked the Assistant Postmaster - General whether, in the renewing of the British Broadcasting Corporation's charter, he will arrange for the British Broadcasting Corporation to hand over the copyright of sporting events, after limited use, to the promoters of such events.

The question whether a copyright in such events should be established is at present being examined by the Copyright Committee appointed by the Board of Trade, and I cannot anticipate its findings.

Will my hon. Friend use his good offices to help to bring about an agreement between the B.B.C. and the owners of Liverpool racecourse in order that the public may not be denied the opportunity of hearing a commentary on the Grand National, which, after all, is one of the greatest sporting events of the year?

I know that there will be very great disappointment, both at home and overseas, if it is not possible to broadcast the Grand National, but I am afraid that the point to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers does not fall within my competence.

Can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that before any definite arrangements are made in regard to the new Charter the House will have some opportunity of making its views known, as there is considerable apprehension in the country that all the backdoor negotiations about sponsored programmes might completely alter the complexion of the B.B.C.?

On a point of order. May I have an answer to my perfectly legitimate question?

That is not in my power to elicit. I allowed ample time for an answer to be given.

Further to that point of order. Is it not regrettable that the Assistant Postmaster-General has this afternoon consistently treated the House with the utmost discourtesy?