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Video Cassette Recording

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what arrangements exist for the use by individuals of video cassette recording apparatus for recording television programmes for private exhibition for which no charge is made;(2) if he is satisfied that current copyright legislation takes account of the likely development and use of the video cassette and radio cassette recorder on a massive scale; and if he is contemplating any changes designed to permit the individual owner of such equipment to use it without fear of prosecution for breach of copyright.

The use of audio and video equipment to record copyright material without the copyright owner's permission is an infringement of copyright. I am unaware of any general arrangements which legitimise the private video recording of television programmes containing copyright material. The Whitford Committee to consider the law on copyright and designs (Cmnd. 6732) recommended that as copyright owners cannot in practice exercise their rights against infringements which take place in private, a levy should be introduced to apply to the sale of equipment suitable for private recording and the proceeds of the levy should be distributed among copyright owners. The Government are studying all the recommendations of the Whitford report in the light of comments received on it.