asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will initiate inquiries into the problems of copyright as they affect the retransmission from Great Britain of BBC and ITA programmes by foreign companies.
I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department that no foreign company is authorised to transmit BBC or IBA programmes from Great Britain. I assume that my hon. Friend is concerned with the retransmission abroad of programmes originating in this country and the difficulties involved in clearing the rights of the various copyright owners and securing the permission of performers. This is an extremely complex matter, involving as it does various international copyright agreements as well as our domestic law relating to copyright and the protection of performers. I would remind my hon. Friend that a departmental committee under the chairmanship of Sir John Whitford is now looking into all aspects of the law of copyright, and, although its work is well advanced,, I have no doubt that it would be willing to consider any submissions on this particular aspect of the law.