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The Government’s failure to act is worrying in itself but, even worse, their constant talk of soon-to-be-announced decisions on regulatory change and their endless consultations of new legislation have unsurprisingly meant a corresponding lack of movement from the industry, a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Birt.

My noble friend Lord Luke is quite right to look for the most innovative and effective business models in the private sector, a subject of which he showed extensive knowledge. In such a fast-changing environment, everything, from users’ habits to technology and the source of desired content, changes at a bewildering speed. It is perhaps asking too much to expect the Government or the regulator to keep up, but the Government must not hold out the hope that a new round of EU legislation or a new initiative to re-train police officers will make a significant difference on the ground. They cannot—and since 100 per cent enforcement would mean the criminalisation of nearly a quarter of our population, we should not pretend that that is what we are looking for.

Instead, we must look to the industry to tempt users away from illegal options and to identify and shut down the worst abusers. Of course, none of that is new. Ministers have said much the same thing in various ministerial statements and press releases. But why is it not happening?

According to the Government, there is already a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding between ISPs and rights holders to address the question of unlawful file sharing. Despite that, the Government are consulting on setting up another quango, the rights agency, to which the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, referred, to see what else can be done.

What will the rights agency do that Ofcom cannot already try? What new powers will it have to knock heads together within the industry and enforce any agreement that is made? Even worse, the Government are rumoured to be contemplating imposing a tax—yet another tax—on all internet users. What will the new money be spent on? What initiative is poised, ready to make all the difference, if only the funding can be found? The Government always seem to ask us to judge them by the amount of taxpayers’ money they have thrown at a perceived problem. The websites of the government bodies involved all have proud statements about the increased government funding that has been spent over the years on combating online piracy. Is it really a lack of funds that is the problem?

The current difficulties the industry appears to be having in enforcing the memorandum of understanding should not cause us to dismiss self-regulation out of hand as a viable approach. The internet has meant the sudden appearance of many similar and related concerns, all of which are as difficult to solve as each other. We had a debate in this House only a few weeks ago on the dangers facing children using social networking sites, which is another very significant problem and one to which the noble Lord, Lord Birt, referred today.

The impossibility of regulating all content available to minors on sites such as YouTube is similar in many respects to that of identifying and removing all the illegal material available for download. In both situations, the criminals and the victims are frequently based in

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different countries and under different legal regimes. There is a similarly large grey area where it is difficult to identify the targeted material and to separate legitimate and illegitimate behaviour. There is constant rapid change in both the technology used and the methods of using that technology.

In the debate I have just referred to, attention was drawn to the recent establishment of an agreement between 17 social networking firms to improve voluntarily the protection of minors using their sites. It was made easier to report abuse, allowing legitimate users—still the substantial majority of those online—to help enforcement authorities find those who insist on transgressing. Can the Minister assure us that the tools that have been found effective against one crime are being carried over to others?

Of course, self-regulation can go only so far. Eventually, those seeking to protect their copyright need to rely on clear penalties enforced consistently. There are still many inconsistencies remaining among offences in this country. I know that the Minister is aware of them: there have been, after all, several reviews and consultations on them. Yet, in the past few years, when a criminal justice Bill has passed through this House in every Session, when there have been numerous serious regulatory developments in all sorts of sectors, we have seen nothing to address these inconsistencies.

I urge the Government to concentrate their efforts where they can make a difference. The Government have a wealth of material to work from and must not dither any longer. There are clear and achievable recommendations in the Gowers review, and the later publications, that need to be put into effect.

2.38 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, for allowing us to have the debate. I think that the speeches have been of quality rather than quantity. There have been very informed contributions, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, spoke with great insight on the issues relating to digital piracy and its potential impact on creative talent in the UK. The House is very grateful to him for giving us the chance to talk about this important issue this afternoon.

Let me begin by saying that we regard this as an important topic. It is important to me and it is an issue that David Lammy, as Minister for Intellectual Property and Higher Education, holds close to his heart, partly because it is part of his current ministerial brief, but also because he once worked as an intellectual property lawyer, so he brings some expertise to the matter.

I fully share the noble Lord’s appreciation of just how important it is to safeguard the creative industries’ contribution to this country’s well-being. The creative sector accounts for 8.2 per cent of UK GDP. In London alone, one in five jobs is in the creative industries. It is important that we offer all the support that we can, given the thousands of jobs that the industry supports, especially in difficult times such as ours, as the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, said.



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While figures suggest that sales of music and film are continuing to grow despite the current economic difficulties, we cannot be complacent about problems such as digital piracy. It is estimated that the total loss to the film industry in 2007 was in the region of £486 million. The music industry estimates that its own lost sales were probably around the £165 million mark, and that figure may well be conservative. That is why the problem of digital piracy should matter to all of us.

Clearly, today’s debate focuses on the impact of piracy on creative talent within the UK, but it would be remiss of me not to highlight that in some cases piracy is a crime that damages more than our economic or creative capabilities. My fellow Minister, David Lammy, told me how that was particularly brought home to him by a raid that he attended in north-west London in November. In that raid alone, 60,000 counterfeit DVDs were seized, among which were a significant number of obscene, pornographic titles that would not have been granted a certification in the UK in the first place.

I was interested in the range of contributions made by noble Lords. There was recognition, above all, of the complexity of the issue with which we are dealing. That reinforces our approach: good law is good, but proportionate, enforced laws are better. Noble Lords explored the question of achieving both proportion and the ability to enforce legislation. I know that we are not introducing jail terms for online infringement, as some in the industry have called for. However, I think that the measures that we propose will offer an effective deterrent to fraud that stops short of putting even more pressure on already crowded prisons.

Whether we are talking about new or existing law, effective enforcement is clearly the key. We need to be in a position where all government departments and key individuals within the police, trading standards and local authority structures tackle these issues together. That is why we have set up an interministerial group on enforcement. With ministerial and other colleagues, we need to look at how we can effectively raise public awareness and understanding of these issues and at how to remove some of the practical barriers to more effective on-the-ground enforcement.

The best approach is to combine enforcement within the resources available with other types of measures that we have been talking about, as well as public education on the consequences of copyright crime. I was interested in the visit made by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, to the Science Museum, which is taking a very innovative approach to showing young people that this is not a crime that has no victims.

We are currently exploring the options for establishing a rights agency. It is likely that part of its remit will be to focus on encouraging respect for the creative industries and increasing public awareness of the easiest ways to access legal content. I assure the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, that we have not made up our minds on this; we are still out to consultation. It is not that we are dithering. This debate has reflected that, first, there is a range of views on how to deal with the problem and, secondly, not only does a complexity

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currently exist but it is an increasing complexity; it is not something that we can solve nationally. As the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, pointed out, there is a need for international action as well. I do not plead that as an excuse; I just make these points because I think that they are relevant to this debate.

Therefore, the Government have been meeting the industry to discuss the most effective way in which to tackle internet piracy crime—not just piracy but all forms of internet piracy crime. I know that partnership working between organisations such as the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the BPI and the IPO’s enforcement unit has been invaluable, and I encourage all other industries to develop the levels of intelligence gathering that these bodies have.

We are also doing our best to support our creative talent, as I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, appreciates. The very nature of the creative arts means that they are dynamic and always changing, developing and innovating. As well as bringing challenges, the digital age has brought tremendous creative potential. I was fascinated by the up-to-date knowledge of the noble Lord, Lord Luke, who mentioned the various services being offered. He identified things such as Spotify and referred to other independents offering online-only music and film. He also gave the interesting and fascinating example of the Radiohead offering, which, in a way, seems to be counterintuitive. However, I think that he demonstrated that, when talking about supporting young people with talent, we have to look at how the things that they do creatively are offered online in a way that perhaps a few years ago we would never have imagined.

We have already made progress. In Creative Britain, we set out a three-year strategy for the creative economy in the UK, backed up by more than £70 million of government funding. We committed to establishing, by 2013, 5,000 creative apprenticeships annually and we funded 10 pilot programmes designed to provide greater access for young people to a range of cultural and creative opportunities through the flagship Find Your Talent programme. Again, we are trying to involve young people in these programmes and are making them aware of the importance of intellectual property rights and content.

In 2008-09, the Technology Strategy Board ran a £10 million R&D programme for the creative industries, investing in more than 90 creative industry SMEs and major innovative collaborative R&D projects. In all, almost 300 UK-based companies and academic institutions will have benefited from this investment. We are also developing a project with the Local Government Association to research and deliver a menu for local infrastructure.

There was much reference in the debate to the memorandum of understanding and the question of how to tackle peer-to-peer file sharing. The Government have worked with both rights holders and ISPs to find an industry-led solution to the problem. We may not all agree on exactly how we should do it but I think that there is some consensus that that route probably gives us the best chance of success. A memorandum of

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understanding was signed by the six major ISPs and rights holders to get an industry-led solution. We remain committed to the principles set out in the MoU and are working hard to achieve, as agreed, a substantial reduction in illicit peer-to-peer file sharing. Recent legislative proposals on peer-to-peer file sharing will go a long way towards achieving that reduction, with some evidence suggesting that up to 70 per cent of infringing users will desist on receipt of a warning letter. We are looking into options such as the rights agency as one way of continuing the valuable work arising from the memorandum of understanding in a form suitable for today’s environment.

I believe that we have provided enough of an outline of how we are tackling digital piracy and other forms of internet piracy crime. Everything that I have covered so far offers better safeguards for nurturing our creative talent and for the profitability of our creative industries and those who work in it. However, the work that we are doing to improve internet piracy enforcement goes much wider than one industry or sector. Our key priorities here must remain to educate consumers on these issues and to work with government departments and front-line enforcement agencies to ensure that they understand how IP issues fit into the wider civil and criminal enforcement landscape.

I have tried to cover most of the points raised. If I have missed any, we will write to noble Lords. Today there has rightly been a rehearsal of the issues surrounding internet service providers. It is a critical area. The debate has highlighted polarised opinion, which the consultation on peer-to-peer file sharing clearly demonstrated. I think that we all agree that there will be no easy answer to this problem. In a way, the noble Lord, Lord Luke, summed it up when he said that we have to be careful that we do not produce oppressive legislation that acts as the enemy of innovation. That would not serve any real purpose or benefit for the creative industry and we do not believe that it would serve the country. We have to proceed cautiously. The answer must surely be to find a course that works, is proportionate and involves rights holders and ISPs. As I have indicated, discussions are under way and experience shows us that joint agreement must be the way. ISPs and industry have a key role in finding a solution to this problem. I thank the noble Lord again for initiating the debate. This is probably the end of the beginning—certainly it will run and run, as they say sometimes of West End shows.

2.50 pm

Lord Lloyd-Webber: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for speaking. I came here grateful that I work in theatre, which cannot be pirated, and freely admitting that I had no real answers; I just wished to highlight the situation. My noble friend Lord Luke mentioned the interesting case of Radiohead. Many bands now are using recorded music as a means to attract people to their live concerts. Years ago, it was the other way round. I was pleased to hear the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, reaffirming that the House supports intellectual copyright. I looked up the word “copyright” in the Oxford English Dictionary today. The first mention of the word was on 6 May 1735 in your Lordships’

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House. I was terrified that I was going to read of a noble Lord saying that copyright means that you have a right to copy. On that note, I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion withdrawn.

Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure

Motion

2.51 pm

Moved By The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, the measure before you represents a very significant development in the life of the Church of England. It puts in place a legislative framework to enable the introduction of new terms and conditions of service for clergy and stipendiary lay ministers. Its object is to equip and support those who are called to the ministry, and the people whom they serve, by establishing fair and clearly stated terms of service that will deliver the security that is needed for the ministry to flourish, while also providing a proper measure of accountability.

The measure has been six years in preparation. It was begun in response to the Government’s consultation on the rights and employment status of atypical workers. The proposals have been through the synodical process and have been found expedient by the Ecclesiastical Committee.

Why is this legislation needed? The church recognises that the evolution of patterns of ministry over many centuries has created the potential for inequitable differences of treatment. Clergy in the Church of England are officeholders, not employees. In the past, the great majority of clergy held freehold office as incumbents of a benefice that gave them tenure for life, ownership of the church building and parsonage house, and an income from tithes, glebe land and parish endowments. Although the freehold has been greatly modified over the years, those who hold it still enjoy very high security. However, times have changed. Clergy with a freehold are now in the minority. Other clergy, including many with full responsibility for parishes, are licensed to their offices by the bishop, and their security of tenure is very limited, since the bishop has the power to revoke their licences, either summarily or on reasonable notice.

Extending the freehold tool, even if that were practical, is not the answer. The church needs common terms of service that will give clergy a fair measure of security while ensuring a proper balance of rights and responsibilities. This measure addresses the need for change by making provision for new conditions of service that will be known as “common tenure”. The

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intention is that these conditions should apply eventually to clergy and stipendiary lay ministers across the board, from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the person just starting out in ministry.

Common tenure seeks above all to promote justice and fairness. For the first time, it gives clergy the great majority of rights enjoyed by employees, including the right to a stipend and to annual leave. At the same time, it preserves and protects their status as officeholders, which reflects the way in which their ministry is best exercised. Clergy enjoy a large measure of autonomy in the way they work, which gives them the freedom to respond flexibly to the various demands of daily ministry. The church recognises that as a good thing, as do the clergy. When they were consulted, the great majority wished to retain their officeholder status rather than become employees.

With a view to enhancing the security of clergy who do not enjoy the freehold, the measure removes the bishop’s power to terminate a licence summarily, and closely defines the circumstances in which an office can be terminated. There is provision for limited-term appointments only in a few cases, such as training posts and appointments subject to sponsoring funding. Furthermore, the right to compensation where an office is abolished through pastoral reorganisation, which presently applies to certain freeholders, will be extended under common tenure to all officeholders.

These changes are all directed at providing a proper and common level of security for the clergy. Provision is also made under the measure to ensure that clergy are properly accountable both to their congregations and to the wider church. To that end, it provides for regular development reviews and continuing education to ensure that clergy are effectively supported and equipped in their ministry. At the same time, accountability will be strengthened through the introduction of a capability procedure, which enables bishops to address, through a fair and transparent process, the problems that arise when clergy fail, for whatever reason, to perform their duties to an acceptable standard. This procedure is designed to be supportive, and to give clergy the time, training and resources that they need to improve. If in the last resort an officeholder is removed under this procedure, he or she will have the right to bring a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.

That is what the measure seeks to achieve, by laying down basic principles and providing for the making of regulations to set out the detail of common tenure. The regulations will make provisions for matters such as written particulars of office, and entitlement to stipend and leave, including time off for public duties and sickness. Draft regulations have already been considered by the General Synod and, should the measure find approval in this House, they will be further debated in the synod later this year. In their final form, they will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny as a statutory instrument.

Before I close, I should mention briefly some things that the measure does not do. First, it is not intended to, and will not, undermine the historic independence of the clergy. That is why the church has not sought to make clergy employees. Secondly, the measure does

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not compel existing freeholders to change their conditions of service—with the exception of the two archbishops, who have already agreed to transfer to common tenure. All other freeholders will be able to choose not to opt in to the new system until such time as they take up a new post.

Thirdly, the measure does not materially affect the position of patrons, who retain all their current rights in the appointment process. Nor does it make any change to the ownership of property. The original proposals stipulated that parsonage houses should be transferred to diocesan parsonage boards, but the synod resisted that. The measure does strengthen the position of other clergy who are provided with housing, apart from those with the freehold, giving them for the first time both the right to a reasonable standard of accommodation and the right to object to any proposal that the house that they occupy should be sold.

Finally, the measure will not impose an excessive financial burden on the church. Noble Lords will be glad to hear that the infrastructure for its implementation is already in place, and that most dioceses are already running ministerial development review schemes. Many have also appointed human resources advisers, and those that have not yet done so are co-operating to provide the most effective and efficient way of providing these services.

This measure is vital to the future health of the church. It is an opportunity to make a new covenant between people and their clergy that is fit for the 21st century and enshrines essential principles of fairness, clarity and collaboration.

I can be brief on the second measure because it is probably the shortest measure ever sent here by the General Synod. But it is important legislation even if it is extremely straightforward. Again, the measure has the overwhelming support of the church, and has been found expedient by the Ecclesiastical Committee and approved in the other place.


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