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Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1997

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has to bring forward legislation to amend copyright law to take account of the proposals and recommendations set out in the Dearing report; and if she will make a statement. [15622]

I have no plans at present to bring forward legislation to amend copyright law in the light of this report. Copyright law allows limited use of material without permission for education, private study and research. Moreover, the draft regulations, which have recently been laid before the House, to implement the UK and EC legislation on databases, also contain exceptions for the purposes of teaching and non-commercial research with regard to databases protected by copyright and/or the new database right. Where copyright clearance is needed for uses of any material, digital or otherwise, I believe that copyright owners are entitled to obtain a suitable reward on their investment. However, I understand that there are discussions between the Publishers Association and the Joint Information Systems Committee on a licensing scheme covering digital material and specifically designed to meet the needs of teachers and researchers. I very much hope that a successful scheme can be devised.