Culture, Media and Sport Committee

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMSCOM) monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the DCMS.


  • Damian Collins MP, Con: Folkestone and Hythe (Chair) -- background: advertising and PR
  • Simon Hart MP, Con: Camarthen West and South Pembrokeshire -- background: chartered surveyor, Territorial Army, Countryside Alliance, huntsman
  • Julian Knight MP, Con: Solihull -- background: finance and consumer affairs journalism (BBC, Independent on Sunday)
  • Rebecca Pow MP, Con: Taunton Deane -- background: broadcast journalism (BBC, ITV), comms & PR
  • Giles Watling MP, Con: Clacton -- background: actor and theatre producer
  • Julie Elliott MP, Lab: Sunderand Central -- background: school governor, trades union organiser (GMB)
  • Paul Farrelly MP, Lab: Newcastle-under-Lyme -- background: corporate finance, finance journalist (Reuters, Independent on Sunday, The Observer)
  • Ian Lucas MP, Lab: Wrexham -- background: solicitor, minister at BIS
  • Christian Matheson MP, Lab: City of Chester -- background: manager in electricity industry, trades unionist (Unite)
  • Jo Stevens MP, Lab: Cardiff Central -- background: solicitor; former Shadow Solicitor General and former Shadow Welsh Secretary, resigned to oppose Article 50 notification
  • Brendan O'Hara MP, SNP: Argyll and Bute -- background: TV producer (STV, BBC, Sky Sports)

Relevant Issues

2012 Inquiry into support for the creative economy

Oral evidence sessions

13 November

On 13/11/2012 Oral Evidence was taken before the CMS Committee regarding support for the creative economy. The witnesses were:

  • Ivan Dunleavy (Chief Executive, Pinewood Shepperton plc)
  • Andrew Smith (Director of Strategy and Communications, Pinewood Shepperton plc)

Jim Sheridan MP asked the witnesses how big of a threat piracy and intellectual property theft is to the creative industry:

  • Ivan Dunleavy - "We do have a good regime of IP protection here in the UK, but it does need updating. There have been various proposals through the reports written by Gowers and Hargreaves, which I am sure you are

familiar with, which are yet to be implemented, and we hope that they can be." He also suggesting that a crackdown on copyright infringement could not be a UK-only initiative, but required international co-operation. Following this session, further witnesses were introduced. They were:

  • John Mathers (Chief Executive, Design Council)
  • Mat Hunter (Chief Design Office,Design Council)[1]
18 December

Witnesses included representatives from Facebook and Google.

Written Evidence

A number of organisations and bodies sent written evidence in to the Committee.


The BPI (British Recorded Movie Industry)- 'Without doubt the single biggest barrier to growth in the music industry is widespread piracy and lack of practical, low cost, timely enforcement measures in the UK to protect content.'

  • The UK Government should develop a strategy that ensures that: legitimate businesses are united in acting against piracy; there is adequate education of the impact of piracy on jobs and growth; and legal enforcement is proportionate, cost-effective, flexible enough to deal with technological change and swift enough to be useable by rights owners.' This has led them to back the Digital Economy Act.

The main points made in the consultation were:

  • Private Copying Exception: BPI supports the introduction of a limited private copying exception to enable consumers legally to transfer music they have legitimately purchased on CD (or another physical format) onto their mp3 player or other hardware device for their personal, non-commercial enjoyment, provided that this is done in accordance with EU law;
  • Research and private study: BPI is opposed to all attempts to make music a compulsory free input into research and education. If music is to be used in any educational setting, it should be licensed and paid for. This is particularly important given the difficulties of defining appropriate limits around research and private study and the potential abuse of any such exception to obtain private benefits from obtaining free copies of music;
  • Parody Exception: BPI does not believe that the consultation has presented objective, credible evidence that a parody exception is justified or necessary. If Government decides to proceed with a parody exception that allows new original content to be generated it must be on the strict condition that the moral and economic rights of the original creator are fully respected; and
  • Education licensing: As with research and private study, BPI is opposed to all attempts by the Government to force creators to give music as a free input. BPI notes that legitimate educational establishments are covered by a very successful and low cost arrangement overseen by the Educational Recording Agency licensing scheme and that this is flexible for modern classroom needs.[2]

A full list of the written evidence can be found here.

ORG Response

ORG's reaction to the enquiry being carried out by the CMS committee can be found here.

Supporting the Creative Economy inquiry

2013 Evidence Sessions

The fifth evidence session of the Committees inquiry into support for the creative industries was held on 08/01/2013. Key witnesses included Ian Hargreaves, author of the Hargreaves Review, Richard Hooper, Peter Jenner, Stuart Bartholomew, Geoffery Crossick, Catherine Large and Dinah Caine.

Members questioned the panel on issues relating to copyright such as orphan works, collecting societies and whether any new copyright legislation would be border-less. The Digital Economy Act, particularly the manner in which it was rushed through parliament, was also discussed.[3]

When asked whether the current copyright structures were fit for purpose, Hargreaves replied no, suggesting that

it has lost contact with the way that consumers actually behave. It has therefore become confusing and detrimental to the ability to enforce it where it needs to be enforced. The disruption caused to the copyright system by the internet has affected different parts of the creative industries at different stages in time. The music industry was most grievously disrupted early. My own industry, the news industry, has been pretty seriously disrupted. The film industry has yet to experience the full scale of disruption that the internet entails. It is working its way through the system, but I wouldn’t be able to reason-which I think perhaps lies in the premise of your question-to say, "Here is an aspect of copyright that does not need to be at least re-discussed or re-examined in the light of these changes that are taking place", because the technology that is changing runs not only right across the creative industries. As we know, it runs right across the economy, which is why a few odd souls like myself have the label "digital economy" attached to what they do.[4]

He pointed out that a destruction of copyright would lead to grave losses for the creative industries. Paul Farrelly MP asked Hargreaves whether his report had been influenced in part by extensive lobbying from Google. Hargreaves refuted the suggestion. On the Governments proposals for copyright exceptions, Hargreaves argued that

there will still be quite a bit of confusion. If I want to take a CD that I own and download tracks from it into the family car, who is the family car owned by? Is it my wife or is it me? Am I not allowed to share these things with my wife? Those are questions that will still feel quite confusing to consumers, so I don’t think that what the Government is proposing, or indeed what I propose, offers a clean sweep on the end of confusion. What I argued was that we needed to change course. I said, "If we change course a little bit it will not be, in my view, genuinely painful for the creative industries", and I don’t believe it will be, but it would start the process of giving copyright a chance to be reinvented for the digital age in a way that the public has confidence in, so that markets know better what to do with it and it will result in a bigger pie if we also improve the way that we do licensing.

On issues such as orphan works and copyright licensing, Richard Hooper singalled partial support for Government proposals, stating

I think that the Government has come up with, by and large, very sensible recommendations on orphan works, extended collective licensing, codes of conduct for collecting societies and exceptions.

Peter Jenner spoke of his hopes of reform, saying that

My hope for what we should be looking for from looking at copyright is how can we enable new businesses to develop in a way that ensures that the creators get fairly paid-not just paid, but fairly paid. I think that is something we should be looking at very seriously: what should be the role of collection societies as we go forward; what should be the role of the record companies; what should be the role of the artists and the unions and so on.

Jenner mentioned the importance of consent from consumers, indicating

I do think that we should be very mindful of not just industry but also of the consumer, the end user. It does seem to me that a lot of the copyright pressure comes from the industry, which tends to be rather conservative. You know, you tend to go on doing what you have always done. I think that one of the jobs perhaps of Government is to nudge people into the future, get them out of their comfort zone, and provide something that is of value to the consumer. The consumer will support legislation through their actions if they feel it is fair. One of the things that has been clear with the whole issue of piracy is a feeling that somehow or another it wasn’t really quite fair that if you were providing your own computer and your own broadband service you should have to pay the same as if you were going to a shop and buying a physical good. It did not feel right. I think this issue of feeling right is absolutely fundamental and the transparency helps that come through, to see what is going on, "How can I get music onto my wedding video? If I can do that easily, I will do it. If I can’t do it easily, I won’t do it, and I hope I won’t get caught and I probably won’t."

On the Digital Economy Act, Richard Hooper suggested that an over-emphasis on peer-to-peer is a key reason for its perceived failure

There are four places where infringement happens. One is peer-to-peer. Then you come to the ones that Ian has just mentioned, the paying ones, which are websites. Then you have advertising and then you have payment systems. I would humbly suggest to you that if you want to be serious about this, go for websites, payment systems and advertising. It is a much richer vein. Peer-to-peer is important, but the Digital Economy Act got obsessed with peer-to-peer and I think that is not right.[5]

The full transcript of oral evidence is available here.

A video of the session is available here.

2013 'Supporting the Creative Economy' Report

On September 26, the CMS Committee published a report following an inquiry for which ORG submitted oral and written evidence. The report covers a wide range of issues on how to support the creative industries; the following are notable points concerning copyright.

-Criticising Google's inaction against copyright infringement, despite the creative industry's requests. The report calls on Google to block consumers from reaching copyright-infringing websites and to ideally remove them from their search engines as they do with other illegal material.

-Acknowledging Open Rights Group dedication to freedom of expression on the internet.

- The assertion that business relies on the 'appropriate' collection of personal data to target advertising and that this does not constitute a great threat to privacy. They consequently express concern for the draft European Data Protection Regulation, stating that it “could damage direct marketing, internet advertising, and the UK economy both off and online”.

This report comes as the European Commission is looking to create a unified European Regulation on Data Protection, currently being discussed by the LIBE committee. The Regulation would ideally limit the ability of large businesses to collect user data with the purpose of targeted, personalised advertising. However, due to renewed delays on the progress of the legislation, there is an increased concern it will be more lenient regarding restrictions of collecting user data.

- Rejecting the Hargreaves report because it employed a low standard of evidence for determining copyright policy, and because they concluded the report was wrong about the benefits it claims for UK copyright law.

You can find ORG's extensive critique here.

Online Safety