The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57243   Message #899774
Posted By: Abuwood
27-Feb-03 - 12:35 PM
Thread Name: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
Got this at work...
20/03                                                          18 February 2003

Licensing Minister Kim Howells today launched a package of measures
to allay fears about the Licensing Bill's impact on live music.

The three strands of the package are:
- An invite to the music world, along with local authorities and
industry, to inform the drawing up of statutory guidance for
licensing authorities that will ensure venues can put on live music
more easily, while protecting the rights of local residents.
- Amending the Bill to make it clear that entertainers who perform at
unlicensed venues will not be committing an offence, unless they
have a role in organising or managing the entertainment themselves.
- Issuing a leaflet entitled "The answer to 20 myths about public
entertainment and the Licensing Bill" that sets the record straight
on some of the most pervasive myths being circulated about the

The first strand of the package follows concerns expressed by
musicians that licensees will be discouraged from putting on
entertainment by a fear that licensing authorities will impose
unnecessary and costly conditions to their licences, such as
requesting expensive adjustments to venues.

The guidance will clarify what appropriate conditions are. The
Government plans to set up a working group of key players from the
music world, local authorities and the industry to inform it in
deciding how to take the work forward.

The group aims to report back in April, but in the meantime the issue
will be discussed with representatives of the music industry at a
summit on February 26 and at a face-to-face meeting between Kim
Howells and John F Smith, the General Secretary of the Musicians'
Union, on March 4.

Kim Howells said:
"Our principle is clear - we want to spread live music. The Licensing
Bill will do that.

"I want to ensure the Bill is enforced with a heavy dose of
commonsense on the ground. I hope the music world, local authorities
and the industry will take the opportunity to help shape the guidance
and make sure this happens."

The amendment of the Bill, which forms the second strand of the
package will ensure that, for example, a band booked for a concert
will not be committing an offence if they all they do is play in an
unlicensed venue.

Kelly Wiffen, Research and Parliamentary Officer at Equity, said:

"Equity is delighted that the Government has listened to our concerns
and amended the Licensing Bill to exclude performers from clause 134.
This change means that performers can make full use of the new
employment opportunities we hope the Bill will deliver."

This amendment will also make it even clearer that very many of the
myths that have been circulated about the Bill are completely without
basis. This message will further be backed up by the leaflet, which
clarifies the position on many false scenarios.

Kim Howells said:
"A host of rumours - many of them completely ridiculous - have been
circulated about this Bill. Today I am setting the record straight
for the benefit of everyone involved in live entertainment, either as
a participant, organiser or spectator.

"The truth is this Bill will make it more affordable for venues to
put on live performance in the vast majority of cases. This will in
turn increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to

"Musicians have nothing to fear from this Bill, but much to gain from

In addition to protecting the performance rights of artists, the
Licensing Bill will also help to protect their intellectual property
rights - by including copyright offences. The unauthorised
broadcasting of film, music or television could lead to the removal
or suspension of a licence. Equally, those who have committed such
offences may not be granted a personal licence.

Notes to Editors
1. In conjunction with the changes noted above, the Government is
also tabling other amendments to the Licensing Bill, which deal with:
- Government's concerns about copyright infringement and music and
video piracy in licensed premises.
- Broadening the range of offences to ensure police can properly
check offenders applying for personal licences.
- Making planning authorities responsible authorities where they have
an interest in a licence application.
- Ensuring that regulations are in place to govern the administrative
processes which will follow the Bill's implementation.
- Provide Parliament with an opportunity to debate the Secretary of
State's Guidance made under the Bill when it is issued or

2. Under the original draft of the Bill it would have been an offence
for a musician to play at an unlicensed venue, although they could
have claimed a defence of "due diligence" if, for example, they had
sought to check the premises had a licence in advance.

3. The publication of the first draft of the statutory guidance to
licensing authorities was announced in press release 19/03, published
on February 13 2003. The Government will use the guidance to draw
very clear distinctions about what might and might not constitute
appropriate conditions to apply to licences that authorise live
music. Licensing authorities will be required to have regard to the
guidance. This means that, although they are able to depart from the
guidance, for example to take account of particular circumstances,
they cannot disregard it and they will have to demonstrate good
reasons for departing from it.

4. The answers to twenty myths about public entertainment and the
Licensing Bill
- Existing public safety and noise legislation does NOT cover all of
the issues dealt with by licensing law.
Music in pubs will not be harmed by the Bill
- It will NOT cost anything extra for a pub to apply to provide
entertainment as well when applying for permission to sell alcohol.
- Local authorities will NOT be able to impose unreasonable
conditions on licences.
Individual performers will not be disadvantaged by the Bill
- Performers will NOT need to be individually licensed.
- Performers will NOT now be liable to a fine or to imprisonment just
for playing or singing.
A licence will not be needed every time someone plays a musical
- Rehearsing or practising will NOT be licensable.
- Music tuition will NOT be licensable.
- Busking will NOT be licensable.
- Testing a musical instrument in a shop will NOT be licensable.
Community venues will not be disadvantaged by the Bill
- Village, church and parish halls, and other community buildings
will NOT need to pay for licences to provide entertainment.
- Any entertainment provided in a church will NOT be licensable.
- Church bell ringing will NOT be licensable.
Spontaneous performance will NOT be licensable so:
- Spontaneously singing "Happy Birthday" will NOT be illegal.
- Spontaneous pub singalongs will NOT be licensable.
- Carol singers, going from door to door, or turning up unannounced
in a pub and singing, will NOT be licensable.
- A postman whistling on his round will NOT be licensable.

Private events where invited guests are not charged will NOT usually
be licensable so:
- A school nativity play, which took place before a non-paying
private audience of parents will NOT be licensable.
- A licence will generally NOT be required for performances taking
place at a private party where the host organises the music and
does not charge their guests.
- A licence will NOT be required for a band playing in a marquee at a
wedding reception in someone's garden.
- A performance in an old people's home, hospice or hospital before a
non-paying private audience of staff and patients will NOT require
a licence.

Press Enquiries: 0207 211 6271
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 0207 211 6200

Department for Culture, Media and Sport