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We have agreed in these debates that education is as important as enforcement. That theme has run through our proceedings. It was picked up in the Digital Britain report. There is no difference between us on the importance of education. However, it is important that we identify where that education will come from. I beg to move.
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, Amendment 133, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, is interesting. I take the point that useful information could be provided by bodies other than copyright owners. Indeed, information is more likely to be accepted as reliable and impartial if it comes from bodies other than copyright owners, especially those able to take an objective view. However, we have concerns about the idea of Ofcom and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office getting involved in changing the public's attitudes. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, will forgive me for suggesting that that sounds as if we are asking impartial bodies with no stake in either camp to undertake a public relations campaign on behalf of copyright owners. Such a campaign would not only be unlikely to be effective, but might also cast doubt on the impartiality of the body responsible for administering the obligations code and adjudicating in disputes.
Lord Young of Norwood Green: My Lords, the amendment would require the full report to the Secretary of State to cover any educational or awareness-raising activities undertaken by the IPO and Ofcom, in addition to those being undertaken by copyright owners. This is to misunderstand the nature of what we are trying to do. It is important to remember that this is a three-pronged approach to the online infringement of copyright. Inevitably, the Bill is most concerned with enforcement; but just as important are the efforts of copyright owners to develop new, attractive market offerings-that issue has been raised on a number of occasions-and the education of the general public on why copyright is important and worth protecting. It is primarily the responsibility of copyright owners to deliver on the commercial offerings, and also on the educational parts of the approach; and of course it is in their interests to do so.
The IPO produces some very well received educational material. I say that in response to the comment of the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley. By and large I agreed with his assessment of Ofcom. As I said, the IPO produces well received educational material explaining the function of intellectual property, and no doubt will continue to do so. However, it is the willingness of copyright owners to play their full part in tackling online infringement that we are asking Ofcom to report on here. That should not be joined or confused with initiatives in the public sector. On that basis, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Clement-Jones: I thank the Minister for that reply. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, for his contribution, which was slightly half-hearted. The Minister is correct that the UK IPO produces valuable material. The fact that we are talking about copyright does not mean that we have to be advocates for creative rights owners. This is about educating people about the value of copyright, about why the right is important to our UK economy and about the consequences if people do not observe it. There should not be an issue between us on the value of education by public bodies such as Ofcom and UK IPO.
With all due respect to the Minister, I do not think that I misunderstand the nature of the progress report. In my view, it should deal with the way in which our culture and our attitudes towards copyright infringement are changing. One may want to involve the Advertising Association and various other associations that, strictly speaking, do not hold copyright. The amendment argues for a broader view than simply expecting copyright owners to do all the heavy lifting. We all have a duty to try to get to a position where people understand the need to observe copyright, the reason for it, and the importance of copyright to our future as an economy. I hope that the Minister will consider that further. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
"( ) an assessment of the measures needed to encourage competition in electronic communications services provided over electronic communications networks;"
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I apologise to the Minister for the amendment. It belongs several clauses earlier in the Bill, with the general dealings of Ofcom. It is entirely my mistake that it appears here. The Minister can choose whether to reply to it now or wait until Report, when I will put it in the right place in the Bill. It merely addresses the problem that arises where individual companies gain a large slice of the internet communications market and then start to restrict the services that are available. I do not propose any particular remedy, but this is something that Ofcom should keep an eye on. I will give the Minister an example. Although we provided that there should be no favouritism when it came to access to directory inquiry services over fixed lines, where a company offers voice over internet protocol it can restrict access to one such supplier. That is merely an example for the Minister. I beg to move.
The Earl of Erroll: My Lords, these sorts of things are very important. The Americans are greatly concerned about networks and neutrality because they have been having problems with people trying to grab control of a bit of the market. Also, ISPs are currently doing something called traffic-shaping, in which they decide what bits of traffic you are and are not allowed to have in an attempt to optimise the traffic over their networks, particularly at busy times. However, it could also have the inadvertent effect of favouring one form of traffic
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Lord De Mauley: My Lords, as always, my noble friend makes his point very well. Despite his apology to the Minister, he has reinforced my view that what his Amendment 134 proposes is, as the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, said, important, whether or not this is the right place to do it.
New subsection (4) in Clause 9 sets out what a full progress report from Ofcom must include. The amendment would, in addition, require Ofcom to carry out a review of the measures needed to encourage competition in electronic communications services.
I am not sure whether it is intentional but, as drafted, the amendment would require the report to cover phone, broadband and broadcasting services, together with other data services such as the provision of smart metering information, as well as content-based services such as access to film, music and other copyright-protected content online. It certainly cannot be right that in this part of the Bill Ofcom should be asked to carry out a report drawn so widely. In the light of that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.
Baroness Buscombe: Before the noble Lord sits down, I should like to express the degree of importance that I attach to this amendment. I very much hope that this whole subject will be discussed properly at some point during the passage of the Bill. It sounds to me as though the amendment goes to the heart of Ofcom's core responsibilities-to ensure that there is a proper regard for competition. I hope that the Minister is comfortable and confident that this area will absolutely be a core part of Ofcom's responsibilities in relation to the Bill.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I entirely understand the noble Lord's attitude. This amendment will reappear in its proper place in relation to the Bill on Report. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendment 137, which works together with Amendment 135. I think that by and large the noble Lord answered this question in his responses on previous amendments, so for now I shall move my amendment, listen to the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and, if the Minister says anything that I think needs amplification, question him after that. I beg to move.
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, despite my noble friend's brevity, I should like to say that these amendments go right to the heart of the progress report. Indeed, it is somewhat surprising that something similar has not already been included in the Bill. The question of whether loss of revenue to the copyright owners has been stemmed is not the best measure of success of the provisions. If the cost of the provisions proves to be greater than the amount of revenue received as a result of the provisions, the provisions surely cannot be counted a success. The Minister's thoughts on this will be extremely interesting.
The Earl of Erroll: My Lords, on the previous amendment the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, rightly mentioned that there is no point in this legislation cutting off people's internet access and discouraging them from doing this, that and the other if there is no benefit to the rights owners. If it does that, it has no purpose. It will simply be acting like the traditional puritan who has a haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be enjoying himself. There is absolutely no point in wasting public and other money on that.
It is important that we do not require Ofcom to produce a report of such extent and detail that simply gathering the data for it and putting it together becomes a disproportionate burden in terms of both time and money. We should bear in mind the fact that consumers will ultimately pay the cost of this, whether in the price that they pay for content or the price that they pay for broadband connections.
New subsection (4) in Clause 9 already identifies the issues that we have good reason to believe are key in enabling the growth of the market in legal content: the availability of legal offerings, public understanding and awareness, and enforcement. In addition, it allows the Secretary of State to request Ofcom to consider any other matter.
However, I bring your Lordships some good news. I think that some of the issues raised here might be relevant, although some might not. In the interests of making progress, I suggest that we work on the basis that the Secretary of State will carefully consider all
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Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I am not quite sure what the Minister is saying. Is he saying that this is what the Secretary of State might include in a direction to Ofcom or that, when the Minister comes back to this on Report, there will be scope to introduce something that will be reflected in the Bill? I hope that it is the latter. I hope that this is a chink in the armour and that the Minister has noticed that even the fertile brains of the DCMS have realised that some aspects of the progress report can be improved. I well understand that the Minister does not want that report to become a great compendium, but some of these elements are extremely relevant. I hope that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If we have discovered elements that should properly be included in the progress report, I hope that the Minister will come back with a suitably crafted amendment on Report to reflect that.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am greatly comforted by what the noble Lord said about the Secretary of State. I am sure that he will think of nothing else between now and 6 May. The crucial element of my amendment is the one that was raised in the earlier amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Howard of Rising and it is certainly something that we will come back to on Report. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Dubs: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to say a little more about the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, to give examples of the work that is done by its committees and to consider the specific report about climate change and renewable energy.
I realise that there have been several debates and Questions on climate change in this House recently, but I make no apology for a further debate. The issues are too important. Membership of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly consists of parliamentarians from Westminster, Dublin, Edinburgh, Swansea, Belfast, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is the only parliamentary body that brings all these jurisdictions together. It is most welcome that both the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party are now members. At a ministerial level, the BIPA is developing links with the British-Irish Council. In a way, we are becoming the parliamentary tier.
We have four committees. I am the chair of Committee D, which deals with social and environmental issues. The committees produce a series of reports with recommendations to the various jurisdictions. I say with some regret that the Government have not always been punctilious in responding to the committee reports; I believe that the Oireachtas in Dublin has paid more attention to the work of the BIPA. I suppose that it is fair to say that we would like all the Parliaments and Assemblies, as well as the Governments and devolved Administrations, to take our reports more seriously. There has been progress on this, but there could be more.
Most of the work of the BIPA and its committees is concerned with issues that affect more than one jurisdiction. We point to best practice in one jurisdiction that could usefully be replicated elsewhere and indicate how there might be co-operation where appropriate between two or more of the jurisdictions. A few recent examples of the BIPA's work include reports on the integration of newly arrived migrants to Northern Ireland, the Irish community in Britain, measures to get the unemployed back to work, barriers to trade, ID cards and the common travel area, cross-border co-operation between police forces, mutual recognition of penalty points, the Consultative Group on the Past, and the future for small farms.
Let me now turn to the subject of tonight's debate: climate change and renewables. We deliberately excluded nuclear policy because of a wide divergence of views on the issue and because it had been the subject of a report some years ago. The method of the committee was as follows. We held evidence sessions in Edinburgh, London and Dublin. There was not enough time to go to all the capitals within the jurisdictions so we had to do things consistent with the difficulty of getting an international committee together. The BIPA has good relations with the Nordic Council and several of its representatives came to our meeting in London, where they made a very helpful contribution, as they, too, are interested in climate change. We had meetings with Ministers in Edinburgh and Dublin and we met people from business and universities, as well as officials, including some from the British-Irish Council.
I now turn to the recommendations and conclusions of the report. Clearly a balanced energy portfolio is essential to ensure that our energy needs are met not just by one country or region. To be as self-reliant as possible, a region needs to make the most of the renewable energy available locally, but a collective and regional approach is essential, as each jurisdiction probably cannot solve this problem on its own.
One of the key conclusions was the importance of the grid. Because of the uneven output of electricity from renewables, the more these renewables are interconnected the more likely it is that we will get an even flow of energy. That is pretty self-evident. To take wind farms as an example, if there is not enough wind off the coast of Scotland, there might be in Norway or Denmark. By having more connectors of this sort, we can have a more stable supply of electricity than by simply working in small regions. Progress is being made. Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Ireland are working together on a feasibility study
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The committee urges the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem to review grid access charges to ensure that they are no disincentive to developing the grid in the way suggested by the committee. The committee also suggests that joint working with the Nordic Council might be an appropriate step in the process of developing a pan-European super-grid. We should start in Ireland, Britain and the various jurisdictions and extend towards the Nordic countries. A further extension could then be towards some of the continental countries. I was delighted to read in the press a couple of weeks ago that there are already proposals to develop a European super-grid, which is very much in line with the committee's recommendations. I hope that the press were accurate in making that point.
The British-Irish Council has a crucial role in co-ordinating the work and sharing best practice, as well as in removing barriers to further co-operation between the member countries of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. The committee hopes to revisit this issue within the next 18 months and will maintain a watching brief on the environment and energy sectoral groups of the British-Irish Council.
I now turn to innovation. Clearly the development of the energy sector suggests that there is great potential for more innovation. If nothing else, greater publicity is required for innovation that might improve significantly the use of renewable energy by both commercial and domestic customers. Competitions and academic sponsorship should also be used to encourage more innovation. The committee also recommends that each government department at all levels across the member countries of the BIPA should carry out an energy audit, set tough targets on reducing energy requirements in line with national renewable and energy efficiency targets and build on the national energy efficiency action plans in place across the EU.
Local authorities across BIPA member countries can play their part in encouraging renewable energy production. Local government is crucial in being close to the sensitive ecological and environmental considerations when one develops some of the links. It is clear that planning issues can present difficulties. Obviously there is pressure that power lines should not spoil areas of natural beauty and should go underground, but that is costly. One has to balance the cost of putting energy power lines underground against the environmental damage caused by spoiling areas of natural beauty.
Finally, all consumers and households have a part to play. An enormous amount of electricity is wasted each year-we all know this-because individuals fail to take simple steps to reduce their energy use. We were given shocking statistics of the waste of energy caused by the use of the standby facility on some electrical products. This is common knowledge, but the scale is alarming. We noted the Which? report stating that consumer electrics make up 16 per cent of domestic electricity usage. It suggested that just one electrical unit-for example, a Freeview box-could use more than 20 watts per year when on standby. Using 2006 energy prices, Which? estimated that that would cost more than £15 per household per year.
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