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The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned. In moving this Motion, I suggest that the Report stage begin again no earlier than a quarter to eight.
I should first like to congratulate my honourable friend the Member for Macclesfield, Mr. Nicholas Winterton, on having taken up this Bill and got it through the House of Commons in very quick time and brought it before your Lordships' House. I am honoured to have been asked by the British Olympic Association and my honourable friend to pilot this Bill through the House. I admit that my honourable friend and I do not agree on every item of policy; but on this matter we are as one.
The Bill simply seeks to protect the Olympic symbol, the Olympic motto and the Olympic words from unauthorised commercial exploitation. Clause 1(1) creates a new statutory right called the Olympics association right. The Bill will enable the Secretary of State to grant the British Olympic Association an exclusive licence to exploit the Olympics association right commercially, thus giving statutory force to the common law rights of the British Olympic Association. The BOA, as the national olympic committee, is responsible for all aspects of the British team at the Olympic Games, such as organising transport and providing the necessary kit and back-up support. This is an increasingly expensive exercise. However, the BOA's role is now much wider than this, since it also provides extensive services to potential British competitors of all Olympic sports over the whole four-year period between games. (I remind your Lordships that the next games will be held in Atlanta in the United States next year). These are all aimed at ensuring that the team is as well prepared as possible for international competition.
The standards of such competition increase all the time, and this puts added pressure on the need for resources. The services that the BOA provides are acknowledged by the governing bodies to be vital for our top competitors. The BOA receives no government funds. All the money that it is able to raise is spent on supporting the team and providing services to British sport. It is a self-help, stand alone organisation whose ability to provide and maintain existing levels of service to competitors depends largely on its capability to raise sponsorship.
If we are to maintain and improve British international performances through expenditure of the commercial income available through Olympic sponsorship, statutory protection from unauthorised commercial exploitation is vital. Such protection will give sponsors the comfort of knowing that they have a legally protected right and make control of any unauthorised use easier. It is an unfortunate fact that such unauthorised use has become increasingly prevalent, reflecting the perceived value of a commercial association with the Olympic movement. This poses a serious threat to the BOA's fund-raising ability and to the flow of necessary funds for British sport. An example of such unauthorised use is where a company, in competition with a BOA sponsor, seeks to promote sales of its products or services using either the Olympic symbol or words without authority. This has a number of effects: it damages the effectiveness of the BOA sponsor's official promotion; it exposes the BOA to possible legal action by that sponsor; the BOA incurs the cost of taking action against the unauthorised user; it damages the ability of the BOA to attract new sponsors; and devalues the rights which the BOA can offer to future sponsors. A number of examples of that have occurred over the years.
The Bill contains a number of savings which provide that certain uses of the Olympic symbols and words are not infringements of the Olympics association right. The intention is to allow existing legitimate and honest uses to continue; in other words, those uses which do not exploit an association with the Olympic movement or mislead the public into thinking that the user is authorised to use the symbol or words. These savings are not intended to give unscrupulous companies or traders a way to avoid infringing the Olympics association right while benefiting from a dishonest or unauthorised association. The United Kingdom is one of the very few countries that does not already give statutory protection to the Olympic symbols. Since the BOA is also one of the few national Olympic committees not to receive any government funds, potential British competitors currently operate at a significant disadvantage compared with competitors from other countries with whom they have to compete.
The Bill has no negative revenue implications for the Treasury and is neither complicated nor controversial. It has cross-party support, as evidenced by the sponsors in the other place, who include: the honourable Member for Stalybridge and Hyde, Mr. Tom Pendry, the Official Opposition spokesman on sport; the right honourable Member for Manchester Gorton, Mr. Gerald Kaufman,
I am glad to say that the Bill also has the support of the Department of National Heritage and the unanimous support of the sporting community. The Bill will improve the BOA's ability to support and improve our potential Olympic competitors and ensure that the money raised from Olympic sponsorship is spent in the way that it should be; namely, on sport and present and future British competitors. I beg to move.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, I should like to apologise for the absence of my noble friend Lord Donoughue. He simply asks me to say on his behalf that the Bill has his warmest support and he wishes it well.
Lord Addington: My Lords, this is one of those happy occasions when the entire House can unite behind something. A Bill of this nature is probably long overdue. I believe that the only thing to be said which perhaps strikes a sour note here is that this Bill should have been on the statute book at the time of the last Olympics, or perhaps the Olympics before that. Having said that, at least it has arrived for the next games. As a result, something as important as the Olympic Games, as a symbol of unity and sporting excellence, should receive any financial reward to be gained from its unique symbols.
Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: My Lords, I should like to congratulate my noble friend Lord Brabazon on presenting this Bill to your Lordships. Like him, I agree that it is an important Bill. Of course, it will delight both sides that it entails no expense at all.
I believe it is worth telling the House the significance of this Bill to all athletes. Children are great spenders when it comes to shoes, tracksuits, ties or any form of equipment. They love to have the latest sophisticated signs. They love to tell you that they represent Arsenal, Chelsea or (in my case) Bristol Rovers. But the five circles are more important than any individual team. Children look upon them as the absolute peak of achievement. While no one has been breaking the law, in the past people have taken advantage of the symbol and brought out their own tracksuits, T-shirts and shoes. They have called them Olympic shoes, Olympic tracksuits or Olympiad, which is one of the many words that your Lordships see in the Bill.
The money that goes on those (shall we call them rogue products?) is a large sum. The BOA is merely askingit is doing no moreas I understand it that it alone has the privilege of using those five circles. The
I hope that noble Lords will realise that the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that from whatever is produced with this symbol on it, every penny gained will go to the BOA. As my noble friend said, that money will ensure that our athletes have as good a chance as the Americans or the Russians; that that money is spent on them and does not get into commercial hands. That is what the Bill is about.
It may interest noble Lords to know the figures. The BOA has worked out that it received only one-third of the revenue it could have received if the Bill had been enacted previously. The Bill is important to everyone.
My noble friend Lord Brabazon mentioned Mr. Tom Pendry. It is nice that the Bill is an all-party measure. I do not believe we shall find anyone who does not want it to shoot through the House. But I took the opportunity to speak to the Opposition spokesman in the Corridor. I asked him, "Is there anything in the Bill that worries you? Do you want anything discussed or changed?". "No", he said, "Get it through". So we know exactly where the Opposition stand on the Bill.
My noble friend was rather casual about one or two of the sponsors, not least Mr. Menzies Campbell who represents the Liberal Democrats. I feel it my duty, and nothing less, to remind my noble friend that Mr. Menzies Campbell was captain of the Great Britain athletics team when I had the privilege of running in it. I still call him sir. He also has instructed me to come here today to ensure that the Bill goes through. I wish to ensure that not one of your Lordships will present any opposition.
I come finally to the Bill's sponsor in the other place. I refer to Mr. Nicholas Winterton. I should like to place on record, with my noble friend the Minister present, how nice it is at last to find something upon which he and I can agree. There is not just all-party agreement on the Bill: we have all-rebels-of-every-form agreement. I can see nothing for my noble friend the Minister to do except to say, "We will get it through as fast as possible". In return, we will say to my noble friend, "We shall not be requiring any money". I thank noble Lords.
As my noble friend made clear, the Bill has the support of the Department of National Heritage. The Government first made a commitment to legislation to protect the rights to commercial exploitation of the Olympic symbols, motto and associated words"Olympic", "Olympian" and "Olympiad"as part of their support for the bid made by Manchester to host the Year 2000 Olympic Games.
That was a short-term reason for our support. Despite Manchester's sad failure, which we all regret, a longer term reason for pursuing the legislation remains, as the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said. That is that British Olympic sport will stand to gain significantly from a measure which will improve the ability of the British Olympic Association to support Olympic competitors and ensure that money raised from Olympic sponsorship is available to be invested in sport and on the support and preparation of British Olympic competitors.
We may wish to put forward a further Olympic bid for the future. The Sports Council is working with representatives of the BOA, local authority associations and other interested parties to develop a strategy to encourage more major sporting events to this country and to ensure that our major cities are well placed to host them. In that regard, the advent of the National Lottery offers the scope for providing a sporting infrastructure of world-class quality. The legislation is a necessary prerequisite of any successful Olympic bid for the future.
Leaving aside a home-grown games, we need to ensure that our athletes are as well prepared as possible for the forthcoming Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and in the year 2000 in Sydney. As I have said, the extra funding derived from the marketing rights to the Olympic symbols and the associated words in this country which the Bill would bring would enable the BOA, which depends entirely on the private sector for funding, as my noble friend Lord Archer explained so well, to develop further sporting excellence in Britain and help ensure the continuing success of our participants in the games.
I am aware that concerns were expressed in another place about the effect which the Bill may have on the ability of small businesses to continue to trade under names which contain the protected Olympic words. The Bill already provides some important safeguards. Business uses of the symbol, motto and protected Olympic words which are already in existence when the Bill comes into force as an Act would be fully protected. That is made clear in Clause 4(9), and Clause 49(10) puts beyond doubt the use of the protected words as part of an existing company or business name.
However, concerns have been expressed about the position of small businesses which may be created after the Act comes into force, particularly if the use of the associated words could be said to imply an association with the Olympic Games or with Olympic qualities such as speed or excellence. Possible examples could be companies which might choose to register themselves as, for example, Olympic Bus, Cars and Electronics.
My right honourable friend in another place agreed to consider those concerns and we intend to bring forward an amendment to the Bill which would enable the Secretary of State, by order, to provide that a specified category of uses of the protected words should not constitute an infringement of the rights in the Bill.
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