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UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity

Tootler 15 Jun 07 - 03:53 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 07 - 03:54 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 07 - 03:56 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 07 - 03:59 PM
Bonecruncher 15 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jun 07 - 03:40 AM
The Borchester Echo 16 Jun 07 - 03:48 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jun 07 - 04:31 AM
Tootler 16 Jun 07 - 08:26 PM
nickp 17 Jun 07 - 05:40 AM
Tootler 17 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM
Folkiedave 18 Jun 07 - 01:05 PM
stallion 19 Jun 07 - 04:10 AM
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nickp 28 Jun 07 - 12:04 PM
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Folkiedave 04 Jul 07 - 07:20 AM
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Subject: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:53 PM

The Original "Affected by the Licensing act 2003" thread has been closed - apparently because of problems with spam.

I cannot get the "police oppose small gigs" thread to open properly.

However there seems to have been a bit of activity on this front recently so I am copying in three messages from another forum I belong to for info.

Subject: Local authorities oppose key Live Music Forum recommendations

The Live Music Forum is recommending 'as a matter of some urgency' an amendment to the Licensing Act which would exempt gigs attracting fewer than 100 people.

However, a leaked copy of the latest draft of the LMF report to ministers reveals that this key recommendation, one of 28, is opposed by LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services), a body represented on the LMF. In all, LACORS is 'unable to support' five of the recommendations, including a proposed exemption for unamplified live music, and the creation of a mechanism, presumably within the Act, that would allow a member of the public to make representations in support of a live music application. LACORS appears to be the only LMF objector to any of the report's recommendations.

The report also repeats the view that the Act has had a 'broadly neutral impact on the provision of live music', and claims that the 'industry' is positive about standardised licence fees and Temporary Events Notices. However it adds: '... it is also true to say that the Licensing Act has not led to the promised increase in live music...', and '... we view with some scepticism any belief that the Act will in itself lead to a growth in live music.'

This echoes yesterday's surprisingly forthright press release by the Musicians Union which, contrary to the headline, represents a sharp change of direction, if not a long overdue U-turn:
http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/site/cms/v4_newsArticleView.asp?article=716

In their full licensing policy statement, the MU concludes:

'After extensive monitoring, research and internal discussion the Musicians' Union is still of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment in the Licensing Act is unnecessary, and at the first opportunity it will campaign for its removal from the prevailing licensing legislation.'

['Licensing Act - Statement of Union Policy', 11 June 2007]
http://mu.live.fishertechnology.co.uk/site/cms/contentDocumentView.asp?documentId=738

In fact, the Union's 'live music kit', first published in 2004 as a guide for prospective gig promoters, claimed that live music application under the new regime was as easy as 1, 2, 3 and that there would be no extra cost for live music. Only last year, MU officials corresponding with trumpeter Henry Lowther over the loss of his gigs at a Regent's Park venue, implied that a 3-performer limit imposed as a licence condition by Westminster City Council was for performers' safety, and therefore beyond criticism. It later emerged that it was an ill-conceived noise condition and nothing to do with safety, which is in any case separately regulated as the MU now appears to accept.

While yesterday's MU welcome press release acknowledges that it may be some years before the Act may be substantially overhauled, it makes a number of recommendations '...which represent a constructive way forward that will enable the Dept for Culture, Media & Sport to deliver what numerous government Ministers have promised - that the Act will be good for live music and encourage its growth.' These include an exemption for venues up to 100 capacity.

Last but not least, yesterday the petition opposing the music and dance provisions of the Licensing Act, number 1 on the Number 10 website since 01 May, closed with nearly 80,000 signatures:
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/licensing/

The question is now whether the government favours LACORS over the LMF, MU and public opinion.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:54 PM

The second message;

Subject: Lib Dems call on government to repeal live music law

The following press release was issued by the Liberal Democrats yesterday, Tuesday 12 June 2007:

OVER 79,000 PEOPLE SAY GOVERNMENT MUST LOOK AGAIN AT LIVE MUSIC - FOSTER

The Government must re-examine licensing regulations in the light of public concern over the damage current laws are having on live music.

Commenting after an e-petition on the Downing Street website on the impact of the 2003 Licensing Act closed with over 79,000 signatures, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster MP said:

'The sheer scale of this petition shows the depth of public concern on the impact that these regulations are having on live music.

'Live music in a pub is an essential part of Britain's musical heritage so why something as innocuous as providing a piano in a bar should be deemed an offence is beyond me.

'The Government claims that there has been no effect on the industry but their own research shows that 40% of smaller venues have lost any automatic entitlement to provide live music.

'The Government must take note of people's concerns and seek to help the industry grow by repealing such bureaucratic legislation.'

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Downing Street petition text:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to recognise that music and dance should not be restricted by burdensome licensing regulations. The recently introduced changes in licensing law have produced an environment where music and dance, activities which should be valued and promoted in a civilised society, are instead damaged by inappropriate regulation. We call on the Prime Minister to recognise this situation and take steps to correct it.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/licensing/

2. DCMS and the Association of Live Music Forum commissioned MORI research into the impact of the Act revealed that, following the Licensing Act, 40% of smaller venues lost any automatic entitlement to provide live music. In order to do so these venues are now forced to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN), costing £21, up to a maximum of 12 per year for each venue:

6.1.1. The proportion of establishments which now have a Premises Licence permitting them to stage live music is not significantly larger than the proportions of establishments which previously put on live music events, either with a PEL or through some other form of authorisation. Very few establishments that wanted a new licence were denied it, and many who were previously limited to 2-in-a-bar now have the ability to stage music with 2 or more musicians27

6.1.2. This contrasts, of course, with the fact that 40% of establishments now have no automatic means of putting on live music (i.e. they would have to give a TEN). Whether this is problematic is debatable: these establishments have tended to indicate a lack of suitability or local demand for putting on live music - so we might expect the negative impact from this to be minimal.'



"Licensing Act 2003: The experience of smaller venues in applying for live music authorisation"
Ipsos-MORI - DCMS
December 2006

3. The provision of a piano in a bar could be deemed an offence under the terms of the Licensing Act 2003 as a provision of 'unlicensed entertainment facilities'.

4. Liberal Democrat 2005 Manifesto pledge:

We believe artists must have the freedom to create, not just teach others, and that the arts must be free from excessive Government interference. The Liberal Democrats would: allow live music to flourish by reducing the currently overly bureaucratic requirements for licences for small venues while strengthening local authorities' powers over noise, disturbance and safety to prevent public nuisance.

5. The definition of 'incidental music', which continues to be exempt under the Licensing Act, is also unclear. Some councils require, for example, hospitals to be licensed to provide live music to entertain their patients, whilst hospitals in a neighbouring borough are free to do so without a license.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:56 PM

Third message:

Subject: Police to oppose small gigs exemption

The police will join local authorities in opposing the small gigs entertainment licensing exemption currently backed by both the Musicians Union and the Live Music Forum, a live music campaigner has learned.

The reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, exchanged correspondence earlier this week with a senior police officer with licensing responsibility. The officer justified the police position on the basis that some gigs cause crime and disorder. However, despite being asked, no evidence was advanced of the scale of the problem, nor any attempt made to justify the position on the grounds necessity, such as the inadequacy of other legislation, or proportionality.

In Hackney, two venue managers recently reported that the police are now requiring temporary events notice applicants to fill out an 8-page risk assessment including the names and addresses of participants. The government has often refered to TENs as a 'light touch regime'.

In 2003 the police notoriously opposed a similar small gigs exemption, backed by the music industry and the two main opposition Parties, on the basis that:

'Live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly.'
[Letter to Tessa Jowell, 02 July 2003, from former Association of Chief Police Officers president Chris Fox]

That quote was read out during the then Licensing Bill debate in the House of Lords on 03 July 2003 by government minister Lord McIntosh in support of the government's rejection of the exemption.

The latest leaked draft of the Live Music Forum report to ministers explicitly refers to the Chris Fox quote. The report, apparently produced in late May/early June this year, notes that the LMF wrote to the current president of ACPO asking for information in support of Mr Fox's position. The draft LMF report adds:

'At the time of writing we have yet to receive the courtesy of a reply. This is perhaps indicative of just how unsubstantiated and preposterous these kinds of comments are, and the obvious disregard that exists for the impact this kind of generality can have, even though at the time, these comments were made by one of the country's most senior police officers.'


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:59 PM

Sorry to do it this way, but I think the information is important and copy and paste seemed a better bet on this occasion than providing links.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM

According to local TV news this evening the 40-year-old carnival in St. Pauls, Bristol, has been postponed due to "difficulties in obtaining licencing".
Another local (West Country) carnival is also in doubt this year, for the same reasons.
Who was it said that musical events "would be easier to put on"?

Colyn.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 03:40 AM

Hi, Tootler -
Yes, please continue to give us this information. If you can also give us a link or an URL for the source, that would be helpful. Roger Gall used to give us very helpful information from apparently the same source, but he is no longer with us.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 03:48 AM

Licensing information is always available on ukmf from where it tends not to suddenly vanish.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 04:31 AM

Useful link, but uncharacteristic grammar.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 08:26 PM

To respond to Joe Offer's request.

I got the messages from a Yahoo group I belong too and they look as if they are forwarded from a mailing list.

They are also posted on the Live Music Forum website and all the bulletins can be found there. Most of the recent ones are linked on the home page, but otherwise select "Hamish Birchall Bulletins" from the main menu near the top of the page.

There is also a new e-petition on the Downing Street Website. The link above has info on the petition and a link to the no. 10 website.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: nickp
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 05:40 AM

Hi Geoff

Thanks for the info. Unless I'm looking at the wrong page the new petition appears to be the (now closed) petition with almost 80000 signatories. If there is another let me know so I can sign it.

Nick


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM

Quite right Nick,

The petition was the original one. It was about 1.30 am when I sent the last post, so I was not at my most alert. At least that's my excuse :-)

I will keep an eye on developments, but I will be on holiday next week and I will not have access to a computer during that time.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 01:05 PM

From Hamish Birchall......

'Mr Blair, in his final hurrah, has blamed the media for the low esteem in which politicians are held. If he wants to know the real reason, he should ask the piano player.'

Daily Telegraph columnist Philip Johnston today adds more weight to the MU and LMF argument for music-friendly amendments to the Licensing Act:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/06/18/do1802.xml


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: stallion
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 04:10 AM

Lets face it, this legislation isn't about music it is about money, it is a tilt at the black economy, where a few quid gets passed over to a couple of performers at the end of a night and nothing is declared. Create a paper trail and it is easier to trace, like the building legislation, just about all electrical work in houses has to be reported to Building control, for that one has to be registered with a approved body, that was not to improve standards but to to stamp out the black economy. So will Gordon Brown change the legislation? Not if it has made a difference to the coffers. If someone was to make a financially advantageous case that appeals to the treasury for changing it then it may happen, otherwise, don't hold your breath.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 05:00 AM

I am sure that is part of it.

It was always my impression that the target (missed) was the illegal rave.

The other thing of course was that the Labour Government wouldn't dare upset the media companies who control TV and music.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 05:42 PM

Two more items from Hamish Birchell:

These can be found on the live music forum web page

Monday 18th June 2007 - 'Our masters are deaf to our wishes'
'Mr Blair, in his final hurrah, has blamed the media for the low esteem in which politicians are held. If he wants to know the real reason, he should ask the piano player.' Daily Telegraph columnist Philip Johnston today adds more weight to the MU and LMF argument for music-friendly amendments to the Licensing Act:

Link to Daily Telegraph Article.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 05:58 PM

Sorry, I see the one above has already been posted.

There is another though. A somewhat lengthy article.

Again, it can be viewed on the live music forum website.

Lords and watchdog criticise DCMS/MORI live music stats

Last week the Market Research Society (MRS) found that MORI had again fallen short of professional standards in the use of its live music research by DCMS. DCMS has apparently refused to accept the finding, leading to further criticism in the House of Lords.

This is the second time in two years that MRS has found MORI wanting . MORI's research is provided to DCMS on condition that press releases citing it must first be vetted by MORI.

[snip details of earlier criticism]

This time, in a decision dated 14 June 2007, MRS has found that a key DCMS claim of 07 December 2006 was 'incorrect' rather than misleading (a fine distinction); specifically the claim that the latest MORI research showed 'a quarter of premises now have a licence to put on live music'. See the second bullet point in the DCMS press release 'Encouraging signs for small venues'

According to MRS, however, while MORI has since published an amendment of sorts on its website, DCMS has refused to amend the press statement on its website 'as it believes the statement to be neither incorrect nor misleading'.

MRS notes that its Quality Commitment Investigations Committee (QCIC) requested MORI to publish 'in an appropriate forum the relevant technical details of the project to correct any incorrect or misleading reporting.' The correction is as follows:

'In the DCMS press release of 7 December 2006 it is noted that "a quarter (25 per cent) of premises now have a licence to put on music for the first time." This statement is based on the finding that a quarter (25%) of establishments which did not have a Public Entertainment Licence nor put on music under the old licensing regime now do have a licence that allows them to play live music.'
This can be viewed on MORI's website

To my mind this amendment does nothing to make clear that under the old licensing regime most if not all the venues in this survey could have lawfully put on live music anyway, even if only with one or two musicians under the 'two in a bar' entertainment licence exemption.

The MRS finding, and DCMS refusal to accept it, was yesterday criticised in the House of Lords. In a debate on the Statistics Registration and Service Bill, Lord Newby commented:

'... last week for the second time, MORI had a Market Research Society decision against it in terms of the way in which statistics, which it had produced for DCMS on live music venues, had been used by DCMS. The argument was that DCMS had misrepresented what MORI had done. The Market Research Society found against MORI, at which point DCMS refused to accept the finding or to do anything about it.

'When the Bill, if amended as proposed, comes into force—perhaps the Minister can confirm whether I am right about this—and the Statistics Board hears about such a situation, it may think that is not very satisfactory and that the statistics are not national statistics—I would be amazed if they were. Under Clause 22, the board would go to the appropriate Minister at the DCMS and say, "Please, we would like to make a request that these be recategorised as national statistics so that we can assess them to see whether we agree with the Market Research Society". The Minister may or may not agree; the Bill sets out what happens in those circumstances. That is pretty inflexible. Without going through the formal procedure, which requires statements to Parliament and heaven knows what, the board should be able to have a quick look at how DCMS dealt with the statistics. If necessary, there would be a rap over the knuckles and it would be dealt with quickly, expeditiously and, I hope, flexibly.'

See Hansard 18 June 2007:


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: nickp
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:04 PM

New Guidelines today - not read yet

here


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: nickp
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM

A quick glance appeared to reveal a little hope but as I read more I became less sure... needs someone like Richard to de-legalese it. Ho hum.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 04:14 PM

You really only need to read paragraphs 3.18 to 3.31 of the main new guidance.

1. It is the same old same old lies - for example the lie that "spontaneous music" is not regulated. There is no such exemption in the act. Their argument is transparent. If spontaneous music starts, and the controller of the premises does not stop it then he makes the premises available for it. Similarly their argument that a charge made by a band to a host cannot make the entertainment or facilities "provided witha view to profit" is simply drivel.
2. There is nothing significant and helpful there.
3. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the guidance CANNOT as a matter of law change the meaning of the Act.
4. They do point out that there is no definition of "incidental" in the Act. Well I wonder who told them that several times while the Act was a Bill?


The politician's and civil sernant's motto. If at first you aren't believed - lie again.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: John J
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 02:55 AM

7.20am (BST), BBC Radio 4 'Today': a short interview with Feargal Sharkey and a member of Show of Hands bemoaning the fact that despite what the government say, live music is in decline - being replaced with wide screen TV.

It may well be available on 'Listen Again' but you may have to fiddle about to find the article.

JJ


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 07:20 AM

Here's a report from the "Publican".

http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?storycode=56043


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: synbyn
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 11:57 AM

just got the email response from No 10- I think it comes under the heading of 'Agincourt'.... can you name me a new venue which has opened for music- I can't think of one within 20 miles of here, and I can think of several whose activities have been curtailed.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 01:39 PM

This from Hamish Birchall on the Live Music forum Website:

Feargal Sharkey will announce tomorrow that the Licensing Act has harmed 'some very small scale live music events'. His comments will accompany publication by DCMS of the long-awaited Live Music Forum report.

The report tries to square the circle of the claimed overall neutral effect on live music with a negative impact on small venues. In December 2006 DCMS published statistics showing 40% of smaller venues had lost any automatic entitlement to live music as a result of the new licensing regime.

As predicted, the report's 28 recommendations will include an exemption for venues with a capacity up to 100, and an exemption for 'acoustic music'. In this respect the report reinforces the announcement by the Musicians' Union on 11 June in which it declared its opposition to the Act and asked the Secretary of State at DCMS (now James Purnell, a former licensing minister) to implement five recommendations in order to fulfill ministers' promises that the Act would be better for live music. The recommendations include an exemption for venues up to 100 capacity:

http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/site/cms/v4_newsArticleView.asp?article=716

The LMF report comes hot on the heels of y esterday's lame and somewhat misleading response by Number 10 Downing Street to the 79,903 people who had signed the online live music petition:

http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page12238.asp

The tone of the Number 10 statement suggests that there will be no retreat from their belief that a piano in a bar is greater threat to society than big screen football. It claimed no evidence of a negative impact 'on the amount of live music'. But, of the surveys carried out to date, only the MORI survey of 2004 conducted a year before the current licensing regime came into effect attempted to measure gig frequency. That survey has yet to be repeated.

The government response to the LMF and MU recommendations remains unclear. Number 10's petition response doesn't mention the MU recommendations, although it includes a vague reference to DCMS having already 'set out areas where it thinks changes might be made to reduce further administrative burdens'. However, there is no link or reference to the DCMS proposals to cut red tape. Number 10 concludes with a promise to 'look closely' at the LMF recommendations when they are published.

When alluding to the DCMS response, perhaps Number 10 had in mind the revised Licensing Guidance, published by DCMS on Thursday 28 June. This includes a redrafted section on the 'incidental music' exemption. See DCMS press release:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2007/dcms078_07.htm

Earlier this year DCMS promised to make clear in legislation that busking and carol singing should not be caught by licensing. Several local authorities had already published guidance of their own to the effect that busking was caught by the Act - and had made clear they would not change their position until the law was changed.

The redrafted Guidance may help buskers and carol singers to some extent, but it is doubtful that the revisions would help a licensee decide whether or not to promote a small gig in a bar without an authorisation for live music under the Licensing Act.

The revised guidance suggests that a live music event could be advertised, and provided it was not 'the main attraction or one of the main attractions', and provided it wasn't the main reason people attended, and provided the music volume doesn't 'predominate over other activities' - it might qualify for the exemption.

But local authorities are not bound by the Guidance. The Act takes precedence. Given their already documented opposition to the LMF's proposed exemptions, cited in the recently leaked draft LMF report, many are likely to continue to interpret the incidental exemption restrictively. Who is to say whether a performance by an acoustic trio in a bar is predominating over other activities? If a licensing officer thinks it does, even if no-one has complained, then the licensee without a live music authorisation could face a criminal prosecution, a fine up to £20,000 and six months in jail.

Only the exemptions now proposed by the LMF and MU could prevent that.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 01:45 PM

Another, slightly different message from Hamish Birchall was put on the Government Licensing Reply forum


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 02:32 PM

This appeared in my mail today.

Folkiedave has posted another recent messages from Hamish in another thread.

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:21 PM
Subject: Months before government responds to MU/LMF small gigs exemption


In a speech at the Musicians' Union conference, Tuesday 24 July, new Creative Industries minister Margaret Hodge described the Live Music Forum report as 'very interesting and challenging'. However, she also suggested that it may be some months before the government formally responds to the entertainment licensing exemption recently backed by both the Musicians Union and Live Music Forum.

Ms Hodge said: '... as the report makes clear, and as we recognise, there are some areas of concern [about the Licensing Act], and we should look at these again to ensure that live music, at all levels, can continue to thrive. So I'm looking forward to considering the findings and recommendations with Gerry Sutcliffe [DCMS licensing minister] and James Purnell [DCMS Secretary of State] before responding formally in the autumn.

'I'm sure there will be some recommendations that we will be able to take forward quite quickly - in fact there is one I'm going to mention in a moment [the rehearsal space initiative]. And some, particularly those that would require changes to the legislation, will need longer consideration before we decide what steps would be the most practical and beneficial for all those with an interest. But rest assured - we don't want to stop musicians from performing and we don't want to put unnecessary barriers in their way. Why would we?'

In fact, there is a provision within the Licensing Act that gives the Secretary of State power, by order, to change or remove descriptions of entertainment (Licensing Act 2003, Schedule 1, para 4). This offers a relatively quick way to change the law - if there is the political will.

Strangely, Ms Hodge's speech - at least as reproduced on the DCMS website - did not address the MU press release of 11 June in which the union announced its opposition to the licensing of live music under the Licensing Act, and called on the Secretary of State to implement five recommendations as soon as possible, including a small gigs exemption.

Ms Hodge also announced a Green Paper on the 'Creative Economy' due for publication in the autumn.

For the full speech see DCMS website:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Minister_Speeches/margaret_hodge/musiciansunionconference_mh_speech.htm#top

More info about Ms Hodge's Parliamentary voting record at:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/margaret_hodge/barking

Former chair of the LMF, Feargal Sharkey also spoke at the MU conference. However, his speech does not appear on the DCMS website despite his continued close association with that department in promoting the rehearsal space initiative.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 07:12 PM

Link to Folkiedave's recent post


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:26 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 10:39 AM
Subject: LMF replaced by live music 'experts'

The Lib Dem debate on the Licensing Guidance is less than a month away. It will be held in the House of Lords on Monday 15 October. If you have problems with the new Guidance, published by DCMS on 28 June, or indeed with the Act itself, please send details to:
licensing.guidance.debate@googlemail.com - an address set up by the Lib Dems specifically for examples that can be incorporated into the debate.

Meanwhile, DCMS has confirmed that the Live Music Forum has been disbanded, and that a 'small group of experts from the live music sector', formerly LMF members, are to help DCMS 'quality assure' the important follow-up live music survey. The research results are due to be announced this November.

This raises many questions, including: 'Why was the Live Music Forum (LMF) disbanded before evaluation of the impact of the Act on live music was complete?'. After all, a key part of the LMF remit was to evaluate the impact of the Act on live music, and it was closely involved in the design of the first 'benchmark' live music study carried out by MORI in August 2004. However, it has emerged that the LMF as a group was not consulted over the research methodology for the follow-up survey now being carried out by British Market Research Bureau (BMRB). This despite the fact that DCMS liaison with BMRB is likely to have started before the LMF's last meeting on 16 April 2007. DCMS offered BMRB the live music research contract in an email dated 18 May 2007 (obtained using the Freedom of Information Act). The offer was clearly made on the basis of prior contact and correspondence, including 'revised costings' from BRMB.

Could the explanation for the LMF's premature demise be that DCMS saw them drifting off-message? The LMF concluded among other things that the Act needed urgent amendment to include a small gigs exemption - exactly as the music industry had argued, and the government fiercely resisted, in 2003 when the Act was being debated.

The live music experts invited by DCMS to help quality assure the BMRB survey report are: John Smith (MU General Secretary), Deborah Clarke (Village Hall Information Officer, Action with Communities in Rural England - ACRE), Martin Rawlings (British Beer and Pub Association), Jim Mawdsley (Generator North East - popular music development agency), and Peter Jenner (Billy Bragg's manager, and secretary general of the International Music Managers Forum).

Most of the information above concerning the DCMS and their BMRB follow-up live music survey was gleaned from written answers to questions from Lib Dem Peer Lord Clement-Jones. See the full text here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldtoday/writtens/06.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 06:41 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 3:01 PM
Subject: Final live music research due 17 December

The concluding survey of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on live music is to be published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Monday 17 December - one day before Parliament goes into Christmas recess:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/rands/research/livemusicstagedsurvey2007.htm


However, in a written answer from Monday 10 December, Culture Secretary James Purnell said that the final evaluation will not be made until the new year (see Hansard extract below). This despite the fact that, according to reliable sources, ministers have already had several weeks to digest the DCMS report into the latest research.

The survey, carried out by British Market Research Board (BMRB), is intended to be the follow-up to the 'benchmark' MORI live music research of August 2004. At that time DCMS notoriously claimed that the MORI survey indicated a 'flourishing' music scene with 1.7m gigs a year in bars, clubs and restaurants whose main business was not live music. However, this claim was later ruled misleading by the Market Research Society, which revised the gig estimate in those venues down to 1.3m a year.

Also on Monday 10 December, during an exchange with Conservative MP John Whittingdale, James Purnell said that the Live Music Forum (LMF) had found a 'broadly neutral' impact on live music (see Hansard extract below).

Unsurprisingly, Purnell did not mention that this was due in part to the inclusion in the research to date of a significant proportion of venues that had a public entertainment licence for live music before the new legislation came into force. Converting that permission into the new licence was a relatively simple process. Mr Purnell also failed to mention that the final LMF report to ministers of 04 July found that there was a negative impact on very small gigs, and that the 2006 MORI research into the impact on smaller venues found that about 40% of bars, pubs and restaurants had lost their previous automatic entitlement to one or two musicians (but were still free to host DJs and big screen broadcast entertainment).

In a separate music development, Pete Wishart of the SNP and former member of the band Runrig, has tabled a Private Members Bill seeking to extend copyright in sound recordings by 50 years. See this report from the SNP website:
http://www.snp.org/press-releases/2007/wishart-to-present-bill-to-ensure-fairness-for-musicians

This is clearly the focus of music industry lobbying, despite the fact that the government has already indicated its opposition to the idea.

~ ~ ~

Hansard extracts from Monday 10 December 2007:

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): At the time of the passage of the Licensing Act, the Government dismissed warnings that one of its consequences would be to damage the performance of live music in town centres and elsewhere. The Secretary of State will be aware that Live Music Forum has concluded that the Act is having that effect, so will he now consider making changes to it, as recommended by the forum, to ensure that live music continues to flourish throughout Britain?

James Purnell: The hon. Gentleman was-along with the Leader of the Opposition-a great supporter and advocate of the Licensing Act. We welcome his support, although I notice that we have still not heard from the Opposition whether they are disowning their leader or not. The hon. Gentleman is slightly exaggerating the consequences of the Act that the Live Music Forum found; it said that they had been broadly neutral. Clearly, we would like them to be positive, which is why we are looking positively at the forum's recommendations with a view to coming forward with proposals shortly. We have also asked Feargal Sharkey to lead on the identification of a network of rehearsal spaces to do exactly that.

Written Questions:

12. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the Licensing Act 2003. [172208]

James Purnell: As the Prime Minister reiterated in July, we are monitoring and reviewing the impact of the Act and have been since it came into force. We expect to complete an evaluation of the impact of the Act in the new year.

17. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the Licensing Act 2003 on the performance of live music. [172213]

Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department established the Live Music Forum in 2004 to assess, among other things, the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on the performance of live music. In its report and recommendations, published in July 2007, the forum concluded that the impact of the Act had been broadly neutral. The results of the second stage of our own research study into the current provision of live music will be published on the Department's website later this month.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Dec 07 - 03:47 PM

Live Music Survey
----- Original Message -----
From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 12:08 PM
Subject: Decrease in live music says latest DCMS live music research


The latest live music research, published today by DCMS, has found a decrease in live music provision in venues where live music is not the main business.

Prior to its introduction, ministers repeatedly claimed that the Licensing Act would be 'much better' for live music (James Purnell, now Secretary of State at DCMS), and would 'lead to an explosion in live music' (Lord McIntosh).

See: 'A Survey of Live Music in England and Wales 2007' (PDF file): http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/rands/research/livemusicsurvey.htm

The report states that the Licensing Act is not a major factor in venues decisions not to host live music ('Impact of Licensing Act', p10). But since 57% of interviewees were found to know little or nothing about the legislation, it is hard to see how this can be reliable conclusion (6.3 'Knowlege of the Act', p47).


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 07:18 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 9:50 AM
Subject: Now the good news..


With the publication yesterday of the bad news that live gigs had decreased in the wake of the Licensing Act, the DCMS smoke machine is off again with 'New plans to help live music thrive': http://www.culture.gov.uk:80/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2007/dcms153_07.htm


The headline is £500k towards a few new rehearsal rooms around the country - the government's response to one of the Live Music Forum's 28 recommendations published on 04 July. Further down, a little more flesh is put on the bones of their commitment to explore an additional exemption for small gigs. In their detailed response to the LMF report, which reads like a manifesto for the micro-management of live music, the government graciously accepts 'the spirit' of this key recommendation. However, it warns that there cannot be a 'blanket exemption' and restates the plan to consult on possible solutions (para 19):
http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/384FA317-FE3F-4341-931E-C2C506129196/0/govtresponselivemusicforum.pdf.

Back in the press release, culture secretary James Purnell adds: 'Clearly we'd only be looking at exemptions for events that don't cause public nuisance or compromise public safety.'

In the light of that observation, let's review what the Licensing Act 2003 meant for small gigs:

a.. The regulation of live music through licensing was dramatically increased on the grounds of controlling public safety, crime, and noise, including for the first time school concerts for family and friends (usually considered private and exempt under the old regime), one or two musicians in a bar (indeed almost anywhere public), and even small private concerts seeking to raise money for good causes.
b.. Maximum penalty for unlicensed performance, where a licence is required: £20,000 and six months in jail.
At the same time:
a.. All bars converting their old alcohol licence to the new premises licence in 2005 were given automatic permission to play recorded music, which includes hosting DJs; but their long-standing exemption for one or two live musicians was abolished;
b.. The blanket exemption for big screen broadcast entertainment was maintained, despite police objections at the time citing a link with disorder in pubs.
The government has never produced any research linking live music to widespread disorder, noise or crime. So much for evidence-based policy.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 06:42 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:09 PM
Subject: Licensing - Parliamentary questions resume


Pressure is mounting on the government to amend the Licensing Act 2003 in light of recent research that found a 5% drop in live gigs since the Act came into force in November 2005.
[A Survey of Live Music in England and Wales 2007 - summary: http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7BC356A1-BAF5-4DAA-8902-04F2CE1ADCC2/0/researchbriefsurveyoflivemusicdec2007.pdf ]

Tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday 09 January, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury will ask Her Majesty's Government '...what proposal do they have to amend the Licensing Act 2003 in light of the results of the BMRB social research survey of live music staged in England and Wales as published on Monday 17th December 2007'.

HMG may reply that it has already promised a public consultation this year on an entertainment licensing exemption for some small-scale performances.

There is a certain irony here. No compelling argument was ever made by the government for criminalising thousands of innocuous and historically exempt gigs for the first time unless licensed. But that is the effect of the Licensing Act 2003. Indeed, the Act created a new potential criminal offence of providing unlicensed 'entertainment facilities' (see Schedule 1, para 3). This turned the entertainment licensing clock back more than 100 years. A court case in 1899 showed that a landlord without a public entertainment licence could lawfully keep a piano which customers used for their own amusement [Brearley v Morley 2QB 121]. Today he could be fined £20,000 and sent to jail for six months - even if no-one had ever played the piano. Nonetheless, the Licensing Act was touted by ministers as a licensing regime for the 21st century.

Le's hope that in replying to Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, HMG provides an early date for the public consultation. If not, the noble Lords should press the government to get a move on.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:18 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:43 AM
Subject: Small gigs exemption - no date yet for consultation


Lord Davies of Oldham, speaking for the government in the House of Lords yesterday, Wednesday 09 January, restated the government pledge for a public consultation later this year on an entertainment licensing exemption for 'low-risk music events'. But he did not mention a date, and in response to further questions from Baroness Bonham Carter and others, seemed deliberately vague about government intentions.
[Debate text and Hansard link below]

Lord Davies put up the current government defence: 'foretellings of doom' for live music in the wake of the Licensing Act had not materialised; damage to live music 'not great'; there's £500k for a few new rehearsal spaces.

Unsurprisingly he did not mention that the warnings he so lightly dismissed were made in response to the government's Licensing Bill, published in November 2002. The Bill proposed that all churches be licensed for secular performances, reversing an exemption for churches outside London that had existed since 1982. It rendered any musician participating in an illegal unlicensed gig potentially guilty of a criminal offence unless they had made strenuous efforts to ensure the venue was appropriately licensed beforehand and been given wrong information. It included no exemption for 'incidental' live music, nor any concession for small venues. And of course, it abolished the historic exemption for one or two musicians in bars. These absurdly draconian measures were enthusiastically supported by most Labour MPs. They were only overturned or mitigated because of a forceful public and press campaign, strong opposition from Liberal Democrat and Conservative Peers and in the case of church concerts, the bishops.

As for assessing the damage caused to live music by the Act, the government's latest research, published on 17 December 2007, is wholly unreliable. Indeed, the survey seems almost designed by DCMS to fudge such an assessment. The Live Music Forum report of 04 July 2007, based on different research and 3 years monitoring the legislation, concluded that the Act damaged small gigs. It called on the government to amend the Act as a matter of urgency. Independently, the Musicians' Union came to the same conclusion and made the same recommendation. The LMF was disbanded by the government after its report was published, and before the government conducted its 'final' live music/licensing research. This despite the fact that a key LMF remit was to evaluate the impact of the Act on live music.

Among Lord Davies' woolly answers yesterday, however, there was a suggestion that the government wanted to put pub pianos outside licensing. At the moment, unless kept locked (official advice from DCMS), their provision in that context is illegal unless licensed as an 'entertainment facility'.

Such an exemption would require amendment of the Licensing Act itself. The entertainment facilities section (Sch.1, para 3, read in conjunction with para 1) covers not only the provision of pianos, but any musical instrument or music amplification, if intended to assist people in 'making music', even for their own amusement. Private events are caught too, if entertainment facilities - which include the venue or space - are made available for a charge with a view to profit.


~ ~ ~

House of Lords - Wednesday 10 January 2008
Hansard link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80109-0002.htm#08010976000006

Licensing: Live Music

3.28 pm
Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proposal they have to amend the Licensing Act 2003 in light of the British Market Research Bureau survey of live music staged in England and Wales published on 17 December 2007.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the survey was commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to assess live music provision in 2007 in venues whose primary activity was not the staging of live music. While the survey suggested that there had been a fall in live music in such venues since 2004, it found that the Licensing Act was not a major factor. Nevertheless, the Government are looking at how the regime might be adjusted to encourage more live music by, for example, allowing licensing authorities more discretion over exemptions for low-risk music events. We expect to issue a full public consultation later this year.

Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. The fact is that, despite what the Government said during the passage of the Licensing Act-that there would be an explosion of live music-there has, as he said, been an overall decrease, of 5 per cent, in live music performed in venues across England and Wales. While the Government have said that they are looking at proposals to rectify this sad state of affairs, could he be specific about what they are?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, as I indicated, we are consulting on ways in which we can reduce burdens in certain areas. I emphasise to the House that the drop in live music is not great. Some had predicted that the Licensing Act would have a very significant effect and it clearly has not. A very substantial proportion of those venues that do not put on live music actually have licences. What is reflected is the response of pubs and restaurants more to the market than to the obligations under the Licensing Act.

Lord Colwyn: My Lords, over 100 years ago, a landlord, without an entertainment licence, could lawfully keep a piano for the amusement of his customers. Today, he could be fined £20,000 and sent to jail for six months. Does the Minister really believe that the Licensing Act and its criminalisation of thousands of innocuous and historically exempt gigs is an effective regime for the 21st century?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the noble Lord produces a wonderfully extreme illustration of the Licensing Act. Of course, such condign punishments would be directed at major venues that had produced a huge public nuisance and caused widespread dismay. The pub piano scarcely falls into that category. I assure him that in the consultation that the noble Baroness urges us to undertake, we want to ensure that it is exactly the piano in the pub corner and so on that is outwith the licensing obligations.

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall: My Lords, as this consultation goes forward, will my noble friend ensure that particular attention is paid to the impact of the Licensing Act-and, indeed, other influences-on small, informal venues that are used by young artists, particularly young classical artists, early in their career? They are very dependent on venues such as churches and small halls being available. It is most important that the Act has no adverse impact on those venues, whether advertently or inadvertently.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, that point is well made by my noble friend. In response to this survey, my right honourable friend in the other place, James Purnell, the Secretary of State, announced that he is making £500,000 available over two years towards setting up pilot, professionally equipped, community rehearsal spaces for young people. This is an area of concern and we are addressing that. There are areas where some unexpected consequences or developments in the past four years need to be attended to. We will use the consultation to address the kind of issue raised by my noble friend and others.

Lord McNally: My Lords, instead of reinventing the wheel, can I suggest to the Minister that he reads the Committee stage of the Bill that led to this Act, where he will find speeches by the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, and my noble friend Lord Redesdale? They warned of exactly this problem but faced a wall of complacency from the then Minister, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, which is mirrored by the Minister's complacency today.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, my noble friend Lord McIntosh expressed the same degree of confidence in advance of the Act that I am able to express today; namely, that those who foresaw that the Licensing Act would have a devastating effect on live music have been proved wrong. I would be the last to suggest that the two contributors to our useful debates identified by the noble Lord were in that category, but there were foretellings of doom that have just not been fulfilled in the developments since the Act.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM

From: hamishbirchall
To: HB
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: Minister in public Q&A session on licensing/live music tomorrow at Olympia

Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe will talk about the impact of entertainment licensing on live music, and take questions from the floor tomorrow, Thursday 24 January, 11am-12noon, at Olympia: http://www.eventshow.co.uk/visitors/sessions/

This is an 'access session' in the Club Room, part of the annual Event Show. Attendance is free, but subject to successful registration which can be done online: http://www.eventcommunity.co.uk/registration/ev01t8_show.asp

For directions see: http://www.eventshow.co.uk/links/directions/

Former chair of the Live Music Forum, Feargal Sharkey, may also attend and put questions to Sutcliffe.

Among other things, this is an opportunity for the minister to explain why DCMS claimed on 17 December that the latest live music research found that licensing was not responsible for the 5% drop in live gigs, while the actual British Market Research Board study suggested that licensing was partly responsible.

He might also reveal how many schools in England and Wales are licensed for concerts by pupils for family and friends. A full premises licence authorising performances of live music, and the provision of entertainment facilities, would be required if more than 12 public performances are held a year (up to 12 such concerts per year could be legally held if covered by a Temporary Event Notice at £21 each).


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: pavane
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 05:16 AM

Has anyone thought of a survey to compare the percentage of potential venues which host live music in England and Wales with comparable venues in countries where the PEL law does not apply, such as Scotland and Ireland?


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Jon Nix
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 08:12 AM

Folks,
It is about time Stallion's comment was repeated:

"Lets face it, this legislation isn't about music it is about money, it is a tilt at the black economy, where a few quid gets passed over to a couple of performers at the end of a night and nothing is declared. Create a paper trail and it is easier to trace, like the building legislation, just about all electrical work in houses has to be reported to Building control, for that one has to be registered with a approved body, that was not to improve standards but to to stamp out the black economy. So will Gordon Brown change the legislation? Not if it has made a difference to the coffers. If someone was to make a financially advantageous case that appeals to the treasury for changing it then it may happen, otherwise, don't hold your breath."

100% right Stallion......."It's all about the money, stupid!" and us whinging and a few peers in the Lords pontificating about it ain't gonna change nothin.

If I'm wrong, I'll smash my guitar on cam and post it on U-Tube.
(I hope I'm wrong 'cos that would be great....and I need a new guitar - he he)


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Jon Nix
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 08:23 AM

BBC news item from 2 days ago:

"The Audit Commission found local authorities had made £10.8bn from charges and fees in 2006/07 - equivalent to £210 per person. "

I think this proves the point........


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 05:54 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 1:01 PM
Subject: Busking - overground vs underground


If you busk regularly in the same place, and advertise the fact, is this a potential criminal offence unless the space is licensed for live music under the Licensing Act 2003?

Despite attempts by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to clarify the law, the answer remains uncertain. Two and half years since the Act came into effect, local authorities, responsible for enforcement, remain divided over what it means.

In December 2006, DCMS said it wasn't their intention that busking should be caught by the Act and that they would 'make [this] clear in legislation' (see * below). In February 2007, the Local Authority Coordinator of Regulatory Services (LACORS), the organisation that monitors local authority implementation of the Licensing Act, said: 'LACORS welcomes the intention of DCMS to clarify the policy intention of the Act in relation to the incidental music, especially as it does not appear to be clear in situations such as busking. Local Authorities are aware of the DCMS intention, but some may feel for legitimate legal reasons that that they cannot change their position until DCMS has implemented the clarification.'

In June 2007 DCMS published revised Licensing Guidance, secondary legislation that accompanies the Act. The 'incidental music' section was redrafted in a way that implied that buskers, carol singers and the like might qualify. Crucially, however, there was no explicit reference to busking.

A Parliamentary Committee concluded that the 'incidental music' section remained confusing: 'Some definitions have been clarified, for example what constitutes "a private event", but we regret that some, such as the definition of "incidental music", could not be made clearer and so may impose a burden on the courts until sufficient precedent is established.'
[House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee, 27th Report of Session 2006/7, p10, para 27, published 16 July 2007. PDF file: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldmerit/146/146.pdf ]

Earlier this year, I put the busking question to some local authority licensing managers. Tony Payne, licensing manager for Oxford City Council, said: 'My personal view on what you describe... is that if it takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided at least partly to entertain that audience or for personal gain then it would come under the definition of Regulated Entertainment. This is a Licensable Activity and would at least require a Temporary Event Notice.'

This view was echoed by several others outside London, who also stressed that busking was allowed in areas they had already licensed under the Act. But Lionel Starling, licensing manager for Swindon, took a different line: 'When it was still going through Parliament I raised this point and wanted a distinction drawn between 'spectator' and 'audience'. Is someone who wanders past but stops for a while part of an 'audience'. I would say not - in which case no licence is needed. The bottom line is that if none of the official licensing objectives (safety, nuisance, protecting children, disorder) are triggered how can it possibly be any of our business anyway?'

In London itself, both Camden and Westminster almost, but not quite, concluded that the London Underground buskers were 'incidental music' and therefore exempt. A spokesperson for Camden cited the exemption, and added: '... we have to consider whether busking constitutes a performance in the presence of an audience. Passers-by could constitute an audience if they stopped to watch the entertainment, but generally people using the tube stations do no more than pass through.'

And indeed it seems that a liberal interpretation prevails for the London Underground busking scheme. These regular performances are advertised by the current sponsors, Capital Radio: http://www.buskear.com/musicmap.aspx . According to Transport for London, the pitches are not licensed under the Act. When I asked them about this they took advice from DCMS before issuing a statement:

'Under the Licensing Act 2003 London Underground Limited (LUL) do not require a license for the buskers that perform on the London Underground. Busking on the network is incidental to London Underground's main activity (transport) and is accordingly not considered to be a licensable activity.'

While encouraging in some respects, this does raise questions about the validity of the Act in general. Why shouldn't a regular, publicly advertised jazz or folk session in a bar qualify for the exemption? I have yet to hear of a local authority that explicitly allows such performances as 'incidental music'.

Of course, in many areas busking is regulated not only by local authorities' adopting strict interpretations of the Licensing Act, but also by local byelaws. According to lawyers, however, the enforceability of such byelaws is doubtful in light of the DCMS's publicly stated view that its own national legislation regulating live music was not intended to apply to busking. Current byelaw guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government states:

'If there is general legislation to cover the subject causing concern, byelaws are not generally considered suitable.'
http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/360902/byelaws/localgovernmentlegislation/guidancenotesarrangements/

In short, despite DCMS 'clarifications' and 'a licensing regime for the 21st century', the legal status of live music remains very confused.

* On 11 December 2006 DCMS published this commitment:

'To make clear in [Licensing] legislation that the policy intention is to exclude e.g. carol singers, buskers, puppet shows for children and poetry readings from requiring a licence. This measure would most likely be delivered via regulation / and or Guidance.'
'Lifting the burden - Improving and realising community capacity', DCMS December 2006, 'Areas to be explored to achieve further reductions in administrative burdens', p23, para H.
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_2006/simplificationplan_2006.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: pavane
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 04:30 AM

What about the news item today

Music therapy plan for patients

Musical groups will be brought into hospitals across Wales in a bid to help patients, it has been announced.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it planned to invite local amateur groups to hospitals after research proved music's "therapeutic benefits".

More than 130 musical societies, such male voice choirs, orchestras and brass bands, have shown an interest in taking part in the Healthy Sounds scheme.


Will this need a licence?


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 04 May 08 - 04:47 PM

An interesting one this. Comments?

Geoff

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2008 12:23 PM
Subject: Nigel Kennedy performance tests licensing experts


On Wednesday morning 09 April, Nigel Kennedy performed the Dr Who theme tune on the steps outside the Royal Albert Hall. With the Tardis behind him, a smoke machine, and some hefty amplification for his electric violin, the event was obviously well planned. But was it legal?

The event was organised and broadcast by the BBC that day as part of the promotion for this year's Proms. On 27 July Kennedy will be performing there for the first time in 20 years. The BBC also put their broadcast on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NCfM8UGkq0&feature=user . The camera stays close to Kennedy during the performance, and no audience is visible, although whoops and applause can be heard at the end.

Unbeknown to the BBC at the time, another video of the event was taken by a student at the Royal College of Music. The college is located only yards away on Prince Consort Road. This video was also put up on YouTube. Unlike the BBC footage, it was taken from further back and shows press photographers clustered in front of Kennedy, and, crucially, spectators: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A58z5qeZgc

A spokesperson for the BBC said that the event was not licensable because it was for the invited press only and the land belonged to the Royal Albert Hall. But Westminster City Council, which has licensing responsibility for the area, said that the Hall's premises licence did not cover the area in question, and that no Temporary Event Notice (TEN) authorised Kennedy's performance. They added, however, that they thought the event was for BBC filming purposes only and there would be no investigation unless a complaint was made.

I asked two other council licensing officers and an experienced licensing lawyer for their view. On viewing the YouTube videos, Selina Steel of Oxford City Council said: 'I have discussed with my colleague and we agree that you would need to apply for a TEN as this wasn't an incidental event as it was pre-planned.'

Lionel Starling of Swindon council said he had foreseen problems about whether spectators counted as an audience: "On 31 December 2002 I wrote a letter to Julia Drown MP, which was passed to Dr Kim Howells MP [responsible for introducing the legislation at the time] and answered by him. What I said was 'As an aside, the associated reference to "spectators" will be very troublesome. Are parents waiting to take their children home or shoppers wandering past "spectators"?' The answer from the Minister was 'Mr Starling also questions the definition of spectators or audience in the Bill. To clarify this, if the public are admitted then all performances will be licensable regardless of their location. If they are not, licences will generally only be needed if those attending are charged to attend, with the aim of making a profit, including raising funds for charity.' My belief has always been that the word "spectators" is there to cover the semantic distinction between 'audience' at a play and 'spectators' at a boxing match. I could of course be wrong about that but I was certainly right about the 'troublesome' part."

The licensing lawyer concluded: "... this was clearly a performance which fell within the remit of the Act. I understand that the steps of the Royal Albert Hall do not fall within the scope of the Hall's existing licence, yet they were obviously made available for the performance to take place. The performance itself was in a public area and attracted spectators and was this a performance before an audience. The fact that the spectators were uninvited or even if they were unwanted, makes no difference, they watched and the performance did not stop when they arrived. What is the difference between this performance and a busker playing in the same place tomorrow, or even Nigel going to a pub tomorrow (which doesn't have the benefit of an entertainment licence) and playing for pleasure whilst having a pint but attracting an audience? Would those situations be ignored by the licensing enforcement authority? I think not! This episode, or rather the licensing authority's tolerance/ambivalence towards it illustrates the inherent difficulties of having an Act which attempts to treat all musical events (subject to even more ambiguous exemptions) as equal."


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tradsinger
Date: 05 May 08 - 12:51 PM

So are the organisers going to be fined 20,000 pounds or go to jail?


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:10 PM

When this act was brought in the Lord Mayor of Sheffield dancedc in the streets with all sorts of dance groups.

The council who had forgotten to licence the area did not prosecute although there was a clear breach of the law (using amplified music).

They then licenced the whole of the City Centre to stop the whole thing happening again. A sensible move IMHO.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:03 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:48 PM
Subject: Licensing - more Lords questions

Lord Clement-Jones (Lib Dem) has helpfully tabled four written questions concerning the Licensing Act and live music. Answers are expected within two weeks:

... to ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on the public consultation concerning possible new exemptions to the Licensing Act 2003 for low-risk music events. [DCMS] HL3291
... to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered using the power under paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003 to amend the Act's descriptions of entertainment to make clear that low-risk performances are exempt. [DCMS] HL3292

... to ask Her Majesty's Government what meetings the Department for Culture Media and Sport have held, or have scheduled, this year with representatives of musicians' organisations; and whether the Department's agenda for those meetings included or will include discussion of new exemptions from the Licensing Act 2003 for low-risk performances. [DCMS] HL3293

... to ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of schools in England and Wales hold a premises licence authorising performances of live music. [DCMS] HL3294

Link to questions on the Parliament website (about half-way down a very long page):
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldcumlst.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:10 PM

I find this one worrying. There is a quote from Richard Bridge which pretty much sums up my feelings.

Geoff

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2008 11:56 AM
Subject: Parliamentary Jazz Awards - unlicensed


Next Tuesday, 13 May, the fourth annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards will take place on the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons: http://www.jazzservices.org.uk/Portals/0/press%20release%20NOMS%20final.pdf

The event will feature a performance by the celebrated jazz guitarist John Etheridge and his band the Blue Spirits Trio - a performance of the sort that, according to ministers, must be regulated through entertainment licensing on the grounds of public safety and noise nuisance risks, the potential for crime and disorder, and to protect children from harm.

But the Houses of Parliament are of course exempt from alcohol and entertainment licensing legislation, and indeed from public safety legislation. Under the 'doctrine of exclusive cognisance', which dates from the 1689 Bill of Rights, only laws that expressly apply to Parliament are deemed enforceable - a fact which may have been overlooked by Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), the company that sponsors the Awards.

PPL collects and distributes airplay and public performance royalties in the UK. The company also leads the music industry campaign to extend copyright in sound recordings in the UK from the present 50 years to 95 years. The cause has been taken up in Parliament by Pete Wishart, former member of the band Runrig, now SNP member for Perth & Perthshire North. His private members bill had a second reading in March. For recent developments see: http://www.epolitix.com/EN/Forums/PPL/2fc78fe9-8f12-46d2-87b0-8824a7c1af2c.htm

According to the Parliament website, in 2006/7 PPL funded the All Party Jazz Appreciation Group (APJAG), which hosts the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, to the tune of £19,680 (see link to Parliament website below).

Supporters of extending copyright in sound recordings in the UK include the Musicians' Union. The argument is that ageing composers and performers would benefit financially, and that it would bring parity with the US. But others see dangers:

'My view is that the record companies will benefit from this far more than the artists, and not all artists will benefit,' said Richard Bridge, copyright lawyer, musician and folk music enthusiast. He added: 'Where record companies choose not to exploit back catalogue, music enthusiasts will be deprived of access to that back catalogue for longer.'

In the past two years, APJAG members, including Michael Connarty (Linlithgow & Falkirk East, Lab) and Joan Walley (Stoke on Trent North, Lab) have spoken eloquently in support of extending copyright in sound recordings. See:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2006-05-17b.331.0&s=copyright+speaker%3A10208#g331.1
And:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080320/halltext/80320h0005.htm

In fact many opposition party MPs, not members of APJAG, also support extending this copyright, albeit with caveats and qualifications. The government, which had been against the idea, now seems to be reconsidering it.

But while the copyright issue is undoubtedly important to those who stand to benefit financially, it will be of no direct benefit to the vast majority of musicians. On the other hand, exempting small, low risk gigs from entertainment licensing could create thousands of opportunities for musicians, particularly at the grass roots, and particularly for those involved in jazz and folk music.

What have APJAG members been saying in Parliament about entertainment licensing reform? It is a reasonable question. Both the MU and the former Live Music Forum publicly recommended last summer that the government, as a matter of some urgency, create a new exemption in the Licensing Act 2003 for small gigs. But the government has stalled on this one, promising only a 'full public consultation' on possible exemptions this year.

Despite an extensive Google search, I could find only one of the 'twenty qualifying members' of APJAG, Lord Colwyn, who since the Licensing Act came into force in 2005 has spoken out in Parliament warning of its potential to harm grass roots jazz.

And despite two attempts, PPL has so far not answered these questions: whether it supports the MU and LMF proposed small gigs exemption; and, if 'yes', to what extent PPL has lobbied MPs and Peers over the past year to include a new small gigs exemption within the Act.

The All Party Jazz Appreciation Group on the Parliament website:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/memi334.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 07:40 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:41 PM
Subject: Consultation on small gigs exemption delayed?

On 7th May, in response to a written question by Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement Jones (HL3291), Lord Davies of Oldham suggested that the government's public consultation on licensing exemptions for low risk gigs would be carried out 'by the summer'.

The summer will be over in a few weeks, and there is no sign that this consultation has even begun. It is now more than a year since the Musicians' Union and the erstwhile Live Music Forum publicly concluded that the Licensing Act 2003 had harmed small gigs, and called on the government to create, as a matter of urgency, a new exemption for such events within the Act.

On Monday 14th July Lord Clement Jones tabled a further written question (HL4889), asking the government: '... what is their current timetable for conducting a public consultation on licensing exemptions for low risk musical performances; and whether this consultation will take place over the summer.'

The government's answer is expected by 28 July.

Link (scroll down to Questions for Written Answer or search on page for 'Clement'):
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/minutes/080715/ldordpap.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 07:41 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 2:31 PM
Subject: New inquiry into effect of Licensing Act on live music


In a surprise move, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee today announced its own public inquiry into the effects of the Licensing Act 2003 (see full announcement below). Note that this is NOT the 'full public consultation' promised by the government on new exemptions within the Act for 'low risk music events'. That has yet to be launched by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee acts independently of the government and DCMS. Their announcement today suggests that there is serious doubt that the Act has delivered the many benefits claimed by the government. These of course included ministers' claims that it would be easier and cheaper to stage live music, and that there would be 'an explosion' of live music as a result.

The inquiry remit includes the impact on the performance of live music, and whether or not the Act has reduced costs and red tape.

The Committee's inquiry is suprising not least because in December last year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published its own assessment of the impact of the Act on live music ('New plans to help live music thrive', press release 17 December 2007: http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/media_releases/2254.aspx )

In that press release DCMS reported a 5% fall in live gigs since their 2004 survey of venues not specialising in live music, but claimed this was not due to the new licensing regime.

The deadline for responses to the inquiry is Tuesday 30 September. See guidance below on submissions, which must be in writing. The Committee office advised me that they want concise, factual and clear feedback.

Committee website: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport.cfm
The Licensing Act inquiry announcement will be put up on the website tomorrow as a press release.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 01:12 PM

Don't hold your breath on this one!

----- Original Message -----
From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:51 AM
Subject: Small gigs exemptions 'by spring 2009'


The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has set a spring 2009 deadline to implement new exemptions for 'low risk' gigs.

The pledge came in a reply by Lord Davies of Oldham to Lord Clement-Jones' latest Parliamentary Question requesting a timetable for the Department's public consultation on new exemptions. (Full Q&A text at the end of this email).

The DCMS response, dated 22nd July, also confirms that the consultation is delayed. It will not now be completed 'by the summer' as announced earlier this year, but should begin 'from autumn'.

The answer may be encouraging in part, but it raises further questions. For example, DCMS says that it is 'discussing draft exemptions with representatives of the music sector' but does not identify the organisations or individuals concerned.

The first musicians' organisation that comes to mind is the Musicians' Union. But two members of the union's executive committee independently confirmed this morning that they were not aware of such discussions, and that, to the best of their knowledge, the subject had not yet been raised with the EC. This could mean that DCMS discussions on draft exemptions have been confined to senior MU officers, or that the MU has not been involved at all. Either way, not involving the union's executive committee would be a serious omission by DCMS. For one thing most EC members are active professional musicians; MU officers are not.

Of course the Licensing Act also needlessly interferes with many amateur events, such as school concerts open to family and friends.

Louise de Winter is Director of the National Campaign for the Arts, 'the UK's only independent lobbying organisation representing all the arts', providing '... a united voice for the arts, especially for arts organisations across the UK and for all artists, staff and volunteers who work in the arts' (http://www.artscampaign.org.uk/nca/index.html). Significantly, Ms de Winter also represented the NCA on the DCMS Live Music Forum during its final weeks last year. Today she too confirmed that, to date, the NCA has not been party to any discussions with DCMS about draft exemptions from the Licensing Act for low risk events.

On the nature of the draft exemptions DCMS is silent, although they say they are '... taking into account the recommendations made by the Live Music Forum...'. The LMF recommendations included, as 'a matter of some urgency', an exemption for gigs where fewer than 100 people attend and an exemption for unamplified live music. [Live Music Forum, 'Findings and Recommendations', recommendations (v) and (vi), 04 July 2007: http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/lmf_forewordexcsummary.pdf ]

See also Government response to the LMF report: http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/govtresponselivemusicforum.pdf

Finally, DCMS refers to the exemptions as 'de minimis'. But according to a leading licensing lawyer, Simon Mehigan QC, this is problematic:   'It is a meaningless and empty promise because, as a matter of legal principle 'de minimis' activities are by their very nature excluded from the reach of the law. In fact the phrase de minimis comes from a longer latin phrase de minimis non curat lex, which as everyone knows means the law doesn't concern itself with trifles. What one hopes he meant to say was that areas of activity which are NOT de miminis may well be excluded from the Act as a result of this consultation.'

Full Parliamentary Q&A text:

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government (14 July 2008): What is their current timetable for conducting a public consultation on licensing exemptions for low risk musical performances; and whether this consultation will take place over the summer. [HL4889]

Lord Davies of Oldham (22 July 2008): DCMS is currently developing options for consultation to exempt low impact ('de minimis') licensing activities from the scope of the Licensing Act 2003. As part of that work we are taking into account the recommendations made by the Live Music Forum and discussing draft exemptions with representatives of the music sector. We are aiming to consult from autumn and to have exemptions in place by spring 2009.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 04:53 PM

Like I said in the previous message; "Don't hold your breath"

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 9:32 AM
Subject: Small gigs exemptions - extent of DCMS discussions


On Friday 1st August, a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed that, to date, only Musicians' Union officials have been involved in DCMS discussions about draft entertainment licensing exemptions for performances of live music.

On 22nd July DCMS claimed it was '... discussing draft exemptions with representatives of the music sector'.
[Lord Davies of Oldham, written answer to question by Lord Clement-Jones, ref. HL4889
see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80722w0010.htm and scroll down]

But last week, representatives of arts organisations including Equity, the Arts Council, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the National Campaign for the Arts, and the music industry, said that they had not been party to such discussions.

It is now more than a year since the Musicians' Union and the Live Music Forum concluded that the Licensing Act 2003 harmed small scale performances, and recommended further exemptions within the Act as a matter of urgency. [For LMF statement in July 2007 see: http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/media_releases/2288.aspx]

The latest DCMS revelation suggests that Musicians' Union officials may have kept the exemption discussions close to their chest. On 24th July two members of the union's executive committee independently confirmed they were not aware of any such discussions with DCMS, and that, to the best of their knowledge, the subject had not yet been raised formally with the committee.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 06:20 PM

The plot thickens.

Who is Feargal Sharkey?   I seem to remember him saying something to the effect that he used to be a musician.    How does he earn his living now? I wonder when he last was part of a session in a pub.
Best wishes
Mike

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 4:57 PM
Subject: Small gigs exemption - Sharkey in private DCMS talks


On Friday 12th September, Feargal Sharkey, now Chief Executive of British Music Rights, was interviewed in that capacity on BBC Radio 4 'You and Yours'.

Towards the end of the programme, in response to a listener's question, he let slip that he was due to meet government officials the following week to discuss the small gigs entertainment licensing exemption recommended 'as a matter of some urgency' by the erstwhile Live Music Forum more than a year ago.

When asked about this meeting, Linda Martin, Head of Press at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, tersely replied: 'DCMS ministers and officials meet regularly with a range of stakeholders.   Those meetings are private and the department does not provide details of them.'

An unhelpful reply, and not strictly accurate: dates and limited details of ministers meetings are published in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. See for example:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/foi_requests/5190.aspx

Sharkey's continued involvement in the entertainment licensing debacle is curious. He has held the BMR post since 1st February. The LMF was disbanded in the summer of 2007 following publication of its recommendations to ministers - but before the all-important follow-up survey of live music research had been carried out. Enquiries suggest that other former LMF members, with the exception of the Musicians' Union, and recently the Arts Council, have not been kept informed of entertainment licensing developments by DCMS.

Indeed, it seems Sharkey was not keen to chair the LMF in the first place. In a self-penned profile published in the Spring issue of Link magazine, he describes how his LMF job came about:

'It was like I stepped out of the room at the Radio Authority and they [DCMS] pointed at me and said "You! You know about the music industry - or, at least, you're supposed to. You chair the Forum." Getting the job here at BMR was an entirely different experience. I was really keen to apply for it and really keen to accept the role."
['Perspectives', 'A Good Start', CEO of British Music Rights, Feargal Sharkey, LINK, Spring 2008, p50]
Magazine's home page (but not the article which is unavailable online) http://www.linkmagazine.co.uk/mag_iss17_overview.html

But while the DCMS press office was being absurdly tight-lipped, a limited update had in fact already been published in a Written Answer from government culture spokesperson Lord Bassam of Brighton, Monday 15 September:

'The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is at an early stage of the development of exemptions for low-impact licensable activities, including small-scale live music. Officials have discussed the draft live music exemptions with the Musicians' Union, and with individual live music providers. We will continue to discuss all of the exemptions with a variety of stakeholders, particularly those on our Licensing Advisory Group which includes the Arts Council representing all the arts, including live music.'
[Response to a written question from Lord Clement-Jones, HL5272]

The government will have to get a move on if it is to meet its own deadline of a public consultation on further exemptions this autumn, and implementation by next spring.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 09:14 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feargal_Sharkey


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 04:07 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 10:22 AM
Subject: MU and Equity lobby for small gigs exemptions


The Musicians' Union and Equity are actively lobbying the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to exempt small gigs from the Licensing Act 2003, according to reliable sources.

Details are sketchy, but the MU is apparently seeking an exemption for venues up to 200 capacity.   Equity's submission will, it seems, be made to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, not direct to DCMS. The Committee's public inquiry into the impact of the Licensing Act on various activities, including live music, is open to submissions until next Tuesday, 30 September. The Committee is independent of government and the DCMS. See:
http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport/cms080718pn051.cfm

In a separate development, new evidence has come to light that raises serious doubts about the validity of the DCMS position that the Act was not responsible for a 5% fall in gigs reported in the Department's live music research last December.

The DCMS position is based on research carried out in 2007 by the British Market Research Board [A survey of live music in England and Wales, published by DCMS December 2007].

But it has emerged that the interviewee answers on which the claim largely rests, about 11% of the total sample of 2,251 interviews, were not what was actually said, but paraphrased headings created by BMRB from a wide variety of actual answers.

On 17 September DCMS provided me with a copy of the verbatim answers, also copied to the Statistics Authority. To those with knowledge of licensing, the way BMRB categorised the answers is questionable in many cases, if not simply wrong.

For example, many of those who stopped having live music cited costs as the reason. Costs might mean a band's fee, but it might also include a licensing element. But if licensing was not explicitly mentioned this was not explored further, and the answer was filed under other some other category, not under 'issues related to licensing'.

DCMS also overestimated the number of venues apparently starting live music 'because of' the new Act (originally 7, derived from the answer category 'new licence allowed it'). The verbatim answers show that only one venue actually suggested the new law made it easier to have live music. That sentiment was not stated or even implied by the remaining six. And merely because a new licence allows live music does not tell us anything about any perceived benefit, or otherwise, of the new regime.

The DCMS position is further undermined by the fact that many interviewees were in no position to make an informed comparison of the old and new licensing regimes. Either they were not working at the venue at the time the old regime changed to the new in 2005, or they knew little or nothing about the legislation, or both. Moreover, the survey had a significant proportion of 'don't know' answers to questions about the Act. Was it safe to assume, as DCMS and BMRB apparently did, that the impact of the Act on the 'don't knows' was the same as that where people provided answers?

The 'Why did you stop/start having live music?' data is set out in the BMRB report under figures 5.3 and 5.4, pp36-37. See report on DCMS website (PDF file) : http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/research/surveyoflivemusicdec2007.pdf

Campaigners are currently seeking a website on which to publish the verbatim answers released by DCMS.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 08:55 AM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 2:07 PM
Subject: Concerns over DCMS live music research raised in Parliament


Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones has tabled a new set of Written Questions reflecting a range of musicians' concerns about entertainment licensing reform (see below). The government should respond by 13 October.

Note that the 'licensing advisory group' was identified by the government on 15 September as a group with which it is discussing the development of new entertainment licensing exemptions for small gigs (Written Answer from Lord Bassam of Brighton, responding to an earlier PQ from Lord Clement-Jones: HL5272. See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldtoday/writtens/09.htm#hdg_19 ) It appears to have taken over some of the functions of the former Live Music Forum.

Licensing PQs tabled 29 September 2008:

Lord Clement-Jones to ask Her Majesty's Government:
... whether they will publish the names of all members of the Licensing Advisory Group. HL5365

... why there was a delay in the development of exemptions within the Licensing Act 2003 for small-scale performances of live music of more than a year after the Live Music Forum and the Musicians Union called for the implementation of such exemptions as a matter of urgency. HL5366

... to ask Her Majesty's Government whether all members of the former Live Music Forum are kept informed of discussions about entertainment licensing exemptions for small-scale performances of live music which are taking place with the former Chairman, Mr Feargal Sharkey, and the Musicians Union. HL5367

... whether they have determined from the survey of live music carried out in 2007 by the British Market Research Board on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (a) the proportion of interviewees who were responsible for the conversion of their venues' justices' on-licence to the new premises licence during 2005; (b) the proportion of those interviewees who started or stopped having live music since the new regime came into force who were responsible for the conversion of their venues' old justices' on-licence to the new premises licence in 2005; and (c) the proportion of interviewees who were working in the same venue since the beginning of 2005. HL5368

... to ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to exempting circus performances from the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. HL5369

See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldordpap.htm#qwa (scroll down or search on the page for 'Clement')


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 07:03 PM

Two more this time.

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 2:04 PM
Subject: 14 Oct - oral evidence session - Culture Committee Licensing inquiry


On Tuesday 14 October the first oral evidence session for the public inquiry into the Licensing Act 2003 is to be held in Committee Room 15, Houses of Parliament, starting at 10.30am:
http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport/meetings.cfm

Witnesses giving evidence:

10.30-11.10am: Local Government Association; Association of Town Centre Management
11.10-11.50am: Association of Chief Police Officers; Police Federation
11.50am-? : The Magistrates' Association

The terms of reference for the inquiry were published by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 18 July:

- Whether there has been any change in levels of public nuisance, numbers of night-time offences or perceptions of public safety since the Act came into force;
- The impact of the Act on the performance of live music;

- The financial impact of the Act on sporting and social clubs;

- Whether the Act has led, or looks likely to lead, to a reduction in bureaucracy for those applying for licences under the new regime and for those administering it;

- Whether the anticipated financial savings for relevant industries will be realised.

And other areas of interest that are raised during the course of the inquiry.

See:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport/cms080718pn051.cfm


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 07:04 PM

A friend who has converted his One car garage into an office has been told that if he plays music in this 'place of work' he has to get a licence!
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 5:37 PM
Subject: No delay in small gigs exemption says minister


Government licensing spokesperson Lord Davies of Oldham claimed yesterday that there had been no delay in the development of exemptions in the Licensing Act 2003 for small-scale performances.

Lord Davies' astonishing claim came response to the latest round of entertainment licensing questions tabled by Lord Clement-Jones on 29 September (see full Q&A below).

Why astonishing? On 07 May Lord Davies said the long-promised DCMS consultation on small gigs exemptions would take place 'by the summer'. On 22 July his position had changed: the consultation would now take place in 'the autumn'.

Points to note:

The DCMS Live Music Forum, whose remit included monitoring the impact of the Licensing Act, was disbanded in July 2007 after it recommended new exemptions for small gigs 'as a matter of some urgency', and several months before the final DCMS research into the impact of the Licensing Act on live music. In June 2007 the Musicians' Union also publicly called on the government to implement a small gigs exemption as soon as possible.   By that time both organisations had already monitored the impact of the Act for nearly two years.

Feargal Sharkey, former Chair of the LMF, has since implied that he was never particularly keen to take on his LMF role [Perspectives, 'A Good Start', CEO of British Music Rights Feargal Sharkey, LINK magazine, Spring 2008, p50]. Sharkey is now Chief Executive Officer of UK Music, since 26 September the new name for British Music Rights:
http://www.ukmusic.org/page/news-&-newsletters

Lord Davies' answer relating to the 2007 BMRB live music survey confirms suspicions that data on which DCMS based it position that the Act was in no way responsible for the 5% fall in live gigs is unreliable. The DCMS position was based on reasons given by interviewees for either starting or stopped live music. This was a sub-set of about 11% of the total sample of 2,251 interviews. It turns out that about 40% of interviewees were not working at the venue when the new licensing regime came into force in 2005. Also, we have no idea whether or not those that were working at the venue in 2005 had any role in applying for the new licence. Lastly, just because an interviewee was responsible for booking bands it does not necessarily mean, as the minister suggests, that they would know about changes to their licence, or the reasons for any changes.

~ ~ ~

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether all members of the former Live Music Forum are kept informed of discussions about entertainment licensing exemptions for small-scale performances of live music which are taking place with the former chairman, Mr Feargal Sharkey, and the Musicians Union. [HL5367]

Lord Davies of Oldham: No. The Live Music Forum (LMF) was established in 2004 to help maximise the take-up of reforms in the Licensing Act 2003 relating to the provision of live music, to monitor the impact of the Act on live music and to promote live music performance. The forum met 13 times, the final meeting being held on 16 April 2007. The forum's recommendations were published on 4 July 2007, after which it disbanded. The Secretary of State recently held a meeting with Feargal Sharkey in his capacity as the newly appointed chief executive of UK Music.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have determined from the survey of live music carried out in 2007 by the British Market Research Board on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (a) the proportion of interviewees who were responsible for the conversion of their venues' justices' on-licence to the new premises licence during 2005; (b) the proportion of those interviewees who started or stopped having live music since the new regime came into force who were responsible for the conversion of their venues' old justices' on-licence to the new premises licence in 2005; and (c) the proportion of interviewees who were working in the same venue since the beginning of 2005. [HL5368]

Lord Davies of Oldham: As the survey did not ask any direct questions concerning the responsibility for licence conversion, it is impossible to determine directly the proportion of interviewees who fell into that category. However, we did ensure where relevant that all respondents were responsible for the provision of live music at that venue. This means they would have had knowledge of any changes to their licence in relation to live music. The survey did not ask about the length of time the interviewee had been working at the venue but did ask a related question about the length of time they had been responsible for live music at the venue. The contractors reported that 60 per cent of respondents had held this responsibility for more than two years. This may be an underestimate as some of the 40 per cent who did not hold the responsibility may have worked there for longer than two years in some other capacity.

Licensing: Live Music
Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why there was a delay in the development of exemptions within the Licensing Act 2003 for small-scale performances of live music of more than a year after the Live Music Forum and the Musicians Union called for the implementation of such exemptions as a matter of urgency. [HL5366]

Lord Davies of Oldham: There was no delay. The DCMS has been developing options for consultation to exempt low impact (de minimis) licensing activities from the scope of the 2003 Act. The Government do not undertake amendments to primary legislation lightly, particularly in the case of legislation which was only brought fully into force within the past three years. As part of that work, we are considering exemptions for small and incidental live music events, taking into account the recommendations made by the Live Music Forum. Officials have had discussions with stakeholders, including the Musicians' Union, which aim to develop exemptions that can benefit live music without jeopardising the licensing objectives. We hope to publish a consultation document in the autumn, and subject to the outcome, to have the exemptions in place by spring 2009.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will publish the names of all members of the Licensing Advisory Group. [HL5365]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The DCMS Licensing Advisory Group comprises representatives of the following organisations:

Action with Communities in Rural England; Alcohol Concern; Arts Council England; Association of Chief Police Officers; Association of Convenience Stores; Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers; British Hospitality Association; British Institute of Innkeeping; British Beer & Pub Association; British Marine Federation; British Retail Consortium; Business In Sport and Leisure;Chartered Institute of Environmental Health; Cinema Exhibitors Association;The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform;Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations; Federation of Small Businesses; The Guild of Master Victuallers; Justices' Clerks Society; Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services; London Councils;Paterson's; Magistrates Association; Musicians' Union; Noctis; and Working Men's Club and Institute Union/Committee of Registered Clubs' Associations.
Since the advisory group comprises organisations not individuals, representation at each meeting varies. Not all organisations attend meetings on a regular basis.

Licensing: Circuses
Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

What consideration they have given to exempting circus performances from the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. [HL5369]

Lord Davies of Oldham: We have consulted circuses directly about their experience of the Licensing Act 2003, and Ministers and officials have met circus representatives on several occasions to hear their concerns. While I am not convinced that licensable activities should be exempt simply because they are carried on within a circus, I do recognise the particular regulatory burdens placed on travelling tented circuses because they move from site to site. We are looking at how we can simplify aspects of the application processes to relieve some of the burden and have also agreed to look at the feasibility of alternative licensing arrangements which better reflect the nature of travelling entertainment performed at multiple sites.

See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/81013w0003.htm#08101317000018


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 06:23 PM

Three more exciting installments of the ongoing saga...

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 1:25 PM
Subject: Is ceilidh like morris dancing?


Once again, the lack of clarity in the law that regulates music and dancing has exposed fundamental differences of interpretation between local authorities.

On Saturday 18 October thousands of people around the UK and beyond danced in the Big National Ceilidh to raise money for WaterAid: http://www.bignationalceilidh.co.uk:80/site/
More info about WaterAid: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/about_us/default.asp

Most if not all the 90 or so events took place in venues already licensed for dancing, including town halls and community centres.   But need they have worried about entertainment licensing?

I asked six councils whether they would allow such ceilidhs under the Licensing Act's exemption for morris dancing and any dancing of a similar nature. Four failed to reply, but of the two who did one (Camden) said 'yes' and the other (Swindon) said 'no'.

A spokesperson for Camden said: 'We would take the view that this [ceilidh] would be of a similar nature to morris dancing and therefore exempt from needing to be licensed. The exemption also includes unamplified live music that is integral to such a performance.'

However, Lionel Starling, licensing manager for Swindon council, saw it differently: 'I think this ceilidh is licensable mainly because it is planned and widely promoted in advance. As with many aspects of the Licensing Act 2003, a great deal depends on interpretation. An exemption for 'morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature' leaves many questions unanswered. Is the distinction based on the 'traditional' nature of morris dancing or is the emphasis on the fact that it is impromptu and therefore negligible in its impact? A performance of Riverdance involves a 'traditional' style of dancing but it would be perverse if that were exempt. For now, practitioners can only focus on the 'impromptu' aspect, in my view. Clearly, that does however leave us with the anomaly that a morris dancing festival is exempt from the scope of the Act.'

Richard Bridge, solicitor and founder of the Performer Lawyer Group, commented:

'I'm interested to hear of the views expressed by Camden council. It seems to me that part of the reason that one refers to a ceilidh as a ceilidh and to morris dancing as morris dancing is that they are very different. A ceilidh is one form of local social dance, whereas morris dancing is a display dance and indeed has only recently permitted the two genders to dance in the same displays!'


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 06:24 PM

From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 10:50 AM
Subject: Zippo's circus to give evidence at licensing inquiry


Zippo's circus is to give evidence tomorrow at the second oral evidence session of the Culture Committee Licensing Act Inquiry, Tuesday 28 October 2008.

Last month Birmingham's licensing officers banned music accompanying Zippo's clowns because it was not licensed as regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003. See The Times online, 23 September 2008:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk:80/tol/news/uk/article4804013.ece
On 07 October The Stage reported that Equity is lobbying to exempt circuses from the Act:
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/22005/government-petitioned-to-exempt-circus-from

But on 13 October government culture spokesperson Lord Davies of Oldham appeared to rule out such an exemption in favour of tweaking existing licence application processes or creating 'alternative licensing arrangements':

'... While I am not convinced that licensable activities should be exempt simply because they are carried on within a circus, I do recognise the particular regulatory burdens placed on travelling tented circuses because they move from site to site. We are looking at how we can simplify aspects of the application processes to relieve some of the burden and have also agreed to look at the feasibility of alternative licensing arrangements which better reflect the nature of travelling entertainment performed at multiple sites.'
[Written Answer to question by Lord Clement-Jones (HL5369)]

This negative response appears to have been ignored in an article entitled 'Mastering the Ring' by Conservative MP Peter Luff, published in The Stage of 23 October. A long-time campaigner against entertainment licensing for circuses, he called on the government to free them from '... bureaucratic and expensive licensing laws, which have a damaging impact on the sector.....".
[Article not available online]
Since the Committee's announcement (copy below) Committee Room 5 at the Palace of Westminster has been confirmed as the venue.

~ ~ ~

Select Committee Announcement
Committee Office
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

22 October 2008 No. 62
THE LICENSING ACT 2003
Oral evidence session

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee will hold its second oral evidence session on the Licensing Act 2003. Terms of reference for the inquiry were published in a Press Notice published by the Committee on 18 July 2008.

Date and Time: Tuesday 28 October 2008 at 1030

Witnesses:

1030      Central Council of Physical Recreation, Committee of Registered Club Associations

1110      Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, Zippo's Circus

1140      The Association of Convenience Stores, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association

Location: A Committee Room at the Houses of Parliament, to be confirmed. Please check http://www.parliament.uk/business/what_s_on.cfm

The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks. Committee Rooms and timings are subject to change.

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr John Whittingdale (Chairman) (Con) (Maldon and East Chelmsford) Janet Anderson (Lab) (Rossendale and Darwen) Alan Keen (Lab) (Feltham and Heston) Philip Davies (Con) (Shipley)Rosemary McKenna (Lab) (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East)
Mr Nigel Evans (Con) (Ribble Valley) Adam Price (PC) (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) Paul Farrelly (Lab) (Newcastle-under-Lyme) Mr Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) (Torbay) Mr Mike Hall (Lab) (Weaver Vale) Helen Southworth (Lab) (Warrington South)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 020 7219 2003 / 07917 488 489, e-mail: humblel@parliament.uk
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 6188, e-mail: cmscom@parliament.uk
Website: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport.cfm
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 06:25 PM

And the third one is a beauty!!!


From: Hamish Birchall
To: hamishbirchall
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:11 PM
Subject: A tale of DCMS efficiency


On 19 September, in response to the DCMS refusal to confirm that Feargal Sharkey had recently met DCMS officials to discuss Licensing Act exemptions for small gigs, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for:

'... details of all meetings organised or scheduled by DCMS between 01 January 2008 and 31 March 2009 for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of discussing draft exemptions from the Licensing Act 2003 for small-scale live music. The details should include names and job titles of those attending, or scheduled to attend. In the case of meetings already held by the time of the decision on this FoIA request, I request that the meeting minutes also be published.'

The phrase 'or for purposes which include the purpose' comes from the Licensing Act itself, specifically paragraph 2(1) of the entertainment Schedule 1. This lists descriptions of potentially licensable entertainment '...where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience.'

DCMS confirmed receipt of my FoIA request that afternoon. Curiously, however, the text had been altered. The 'purposes' phrase and the final sentence concerning meeting minutes were missing. I raised this immediately and was given a written assurance that the text would be 'addressed in its entirety'.

But on 16 October, in a holding response from DCMS, these sections of my text were again missing. Once again I raised this immediately. The response was slower this time. On 21 October, an official replied by email with a vague undertaking to address the 'request for notes of meetings'. I replied asking that they address the full, original FoIA request. There was no reply.

After waiting a further week I phoned the Department. Why the delay? What is the problem with the request? Answer: We couldn't understand the bit about 'purposes which include the purpose'.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: BB
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 04:06 PM

Yeah, well I could never understand that phrase anyway - I look forward to their response when you point out that the phrase is in the legislation!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 03:46 AM

There may be something in the Times this weekend.


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Subject: RE: UK Licensing act, 2003 - recent activity
From: pavane
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 03:54 AM

I found this quote in another thread - surely relevant.

"One of the reasons New Orleans has been such a magnet for musicians is that the wealth of local venues has made it a place where a person could earn a living without having to spend so much time on the road."


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