Chris Bryant MP

Chris Bryant MP (Labour) MP for Rhondda. Member of the All Party Music Group. Member of EURIM.

DNA database

House of Commons debate DNA Database 16 January 2006

8 murders once considered cold cases have now been solved thanks to the DNA database. Three of those were in Wales, and 11 stranger rape cases have also been solved in Wales as a result of the database. I urge him not to listen to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), who says that it is an intolerable attack on human rights, or to the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), who seems to think that it is an irrelevance. Will the Minister push forward with the DNA database so that we can solve more cold-case crimes?

Identity cards

House of Commons debate Identity Cards Bill 20 December 2004

Many people in the emergency services, not only the police, argue for ID cards because they would make it much easier to identify people who had been in road traffic accidents. They also say that it would be useful if the ID card could include, on a voluntary basis, some medical record, of, for example, blood type. Is my right hon. Friend still open to that voluntary option?


Westminster Hall debate Music Industry 12 June 2002

Historically, the Government and the law have protected the rights of artists and the recording industry through copyright legislation. Almost all the discussion over the past few days in anticipation of the debate has centred on the economic rights of rights holders—those who make the music—but moral rights are equally significant. People should have the right to say, "I wrote this piece of music and no one else can use it without my permission. If they use it, they must attribute the music to me."
Many people do not think of copyright as dramatically affecting their lives, yet how we consume music, television and theatre is affected by copyright law. For example, we never hear "Happy Birthday To You" sung in a movie because copyright must be paid to use it. Invariably, one hears "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow", even if it is a woman's birthday, because no one wants to pay the extremely expensive rights for "Happy Birthday".
Similarly, one reason for our strong church music tradition, which does not exist elsewhere in the European Union, is the exemption for such music under British copyright law. That exemption has allowed the Church to invest significantly in music, which can then be used in every other church in the country without additional moneys being paid to the composer when it is used in a church setting. That caused complications for Princess Diana's funeral, due to uncertainty about whether the music written by John Taverner, which was subsequently made available on CD, was exempt. Much of the preferred music for the funeral could not be used because of copyright law.
"Top of the Pops" has been so successful in this country and around the world partly because British copyright law enables broadcasters to reach an easy resolution of copyright issues with the recording industry. Furthermore, a French, Spanish or German satirical television programme that uses a song that takes the mickey out of someone renders it exactly whereas in Britain a version is used—for example, a song that sounds like a Sting song. Other countries have exemptions for music used for satirical purposes.
Copyright law goes to the heart of whether we enjoy our music and television programmes. It also affects news broadcasts. In Belgium, there is no exemption for showing public works of art and buildings, which means that one cannot film a news clip in front of the European Parliament building, for example, without obtaining permission from the architect. There is such an exemption in the United Kingdom, which is why it is unnecessary to obtain permission from Richard Rogers or any other architect involved before filming in front of the Lloyd's building. I happen to think that the exemption is right, but others in Belgium, France and other EU countries take a different view.
There are also exemptions in the United Kingdom for the blind and throughout Europe for copying for libraries. The nub of my argument is private copying, and a different resolution of that issue has been arrived at in each EU member state. In the United Kingdom, it has been accepted that individuals might legitimately record a television programme or a CD on to tape for use at a different time, on the condition that they bought the original CD.
That practice is written into the life of British society, as thousands of people record television programmes on a Friday evening and watch them the following week. The law presumes that they will then wipe the tape. We would certainly enter interesting territory if every Member in this Room who has kept a tape of a television programme recorded several years ago declared themselves pirates. However, the assumption is that every private copy of a CD or a television programme is in some sense pirated.
We must establish a clear and balanced position that benefits the artists, the recording industry or broadcaster and the consumer. Governments should be wary of responding on the rightful claims about privacy by saying that all private copying must stop. In Germany, there is a blank tape levy under which video and audio tapes are more expensive, with the extra money going to the recording industry. There is provision in the EU copyright directive for the United Kingdom to take or not to take that option. Politicians should be wary of treading on consumers' toes in respect of such issues.
Although I have heard a lot from the recording industry about possible damage to artists—that industry is one of the most effective lobbying organisations in the world—I also hear from artists, who say that their rights are often not protected by the recording industry. Nina Simone is unable to be with us today, but if she were here she might point out that she has not received a single penny for the song that plays in every bar in the country—I cannot remember its name. Many recording artists get a bum deal from the recording industry.
When the Government implement the copyright directive later this year through a statutory instrument, I hope that they continue to allow for private copying when it does not lead to commercial use. That is the nub issue.

Intellectual Property

Written question Intellectual Property 14 June 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to implement recommendations made in the Gowers Report on Intellectual Property.


House of Commons debate Identity Theft 17 July 2006

One of the most common forms of identity fraud at the moment is perpetrated many thousands of times a day when fraudsters send e-mails to people's inboxes asking them for details of their bank accounts. Many people fall for that phishing expedition. Will the Home Office consider investigating that much more closely, because I suspect that many people are too embarrassed to own up to the fact that they have fallen for that fraud?

Internet Access at Detention Centres

Mr. Bryant asked the Home Secretary a question on which websites are blocked at immigration detention centres. He was told in reply that there is no central database with the information held and it varied from centre to centre, alongside the fact that not all centras provide internet access.