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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Legal problems threaten to derail the incredible hulk

Mick Bates's revolutionary short debate this afternoon entitled 'Supermarkets - Jolly Green Giants or Incredible Hulks?' has hit some problems.

Already some members have questioned whether the use of a powerpoint presentation is appropriate - are we a debating chamber or a lecture theatre? On top of that the Assembly's legal bods posed the question last night as to whether Mick had permission from the copyright holders to use various images on his slides.

According to the legal advice a specific exemption was built into the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 to deal with Parliamentary proceedings which makes it clear that any acts carried out in the course of such proceedings do not infringe copyright. It seems that this includes the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Scottish Parliament but not the Welsh Assembly. This is because they forgot to include a provision in the Government of Wales Act.

The recommendation is that we take a cautionary approach but I understand that as the risk is low, because it is difficult to see what loss the owners of the copyright will have suffered if the images are used, then the decision has been taken to allow the powerpoint presentation. I cannot wait.

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