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Column 1361objective of the British Olympic Association. Clearly, the more resources it has and the more extensive training it can provide, the better the results achieved by the nation in international events. Such a development can only assist in restoring our sporting fortunes and in returning our nation's competitors to the pinnacle of sporting excellence for which we are renowned. I am happy to commend the Second Reading of the Bill to the House.
Mrs. Barbara Roche (Hornsey and Wood Green): I congratulate the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on his success in the ballot and on the excellent way in which he has presented the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill. As he said, the Bill commands the full support of the Opposition as well as the wide-ranging support of hon. Members. He named many hon. Members on both sides of the House who support the Bill, but I will mention just two of them.
The whole House will recognise that my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry)--the Opposition shadow spokesman in this area--has played a prominent role in our country's sporting life. I know that the Bill is very dear to his heart, and it is fitting that the hon. Gentleman paid tribute to him.
The hon. Gentleman also mentioned the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe), to whom I referred earlier in today's proceedings. In addition to the national and international honours that he has gained on behalf of this country, he is also my parliamentary pair, and I know that he appreciates the importance of that assignment.
In discussing the Olympic symbol, we are also examining the importance of sport. On the day that we are discussing the future of sport under the terms of the Bill, it is appropriate that we remember the life of the late Fred Perry. He made an important contribution to sport in this century and he was the last British winner of the Wimbledon men's singles final. It is appropriate to his memory that we discuss this subject today.
This long overdue Bill is designed to protect the commercial rights of the British Olympic Association. It is correct to point out that similar legislation exists in most other countries, including the United States of America and Australia. The British Olympic Association, which has primary responsibility for funding our Olympic teams, receives no direct Government funding and it cannot bid for lottery money because of its particular revenue status. Therefore, it is important that the Bill enjoys a speedy passage through Parliament.
Clause 10 almost goes back to our earlier debate on the confiscation of the proceeds of crime. The Bill makes provision for "the forfeiture of certain goods, material or articles which come into the possession of any person . . . in connection with the investigation or prosecution of a relevant offence".
It is absolutely right to include such a clause. Far too many spivs are making money from sport, taking money that is rightly the preserve of the BOA and that should be returned to sport. My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde has written to the Prime Minister about matters contained in the Bill, pressing him to introduce appropriate legislation in Government time. Nevertheless, we are
Column 1362delighted that the hon. Member for Macclesfield has introduced a Bill that will have wide-ranging effects on investment in sport. We warmly welcome it.
Mr. Oliver Heald (Hertfordshire, North): I welcome the Bill and pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) for introducing it. It could have no more doughty fighter on its behalf. My hon. Friend has assembled a huge team of all-party supporters, and the welcome that his Bill received from the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) proves how well he did his behind-the-scenes homework on preparing the Bill for its Second Reading.
The Olympic games are special to Britain because of our national achievements but they are also special also internationally. They have a proud history and are a sign of the comity of nations and of international co-operation of a unique kind. For that reason, I particularly agree that the signs, mottos and words associated with the games should enjoy unique dignity and protection. That might be called censorship by some people, but to the extent that censorship is involved, it is right that those items should receive special protection. It is important also that their commercial exploitation benefits athletes and others connected with the games rather than only commercial interests.
That is particularly true given the history of the games. I make no apology for referring to that history briefly. Although the games are of ancient origin, it is not entirely clear where they were first held. By the end of the 6th century BC, at least four Greek sporting festivals known as the classical games had achieved major importance. The most significant were the games held at Olympia. The others were the Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games held at Delphi, Nemea and Corinth respectively.
Similar festivals developed to the point where the Olympic games in particular became famous throughout the Greek world. There are records of champions at Olympia going back as far as 726 BC, when it was recorded that there was just one event--the stade.
[Interruption.] I am informed by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid- Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) of a different pronunciation from an older generation-- [Hon. Members:-- "Oh!"]--or a newer one. I would never suggest that my hon. Friend is from anything but the newest and latest generation. He is definitely with it.
Subsequently, other races were added. Of most importance and interest to the House perhaps is the 1,500 metres, which developed by the year 724 BC-- the race in which, in modern times, my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) excelled and Britain, as the middle-distance running centre of the world, has made such a reputation.
Column 1363of eyes were strictly forbidden. So a certain discipline did prevail, even though Madam Speaker might not have approved of it.
Mr. Michael Stern (Bristol, North-West): On a slightly more serious note, does my hon. Friend agree that one of the problems emerging in the Olympic games at that time--regrettably, all too familiar to us--resulted in the Olympic committee having to meet on a number of occasions to discuss the use of drugs by certain athletes? In particular, the Spartan team was accused of including drugs in its diet. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is highly regrettable that the problem has persisted in the games to the present day? Our hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) has long been associated with attempts to combat drugs through his association with the games.
Mr. Heald: I was coming to some of the more serious issues surrounding the games. I certainly agree that there is nothing new under the sun, and that there were problems with drugs even in those early years. It is a cause of sadness that those who wish to excel will sometimes let down themselves and others by resorting to drugs. I too pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne, who has taken a clear view on this subject--that there should be no excuses, and that people found after tests to have taken drugs should not be allowed to get away with it by using some of the excuses that we so often hear. They should incur a lengthy ban. It was in the Roman period that the games effectively came to an end, because the Romans regarded athletics with contempt and were not prepared to allow the Olympics to continue. Nevertheless, by the year 200 AD the games had had a proud continuous history from 776 BC. It was that history which, in the Victorian period, inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who was the father of the modern Olympics. In a moving speech made in Paris in 1892, he said:
"Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose, and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise, upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic games." From that moment in 1892, the baron fought hard at conference after conference to establish the Olympic games. In 1894 a meeting of Sports Ministers in Paris voted unanimously in favour of revival, and the congress was then able to set up the first modern Olympic games in April 1896.
It is perhaps worth remembering that the games have been held ever since then, through periods of immense international difficulty, wars and the worst threats to civilisation that we have known. The Olympic movement continued and brought together peoples of all countries.
Column 1364fact that Baron de Coubertin made that speech just 22 years after the seige of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war? When he described sport as the
"free trade of the future",
he seemed to have a vision that the Olympic movement might be the precursor of the European Union of today.
Mr. Heald: I note that some colleagues are surprised at that idea. The baron certainly believed that Europe need not be divided and that its future should have co-operation at its centre. I do not think that he would have gone as far as to suggest a federal destiny for Europe, although I am sure that he would have welcomed the co-operation between nation states that we now have.
The baron was extremely eager that there should be agreement. He was convinced--
Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) and many of his hon. Friends are reading from a prepared text. Bearing in mind the importance of ensuing Bills, we are clearly facing a filibuster. I suggest, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that Conservative Members send a copy of their prepared text upstairs to Hansard and that we then get on with a proper Bill.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse): I assure the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) that so far there has been nothing out of order. Anything out of order would have been ruled out of order.
Mr. Heald: Without lingering too long on the point made by the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham), which you ruled out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I make it clear that my notes are hand written. I accept that I have been reading, but it is a passage from the history of the Olympics with which I am anxious to deal. I do not have a prepared text. I have only an extract from the "Encyclopedia Britannica". It is relevant, I think, to what we are discussing. I am glad to have your support, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The baron was convinced that the downfall of the ancient Olympic games had been caused by outside influences that undermined the spirit of the games. For that reason he was anxious that the International Olympic Committee and its members should be regarded as ambassadors of their national sports organisations, not delegates to the committee, and that they might not accept from the Government of each country or any organisation or individual instructions that in any way affected their independence.
It is a fact that the Olympic movement has that independence, which has been its strength. The Bill seeks to protect the symbols, the motto and the words associated with the Olympic games, which means that we are considering a measure that will help the British Olympic movement and the international movement. That context is important. In moving from the history--
Mr. Garnier: Before my hon. Friend moves on from the history of the new Olympic games, and for that matter the ancient games, will he take up what my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) was saying about the Olympic symbol, the interlinked
Column 1365rings? When did the rings become an integral part of the Olympic movement? Was the symbol used in Greek and Roman times? I ask these questions out of interest and curiosity.
Mr. Heald rose --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The history lesson is interesting, and it could probably be said to be relevant to the Bill. However, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North is rather stretching it. It would be advantageous to the debate if we dealt with the Bill.
The scheme of the Bill is that the British Olympic Association will have a right to the symbols, the motto and the words associated with the Olympic movement. That right will be in statutory form. It would be an infringement of that right without the consent of the proprietor--the association--to use these representations for all purposes except those set out in clause 4, which provides that the "right is not infringed by use of a controlled representation where--
(a) the use"--
is in a work as described in subsection (2), and the work is not one whose purpose is, or whose purposes include, the "advertising or other promotion" of goods or services.
The descriptions of works referred to are
"a literary work, a dramatic work, a musical work, an artistic work, a sound recording, a film, a broadcast and a cable programme, within the meaning of the"
1988 Act. All those forms of work are likely to be produced by commercial concerns. For example, a literary work is published for reward and a dramatic or musical work is presented to the public for reward.
Given that the Bill has two main purposes--to uphold the dignity of the symbols and signs of the movement and to ensure that their commercial exploitation is in the interests of athletes and those connected with the games--it is difficult to understand the justification for excluding a literary work that relies on the movements motto or symbols or the word "Olympic". The use of the motto, symbol or word should be the subject of a payment to the British Olympic Association to enable it to capitalise on its valuable intellectual property.
The same is true of a dramatic or musical work if the symbol is to be used. If Andrew Lloyd Webber produces a show, possibly something along the lines of "Chariots of Fire" with music, why should he not pay our athletes through the association a sum to reflect the commercial advantages that he is gaining from using the association's symbol?
It is important that we should uphold the dignity of the games. As a barrister who prosecuted in obscenity cases--the hon. Member for St. Helens, South may have had similar experiences--I saw many works that were alleged to be obscene but which were often described as "artistic", and artistic works are among those exempted in clause 4. Although such works might be "artistic", I do not believe that they are the sort of material that the Olympic
Column 1366movement would wish to be using its symbol, motto or the words "Olympic" or "Olympian". There should be an element of censorship, even in the case of an artistic work.
Mr. Fabricant: I am following my hon. Friend's comments with great interest. He will be aware that one of the sponsors of the Bill is the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman), who is the Chairman of the Select Committee on National Heritage. I note that five members of that Committee are sponsoring the Bill. My hon. Friend may be interested to know that, at this very moment, the Committee is looking into the future of the British film industry. He mentioned "Chariots of Fire" which was a huge success. It was, however, a low-budget movie. If my hon. Friend's suggestion that fees should be paid for the use of the symbol--whether it were used as an integral or incidental part of a film--were adopted, would it not inhibit still further the production of British films?
Mr. Heald: My hon. Friend raises an interesting issue, but I am not sure that I should follow it up. If the symbol is to be used, a payment, however small, should be made. In the case of low-budget films, the association might feel that it was able to levy only a small charge, but there is no reason why it should not exploit part of its commercial heritage. It is a question not only of commercial advantage but of censorship that the Olympic symbol should not be used willy-nilly in any production in a way that the founders of the movement and those who carry the torch today would not wish. I support the Bill, but I believe that that issue gives rise to legitimate concern.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: I intervene to assist the House and--I hope- -my hon. Friend, who is making a most interesting speech. The British Olympic Association has been closely involved with the drafting of the Bill. I appreciate that my hon. Friend is seeking to increase the amount of available sponsorship, but the British Olympic Association is very happy with the Bill, believing that to extend it further would create grave problems in policing and in other ways.
Mr. Heald: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Perhaps he wants to consider his point with the Olympic movement, but I do not see it as a bar to supporting the Bill. However, I hope that my hon. Friend is willing to look into the matter.
Mr. Garnier: I am concerned that my hon. Friend is falling into error. If he looks at clause 4, sub-section 2, about which he has been expounding, and applies his mind to, for example, films which incidentally catch in the background an advertisement or a copyright symbol of a well- known household product, drink or foodstuff, is it right and just that the Olympic movement, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield referred, should be more favoured, especially when it does not advocate such practice, than the makers of household products, which would not be able to claim damages for breaches of copyright were their logos or other copyright property to appear incidentally in a dramatic or musical work and the like?
Mr. Heald: I obviously understand my hon. Friend's point and his concern, but the Olympics are rather different from other products advertised on hoardings and elsewhere. The Olympics has a special place in Britain and internationally, so the association should have that
Column 1367special right to consent, if it wishes, to films which display its banner in the background, but only if it feels that the film suits the Olympic movement and its dignity and if it receives a commercial reward.
The costs of sending an athletics team abroad to contest the Olympics are huge and the costs of staging the Olympics run into hundreds of millions of pounds. There should be special provision in this unique case.
Mr. Fabricant: Does my hon. Friend agree that there is no comparison between the use of the Olympic symbol and the word and the placement, if one may call it that, of certain product names? Is it not the case that certain manufacturers pay film companies and television production companies to place their product names in the viewer's line of sight?
Mr. Heald: My hon. Friend makes a telling point. Indeed, the method that he describes is one of the ways in which the Olympics is financed. Certainly, I know that in America the Olympic symbol was marketed to great effect before the Los Angeles Olympics. Schools show films which depict the Olympics and the successes of athletes such as my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne and CD-roms are coming on stream which contain the entire history of the Olympics, so it would be wrong if the costs of producing such films, videos and CD-roms were so high that schools could not afford them. I do not think that the British Olympic Association would want to make a profit, but it would want proper recognition in films and other artistic representations and some payment, however small, for being a unique body with unique interests. I hope that I have not detained the House for too long.
Mr. Peter Atkinson (Hexham): I will not detain the House for long, but I want to refer to one or two of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) in relation to the history of the Olympic games. Although the Olympic games are a very ancient institution, the current games are a relatively recent revival. As we have heard, the Olympic symbol was not invented until 1914. It is a relatively modern occurrence.
I do not want to strike a discordant note. However, we are proposing to give a Second Reading to a Bill which will give something unique to the British Olympic Association--a right of property to the Olympic symbol, "Olympiad", "Olympic" and the other words covered in the Bill. Those words are common currency, but the Bill proposes to give them a special status, to the possible disadvantage of people who already use them.
I am not a lawyer and, as I am surrounded by hon. and learned Members, I tread carefully in these matters. I am concerned about clause 2(4) and whether it protects people who have used in their company names the words covered in the Bill. Clause 2(4) states: "This section shall not have effect to permit the doing of anything which would otherwise be liable to be prevented by virtue of a right".
I am concerned about that, because I do not know what "a right" is in that respect.
Column 1368Will the Bill affect commerce and the people who have used the words covered in the Bill for many years? In that respect, I think of Olympic Airways. The Bill could cause that airline problems because I am not sure whether, according to the definitions in the Bill, Olympic Airways has a right to its name. Clauses 5 and 6 refer to the Trade Marks Act 1994, but I am not certain whether the airline would gain any comfort from that.
The London business telephone directory reveals that the use of words like "Olympic" and "Olympiad" is widespread. I am concerned that the Bill will affect many of the people who trade under those names. The London business telephone directory has entries for Olympia Cars and Olympia Butchers of Blythe road. I am sure that it is an excellent establishment.
Mr. Bermingham: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. One could go through the telephone directory until the cows come home, but that will not stop people exporting veal calves. That is what the next Bill is all about and that is what the hon. Gentleman is trying to stop.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: We are not debating the next Bill: we are debating the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill, as the hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware. His point of order is an abuse of the House.
Mr. Atkinson: The hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) may think that I am abusing the House, but he does not trade as the Olympia Butchers of Blythe road, W14. The Bill could have a serious impact on the ability of that company to trade properly. I stand to be corrected by my hon. and learned Friends who know much more about the law than I do, but I wonder whether such companies will be exempt under the terms of the Bill. As I understand the Bill, I do not think that those firms can claim to have a right to continue to use those names.
Olympic Airways may have its name as a registered trade mark. However, would smaller companies like Olympia Delicacies, doner kebab manufacturer, have bothered to register official trade names? Would such company names be "a right", as set out in the Bill? What about Olympia Flowers, a west London florist, and Olympia Pizza? Surely those companies have not registered their names as a trade mark. Would they be put out of business as a result of the Bill? Earlier, we debated the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Bill which may put young pizza delivery drivers at risk of losing their licences and having to resit the driving test. Will the Bill remove the right of Olympia Pizza to trade? I should welcome some assurances from my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) that little businesses such as Olympic Bloodstock Ltd., Olympic Bus, Olympic Cars, Olympic Cash and Carry, Olympic
Column 1369Electronics, Olympic Estates and so on will not be prejudiced in their ability to earn a living by anything that he does this day.
"Remedy for groundless threats of infringement proceedings." Clause 14 refers to
"Power to give directions to proprietor."
That power is given to the Secretary of State. Will my hon. Friend address those clauses and then consider whether his points about such shops are as good as he originally thought that they were?
Mr. Atkinson: Giving way to lawyers is always a dangerous pastime. I am grateful for my hon. Friend's points. I read clauses 14 and 15. I was not certain whether they posed a greater threat to the ability of Olympia Butchers of Blythe road to continue, to be honest. That is why we need assurances from my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield. If we get around to discussing it in Committee, we shall be able to examine the Bill more carefully to ensure that it does not prejudice anybody by giving the British Olympic Association a unique advantage.
Mr. Fabricant: I have looked at the scope of the Bill, and I note that it covers the five interlocking rings, the words "Citius, altius, fortius" and other words. I wonder whether my hon. Friend is relieved that it does not cover the Olympic torch. I am not sure how that would affect the Conservative party's symbol.
Mr. Atkinson: My hon. Friend is very astute. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield would not wish to do anything to prejudice the use of the Olympic torch on Conservative party literature. Again, there might be concern from Smith square at some import of the Bill.
I now refer in more detail to the Trade Marks Act 1994. In looking for some comfort in it, I wondered whether the definitions of trade marks do not already cover the Olympic sign.
Mr. Mike O'Brien (Warwickshire, North): Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell me how important he regards the Bill to be. Perhaps he would compare it with the fact that, in my area of Warwickshire and in Coventry, six people have died as a result of the veal export trade. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will compare the importance of some hon. Members wanting to make points on that matter with his views on talking out the Bill and reading the telephone directory.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. That intervention has nothing to do with the Bill. The Chair will decide what is in order. So far, what I have heard has been in order--otherwise, it would have been ruled out of order.
Mr. Atkinson: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Bill is important because it raises important points of principle. The hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. O' Brien) might not be interested in the livelihood of
Column 1370businesses, but I happen to be so. It is wrong of the hon. Gentleman to accuse me of speaking on the Bill without caring about other matters. It is nonsense to suggest that.
In relation to the Trade Marks Act, I was about to mention international protection of the Olympic sign. Surely that is covered by the Paris convention of 1883. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield talked about international protection, but as this country is a signatory to the Paris convention of 1883, there might be no need for the Bill because we are already covered.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: In making this intervention, I shall make a plea to the House. The debate so far has been constructive and extremely helpful. It has dealt exclusively with the matters before the House. The Bill has support right across the House, and is widely supported outside. My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) is looking at the nitty -gritty of the Bill, and he is quite right that the 1883 legislation covers the matter internationally. However, it does not cover the matter within the United Kingdom. We have been extremely careful in drafting the Bill, and we have been in consultation with the Department of National Heritage and, naturally, with the Treasury. We have taken the best possible advice, and the scope of the Bill is as it is because we do not want to do some of the things which my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham has implied in his remarks. Commercial interests have been consulted, and they are happy with the Bill. The British Olympic Association is happy with the scope of the Bill.
I hope that, in his probing of the Bill--he has an absolute right to do that--my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham will not perhaps destroy the Bill by being rather too negative in his approach.
The inquiry which I was making on the matter was that it would be fine for a company such as Olympic Airways, which has established that as its title. Small shops and businesses, however, may not be taken account of in the provisions. Often a company trades under a different name from the sign on its board, and such companies could well be caught in this legislation.
Mr. Atkinson: I assure my hon. Friend that there must be thousands of such restaurants. My hon. Friend has put his finger on a main point. The words "Olympic", "Olympius" and "Olympus" belong to the Greek people. They are not the exclusive property of the British Olympic Association. When the Olympic games were revived during the 19th century, those words and the symbol were adopted.
From the moment that the Bill becomes law, a Greek restaurant owner wishing to name his restaurant the Olympic would--I dare say--be unable to do so. He
Column 1371could then be said to be infringing the copyright of one of the names covered in the Bill. The words form part of the heritage and culture of the Greeks. Many Greek Cypriots in this country run businesses and have affection for those words. "Olympic Pizza" gives the idea of speed, fitness and people delivering pizzas on motorbikes.
I take my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire's point absolutely. The words are common currency. If the Bill were in any way to stop people using that title--as a Greek or Greek Cypriot person should be entitled to do--when opening up a business, it would require amendment. It is as simple as that.
If it is properly examined, the Bill can be made to work. We must talk it through carefully, and I am sorry if Opposition Members do not think that we should do that. I believe that it is right to get legislation in the House correct, and not to put into law matters which are incorrect. There are many issues today of national and international importance, but the House is perfectly entitled to discuss things of smaller importance. We should be reminded of shopkeepers and restaurateurs and consider the Bill carefully. Therefore, we must have further detailed discussions about the Bill before it becomes law.