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Lords Chamber

Volume 490: debated on Thursday 3 December 1987

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House Of Lords

Thursday, 3rd December 1987.

The House met at three of the clock ( Prayers having been read earlier at the Judicial Sitting by the Lord Bishop of Rochester): The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Nurses: Loss To Nhs

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the loss of qualified nurses from the National Health Service.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security
(Lord Skelmersdale)

My Lords, central initiatives include a joint National Health Service/Department of Health and Social Security working group on equal opportunities for women which is aiming to find better ways of retaining existing staff. The Nursing and Midwifery Staff Negotiating Council is reviewing the nursing clinical grading structure with the aim of making a more flexible structure which can recognise individual skills and responsibility. The regional health authority chairmen have commissioned a study to examine factors influencing recruitment and retention and to suggest improvements. A career development project group has been set up to examine the scope for more attractive career goals for nurses.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that encouraging reply. However, it is only partially encouraging, given the size of the problem. Is he aware that at present 30,000 nurses are leaving the National Health Service each year and that 6,000 student nurses leave before completing their training? Very often they leave because of low pay, poor conditions of work and low morale. Can the Minister say whether there is any substance in the reports in several of today's newspapers concerning proposed increases in nurses' pay?

My Lords, the figure of 30,000 qualified nurses leaving the health service every year is, I am advised, substantially correct. However, that must be seen against the background of an increase in the total number of nurses of 53 per cent. over 1981. It is frequently claimed that one-third of student nurses fail to complete their training. I am advised that that is not true. In England the figure is 21 per cent. wastage. I therefore do not understand where the Royal College of Nursing obtains its figure of 6,000. My figures suggest that the number is of the order of 4,800.

My Lords, are we not seeing a major crisis within the National Health Service, with health authorities in every region short of nurses, not because there is a shortage of nurses but rather because there is a shortage of funds? In London the nurse shortage approaches 25 per cent. and according to the Auditor General half of all operating theatres are closed because of staff shortages. Is that not failing the National Health Service and the public that it is designed to serve?

My Lords, I have pointed out to the House before that one cannot conjure nurses out of thin air. I accept that there are some shortages in some specialties. There are also shortages in some geographical areas and London has a particular problem.

I apologise for not answering the second part of the noble Baroness's supplementary question. The report in today's Sun is pure speculation.

My Lords, is it not high time that we looked closely at the problem of living accommodation for nurses, bearing in mind the number of occasions on which nurses are attacked on the streets on their way to duty during unsocial hours? Is the Minister aware that on a number of occasions when a London teaching hospital sought to appoint somebody from the provinces to a senior nursing post, that person, male or female, has had to turn the post down because he or she cannot find affordable accommodation? Should we not make an effort to restore some of the nurses' homes which I believe were sold off or used for other purposes?

My Lords, the National Health Service has been given the freest reign in retaining nurses' accommodation. Clearly we recognise that especially in areas of high-cost housing the ability to offer affordable residential accommodation of an acceptable standard is an extremely useful adjunct to recruitment and retention of staff. We are therefore reviewing the availability of accommodation and the measures which might be taken to assist staff to enter the private housing market. I am aware that some hospitals are currently revamping or building accommodation for nurses. That will help to solve that particular problem.

My Lords, is the Minister aware—I am sure that he is—that many district health authorities are freezing recruitment of nurses below establishment? That causes great pressure on working nurses and deters those who might be considering coming back.

Yes, my Lords. I am aware that some district health authorities have taken that step. However, when one is a manager in such circumstances—which are very difficult indeed—one has to balance the number of beds with the number of staff.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that thousands of fully trained nurses are leaving the National Health Service for the private sector, the United States, Arab countries, Australia and so on? Is he also aware that those nurses have been fully trained and have gained their experience in the National Health Service at the taxpayers' expense? Will he consider passing to his right honourable friend the suggestion that it is about time a levy was made on the private sector and on recruiting agencies so that the British taxpayer can recoup some of the money lost in training nurses when they leave the service to go elsewhere?

My Lords, with great respect, I do not think that so long as nurses remain in this country the money is wasted. It does not matter either to me or to my right honourable friend where nurses practise in this country so long as they do practise.

Having said that, a study of the movement of nurses and nursing skills between the two sectors estimated that about 1,400 nurses a year join the private sector from the National Health Service. Naturally nurses, like anyone else, are free to seek employment where they choose. We do not intend to restrict that basic right. However, we are currently considering ways in which the private sector's contribution to the training of health care professionals can be expanded. Our aim is to increase the total number of skilled staff available both to the National Health Service and to the private sector.

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the answer is to offer better pay and better conditions?

My Lords, it was this Government who set up the Nurses and Midwives Review Body and who have accepted every one of the four recommendations which it has proposed since then. That body will be reporting in about March of next year and we shall carefully consider what it says.

My Lords, when the community charge is brought into effect, will my noble friend undertake that in view of the high standing of the profession of nursing the Government will either pay student nurses a full-time working wage or treat them as students as regards the charge?

My Lords, as far as pay is concerned, my noble friend will understand that neither I nor my right honourable friend the Prime Minister can make any guarantees until the Nurses and Midwives Review Body has reported. However, I should point out that starting salaries for student nurses are considerably higher than student grants and that overall the real income of nurses has increased by 30 per cent. since 1979; in real terms, it fell by 21 per cent. in the five years up to 1979. That demonstrates the Government's commitment to maintaining nurses' living standards.

My Lords, will the noble Lord tell the House whether the committees to which he referred in his Answer to the Question have been given a deadline to report? In a matter of such urgency is it not desirable that there should be a deadline? Can we be assured that when they have reported we shall not be told, as we were in answer to a Question concerning the Severn Barrage the other day, that a further in-depth study will be required?

My Lords, I was not present to hear my noble friend's answer as regards the Severn Barrage. However, there is absolutely no delay in the reports that I have mentioned. The Government will take the quickest action on their recommendations once these bodies have reported.

My Lords, does the Minister agree that it would improve the morale of nurses and help to reduce the loss if, for example, a great hospital like the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children did not have to go out with a begging bowl in order to raise £30 million for urgent rebuilding? I believe that the Government have spent considerably more than £30 million on the advertising campaign for the flotation of the BP share issue.

My Lords, I think the noble Lord is trying to address two different problems. What I am trying to address today is the problem of recruitment and retention of nurses, and I do not believe that the hospital building programme has anything to do with that.

My Lords, does the Minister agree that one of the reasons why nurses leave their posts is in order to get married? And very good wives they make!

My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord speaks with more experience than I do on this particular matter. However, I am advised that some 30,000 nurses leave the profession each year. That figure includes over 2,000 staff who are retiring and those who are leaving to have a family. About 10,000 return after breaking service, and the balance is made up by the output of the training schools; namely 22,000 in 1986.

My Lords, as one who attempts to be a citizen of the world (as I did when I was a member of the Labour Party, but it seems to have turned from that opinion of late) may I ask whether my noble friend agrees that it is a splendid thing that we provide trained nurses for other nations which are not so well equipped? That is a situation in which we should rejoice rather than be sorrowful that the nurses are going elsewhere.

My Lords, I find that a very difficult question to answer. As someone who did voluntary service overseas in a third world country, I agree with the noble Viscount. As regards nursing recruitment from this country to places like Australia and the United States, I am afraid that I disagree with him.

Overseas Assets: Revenue

3.13 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the United Kingdom's holding of overseas assets and how much revenue is derived from these assets.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport
(Lord Brabazon of Tara)

My Lords, the level of net overseas assets held by United Kingdom residents increased to £114 billion at the end of 1986, second only to Japan's. These assets yielded annual net earnings of over £44½ billion in 1986.

My Lords, in thanking my noble friend for that very heartening reply may I ask this question? Is it not the case that our overseas assets and trade in services are making an increasingly important contribution to the balance of payments of the United Kingdom?

My Lords, my noble friend is quite right. In 1986 our invisible earnings were the largest in the world with a surplus of £7·75 billion in the year annualised for the first half of 1987. The prospects are equally good in the performance of invisible earnings again this year. The surplus is expected to rise further to £8·5 billion in 1988.

My Lords, the noble Lord may not be able to give the answer to my question now. If I put down a Question for Written Answer, can the noble Lord split the various assets and revenues into the countries from which they emanate so that we can get some idea as to the spread?

My Lords, if the noble Lord puts down a Question for Written Answer to that effect, I shall do my best to find the answer. At the moment, I cannot say whether those figures are available.

My Lords, may it not have been wiser to invest a substantial proportion of the billions emanating from North Sea oil in the rehabilitation of our industries and major towns in this country rather than investing it in overseas assets? The value of these assets is decreasing by leaps and bounds.

My Lords, a good deal of money has been invested in the rehabilitation of our industries. Investment in manufacturing industry is currently at a very high level. The overseas assets now held by citizens of the United Kingdom are extremely valuable and they will be very useful in the years to come.

My Lords, assuming I have done the sums correctly in my head, is it the case that these overseas assets are earning less than 4 per cent. per annum in real terms? Is that not below what one would expect the normal rate of return to be from investment in British industry?

My Lords, the yield of £4·5 billion annualised on the first half of 1987 is expected to rise to £5·2 billion. I do not believe that is a bad return on investments compared with what can be obtained in the United Kingdom.

My Lords, is my noble friend aware of the old adage that trade follows investment? Therefore, the real value of these investments is far greater than the return indicated by the noble Lord, Lord Peston. An enormous amount of trade is derived from the fact that we have investments overseas. People travel back and forth and generate that activity.

My Lords, my noble friend is right. In my answers I have tried to imply the importance that we attach to these assets.

My Lords, can the noble Lord tell the House what is the foreign investment in this country in comparison with the overseas assets of the citizens of this country to which he has just referred?

My Lords, the figures that I have been giving are net assets. That is overseas assets with overseas liabilities deducted. I am not sure whether I have available the two figures which make up the net assets which I have given.

My Lords, that does not answer the question. I was not talking about net assets overseas. I was asking the noble Lord whether he can tell the House what is the figure of foreign investment in this country in comparison to overseas assets held by citizens of this country?

My Lords, I now have the figures. The gross overseas assets held by the United Kingdom were £731 billion. Gross liabilities amount to £617 billion. That answers the question from the noble Lord.

European Consumer Affairs Council

3.18 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what items are to be discussed at the next meeting of the European Consumer Affairs Council and what is the present position of the draft toy safety directive.

My Lords, the Danish Presidency has announced that it intends to hold a European Consumer Affairs Council on 18th December. The agenda is likely to include the draft toy safety and unit pricing directive, consideration of the Commission's report on the integration of consumer policy into other areas of Community policy and consumer participation in the setting of EC standards. The Government hope that there will be substantial discussion at that Council of the draft toy safety directive.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that that satisfactory Answer will give much encouragement to consumers and consumer organisations, and that we shall wait with some hope what transpires on 18th December? As regards the setting up of standards in the European Community, can the Minister say whether the Secretary of State has had time to look at the voluntary codes of practice and the inefficiency of their operation between member states of the Community? If not, would the Minister do so?

My Lords, the noble Baroness will know that codes of practice consist of recommendations on good accepted practice. In general, the use of standards is preferred because they lay down requirements and thereby remove uncertainty. The Government are committed to a policy of encouraging the harmonisation of standards throughout the Community with the aim of removing technical barriers to trade. I believe that my noble friend the Secretary of State is taking this matter very seriously.

My Lords, can the noble Lord say that codes of practice by themselves concerning this poignant question of toys which kill, damage and harm children are quite insufficient? Can the Minister assure the House that in order to defend British children there will be immediate legislation following the recommendations?

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord that there is no place for voluntary codes in health and safety legislation.

My Lords, will the Minister ask his colleague when he goes to the EC to draw the attention of EC Ministers to the lion mark which the toy and hobby manufacturers have launched today? That mark is to ensure that toys manufactured in this country bearing the mark conform to all BSI standards on toy safety; and he may wish to recommend it to other members of the EC.

My Lords, the noble Baroness raises a very important point and we shall pay it considerable attention.

My Lords, does not my noble friend agree that it is a very satisfactory day when the noble Baroness, Lady Burton, confesses herself to be satisfied with an Answer from the Government Front Bench?

My Lords, we all very much respect the noble Baroness for the care and trouble that she takes in these matters.

My Lords, can the Minister say whether the Government will agree to the toy safety directive at the meeting on 18th December? Can he also say what steps the Government are taking to ensure that the British consumers' views of the EC proposals on the harmonisation of VAT tariffs are adequately expressed at Community level?

My Lords, on the toy safety directive, an amended draft proposal was circulated in October of this year and it reflects the stage reached at the last Consumer Council meeting. In turn, that takes account of the European Parliament's opinion on 9th July 1987. Therefore, we hope that the matter is moving towards a conclusion.

The European Commission has mandated the European Committee for Standardisation to prepare harmonised European standards in areas covered by the essential requirements. The United Kingdom is represented in the CEN by the British Standards Institution, which takes account of the view of government, industry and consumers in formulating the national position.

My Lords, concerning the European child safety campaign in 1988, can the Minister say what the planned contribution of the Government will be? Am I not correct in assuming that this matter may arise at the forthcoming meeting of the Council on 18th December?

My Lords, it is perhaps too early to say how far this country might be able to support the campaign as at present envisaged by the Commission. All member states expressed reservations about the original proposals, but I understand that discussions between member states and the Commission have resulted in an improved set of proposals. The Commission's proposals will be considered carefully when they are presented to Ministers. I believe that the subject of the child safety campaign may well be raised at the meeting on 18th December.

My Lords, what we are primarily talking about is British children who have toys which may maim or even kill them. Therefore, I again ask the Minister whether there is a possibility, after our Government have made every possible examination, that the relevant legislation will be introduced not in the European Community but in our British Parliament.

My Lords, I attempted to answer the noble Lord earlier. I shall look carefully at what he said and come back to him in writing.

Duty-Free Trading And The Ec

3.24 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the implications for employment, they will oppose any EC proposals, ahead of harmonisation, that end all or part of duty-free trading.

My Lords, the Government have no plans to end all or part of duty-free trading. My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made clear that discussions within the Economic and Finance Council of the European Communities were based on its acceptance of the continuing existence of duty and tax free facilities as long as fiscal frontiers remain within the European Community.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very satisfactory and reassuring reply, but do the Government accept that any proposal to end any part of internal EC duty-free trading is not a health issue but a fiscal measure and therefore requires unanimous agreement by the Council of Ministers?

My Lords, my noble friend is correct. As a fiscal measure it will require unanimity among Ministers.

My Lords, will the Minister make it clear that the Government do not concede the implication contained in the Question addressed to him as regards "ahead of harmonisation"? Will he give the House an undertaking that there will be no government consent to harmonisation affecting the United Kingdom without due consideration being given to it by Parliament?

My Lords, I can do little more than refer the noble Lord to what I said in my original Answer. My right honourable friend made clear that discussions within the Council of the Communities were based on its acceptance of the continuing existence of duty and tax free facilities as long as fiscal frontiers remain within the European Community.

My Lords, can my noble friend confirm that that Answer makes it clear that in the event of achieving our objective, as we understand it, of a single market in 1992, automatically and logically duty-free facilities will disappear?

My Lords, that will be correct provided there is fiscal harmonisation at that time.

My Lords, can my noble friend address himself to the other implication behind the Question—that there are EC proposals in consideration that any or all of duty-free trading should be abandoned before harmonisation?

My Lords, my noble friend is perhaps referring to the Commission's suggestions to end the sale of duty-free tobacco as part of its initiative for reducing the incidence of cancer. No formal proposals have yet been made. Although action against cancer is being handled by health Ministers, finance Ministers will be dealing with detailed tax proposals. The wider economic implications are being kept in mind.

My Lords, does my noble friend accept that if there are to be penalties in this area, it is best to attack areas which are carcinogenic?

The Christmas Recess

My Lords, it may be for the convenience of the House if I announce that, subject to the progress of business, the House will rise for the Christmas Recess on Thursday 17th December and return on Monday 11th January. The House will sit at 11 a.m. on Thursday 17th December.

Bcal/Sas Negotiations

3.27 p.m.

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat the Answer to a Private Notice Question in the form of a Statement currently being delivered by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport in another place. It is as follows:

"The Government's policy remains as set out in the 1984 airline competition policy White Paper." That is the end of the Answer.

My Lords, before I attempt to reply to that Statement, which gives no information, will the Minister amplify what it is about?

My Lords, the Question asked for a Statement on the Government's policy in the light of the latest developments in the negotiations between B.Cal and SAS.

My Lords, does this mean that the Government have no intention of referring the matter to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission? If so, the House would like to know why not, in view of the adamant attitude that his noble friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry took over a reference to the MMC of the BA/B.Cal merger. Is there not as much public interest in this matter?

Are there not very serious implications for the British airlines industry in a merger between B.Cal and SAS? What effect would the new company have on the obtaining of routes? Would other countries accept that a company combining SAS and B.Cal was still a UK company? Will that not affect possible future bilateral agreements? Does the CAA have a view on this matter? Will it consider seriously whether a company with substantial foreign interests should retain B.Cal licences? Might not the new company (SAS/B.Cal) lessen the opportunities for independent companies in the United Kingdom to gain routes? That was a distinct possibility underlying BA's agreement with the MMC, under which it was to give up various routes. My last question is—some noble Lord said, "Hear, hear". We are discussing a serious matter. I am certain that the Minister, with his usual competence and with his interest in aviation matters, is only too pleased to answer this question. In view of the substantial state interest in SAS of three Scandinavian countries, are the Government beginning to change their view of public ownership?

My Lords, I have become rather lost, what with the brevity of the Minister's Statement, for which I must thank him, and the length of the supplementary questions asked by the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. I do not know quite what to put a supplementary to. Did I understand the Minister to say that the Government were adhering to the policy that they had declared in 1984?

My Lords, I did understand that. As I understand it, government policy in 1984 was that we should establish a strong second-force airline in our aviation industry. At least, that was the CAA's intention, which the Government did not take up. Secondly, quite apart from the merits of any bids, is it not right that the shareholders of British Caledonian should decide with whom they want to fly? Surely it is a matter for them to decide.

The next point I would put to the Minister is this: since the CAA already treats other foreign-controlled airlines as British for the purpose of licensing policies it would hardly seem right that an SAS-controlled British Caledonian hid should be treated differently. Then, may I ask the Minister whether he would agree with some of us that it is in the best interests of the public that the status quo should continue at Gatwick, with charter and scheduled services competing on equal terms for the remaining limited capacity there? Finally, I hope that the Minister's reply will enlighten me anyway as to what he said so briefly to begin with.

My Lords, I shall attempt to deal with the questions asked by the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, and the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry. The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, asked why my noble friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry had decided not to refer the merger to the MMC. My noble friend considered that the proposal raised no competition or other public interest issues which merited investigation by the MMC. In reaching his decision, he took into account all the relevant factors, including the powers available to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport to decide whether to direct the revocation of an airline's licences in the circumstances prescribed in the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

Lord Underhill went on to ask whether the CAA had a view, what effect a merger with SAS would have on our bilateral route negotiations with other countries, and whether the company would still be a United Kingdom company. Under the powers contained in the Civil Aviation Act, the CAA cannot take a formal position until a merger becomes an accomplished fact. However, it gave a formal indication to B.Cal and to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State that on the facts available to it yesterday morning it would be likely to notify the Secretary of State that it was no longer satisfied that control of B.Cal remained in British hands.

It has not had an opportunity to form a view on the more recent proposal from B.Cal and SAS. That is why my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport wrote to the chairman of B.Cal about the possible use of his powers under the Act, which enable him to decide whether to direct the revocation of licences in the event of the proposed merger. He said that on the advice of the CAA he would be minded to revoke those routes if the merger took place on the terms as we then knew them. That is the present situation.

The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, asked me whether the proposed merger between SAS and B.Cal would lessen the independent companies' chances of gaining routes. I do not think that I can comment on that, in view of what I have said. The state interest in SAS was one of the matters about which my right honourable friend wrote today in his letter to B.Cal, a copy of which is in the Library. He said:
"Though I was grateful for the explanations furnished at our meeting as to the relationship between the three governments and SAS, I affirmed the view that it would he neither right nor conducive to fair competition between airlines in Britain that, the Government having earlier this year finally achieved the privatisation of the British airline industry, a major British airline should pass under control of an airline in which three other governments have a predominant interest".
In answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, as I said in the Statement, the Government maintain the airline competition policy as set out in the White Paper of 1984. The objectives were, first, to encourage a competitive multi-airline industry, with a variety of airlines serving travellers' needs and strong enough to compete aggressively against foreign airlines. The second objective was to promote competition in all markets, international and domestic, by working, to reduce restrictions on services and making it easier for new airlines to enter the market.

As to whether at the end of the day it should be for B.Cal's shareholders to decide, yes, it is for them to decide. My right honourable friend felt it right to make known his preliminary views as to the powers available under the Act with regard to non-British control.

The noble Baroness's last question was about the position of Gatwick and the balance to be drawn between charter and scheduled operators. It is something at which we are looking carefully. We shall probably need to look at it again when we know what will finally happen to British Caledonian. Until then, we cannot.

My Lords, in that convoluted reply are the Government saying that they want to have a merger between British Airways and British Caledonian and that everybody else can take their hat and ball away and play somewhere else?

My Lords, not at all. If SAS comes back with proposals which do not attract the CAA's opinion that control would be passing out of United Kingdom hands, that would be a different matter. Indeed, if another United Kingdom airline made a bid for B.Cal, that would be a different matter.

My Lords, does the Minister agree that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry did not think that it was worth referring the matter to the MMC? Having listened to the ill-informed voices of many people and of the British people generally, would not a responsible Minister agree to say, "All right; very well; I will refer it to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission"? Does he agree that that is now the right thing to do?

My Lords, no. I said that my noble friend took into account the powers available to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport, which are especially important in this case. That was one of the reasons he decided not to refer the merger to the MMC. In my opinion, another important reason is to try to end the uncertainty currently hanging over B.Cal. A further reference to the MMC would take another three months.

My Lords, I fully accept the decision of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry not to make a referral, but will my noble friend agree that the chairman of British Caledonian is following good and true Conservative principles by trying to get the very best deal he can for his shareholders? If the Government feel that this is not the way to proceed, and that they have in any way to interfere, would it not be more realistic for any interference to take the form of persuading the noble Lord, Lord King, that his offer should be upgraded?

My Lords, the Government would certainly not wish to get involved with trying to persuade the noble Lord, Lord King, to raise his offer for British Caledonian. The reason my right honourable friend wrote to the chairman of British Caledonian in the terms that he did was largely because of the tremendous difficulties which we would have bilaterally with other countries if B.Cal was not a British airline. My noble friend will be aware that all route licensing is done on a bilateral basis between this country and others. Even if we decided ourselves that B.Cal was a British airline, other countries might well decide that it was not and try to reopen negotiations. They might even stop the airline flying in.

My Lords, I very much appreciate the detailed answers that the noble Lord has given. I said at the beginning that I thought he would give very good explanations on these civil aviation matters. However, has he not now proved that there are matters of great public interest at stake? That is why the matter should be considered further. From what he says, are we to conclude that the Government are in favour of an SAS/B.Cal merger, or have they real apprehensions about it?

My Lords, we have grave apprehensions under the terms proposed originally by SAS for a 40 per cent. shareholding in B.Cal.

My Lords, that is the whole point of what I have been trying to say. Under the terms of the original possible offer by SAS for B.Cal it was the opinion of the Civil Aviation Authority, which is the statutory body concerned with this matter, that control would no longer be in British hands and it would therefore be regarded as a foreign airline.

My Lords, it is so difficult to conduct this matter by question and answer. This is a matter of great importance. Will the Minister, without going through the usual channels, ask the Leader of the House whether we could at some not too distant date have some discussion on this? All the facts can then be laid before us to see which of the several bids the House is in favour of.

My Lords, in one of her earlier supplementaries the noble Baroness said that it should be the shareholders of B.Cal who decide, and not the House. I do not know whether there would be any value in a debate on this subject at the moment. As I have said, if the House requires further information on the subject a copy of the letter which my right honourable friend wrote to the chairman of British Caledonian Airways has been placed in the Library.

My Lords, the Minister must have known that I would come back on that reply. Is he aware that I am not suggesting the shareholders should not have the last word? However, I think the shareholders would be interested in what this House has to say as we represent all sides of the political spectrum.

My Lords, obviously my noble friend the Leader of the House heard the request of the noble Baroness for a debate. As one usually says, that is a matter for the usual channels.

My Lords, with regard to the very important letter that the Minister mentioned, quite correctly, will he agree that the agony is this? We cannot ask a letter questions. We can only ask a Minister questions. That is why we should have a short debate.

My Lords, on this very important issue, with the best will in the world I know that the Minister will agree that he does not mean to dismiss it as casually as that. When he says that we are having a short debate, can he name the date that we shall have it?

My Lords, I meant that I am trying to answer all the questions as best I can at the moment

British Steel: Privatisation

3.44 p.m.

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should like to make a Statement on the British Steel Corporation.

The corporation today announced its half-year results for 1987–88. These show a bottom line profit of £190 million. This compares with £178 million for the whole of 1986–87. This is an impressive improvement in the corporation's performance and I am sure that your Lordships' House will join me in congratulating the corporation and all its employees on such an impressive achievement.

As your Lordships' House is aware, this Government are committed to returning successful state industries such as steel to the private sector as soon as practicable. It is quite apparent that the British Steel Corporation has now reached the stage where it would benefit from a return to a fully commercial environment. I am therefore pleased to announce that my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is setting in hand the work necessary to privatise the corporation as soon as possible subject to market conditions. Legislation will be required to turn the corporation into a private company. This will be introduced later in the current Session.

In accordance with the previous commitments given by the Government, the corporation will continue with five integrated plants until August 1988. My right honourable friend has been reviewing this with the corporation in the light of the current market position. The corporation will require steel making at all five plants for a number of years. Those noble Lords with an interest in Scotland will be pleased to hear that the corporation will be putting out a statement today making clear that subject to market conditions there will continue to be a commercial requirement for steel making at Ravenscraig for at least the next seven years.

The corporation also expects that, again subject to commercial considerations, there will be a similar requirement for plate rolling at Dalzell. This therefore gives assurance to Ravenscraig's iron and steel making facilities for a considerable period—indeed, for a period much longer than the three year commitments that the Government have been able to give in each of the two previous reviews in 1982 and 1985. The corporation has also indicated that even if it should wish at some stage because of market conditions to close its steel-making facilities in Ravenscraig it would consider, on a commercial basis, any wholly private sector offer for those facilities as an alternative to closure.

There is clear surplus capacity in BSC, as throughout Europe, in hot strip. The corporation's strip mills are currently running at below 70 per cent. of their potential capacity, which is among the lowest level of utilization of strip mils anywhere in Europe. However, having reviewed the situation thoroughly, the corporation has decided on commercial grounds that all its present mills, including the Ravenscraig mill, will continue to operate at least until 1989.

The Government's consistent aim has been to achieve a strong competitive British steel industry capable of performing well against international competition. This is in the best interests of the workforce of British Steel and of all its customers, and in particular of steel users in the rest of British industry. The British Steel Corporation has already achieved a quite remarkable recovery and is now one of the most successful steel makers in Western Europe. I believe that early privatisation and full commercial freedom will enable the company and its workforce to be best placed to go on to further achievements and to secure a firmly based competitive industry with along-term future.

My Lords, that concludes this Statement.

My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Lord for making the Statement. The noble Lord will not be surprised that we find the contents of the Statement wholly objectionable. Has not the taxpayer supported the British Steel Corporation through thick and thin and has not this been a great success story for public ownership? Therefore, should not the taxpayer enjoy the return through benefiting from the future profit streak? We congratulate the British Steel Corporation on its fine performance, but is it not a strange time to consider privatisation? Is this not introducing an element of great uncertainty into the business and the workforce at just the wrong time, when it is doing so well?

What conclusions are we supposed to draw about the further uncertainty about the future of EC quotas and possible reductions in capacity as a consequence? What will, or indeed can, be put into the prospectus on this matter? Will not the outcome of those negotiations not only affect the whole future of the British Steel Corporation but possibly jeopardise the privatisation itself? What will the Government be able to say in the prospectus about the future, particularly in the light of the chairman's statement issued in his interim remarks about the adverse effects of the weakening of the US dollar? Will the noble Lord seek to privatise the British Steel Corporation as one company—is that the intention of the Statement—or will he consider splitting it up? Perhaps he will clarify that.

Are the assurances about Ravenscraig really worth very much? "Subject to market conditions" is a pretty vague expression and my noble friend Lord Carmichael will be coming on to that at a later stage. Finally, if the privatisation goes ahead and if market conditions turn against the Government at the time of the issue, will the Minister stick to the market conditions proviso in the Statement on the timing? Will he give an assurance that we shall avoid a repetition of the BP fiasco?

My Lords, we on these Benches also wish to express our gratitude to the Secretary of State for making this very important Statement and making it with such clarity and brevity.

Some of us in the House may have a feeling that we have been here before.

It is a very important Statement on a very important industry. We are bound to treat the matter with the greatest possible responsibility. There is no need for me to delay your Lordships by repeating that our attitude in general to privatisation is that we are prepared to consider each matter on its merits but that those who wish to change from the public to the private sector, or the reverse, have the responsibility of making a case. The case has to be made on the grounds of greater competition and efficiency. At first glance it would appear to be much easier to make that case for steel than for the water or electricity industries, or in particular for gas.

We respond immediately to the invitation of the Secretary of State to join in congratulating the corporation and all its employees on such an impressive achievement. This is indeed one more example, of which there are several already, of how an industry can be run profitably by good management whether it is in the public or the private sector.

As to the improvement in the steel industry in the public sector being a jolly good argument for transferring it to the private sector. I am afraid that I regard that as one of the non sequiturs with which we are becoming increasingly familiar in government Statements. Indeed I am not sure whether there is not a misprint. The copy of the Statement which the Government have been courteous enought to supply me with says:
"It is quite apparent that the British Steel Corporation has now reached the stage where it would benefit from a return to a fully commercial environment".
I take it that that is a misprint and it should read:
"It is quite apparent that the British Steel Corporation has now reached the stage where the Treasury would benefit from a return to a fully commercial environment".
The Statement refers to "subject to market conditions". We must ask the Secretary of State to be a good deal more explicit. Clearly it would he wholly wrong and wholly irresponsible to consider issuing shares in a privatised company in the present state of the market. What do the Government have in mind and what criteria will they use in judging whether market conditions are appropriate?

The next question is similar to one asked by the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, but from a slightly different point of view. The Statement makes it clear that the machinery will be to turn the business of the corporation just as it is into a private company. Therefore, how will the competitiveness of the industry be increased? I am referring to the part of the Statement, if the Secretary of State does not follow me completely, where it says:
"Legislation will he required to turn the corporation into a private company".
I take it that we are to read it exactly as it has been stated.

We welcome very much indeed the comments in the Statement in relation to Scotland. They are an important part of the Statement and will be of considerable benefit to all those concerned, not only those with Scottish intereests but those with interests in employment generally. In that connection can the Secretary of State make an overall estimate, not merely for Scotland, of the employment situation in three years' time compared with what it is today?

I too am interested in the situation in relation to the EC. The Government have no doubt felt it proper hitherto to give full regard to the interests of British Steel while it was in the public sector in all negotiations on steel production generally in the EC. Can we be assured that they will still give the fullest regard to the best interests of steel production in this country once the corporation ceases to be a part of their direct responsibility?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. I trust that the noble Lord, in saying that my Statement was wholly objectionable, did not include in that remark the corporation's results, which are a matter of considerable congratulation. I am sure that he did not mean to include that.

My Lords, I assure the noble Lord and the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, that the British Steel Corporation is one corporation and will continue to be one corporation. We shall deal with it and it will be returned to where it rightfully belongs, in the private sector as one corporation. I assure both noble Lords that what the market conditions will be will depend on how the market is at the time.

As my Statement made quite clear, we have first to bring a Bill through your Lordships' House and another place to ensure that the company is a private company suitable to be returned to the private sector. Then we shall proceed, subject to the legislation, to have the shares sold and the company returned to the private sector. There are very good reasons for that. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Williams, that the state and the taxpayer will profit now that the company is returned to good health, first, by the proceeds of the disposal of shares and, secondly, by the stream of tax revenues, as I would hope to see the company continue in its profitable state in the private sector, as indeed have all the now privatised companies that were once part of the public sector. Company after company is returning to the Treasury more in tax these days than it used to in dividends in the old days when it was in the public sector.

We have come a long, long way. The noble Lord, Lord Diamond, said that we have been here before. Alas, we were here some 20 years ago when unfortunately the whole of the steel industry was nationalised. We are now seeing a thoroughly strong potentially private sector steel industry which will be with us, we hope, within a year or two. Steel-making is an activity that is suitable for privatisation. It is in the forefront of competition throughout the whole of Europe. Before very much longer my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be attending the Steel Council and we shall be discussing the position of surplus steel-making capacity in Europe.

Today all noble Lords will at least feel encouraged by the fact that we have as competitive a steel industry as any in Europe and that we are in as good a position as any other country in Europe to face the challenging conditions to come. The present assessment of the management of the British Steel Corporation is that the company is suitable for return to the private sector, and it will be returned to the private sector as soon as legislation permits. If at that time market conditions should advise otherwise, no doubt that practical advice will he followed.

Finally, perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, that it is impossible for me, the management or anyone else to give an estimate of what the employment position will be like in this industry or generally in three years' time. That depends on the market conditions at the time. What I know today is that the steel industry is likely to be profitable and efficient in three years' time.

My Lords, I am sorry to press the noble Lord. Will he answer my question about the effect of EC quotas and possible reductions in capacity?

My Lords, at the moment the position is in a state of flux. There is a strong possibility that quotas will disappear over the next 18 months but that depends on the outcome of the Steel Council. Should quotas disappear, we are as well placed as anyone to face the conditions at that time.

4 p.m.

My Lords, as one who has been particularly closely involved with the steel industry over the past eight and half years perhaps I may congratulate the industry on its magnificent performance, not least the performances of the two great steel plants at Llanwern and Port Talbot and the tinplate industry in Wales for its contribution.

Was it not an extraordinary comment from the noble Lord, Lord Williams, that it is wholly objectionable that commercial decisions should be taken by commercial organisations? Does he recollect, as I do, sitting through endless meetings of Cabinet and Cabinet committees to decide about wholly commercial matters, such as the future of Ravenscraig, and indeed other much more direct daily commercial matters, a position forced on government by nationalisation? Does he not share my welcome for the fact that we are to get away from that wholly undesirable position? Will he not confirm that the chairman of the British Steel Corporation has said that he looks forward to privatisation, wants privatisation and wants to do business in a world where he can take decisions on a commercial rather than a political basis?

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend, whose voice I hear for the first time in your Lordships' House; and all the better for that since I agree so much with what he says. Leaving aside the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, finds my Statement objectionable—and in the fullness of time I hope to persuade him to see the error of his ways—I should like to pay full tribute to the way in which the steel industry in Wales has rallied over the past few years and during the time when the noble Lord was a distinguished member of the Cabinet.

The noble Lord has one other advantage over me. Perhaps it may well be that the day I leave the Cabinet I will recover my memory as to what goes on on those occasions; but for the moment my mind is quite blank!

My Lords, everyone would want to congratulate the British Steel Corporation on its quite remarkable performance over the past few years. However, is the noble Lord aware that there will be little satisfaction or reassurance felt in Scotland when the fine print of the Statement has been examined? Under examination the apparent seven-year guarantee becomes subject to commercial requirements and market conditions. How does this differ from the Statements made in 1982 and 1985 when a period of three years was given?

The Statement goes on to say that the corporation has indicated that, even if it should wish at some stage because of market conditions to close its steel-making facilities at Ravenscraig, it would consider on a commercial basis any wholly private sector offer for those facilities as an alternative to closure. This compounds the uncertainty that will he felt in Scotland about Ravenscraig. Is the Minister aware of the social damage that this continued uncertainty will cause in Lanarkshire in particular and in Scotland as a whole?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for those comments but I feel I must express my amazement. We live in the real world, a competitive world, yet the chairman and board of BSC having considered the position are prepared today to give assurances lasting for seven years about the production of steel at Ravenscraig; and furthermore have said that, should they at any time in the future have to close those steel-making facilities at Ravenscraig because of market conditions, they would consider on a commercial basis any wholly private sector offer for those facilities as an alternative to closure. Going that far is unparalleled. It is going much further than the three-year commitments that governments have given and have been able to offer in reviews in 1982 and 1985. In the real commercial world it is difficult for management to see that far ahead, yet we are indeed aware of the sensitivities in Scotland and the management of the British Steel Corporation has been able to offer assurances going as far as seven years. I thought that those assurances would be received with great rejoicing north of the Border and I am sure that they really should be.

My Lords, will the Secretary of State accept that there is a point of view in Scotland different from that suggested to him from the other side of the House? Does he realise that the voices of protest from the other side would have been equally loud, if not louder, had he announced that the British Steel Corporation was to be privatised while making heavy losses? It is a great plus that now the industry has taken itself out of the deplorable state it was in under its national control and is fit to be offered to the private sector. Does he accept that many in Scotland will welcome the assurance that has been given today? Indeed it is an assurance that could hardly be bettered. It is realistic. Many in Scotland will greatly appreciate that.

Finally, while my noble friend is in the process of preparing legislation which will enable the British Steel Corporation to be privatised, will he look a little further at the coal industry in Scotland to see whether he can do something about that at the same time?

My Lords, on my noble friend's final suggestion, sufficient unto the day, I think.

I can recall vividly my arrival at the Department of Industry in 1979 as special adviser when the British Steel Corporation was losing £4 million or £5 million every single day. It is an enormous transformation. It is a tremendous tribute to the enthusiastic workforce and to the management of the British Steel Corporation, which is looking forward now to an even better life in the commercial world where it will be able to make commercial investment decisions for the best of all possible reasons.

My Lords, have we not heard the most revealing sentence, a real example of letting the cat out of the bag by the Secretary of State? He said that the Government are committed to returning to the private sector successful state industries such as steel. Is that not another way of saying that some fat profits will be made by certain people in the City? Is there not now ample evidence of shortcomings in the Government's privatisation programme? Will they give a little more consideration to the country as a whole and not simply to profit-making? In a recent debate on this question noble Lords on all sides of the House showed that this was not just a question of certain people making money. Will the Secretary of State give further consideration to this point?

My Lords, I have given long and careful consideration to the way in which a country could have all the health, social and other services it has without creating the profits in the first place out of which to do so. Of course we can only privatise those companies which are profitable. If the noble Lord can suggest to me a way in which we can privatise unprofitable companies I promise we will consider it seriously, because companies do not flourish and do not grow in the public sector. What we are seeing is simply a further extension of the Government's privatisation programme, which will not end until all the companies that should be in the private sector are returned there.

My Lords, the Secretary of State has made it clear that the proposed privatisation measure for British Steel will comprehend the whole of the organisation as it now exists. While it is perfectly true that British Steel is in competition with other big steel-makers throughout the world, it would remain the dominant steel-maker in Britain. Would it therefore be proposed to introduce into the legislation some regulatory body, or other consumer protection body, which could safeguard users of British Steel in Britain? I speak as a past chairman of the British Steel Users' Association.

My Lords, the normal reason for introducing a regulatory body is to ensure that, if there should be a monopoly supplier, that monopoly supplier will not charge excessive prices to the consumer. I recall the difficult days in 1979–80 during the strike in the steel industry when after a few weeks there appeared to be an adequate supply of steel coming in from other parts of the world, and I think that would ensure that there would be no shortage of competition, whatever the British Steel Corporation did in its private form. To have a regulatory body to ensure that only British steel was used would be quite against the spirit of the Treaty of Rome, and indeed not in the interests of either the consumer or British industry as a whole.

My Lords, while I fully support the firm response of my noble friends to this doctrinaire and unnecessary proposal. it is to another matter that I wish to direct the attention of the noble Lord and also the noble Viscount the Leader of the House. In the Statement it makes plain that legislation is proposed in the current Session. The noble Viscount and noble Lords opposite are fully aware that we are deeply concerned at the present time about the volume of legislation which it is proposed should come before this House. It is generally agreed on all sides of the House that the legislation which was predicted in Her Majesty's gracious Speech was indeed far too heavy a burden in parliamentary terms.

We know perfectly well that very heavy legislation will begin to come to this House from another place from Easter onwards, and now the Government are proposing to entertain another heavy and highly controversial measure in the current Session. What I say now I say for the purposes of putting a marker down, because obviously we shall have to return to this. But it is my duty on behalf of the Opposition and indeed on behalf of noble Lords throughout the House to give notice that this may create an extremely difficult situation for this Chamber.

My Lords, I take my full responsibility for this decision and for what was said about legislation. I fully understand what the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition has said. I hope to prove to him, as the year goes on, that I shall succeed in looking after the interests of the Members of this House with his assistance. I fully accept that I cannot do it without his assistance and the assistance of the leaders of the other parties, but together I believe that we can do it. If it is in the best interests of our country, it is certainly my job to seek to get the legislation through your Lordships' House.

My Lords, does my noble friend agree with me that the noble Lord the Leader of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition grossly underestimates the stamina of our youthful House?

My Lords, I do not know about the stamina of noble Lords. Sometimes I begin to wonder how their breath will hold up in some of their activities, and perhaps a little less breath would be a good thing from time to time.

My Lords, is it not conceivable that our ability to digest further legislation might be improved if we got on with the copyright Bill?

Legal Aid Bill Hl

My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make new provision for the administration of, and to revise the law relating to, legal aid, advice and assistance. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—( The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.

Business Of The House

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That Standing Order 44 (no two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to enable the Scottish Development Agency Bill and the Urban Development Corporations (Financial Limits) Bill to be taken through their remaining stages on Thursday 17th December.—( Viscount Whitelaw.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Copyright, Designs And Patents Bill Hl

4.15 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—( Lord Beaverbrook.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD ABERDARE in the Chair.]

Clause 12 [ Duration of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works]:

moved Amendment No. 55:

Page 6, line 30, leave out ("50") and insert ("70").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 55, which stands in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Willis. Its purpose is sufficiently obvious to make it unnecessary for any lengthy explanation, but I should point out that other European countries—Germany, France and Spain—have already adopted 70 years as the duration of copyright, and Italy has given notice of its intention to do so.

We have heard often from the Government that it is desirable to keep in step with European countries on perhaps far less important matters than this. Therefore I hope to hear from the noble Lord that he will accept this amendment. I beg to move.

I hope that the Committee will not accept this amendment. Fifty years has been the period ever since 1911 in the Copyright Act, and there is no sufficient case for altering it. It is quite long enough for most copyrights, and I hope that the Committee will not accept the amendment.

It is a brave man who crosses swords with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, but may I venture to disagree with him? We have a strange situation existing at the moment in Europe, and we are after all members of the European Community.

As the noble Lord, Lord Somers, said, in France, Germany and Spain they have a 70-year period. Therefore we have this strange situation that had Elgar had the good sense to have his symphonies published in France they would still be in copyright, but because he did not have that foresight they are not in copyright and money is now being lost to this country in the form of overseas earnings. Why should it be profitable for a musician or anybody else to go abroad and have his material published so that he can get it extended for 20 years? We ought to come into line with the rest of the Community. It is sensible, logical and reasonable to make it 70 years.

In reference to the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, as to the 50-year period having existed since the Copyright Act 1911, has my noble friend the Minister any information for the Committee as to the relationship in the expectation of life as between 1911 and today?

I should like to support the amendment put down by the two noble Lords. I have never understood why it should be the case that a certain length of time after an author's death other people who have had nothing to do with the creation of the work should be able to steal it. I should like to see the time extended to 100 years.

I must say to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, that if we accept the argument that it has been in the Acts of 1911 or 1956, that would deny that what we are trying to do here is improve existing legislation. Therefore, we must not be concerned if we are changing something that has existed hitherto.

I should like to take up the point made by the noble Lord who sits behind me. I am told it is a fact that today we live longer. Therefore I think that 50 years is a short time and I do not see why, as on the Continent, 70 years should not be the time when copyright ends.

The period of 50 years begins from the death of the author and if we live longer it will be the better for us all. However, when one is dealing with intellectual property one must consider two points: first, when the article becomes the property of mankind, or of the nation, or of language or literature; and secondly, for what period of time the original author of the work or design is to retain a monopoly. It is a difficult balance to draw but I believe that 50 years is about right. The works of Gilbert and Sullivan are now part of English literature and there is no particular reason why the descendants of Gilbert and Sullivan, if there are any, should continue to enjoy a monopoly.

I wonder whether the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Somers, as regards the position of the EC, is quite so simple. When I was discussing questions of copyright in Brussels a couple of years ago the anomaly arose that under British law an author can join a co-author much younger than himself. Therefore, when a man of 45 joins with a young man of 20 they may have 90 to 100 years of protection. I think that if there is any question of the Government agreeing to increase the number of years it should be in respect of only one author and not a joint authorship.

The noble Lord, Lord Willis, mentioned the Common Market but surely the answer is that there should be a common period throughout the Community for the purposes of harmonisation. Can the Minister say when it is likely that there will be harmonisation on this issue?

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, has spoken of the need for an increase in the term of copyright protection from life plus 50 years to life plus 70 years. Germany has a term of life plus 70 years, the same as in the amendment. Nevertheless, countries such as Germany are very much in the minority. The term specified in the Berne Convention, admittedly as a lower limit, has in fact become the accepted international standard. Moreover, the present life plus 50 years term has existed in this country for a very long time now and there has been no evidence that over that period an increase was either necessary or justified. The Whitford Committee report recommended no change and I have to say that I do not agree with the noble Lord.

Turning to the point made by my noble friend Lord Broxbourne, I regret to tell him that I have no information as to our present longevity as compared with 1911. I should like to point out to the noble Lord, Lord Morton of Shuna, that we believe that the 50-year term is more the accepted international standard than the 70-year term and hope that it will remain so.

I think that the noble Lord is mistaken when he says that the period of 50 years is more usually accepted than that of 70 years. As I said in my introductory remarks, Germany, France and Spain already have a 70-year period and Italy is also proposing to do so. Those are the European countries in which more artistic works are produced than in any other. It seems to me to be unreasonable that we should not be in step with them.

The noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, cited Germany as the single major exception. Is that right, or are there other significant exceptions?

Is not the position that Spain has a term of 80 years; France 64 years; Austria 70 years; Italy 56 years; Belgium 60 years; and Germany 70 years? The Minister did not appear to answer my question which was: when do the Government expect harmonisation on the different figures within the EC?

I cannot answer the direct question put by the noble Lord as regards harmonisation. From the sound of the figures that he quotes, we may never have it. We feel that 50 years is the right period for this country to continue. It has been the accepted period in this country for a long time and I do not believe that there have been any problems with that length of time.

I am now informed that the European Commission has been considering whether harmonisation of various elements of copyright law would be helpful to the aims of the Common Market. However, we do not yet know when it will publish its findings. At present harmonisation is achieved largely through the Berne Convention, which specifies life plus 50 years but allows countries to give more if they wish. On a worldwide basis, life plus 50 years is the most common term.

The noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, has said that he does not think any harm has come from the 50-year limit being so short. The harm comes to the heirs of the owner of the copyright and often the copyright is the only property that the author has been able to create. I do not think that Members of the Committee would be happy with the notion that 50 years after their death all their property would become public property, which is what we are providing for here. If other countries have a scheme by which the limit is 70 years, I cannot see why we should not conform. The whole idea of stating that a man cannot leave his copyright to his heirs and successors beyond 50 years after his death is an extraordinary restriction on property rights.

I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, has said. As the noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, will realise, he has not been able to answer my question in the time available. It has kindly been answered to some extent by the noble Lord, Lord Morton of Shuna. However, I should be grateful if, between now and the next stage of the Bill, the noble Lord will give me an answer to my question.

Perhaps I speak on behalf of myself and the noble Lord, Lord Somers. As I am proposing to live at least until the year 2000 my copyrights will last until the year 2050 and I think that that should see out my dearly beloved. I should much prefer it to be 2070. However, in the light of the comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, and his request that the Minister should look at the question and give a reply, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

I agree entirely with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, that it is not worthwhile pressing this amendment to a Division. However, in view of what the Minister has said, I do not think that in future we need pay too much attention when the Government state that we must keep in step with Europe. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved Amendment No. 56:

Page 6, line 33, leave out ("copyright expires").

The noble Lord said: This amendment must be read in conjunction with Amendment No. 58, without which it makes no sense at all. I assume that Amendment No. 57 will be withdrawn.

Subsection (2) deals with the duration of the copyright when the identity of the author of the work is unknown. My amendments are intended to make the text a little more comprehensible without—intentionally—affecting the meaning.

The Committee will note that at present the form of the subsection is such as to mean that if one thing happens, a second thing will happen unless a third thing happens. I feel that that is hardly a happy arrangement, especially when the subsection is almost entirely innocent of any punctuation. If my two amendments are accepted the subsection will simply read:

"If the identity of the author of the work is unknown at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year … copyright expires forthwith".

I think that that wording is shorter and clearer and therefore I beg to move the amendment.

I should like to support the amendment. It is a much simpler way of saying that when the author is unknown, copyright is protected for 50 years from the date of the publication of the work.

I think that this may be a case in which the drafting of the Bill could be improved and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, for his suggestion. However, I am not able to accept the amendment at this stage because we shall need carefully to consider the implications before we can agree to make a change. Nevertheless, if the noble Lord will withdraw the amendment at this time we shall do exactly that and return to the question at a later stage when we have had a chance to consider his very helpful suggestion. I should say for clarity that I am speaking to Amendments Nos. 56 and 58.

I am most grateful to the noble Lord and am happy to withdraw my amendment. It is the second time that he has said that he will take up one of my amendments and I am very grateful. Of course, if I do not see a simple amendment on the Marshalled List at Report stage I shall table my amendment again. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[ Amendments Nos. 57 and 58 not moved.]

4.30 p.m.

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 59 standing in my name and the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hutchinson of Lullington. It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I also speak to Amendments Nos. 60 and 61. Amendment No. 60 has exactly the same effect as my amendment. Either one leaves out the paragraph or one amends the wording so that it is the author's death—as in the first part of subsection (1)—that is the effective date. I do not think that we are at odds on that.

I should prefer to listen to the points which may be made by the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, during the debate, if he wishes to make them, before I say too much about "taken" and "published", because it will rather confuse my argument if I refer to the great number of points involved during the course of my speech. I believe that the Government have simply taken a section of the 1956 Act and reinstated it in almost the same words, probably without considering the very changed situation that exists at present compared with 1956. Moreover, during the Second Reading debate I think a comment was made to the effect that we were doing better than the Berne Convention. Why should we not do much better than the Berne Convention and make it not 50 years from the date that something happened but be consistent and make it 50 years from the author's death?

Photographic materials and cameras have changed immensely over the years. Materials can be used under different lighting conditions and cameras are of different formats. Photo-journalism has become a much more important aspect of all photography. In 1911 photography comprised records, portraits and landscapes. Photo-journalism did not exist to any great extent, although one can go back to Roger Fenton and the Crimean War to find the first war photographer. Nowadays everything has to be captured instantly; that is the really important difference. A news team may go out to Ethiopia in order to portray the famine there. That team consists of a journalist and a photographer. As regards any book or report written by that journalist the copyright lasts for 50 years after his death; copyright of the photographer's illustrations lasts for 50 years from the date the photographs were taken. That is a total anomaly at the present day. That is why I am suggesting my amendment.

Similarly, when an author has written a book he can arrange for a photographer to provide some illustrations and also for an artist to make some drawings. Two of those three people have their rights protected for 50 years beyond their deaths but one has his rights protected for 50 years from the day on which the photographic operation took place.

Photography has now become a vital part of recording social history. Events are often recorded in photographs rather than being written down immediately; the writing may take place later. That does not matter because at whatever time it was written it is still preserved for 50 years after the author's death. Yet the photograph, which may be the most important part, is only protected from the day on which it was taken.

To take the argument a little further, let us suppose that someone is in the course of writing a social history of the period 1920–1940. Under the Bill photographs taken during the first 17 years of that period—perhaps about half—would be free from any copyright and could be used free of charge. The rest of the photographs, which possibly may have been taken by the same photographer, would have to be paid for and the copyright bought. I am afraid that that is a ridiculous anomaly. As we have just heard, people are living longer nowadays. Why should somebody whose work was done during his 20s have that work taken out of copyright when he reaches the age of 70-plus? That is a ridiculous situation.

One has also to look at the current position regarding photography and photographs. In the past, taking duplicates from existing prints was not an efficient or very good way of obtaining a new image and because very often the author's estate had control over the negatives there was still the possibility of obtaining some money for them. Nowadays, photo-duplicating—I am not saying photocopying because that is a completely different process—can be done very efficiently. If one has a good, glossy print of something that is out of copyright, the work can be made available again in the same quality. That is another reason why there has been a movement towards more control. I feel that it is most important that there should be uniformity across the board in this respect for all authors. I beg to move.

The Question is that Amendment No. 59 be agreed to? I must point out that if this amendment is carried, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 60 and 61.

We strongly support the idea behind the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, that we are now discussing. Amendment No. 60 tabled in the name of my noble friend Lord Williams and myself has exactly the same intention and it does not perhaps matter whether it has the same wording. I do not wish to repeat the words of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, and should like to draw attention to a different aspect of the matter.

I suggest that since 1911 photography has developed into an art form far more than was thought possible in 1911 or 1956. Since then there has been a history of very famous photographers such as Karsh and Cecil Beaton. Those photographers have taken portraits which in a sense are very close in artistry to the art of a painter who is painting a portrait. It is very difficult to see why a painter should have his rights protected for 50 years from his death whereas a photographer like Cecil Beaton should have his work go out of copyright as soon as he dies. I should have thought that in common fairness the photographer should also have that extra period.

I should like strongly to support this amendment which seems to be based on a very sound principle. If one looks at the history of the matter I think one would probably find that in the early days of photography photographs were necessarily regarded as rather ephemeral works because of the susceptibility of the material to vanish with the passage of time.

As has already been pointed out, there have been great technical changes since then and photography is undoubtedly a very much more permanent art than it used to be. There seems no reason why, at the present day, there should be this discrimination against the artistic creator of a photograph as opposed to other artistic creators. Therefore, I strongly support this amendment.

If we cast our minds back to the Second Reading debate, a. number of noble Lords spoke in favour of precisely a move in this direction, and I was one of those. I think what we had in mind was something extremely simple. We simply hoped that the word "photographic" would appear in line 29 on page 6 after "literary, dramatic, musical or artistic". In other words, we wanted "photographic" treated in exactly the same way as these other works. I rise simply to support this amendment and also to ask the mover of the amendment or the Minister whether the amendment does that simple thing, which is what is required, of treating photographic works in exactly the same way as all those other works.

I also strongly support the amendment of my noble friend Lord Brain. I agreed very much with what he and other noble Lords have said. I think it is time that photographers were brought into line with, if you like, the rest of the artistic world. There is, however, one grey area which acceptance of one of these amendments would clear up; that is, it is not always easy to tell when a photograph was actually taken. I have already expressed my interest at an earlier stage of the Committee. I, as a photographer, take an awful lot of photographs and I do not always recall exactly when they were taken.

I too should like to support this amendment and to remind the Committee that on Second Reading I spoke of the position of photographers of my own age, who find that their splendid photographs of the Spanish Civil War, the advent of Hitler and other historic events like that are now running out of copyright, just at the time when copyright fees are necessary to supplement their inadequate pensions.

I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Morton, said about photography now being regarded as an art form, and remind the Minister that the Arts Council of Great Britain now treats photography as it treats other forms of art. It has its own group chaired by a distinguished member of the council, as have other forms of art such as music, painting, and so on. After all, the convention goes back to 1889 and things have changed since then so far as concerns the regard of the public for photography.

Photographers are mainly self-employed. They have to go out into the world to get commissions and the persons who commission the photographers defend themselves by contract, whereas a photographer must fall back on the continuing value to him of his own individual work. When he reaches a ripe old age is exactly the time when he would want to be able to depend upon his early work. It is rather ridiculous (is it not?) that someone such as Mr. Cartier-Bresson should at this stage of his life lose all control over his early photographs, which are now recognised throughout the world as absolutely outstanding works of art. I support this amendment very strongly.

The noble Lord, Lord Brain, referred to my Amendment No. 61 when he was moving his own, and my amendment cannot be moved if either of these other amendments succeeds. That would suit me fine, because I support either of them and they both seem to amount to the same thing. My only reason for putting down Amendment No. 61 was that, in the event of neither of those amendments reaching the statute book, and if the Bill remains as it is, it will reduce even further the period before the copyright in a photograph ends. At present, it is 50 years from the time the photograph was published, but the period from when the photograph was taken will be shorter.

I want to draw attention to what the Minister said on Second Reading about the Berne Copyright Convention of 1886. He gave the impression that 25 years is the period set down by the convention, but Article 7, Section 18.30, states that the term shall last at least until the end of the period of 25 years, which is merely a minimum period and not a period that is recommended.

There is one practical advantage to this amendment: and I must apologise to my noble friend for preferring the form of Amendment No. 60 to Amendment No. 59. The difficulty is that it would be practically impossible in some cases to identify the date on which a photograph was taken.

4.45 p.m.

In speaking to Amendment No. 59, for the convenience of the Committee I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 60 and 61. The copyright in a photograph under the Bill, as under the present Act, lasts for 50 years although the starting point has changed from publication to the taking of the photograph in order to ensure that unpublished photographs do not enjoy indefinite protection. A period of 50 years is consistent with that granted to films and is in excess of that required by the Berne Convention.

As the noble Lord, Lord Peston, pointed out, it is quite clear from the debate in this Chamber during Second Reading and again today that there are many noble Lords who believe that photographs should be treated on the same footing as other artistic works. We think this is something that we need to look at again in the light of the debate today, and will return with appropriate amendments both here and in Schedule 1 if we conclude that a change should be made. In the light of that undertaking, I wonder whether noble Lords will agree to withdraw their amendments today.

I am very pleased to withdraw the amendment. But before I do so, I would point out to the noble Lord in front of me that "artistic work", as defined in Clause 4, specifically means:

"a graphic work, photograph or sculpture".
I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[ Amendments Nos. 60 and 61 not moved.]

Page 7, line 25, at end insert—

("( ) sale or distribution to the public and").

The noble Lord said: This amendment might well be thought to be superfluous, but it has been put down in my name largely in order to make sure that it is quite clear that sale or distribution are a means made available to the public. I should have thought that inserting these words made the subsection read rather more clearly and would not do any harm to the Bill. I beg to move.

There can be no doubt that sale or distribution to the public of copies of a work constitutes making the work available. But there are other acts which are to count as making available for the purpose of this clause, and some of these may not be so readily apparent. That is the purpose of subsection (5). Subsection (5) is an expression of the normal meaning of "made available". It lists cases which are to be included in the expression "made available to the public" which might not otherwise be included.

The amendment proposed by the noble Lord is, I believe, unnecessary. Indeed, I would go further and say that it might be positively confusing as suggesting that other things which would naturally fall within the concept of making available, but were not sale or distribution, should not be treated as making available.

Perhaps I should say a word here about the principles governing the inclusion of a definition in the Bill and the form which they take. A number of questions have already been raised by noble Lords in connection with the definition, or absence of definition, of expressions such as "dramatic work", "artistic work", "graphic work" and "film sound track". There is no need to define a word which bears its ordinary English meaning, if there can be no real doubt what that meaning is. An example is "sound track".

Sometimes, however, a word is used in a special sense or its ordinary meaning leaves room for doubt or a novel expression is devised for the purposes of the Bill. An example is "general scheme" in Clause 125(2). In those cases we need a definition. If the definition is all-embracing the word "means" is used. Examples are the definitions of "musical work" and "film". The definition is not, however, all-embracing: the word "includes" is used indicating that the rest of the meaning is to be filled up by ordinary usage and common sense. One example is "dramatic work", which obviously includes a play or an opera libretto but does not include dance or mime unless one says so. Another example is "made available to the public" and where we add to the ordinary meaning of things which are obviously not made available. I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Committee.

I am very glad that the Minister has not accepted the amendment. In the case of music, for instance, there are many cases in which composers have their works performed while they are still in manuscript form. Even after they have been performed, it may be many years after the composer's death before they are published. I therefore think that it is better not to adopt the amendment.

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, seems to have misunderstood the intention of the amendment. The intention is not to omit "performance" but to add "sale or distribution". It is my understanding that many musical works are now performed without there being any writing in manuscript. Having heard what the Minister has said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 12 shall stand part of the Bill?

Before we leave Clause 12 I wish to ask the Minister two simple questions.

First, I return to the question of a composite work which is not literary, dramatic, musical or artistic but may be a compilation of one or more of those works. I referred earlier in Committee to the question of collage, which crosses the boundaries and in which literary and graphic works can be pasted together. That is certainly a work that should have some copyright protection. I am not sure whether it is covered by the Bill as drafted. Perhaps the Minister could clear that up?

Secondly, on the question of joint authorship, I am uncertain—I hope that the Minister will be able to enlighten me—of the position of reference works such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica which are indeed joint authorship. I am not entirely clear when the copyright on either all or part of such works expires.

This may not be the appropriate point at which to raise the matter, but I gave my noble friend the Minister notice some time ago that I had been approached by the owners of a periodical which very largely makes its living by the use of a composite team engaged in literary work in which it is almost impossible in its very nature to identify the particular author of the particular words that occur even in a particular sentence. If my noble friend would indicate that either now or at some other time we can have an answer to the point, I should be grateful. I do not wish to take up the time of the Committee if discussion on clause stand part is not an appropriate moment.

In reply to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, we have agreed to consider this matter and are doing so. I shall come back to him as soon as possible on the matter of composite works and collages.

As to the question asked by my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham, there is a problem in cases where the identity of the author is not definitely known. Therefore, the normal term of life and 50 years provided in subsection (2) cannot be calculated.

The Bill adopts the formula in Article 73 of the Berne Convention which provides for a term of 50 years from the time that the work has been lawfully made available to the public, subject to the proviso that the protection will no longer apply when it is reasonable to assume that the author has been dead for 50 years. Under the 1956 Act, copyright in anonymous or pseudoanonymous works continues for 50 years after publication and continues indefinitely for unpublished works. Subsection (2) will bring our law into compliance with the Paris text of the Berne Convention and remove the undesirable indefinite term for unpublished works. If the identity of the author becomes known at any stage, these provisions are no longer applicable and the duration of copyright is calculated on the basis of the normal term of life and 50 years.

Perhaps I may return to a further point made by the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, about joint authorship. To take his example, if an encyclopaedia is written by a team without each item being ascribed to a particular author, copyright will last until 50 years after the death of the last author to die.

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 [ Duration of copyright in sound recordings and films]:

moved Amendment No. 63:

Page 7, line 38, leave out ("it is made") and insert ("its making is completed").

The noble Lord said: Clause 13 deals with the length of copyright where a sound recording or film is involved. The Committee will note that subsection (1)(a) provides for a

"period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is made".

It takes a long time to take a film: it may take a year or two years. The making of the film may well begin before 31st December in one year and end after the end of the following year. I therefore think that it should be specified whether we are talking about the time at which work on the film starts or finishes. Under the amendment it would be stated positively that the period is 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the making of the film is completed.

The amendment seeks to avoid any doubt as to when the 50-year copyright in unreleased films and sound recordings expires, by providing a clear starting point for calculating the 50-year term.

We were initially attracted to the amendment proposed by the noble Lord but on further consideration realised that it might cause difficulties. It must be remembered that the date in question here is of relevance only when a film is not released within 50 years of its making. There must be very many films in this category which have been made but arguably have not been completed.

Having had the possible distinction between making and completing a film drawn to our attention by the amendment, we should like to ponder the implications further. In particular we should like to consider whether subsection 5(a) of Clause 143, which repeats the words of the present Act, is correctly drafted. I am grateful to the noble Lord for alerting us to this matter and trust that he will agree to withdraw his amendment to give us the necessary time to look further into the matter.

I apologise for pressing the Minister on this. Is it right that an incomplete film will enjoy copyright in the same way as a complete film?

I am grateful to the Minister for what he has said. I was surprised to hear him say that there are many films that have not been completed. I do not know in what sense he can say that. If precious little work has been done on films for a number of years, I should have thought it must be supposed that they were completed.

The Minister mentioned subsection (1)(b), which refers to
"the calendar year in which it is first released".
My information—I do not know about films but I have made some inquiries—is that a film can be released only once. It is completed and released and that is when it becomes available to the public. There may then he a long interval of time and changes may or may not be made. Then it is re-released; it is not released a second or a third time.

Therefore, if the noble Lord is going to reconsider the clause he should consider using the words:
"the end of the calendar year in which it is released".
That would leave subsection (2) to read:
"A sound recording or film is 'released' when—
(a) it is first published, broadcast or included in a cable programme service".
That would be in accordance with usage in the industry.

5 p.m.

I am grateful to the noble Lord. He asked me about films being completed. I imagine that there are many films where either the money runs out or the leading star has died and it has not been appropriate to complete the film. Perhaps in later years it is either completed, if it is regarded as being of artistic or historical merit at that time, or, when a certain number of years have passed, the film may be recut and released so that it may earn some money even though the film itself is shorter. As regards films which are re-released in a different form, I appreciate the concern of the noble Lord. In coming back with our thoughts on the subject, we shall take account of everything which he has said.

I am grateful to the noble Lord and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 agreed to.

Clause 14 [ Duration of copyright in broadcasts and cable programmes]:

On Question, Whether Clause 14 shall stand part of the Bill?

I have a small question on Clause 14 which concerns the duration of broadcast copyright. It is not a matter for an amendment but it is one on which I hope the noble Lord can help me. There are a number of broadcasts which are in serial form—there are a series of broadcasts—and we can all think of many broadcasts which are serialised. As drafted, the Bill makes it clear that the copyright in a broadcast expires at the end of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made.

If we take the case of a serial which goes over the year end—and one can think of many television serials which go over the year end—is it correct that there will be two periods during which copyright subsists, one for those parts of the serial which are broadcast before 31st December and the other for those parts broadcast in the new year?

I believe that to be the case. There would be a split year at the end of the 50-year period; that is, the copyright on the first part of the series would run out one year earlier than the copyright on the second half if it had straddled the year in its original broadcast 50 years earlier.

I understand the reply but I find it a bit odd, if I may say so. Serials, such as many which we have seen on television, seem to be part of one entity. To have a split period of copyright seems slightly curious. No doubt when the Minister receives further information from a certain quarter he will be able to enlarge on the reply which he has just given me. I hope that that reply will enlighten me so that I will not have any further contribution to make.

I am most grateful to the noble Lord. Each broadcast of a serial is a separate broadcast. There may thus be more than one period of copyright in a serial. However, we shall look carefully at what the noble Lord has said and see if that makes sense.

If one considers a serial or soap opera such as "The Archers", the earlier episodes date back to the time when my children were so high. One of them has just married at the age of 40. We are getting on! However, it must be the case that each programme of "The Archers" has a separate date from which the duration of copyright proceeds.

Indeed, that is why I particularly did not mention "The Archers", which seemed to me to be a long-running serial on which there might be problems. However, if we consider serials such as "Fortunes of War", "Brideshead Revisited" or whatever it might be, those are of slightly shorter duration in their totality and should possibly be seen as discrete. I use that word purely in the sense of boundaries in that there are clear limits. There is a beginning and an end to such serials, and perhaps the noble Lord would like to look at the possibility that, unlike the constant-running soap operas and such programmes, they may be in a special category. However, I shall say no more.

I completely agree with what the noble and learned Lord has said as regards serials. However, there is a point which worries me and which I mentioned in a letter I would be raising. That is the case of a repeat broadcast. That matter is mentioned in subsections (2) and (3). I cannot see any necessity for the two subsections. Surely there is no separate copyright in a repeat broadcast. A broadcast has its own copyright and a repeat broadcast is covered by the same copyright. There is no need to say that copyright expires at the same time as the copyright on the original broadcast. It is the same copyright.

The subsections mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, restate the effect of Section 14(3) and Section 14(4)(a) of the 1956 Act. There is a difference between a repeat broadcast and a second edition of a book. A book is always a reproduction of the original work or of the typographical arrangement of a particular printing. However, each broadcast is new. A person who copies a repeat broadcast does not copy the first broadcast because a repeat broadcast will not be made from a recording of the first broadcast. It will be made from a recording made at the same time as or even before the first broadcast.

When the BBC makes a live broadcast and also makes a recording so that it may repeat the broadcast, it does not make the recording by receiving its own broadcast off-air but by making a parallel simultaneous recording of what is being broadcast as it goes out. For copyright protection to be adequate, each repeat must be given its own copyright, albeit for an abbreviated time.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [ Duration of copyright in typographical arrangement of published edition]:

moved Amendment No. 64:

Page 8, line 21, leave out ("25") and insert ("50").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 64 standing in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Morton of Shuna. It is a simple probing amendment to find out from the Government the reasons for the 25-year period of copyright in the case of a typographical arrangement. is that particularly important? Why should the period not be 50 years? This is a purely probing amendment, and in that spirit I beg to move.

I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising the matter. The amendment seeks to double the duration of copyright protection. I have already indicated the Government's intention to leave the provisions relating to copyright in a typographical arrangement largely unchanged. While the publishers will doubtless be grateful to the noble Lord for his concern for their interests, we believe that the 25-year term presently provided by Section 15 of the Act is quite adequate. A doubling of the term would, we believe, be inappropriate.

Has the noble Lord considered those poems the whole essence of which is the typographical arrangement? Historically, there was a poem in the shape of a butterfly. In quite modern times there were poems by Cummings, for example, where the whole essence was the typographical arrangement. For the moment, I cannot see why the period of copyright should not be the normal one in the case of a literary work.

If it is of any assistance to the Committee, certainly the view of the Society of Conservative Lawyers' Patent and Copyright Committee is that this would be an undesirable amendment because typesetting can hardly deserve such a long period of monopoly. That is the view of the committee which, albeit political, does not operate politically.

I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, and to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. I did not hear in the reply from the Minister any particular reason why this should be so. He explained why it was so and why the Government intended to hold their position, but I did not actually gather why it should be the case. In view of the intervention by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, we deserve a slightly more comprehensive answer.

I attempted to give a rather simple answer, and that is what the answer is—very simple. The provision of copyright for 25 years is in the 1956 Act and we intend to leave the provisions relating to copyright in typographic arrangements as they are in that Act. The example given by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, of a poem in the shape of a butterfly would probably be regarded as an artistic work and protected for life plus 50 years.

I am very grateful to the noble Lord and I hope the noble and learned Lord is also satisfied with the explanation concerning the butterfly. I am still not entirely clear; and, as always, I shall study very carefully what the noble Lord has said. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 15 shall stand part of the Bill?

I wonder whether the noble Lord could help me on one point? We are now leaving Chapter 1; and if I might refer to the contents of that chapter, in Article 2 the Berne Convention does refer to "dramatico-musical works". There is a hyphen between "dramatico" and "musical". I said at an earlier stage in Committee that there are works which cross these boundaries. May I ask the noble Lord why the Government decided not to follow the line of the Berne Convention, the Paris text, which the noble Lord said they have every intention of ratifying?

I do not have an answer for the noble Lord but I shall write to him on that particular point and place a copy in the Library.

Clause 15 agreed to.

5.15 p.m.

Clause 16 [ The acts restricted by copyright in a work]:

[ Amendment No. 65 not moved.]

moved Amendment No. 66:

Page 8, line 39, after ("owner") insert ("knowingly").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 66 standing in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Morton of Shuna.

We are dealing here with acts restricted by copyright. The purpose of the amendment is probing in a sense, to make sure that we are all convinced in this Committee that an infringement of copyright by mistake is nevertheless an infringement of copyright. It should not be a deliberate infringement of copyright or a "knowing" infringement of copyright (to use the word of the amendment) that should be properly attacked.

There are many occasions on which copyright can he infringed by mistake and without licence. I assume that the intention of the Government is that that infringement should suffer the same penalties as a deliberate infringement. This is why this amendment is put. I beg to move.

I hope noble Lords do not accept this amendment. It is contrary to every principle of copyright. In any copyright case in which I have taken part you look to see whether the part which has been reproduced has been reproduced by the defendant. It does not matter whether he did it by mistake, he has done it. He is guilty of an infringement of copyright. For example, it may be a few bars in a musical work. You look to see whether the defendant has used those bars and it does not matter whether he thought they were his own invention or otherwise. If he did use them then he is guilty of infringement of copyright. The same considerations apply regarding any literary work or anything which you have written. You only have to see whether the defendant has copied or used it. Whether he did it intentionally or unintentionally does not really matter. It is an infringement of copyright. Inserting the word "knowingly" will alter the whole principle upon which copyright stands. I hope the amendment will not be accepted.

May I supplement what the noble and learned Lord has just said? The insertion of the word "knowingly" will offer a loophole for copyists to escape. It is very difficult to decide whether a defendant has been doing something knowingly. It may be helpful if I add to the increasing knowledge of the legalistic matters involved in copyright for the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. There is a concept of an innocent infringer. If a man can establish he is an innocent infringer that fact goes towards the amount of damages which can be awarded against him when the action is finished.

I also hope that the Committee will not accept this amendment for the reason which has been so ably given. This is part of the vice of Clause No. 22 which we will come to. I merely mention that in parenthesis.

I hope, too, that the Minister will resist the amendment for the reason specified. Clause No. 87 gives to the defendant quite sufficient defence. I hope that this amendment will not be accepted.

I am most grateful to those who have taken part in this debate. I prefaced my remarks by saying that this was a probing amendment. It was not intended to do other than elicit certain information from the Government. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, treated me to a long story about how it should not be inserted into the Bill. There was never any intention to insert it into the Bill. It was a probing amendment. I have elicited the best response from the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, which is the concept of the innocent infringer. I think that is a very interesting point which the noble Lord has made. That has been put on the record very clearly by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and that helps me. Having probed a little, I now wait to hear what the Minister has to say.

I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, for explaining so clearly to the Committee the probing nature of his amendment. The basic principle in our copyright law has been that the copyright owner has the exclusive right to do the various restricted acts and that there is strict liability for infringement. There are infringements known as "secondary infringements" where a degree of knowledge is required. We will deal with these when we come to Clauses No. 22 to 26.

In Clause 16 we are concerned with primary infringement. The copyright owner must have the protection of strict liability. If a man takes my car, however mistakenly and innocently, I am entitled to sue him for damages. It is the same for copyright.

Perhaps I may draw the attention of the Committee to Clause 87(1) which re-enacts Section 17(2) of the 1956 Act. As the Committee will see, this relieves some innocent infringers from damages but not from other remedies such as injunctions. That, we believe, strikes the right balance. The copyright owner has the exclusive rights. He should be able to stop unauthorised exploitation of his work and be paid damages in respect of such use. If, however, the infringer was using the work unaware of the copyright he should not be liable for damages but should of course be required to stop his infringing behaviour.

I am grateful to the noble Lord. This has been a useful exchange and I beg leave to withdraw my probing amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved Amendment No. 67:

Page 9, line 1, leave out ("substantial").

The noble Lord said: I beg leave to move Amendment No. 67 in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Morton of Shuna. It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak also to Amendment No. 69.

We are concerned here with the meaning of the word "substantial" in Clause 16(3)(a). I have not attempted to give a meaning to that word. My amendment is a purely probing one to find out what are the Government's thoughts on the matter. However, my noble friend Lord Ardwick and the noble Baroness, Lady Stedman, have attempted to describe in their amendment what they think "substantial part" should mean. I do not wish to comment on the amendment of my noble friend Lord Ardwick until I have heard what he has to say about it, because it is difficult, even on a grouped amendment, to comment on something that one has not yet heard. However, I hope that we will have another relatively short debate on how the Government see the meaning of the word "substantial" and whether my noble friend's definition is acceptable. I beg to move.

The words "substantial part" have been in statutes from the beginning. They have been interpreted by the courts in cases which give light to anyone who has to consider them. It has always been said that it is not quantity but quality that is important. If a few key words in a poem are taken, that is a substantial part, even though the poem has 100 stanzas. If you take one key stanza, that is a substantial part because of its quality. The courts have always said that they can interpret "substantial part". They do not want left out words which have appeared in every statute enacted.

I speak to Amendment No. 69, which attempts to do exactly what has been suggested. It states that a substantial part is:

"any proportion of a work which is significant in relation to the whole and/or which so encapsulates the essence of the work as to render purchase of the complete work unnecessary excluding any exceptions made by regulations in respect of copying by prescribed libraries".
The references in this part are to the doing of an act restricted by copyright in relation to the whole or any substantial part of it.

What is a substantial part? When does a part begin to be substantial? That is a problem for a librarian operating a copying service. Unless he is familiar with the case law on the subject he has no guidance and may innocently offend, or, what is more probable, be too cautious and provide a library member with less than he can fairly expect. It is also a problem for the copyright owner because users might assume from the general idea of fair dealing that they can interpret this rather liberally.

It is also necessary to show that a substantial part concerns the content and not just the extent of the material which is copied. Therefore, this is an attempt to define "substantial part" in accordance with case law. The amendment proposes:
"References in this Part to 'substantial part' are to any proportion of a work which is significant in relation to the whole".
The definition goes further and uses the phrase "encapsulates the essence". In other words, nobody is entitled to tear the guts out of the work which might easily be done, for example, if the author sets out his conclusions and the arguments for them in an economical way at the beginning or the end of his book. Those vital compressed pages at the very heart of the book might be held to be a more substantial part of it than a longer extract in which the author just goes waffling along.

Of course it is necessary as a precaution to exclude any exceptions made by regulations in respect of copying by prescribed libraries. However, this clause, taken in conjunction with the definition of "reasonable proportion" in Clause 39, would be of considerable assistance to the librarian and especially to members of the public who go to him for that service.

Clause 39 is the part of the Bill which says what a librarian may copy and supply from a published edition of a,
"literary, dramatic or musical work (other than an article in a periodical)".
He must take care not to supply more than a reasonable proportion of any work. In the words "substantial part" and "a reasonable proportion", one phrase deals with quantity and quality and the other deals entirely with extent. Those are his general guidelines. The object of this amendment is to make them more specific and practical in the everyday work of the library.

I hope I may be forgiven for saying that I vastly prefer the approach of my noble and learned friend Lord Denning to that which we have just heard on the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Ardwick. I believe that in principle it is misguided to try to turn what must be a question of fact and degree into a question of law by definition.

The noble Lord has, for reasons I will try to give, succeeded in making mistakes and has failed to protect the copyright owner in the actual form which he has chosen to adopt in his Amendment No. 69. However, with great respect to him, the attempt is misguided in any form. The courts have to deal constantly with questions of fact and degree. They relate to the facts of a particular case.

I remember a phrase which copyright lawyers—of whom it may be gathered I am not one—used again and again with considerable effect in argument; that is, if it is worth copying, it is worth protecting. I believe that is the fundamental wisdom of this subject, and for the purpose of identifying what is substantial I think it is a principle which must have relationship to the actual item which is being discussed. A great variety can be discussed.

I appreciate that if one talks in terms of a librarian or a literary work, there might be something to be said on the lines put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Ardwick. However, let us take the case of an engineering drawing. about which we had a short discussion in a totally different context at the last Committee Sitting. A part, in relation to an engineering drawing, may be of substantial importance but it cannot bear relation to
"any proportion of a work which is significant in relation to the whole".
It is in fact the originality of the artistic work which really needs the monopolistic protection of copyright. If it is worth copying, it is worth protecting. It does not relate to the size of the part which is copied simply as a proportion of the whole.

I must, with great respect to the noble Lord, Lord Ardwick, draw the Committee's attention to the use of the words "and/or" in Amendment No. 69. I regard that as an abomination of desolation because one does not know whether it means "and" or "or". It cannot mean both. The test is not:
"to render purchase of the complete work unnecessary";
the test is: if it is worth copying, it is worth protecting. For that reason, I should prefer the words of the statute to remain as they are.

5.30 p.m.

I shall intervene with these two eminent and learned lawyers. I have always felt that there is an unholy alliance between the parliamentary draftsman and the legal profession. Apart from the word "substantial", we also have words in statutes such as "reasonable". With a word like "reasonable" in a statute, lawyers can make fortunes. They can argue about it for days. They may not be able to make so much money out of "substantial". They can make a great deal. I sympathise with the amendment, but after hearing my eminent noble and learned friend say that he is for "substantial", my support for the amendment is not so strong.

All my doubts except one have been resolved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham. That remaining doubt is in relation to films and videos. I am concerned about the possibility of taking a tiny clip from a major film for use in advertising. We have on the box at the moment some commercials that are cleverly clipped together. There is, for example, a shot of Gary Cooper which comes from a genuine film. The commercial then cuts straightaway to someone else saying, "Would you like a Holstein?" or something of that nature. I am sure that the makers of the Gary Cooper film have their position well protected and that the makers of the commercial have to pay for the shot. But is the Bill, as drafted, sufficient to protect film and video from invasion and copying without payment? Would it not help if there were a definite phrase in the clause which specified film and video? Does the word "substantial" protect the film and video maker along the lines mentioned by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham?

If I may answer, I should say yes on the principle that if something is worth copying, it is worth protecting.

As I understand Amendment No. 67— I shall be corrected if I am wrong—it could prevent the copying of a few words which, according to established case law, would qualify for protection. If that is so, surely it would be undesirable.

Although Amendment No. 69 is well-intentioned, the very attempt to clarify lacks clarity—it has to by virtue of the essence of the problem, the nature of the beast. Case law and established principles are surely apt to deal fairly with the situation.

I should like to presume to take up the cudgels against the two noble and learned Lords a little more firmly than the noble Lord, Lord Willis, has done. It is difficult to decide what is a substantial part. One can go on arguing about it, and I have done. I have had long talks with the judiciary about what is a substantial part. For instance, what is the position if one has a painting at the bottom of which there is a significant figure or there are some flowers, and someone then copies that part? It is only a small part of the whole, but it is a significant part.

I find Amendment No. 69 helpful in so far as it states:
"References in this Part to 'substantial part' are to any proportion of a work which is significant".
The words "any proportion of a work" are significant in the example that I have given. It possibly follows the point that the noble Lord, Lord Willis, had in mind in relation to films and videos. I find that the amendment is of some help with saving expense and in giving a more practical view of what "substantial part" means in this context. Of course I agree with the noble and learned Lord that "and/or" is, to quote his phrase, "an abomination of desolation".

I agree with everything that my noble and learned friend said, with the exception of the last part to which the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, referred. I have always regarded the phrase "and/or" as one of the law's few useful contributions to the English language.

The danger in trying to codify what is a matter of fact and degree (the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham) is that one is almost certain to leave out the crucial question that will arise before the courts. The noble Lord, Lord Willis, gave a good example of that. It is much safer to leave the word "substantial" to cover what is essentially a matter of fact and degree.

This is not by any means the only body of legislation in which the word "substantial" occurs. I have heard this argument over and over again; for example, in landlord and tenant and rent restriction legislation. The noble Lord, Lord Ardwick, has skilfully encapsulated (to use his own word) the existing law, but it leaves the danger that cases will turn up which are not covered by his definition, but which may well be held to be substantial in the total circumstances.

I was sorry when my noble friend Lord Williams once again announced that this was a probing amendment. When he talks about his probing amendments, we understand that he does not want them to be incorporated in the Bill. I should like to see his amendment accepted, and the word "substantial" deleted, because copyright should be infringed if far less than a substantial part of the work is published.

I feel inclined once again to give an example of what I mean in relation to a newspaper article. We must remember that the provision applies to short works, such as a newspaper article or a news story, as well as to books. During the summer, I wanted to publicise some of my views on the Gulf War, in which I happen to have a considerable interest and a reasonable amount of knowledge. I do not usually write articles unless they are commissioned, but on this occasion I wrote a short article of about 800 words, which I sent to the editor of the Sunday Tribune, a Dublin newspaper. I heard nothing from it until the following Sunday. I did not find my article when I searched for it in the newspaper. However, on the leader page I found that the main item was devoted to a piece about the politics of the Gulf War which exactly reflected my own opinions and which quoted a good many of the facts I had provided in my article. It even included an unintentional mistake which had slipped into my copy.

I was a little put out that the editor of the Sunday Tribune had simply taken my copy and used it to write his leader article without reference to me; I am on the telephone. I could have given additional facts that he had added himself. I thought "I suppose I shall invoice him for £100". However, when I did so I was told, "No, my leader had nothing to do with your article. I read it and then decided to write my leader and it so happens that my views completely coincided with yours". I must say that my views were rather original and unusual.

There is no doubt whatever that there was a substantial part of my article that was used as a leader in the Sunday Tribune. It was perfectly easy to tell that I had been the only begetter of Mr. Vincent Browne's leader. I could possibly take the matter to court. I have no intention of doing so for £100, or 100 guineas, or whatever it may be. But I feel that if a substantial part of a literary work must be published before an infringement of copyright is involved, it leaves one at the mercy of some newspapers that are unworthy of the name. The Minister's noble grandfather would never have behaved in that way.

Surely the main objection to amending the subsection by leaving out the word "substantial" will lead to even more unsatisfactory results. A few trivial words—trivial in every sense—could be used in the alleged infringing document, and as those words were undoubtedly a part, even though not a substantial or a significant part, one would necessarily have an infringement. Surely the very reason why one has this word "substantial" in the existing legislation is in order to avoid that result.

With regard to the case that the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, puts before the Members of the Committee, I should have thought that if all that has been borrowed from him, however important and valuable they may be, are ideas and arguments, and not the actual form of the words that he has used, there would be no infringement whether the law refers to "any part" or "any substantial part". One cannot have an infringement in copyright unless one has copied the form of the words.

I support the retention of the word "substantial" in the existing law. As has been strenuously argued by others, that is a better formula than the attempt to formulate it in precise terms. If one does that, one will inevitably leave out something significant that one will not have anticipated.

If I had been trying the case of the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, I should have decided in his favour. If the editor had taken a substantial part, even one or two words, I should have decided in his favour.

Perhaps I may express one slight anxiety. Amendment No. 67 would certainly change the law by the omission of the word "substantial", and the law is intended by this Bill to be continued in its present form, as has been so ably declared by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning.

I am concerned that if the courts were to assess the meaning of "substantial" from scratch again they might change their views. I therefore see that Clause 156(3), which continues the existing case law inter alia, is very important. There is an amendment before the Committee to delete it. My support for removing these amendments that we are now discussing would certainly be dependent on that amendment not being carried. I am sure it is important that the law is no less tight than it is at present.

The object of the amendment was not to guide the courts but to guide the librarian and the amateur copier. If one is going to put a sign up in front of a copier in a public library telling him that he cannot take a substantial part of it, he can ask, "What is a substantial part?" This is an attempt to give him guidance. We are all copiers nowadays and we need to be kept out of the courts. I am quite willing to withdraw my amendment and to have another attempt at a later stage to devise a more satisfactory warning.

5.45 p.m.

I am most grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in our short debate on this amendment. I am sorry to hear of the experiences of the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, but no doubt if he wishes to take the matter further he does not have to look very far for the very best legal advice.

Although copyright was initially aimed at the prevention of the reprinting of whole books, it became established in the early development of copyright law that the copying of part of a work should also be stopped. The 1911 Copyright Act introduced the concept of the protection of "a substantial part" to the statute book which was continued in the 1956 Act and now in this Bill. The principle is of course generally applicable to all restricted acts—not just copying—as subsection (3) makes plain.

It is clearly right that the restricted acts should not be confined to acts done with the whole work but the removal of the word "substantial", as proposed in Amendment No. 67, would go too far. It would mean that the copying of any part, even a word or a sentence from a 1,000-page novel, would constitute infringement. That is clearly wrong. We believe that the term "substantial part", on which the courts have pronounced, should remain. Perhaps I should add that "substantial" does not necessarily mean a large part of the work. Even a small part, such as the soliloquy in "Hamlet", can be substantial depending on the circumstances. But to say any part whatever, without qualification, is going too far.

This brings me to Amendment No. 69. I do not think that we should attempt to define the words "substantial part" either in the terms proposed in this amendment or in any other way. These words have been the subject of much illuminating jurisprudence over the years and for most practical purposes their central meaning is clear, particularly to those who are closely involved. I shall of course admit that at the margins there is room for doubt. But I would strongly suggest that this is in fact an advantage. The undefined concept of "substantial part" gives the law a desirable, indeed a necessary, flexibility. The great danger of a statutory definition in this kind of case is that the law becomes too rigid to adapt to particular or changing circumstances.

Amendment No. 69 is a useful and, if I may say so, a valiant attempt at a definition. But I do not think it is necessary, and it may well store up problems for the future.

I am grateful to noble Lords and noble and learned Lords who have taken part in this debate. I still believe that there is a problem with the word "substantial" in this context. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, and my noble friend Lord Willis made some very cogent points about it. I also noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Hampstead, began to slip from "substantial" to "significant". I wonder whether there may be a compromise which the Government feel meets the point which has been clearly made by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and my noble friend Lord Willis. I offer that as a possible sop if the Government need one. We have had a good discussion on this amendment. We may return at a later stage to this point, but we shall read what the Minister said very carefully. In the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Page 9, line 5, at end insert—

("( ) It shall not be a defence in an action for infringement of copyright that the infringing work was intended to be a replacement part. However, nothing in this subsection shall derogate from the right of the owner of an article to repair it himself or cause it to be repaired on his direct instruction.").

The noble Lord said: In the White Paper of April 1986 (Cmnd. 9712) the Government promised:

"The spare parts exception expounded by the House of Lords will not apply, but there will be a more limited exception to enable the owner of equipment to repair it or contract for someone else to repair it".

I suggest to the Committee that the clause does not achieve that promise. My amendment is designed to ensure that repair by replacement is not a right that is passed on to the purchaser of an article from a copyright owner. It draws a distinction between repairing an article, which has genuinely been broken, and replacing an article that has reached the end of its expected life, such as a light bulb or a turbine blade. I believe that there is a gap in the Bill in this respect. My amendment is designed to try to fill the gap and to meet the Government's own promise. I hope that at least the sense of this will be acceptable to my noble friend. I beg to move.

That raises a question of policy of rather a more difficult kind than would appear from the simple and admirably concise way in which the amendment has been moved. I should like to draw to the attention of the Committee what I believe is involved in it. There was a recent decision—admittedly a controversial decision—of your Lordships' House in its judicial capacity. Happily I was not involved in it and I can speak with complete impartiality. The matter has raised a good deal of controversy in the professional press. In Clause 17(2) one finds that copyright, in relation to an artistic work,

"means reproducing the work in any material form".
An artistic work includes for this purpose the engineering drawing of the spare part of a motor car. Following a case called Swish (which I shall not go into because I was involved) there was a decision of the House of Lords about British Leyland.

I shall try to summarise a very complicated matter fairly if I can, because I wish to do so as fairly as possible. British Leyland had on its engineering drawings of the exhaust part of a motor car a drawing which made it impossible for anybody to create in three dimensions the exhaust part of that motor car except by producing a three-dimensional version of the engineering drawing.

In order to protect its Unipart subsidiary or associate, it sought to prevent a private enterprise firm outside the group from selling exhaust parts which fitted that model of motor car because it was said by British Leyland not that the exhaust parts themselves were artistic works but that they were reproductions in three dimensions of the two-dimensional drawing upon which the part was made. We have all seen the development of the Gillette razor blade over the years. One gets a key which covers any kind of replacement blade for safety razors.

There is therefore an interesting question of both philosophy and policy involved here. It is not a simple matter. I do not pretend it is; but I think I am on the side of the judicial element in this Chamber and not on the side of my noble friend. It is a question of policy ultimately to decide and it goes deeply into the philosophy of intellectual property. The noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, who is not now in his place, at an earlier stage of the debate, and other noble Lords at various parts of our Committee stage, have referred to copyright as property. That is correct because it is a form of property. Nonetheless, we are not only talking about property in the sense in which the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, referred to it as something he wished to leave to his grandchildren: for example, a farm, a work of art by a French impressionist or something of great value. We are also talking about monopoly. It is important to realise, whenever one is dealing with the law of intellectual property, that one has two conflicting interests to give effect to. One has to draw a line—and it cannot be a straight line—between the interests of preventing monopoly and the interests of preserving the right of intellectual property.

My feeling is that in the case which I have sought to describe, although I should not go along with every word of the judgment, the House of Lords in its judicial capacity was right to stop British Leyland doing what I have sought to describe, although I sympathise very much with the feelings of British Leyland in this matter. I do not think we should accept the amendment without knowing where we shall stand on this rather difficult question of policy.

This is obviously a difficult and debatable part of the law. In those circumstances let us try by an amendment to make it clear for those who have to follow it in the future.

As we have heard the amendment seeks to overturn the judgment of the noble and learned Law Lords in the case of British Leyland v. Armstrong Patents Company so that copyright can be used to prevent the manufacture of replacement parts needed to repair or restore a piece of equipment.

This is of particular concern in the field of industrial designs; but we are of course proposing to take these out of copyright altogether. This is the object of Clause 51. The result would be that the amendment would be effective only in respect of articles which are themselves artistic works. Its impact would therefore be very small because such articles, by their very nature, are not likely to be sold in vast quantities. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone would want to go into production in anticipation of a demand for spare parts, and the amendment would in any event preserve the private right of the owner of an article to have it repaired. In addition, it is by no means plain that British Leyland v. Armstrong Patents Company applies in respect of articles which are themselves artistic works. Consequently the amendment would have very little practical significance. Indeed, we find it difficult to understand what practical problem this amendment is intended to meet. Light bulbs and turbine blades are not artistic works.

My noble friend Lord Mottistone is not correct to say that the White Paper undertaking on the spare parts exception and expounded by the Judicial Committee of your Lordships' House in the case of British Leyland v. Armstrong Patents Company has not been carried out. That undertaking applied to the new design right set out in Part III of the Bill, not to copyright law. I refer my noble friend to paragraph 3.27 in Chapter 3 of the White Paper. Pe