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Lord Redesdale: That does not really answer our fundamental question about whether powers should be introduced to review personal licences in that way. However, we will not press the matter.

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Clause 47 agreed to.

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 [Reinstatement of licence on transfer following death etc. of holder]:

[Amendment No. 247 not moved.]

Clause 49 agreed to.

Clause 50 [Application for review of premises licence]:

[Amendment No. 247A not moved.]

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 248:


    Page 29, line 27, at end insert—


"(1A) Without prejudice to subsection (1), the chief officer of police for the police area in which any premises are situated must apply for a review of the premises licence for those premises if he is aware that there is being, or had been, carried on at those premises the sale, letting for hire, playing or exhibition of sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes in circumstances which amount to an infringement of copyright for the purpose of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48).
(1B) In subsection (1A) "sound recordings", "films", "broadcasts" and "cable programmes" have the same meaning as in Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48) (copyright)."

The noble Baroness said: The piracy of record music and films and the theft of signals cause great harm to businesses that play copyright material with the permission of the rights holders. After permission is obtained, fees are paid either directly or via collecting societies, which remunerate the distributors and producers of the copyright material.

It is understood that the producers of pirated material use the proceeds of crime to fund the production of illegal copies. The process is also a vehicle for money laundering. Many people who buy pirated material or who permit the use of their premises for the sale or use of such material do not consider that the theft of intellectual property seriously harms businesses that legitimately use copyright material or the rights holders. There is, however, a loss of tax revenue to the state. People using pirated material are encouraging criminal contact such as for the drugs trade and money laundering.

We believe it would strengthen the Bill if there were a clause directing that the premises licence should be reviewed, if the police know of copyright misuse. Thus, the holder of a personal licence or the designated premises supervisor will ensure that the correct permissions are obtained for the use of copyright materials and, by doing so, avoid criminality. I beg to move.

Viscount Falkland: I support everything the noble Baroness said. Piracy of intellectual material and breaching of copyright are massive problems. They cause the loss internationally of millions, perhaps billions, of pounds to industries. Under the present regime, pirated DVDs and video cassettes are easily obtained in outlets of the kind we are discussing. At one end they are sophisticated; at the other they are very crude. I imagine that a pub or club involved in such illegal activity would use products from the top end. With regard to films, much of the pirated material

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originates from California, from Hollywood. In the Far East and Middle East countries, one has less high-quality pirated recordings. They are recorded from public film shows by people with video cameras on their laps. Noble Lords may be surprised to hear that such activity is extraordinarily profitable for the criminal organisations involved. It is a huge problem.

I support the noble Baroness's amendment. The Bill should make it difficult for licence holders to be tempted to use pirated material in any shape or form and to use Sky top boxes, for example, in order to show sporting events and so on without paying the appropriate fees. Sky is concerned about that possible development. It is another door which should not be left ajar in terms of risk to companies. It should be made plain to licensees that such activity will not be tolerated.

Lord Monson: Despite those two powerful arguments, I wish to put a dissenting view. The essential purpose of the Bill is to strike the right balance between liberalisation on the one hand and public order and safety on the other. Much of the argument during the many Committee days has been on exactly where to strike the right balance.

To extend the Bill to strengthen copyright laws which are not entirely uncontroversial seems to take the scope of the Bill too far. Therefore, I am unable to support the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government support the 1988 copyright Act and wish to see it enforced. However, I wish to make two points about it so far as it relates to this Bill.

First, where infringement of the 1988 Act is a criminal offence as opposed to one that would result in civil action, it is open to interested parties and responsible authorities to apply for a review in the way the amendment proposes. So, for example, a cinema could make an application if licensed premises were showing films for which they did not have the necessary permission. Secondly, the amendment would make it compulsory for the chief officer of police to apply for a review if the sale, letting for hire, playing or exhibition of sound recordings, films, broadcast or cable programmes had taken place in infringement of copyright.

In this Bill, we do not compel either interested parties or responsible authorities such as the police to apply for a review because a particular offence has been committed at the premises. We provide for discretion for those authorities to decide for themselves when to apply for review. If we were to make this compulsory and there were, for example, fights at a pub, the police would have discretion to apply for a review, but if a licensee played a single musical track to his customers for which he did not have the necessary permission, the premise's licence would automatically be reviewed. I think that that would be out of keeping with the discretion provided for in the Bill.

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Of course the concern is genuine. Officials are in discussion with the trade associations, in particular with the Cinema Exhibitor's Association. We shall be exploring with it whether its concerns can be more fully addressed in the guidance which will be issued.

Baroness Buscombe: I thank the Minister for his reply. I am sorry that the Government feel disinclined to accept the amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, spoke of the right balance which has to be struck. We do not want to add to bureaucracy. However, we believe that it is a serious concern. We have been lobbied by a number of outside organisations which are concerned that the piracy of records, music, films and theft of signals is causing great harm to them and those they represent.

The proliferation and use in thousands of licensed premises of counterfeit technologies such as counterfeit smart cards to circumvent entertainment restrictions is a deep concern. The sale of pirate ITV Digital smartcards, for example, contributed significantly to that company's downfall. We understand that signal theft is currently depriving the Premier League of revenue as well as many other TV channels.

The temptation for public showing, for entertainment without permission of the rights holders, is an infringement of copyright under the 1988 Act. At present the enforcement of those crimes is low on the list of priorities for local authorities. The addition of the amendment would raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property to the economy and the changing nature of entertainment offered by licensed premises.

I do not exaggerate the situation when saying that at present it is all too easy for people to ignore copyright laws. We believe strongly that the amendment is sensible. It seeks to deflect temptation from those who think that they can get away with infringing copyright.

We have heard the Minister. We appreciate that the Government are holding meetings with interested parties. However, we believe strongly that there is a growing problem. If the 1988 Act is not serving its purpose, the Bill provides a useful opportunity to strengthen copyright issues. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 249 not moved.]

Clause 50 agreed to.

1.15 p.m.

Clause 51 [Determination of application for review]:

[Amendment No. 250 not moved.]

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville moved Amendment No. 251:


    Page 31, line 2, leave out "three" and insert "six"

The noble Lord said: I acknowledge that these matters are subjective but I aver that the limit of three months is too short to act as a real penalty or deterrent.

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A change to six months, especially when taken with the proposal in Amendment No. 252 to give the licensing authority greater flexibility to decide what sanctions would be appropriate, seems more the right balance. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: The ability to seek a review of premises licences and club premises certificates set out in the Bill is new. At present, the licensing justices have two routes open to them. They can either revoke the licence altogether or do nothing. The nuclear nature of the first option often means that they are reluctant to take action, particularly for minor transgressions. There is no opportunity to consider a justices' licence in the absence of a breach of obligation, which undermines the ability to regulate the licensed trade.

The review process is a significant and powerful one. The steps that the licensing authority may take following a review provides it with all the levers needed for monitoring and regulating the licensed trade effectively in the absence of non-compliance with obligations. At the same time, they ensure fair treatment for the industry.

Amendments Nos. 251 and 321 would extend the maximum duration of suspension of a licence or certificate from three months to six. The amendments are draconian and unnecessary for the same reason. It is just about conceivable that a business might survive a suspension of its ability to trade for three months, but any longer than that and the overwhelming likelihood is that it would go out of business. That would have exactly the same effect as a revocation, which is already provided for in the Bill. I hope that the amendments will not be pressed.

Amendments Nos. 253 and 323 are similarly draconian. As the noble Lord said, the proposals would extend from three months to six the period for which a licensable activity or qualifying club activity could be excluded from the scope of the licence or certificate. That tips the balance too far away from the careful equilibrium we have achieved through negotiation.

Finally, Amendments Nos. 252 and 322 would allow the licensing authority to impose its own bespoke outcome to a review process. That would completely undermine the openness and transparency that we have sought. It must be remembered that the system of review is just that—a review. It is not an alternative to the taking of proceedings in respect of breaches of authorisations. It is designed to allow the continuation of an authorisation to be considered in the light of an application which sets out grounds that are relevant to licensing objectives. The steps available to the licensing authority in determining the review must be proportionate and consistent. In the light of those comments, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, will withdraw his amendment.


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