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HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?

The Shambles 11 Dec 00 - 07:07 PM
Dave Wynn 11 Dec 00 - 07:24 PM
Geoff the Duck 11 Dec 00 - 08:09 PM
Catrin 11 Dec 00 - 08:34 PM
The Shambles 12 Dec 00 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,CraigS 12 Dec 00 - 02:37 AM
Steve Parkes 12 Dec 00 - 03:22 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 00 - 04:15 AM
manitas_at_work 12 Dec 00 - 08:06 AM
Long Firm Freddie (at work) 12 Dec 00 - 08:12 AM
SueH 12 Dec 00 - 08:26 AM
The Shambles 31 Dec 00 - 08:26 AM
Jon Freeman 31 Dec 00 - 09:05 AM
Bernard 31 Dec 00 - 04:09 PM
The Shambles 31 Dec 00 - 08:14 PM
vindelis 31 Dec 00 - 08:43 PM
The Shambles 01 Jan 01 - 07:19 AM
selby 01 Jan 01 - 09:09 AM
Bernard 01 Jan 01 - 05:51 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Jan 01 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,John Hil 02 Jan 01 - 07:45 AM
The Shambles 02 Jan 01 - 09:19 AM
The Shambles 02 Jan 01 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,John Hill 02 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM
Bernard 02 Jan 01 - 02:19 PM
Jon Freeman 02 Jan 01 - 04:36 PM
The Shambles 02 Jan 01 - 05:14 PM
Jon Freeman 02 Jan 01 - 05:36 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Jan 01 - 05:41 PM
Jon Freeman 02 Jan 01 - 06:06 PM
The Shambles 02 Jan 01 - 06:44 PM
The Shambles 03 Jan 01 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Andy Wall 03 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 01 - 07:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 01 - 07:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 01 - 08:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 01 - 08:57 PM
The Shambles 04 Jan 01 - 02:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 01 - 09:54 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jan 01 - 03:50 PM
The Shambles 05 Jan 01 - 08:47 PM
The Shambles 06 Jan 01 - 07:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jan 01 - 10:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jan 01 - 03:38 PM
Jon Freeman 06 Jan 01 - 04:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jan 01 - 04:27 PM
The Shambles 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM
Jon Freeman 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM
The Shambles 06 Jan 01 - 04:57 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 01 - 06:00 PM
Jon Freeman 06 Jan 01 - 06:10 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 01 - 06:15 PM
Jon Freeman 06 Jan 01 - 06:33 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 01 - 06:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jan 01 - 06:40 PM
The Shambles 07 Jan 01 - 02:38 AM
The Shambles 07 Jan 01 - 03:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jan 01 - 09:14 AM
The Shambles 07 Jan 01 - 05:06 PM
The Shambles 07 Jan 01 - 05:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jan 01 - 08:06 PM
The Shambles 08 Jan 01 - 03:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jan 01 - 04:41 PM
The Shambles 08 Jan 01 - 07:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jan 01 - 07:43 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 01 - 06:48 PM
The Shambles 10 Jan 01 - 07:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 01 - 02:00 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jan 01 - 02:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 01 - 03:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 01 - 03:23 PM
The Shambles 12 Jan 01 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 12 Jan 01 - 10:45 AM
The Shambles 12 Jan 01 - 11:03 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 01 - 12:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jan 01 - 01:24 PM
The Shambles 12 Jan 01 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Red Headed Ann 13 Jan 01 - 12:28 AM
The Shambles 31 Jan 01 - 08:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jan 01 - 07:30 PM
The Shambles 01 Feb 01 - 02:08 PM
The Shambles 01 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 01 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,ham.drum@virgin.net 02 Feb 01 - 04:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 01 - 03:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 01 - 03:27 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Feb 01 - 06:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 01 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 03 Feb 01 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 03 Feb 01 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 03 Feb 01 - 06:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Feb 01 - 02:28 PM
The Shambles 04 Feb 01 - 06:20 AM
The Shambles 04 Feb 01 - 03:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Feb 01 - 05:18 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Feb 01 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Feb 01 - 07:27 PM
The Shambles 04 Feb 01 - 08:30 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 01 - 02:16 AM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 05 Feb 01 - 03:54 AM
The Shambles 05 Feb 01 - 04:00 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Feb 01 - 07:07 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 07:38 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 07:43 AM
Roger in Sheffield 26 Aug 01 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,mikemackenzieuk@yahoo.co.uk 02 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM
The Shambles 03 Feb 04 - 01:53 AM
Dave Bryant 03 Feb 04 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 03 Feb 04 - 04:23 PM
Dave Bryant 04 Feb 04 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Mikethemike 23 May 04 - 01:22 PM
GUEST 23 May 04 - 03:04 PM
Richard Bridge 23 May 04 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,mike the mike 23 May 04 - 04:45 PM
RichardP 24 May 04 - 12:54 PM
The Shambles 24 May 04 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 24 May 04 - 03:06 PM
The Shambles 24 May 04 - 07:11 PM
Richard Bridge 25 May 04 - 03:31 AM
RichardP 25 May 04 - 01:55 PM
RichardP 26 May 04 - 10:11 AM
The Shambles 26 May 04 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,mikethemike 26 May 04 - 02:11 PM
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Subject: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 07:07 PM

Does anyone know the licencing situation of customers making their own (unpaid) music in UK pubs?

Do you need a licence for a pub session?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 07:24 PM

We heard that providing only one musician and one singer no problem (to accomodate the Pub Piano days) but it's apocryphal. The other route is to use a segregated room (so it a private party)...needs checking though I am not a lawyer (have to be a shark not a dog to be a lawyer). Spot


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 08:09 PM

I think that a pub has to be licensed for music and entertainment.
I am sure that I could provide expert witnesses who would be prepared to stand up in any court in the land and testify that folk music is neither!!!!!!!!!
GtD


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Catrin
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 08:34 PM

Shambles - the uk is full of people making music in pubs without a license. I have just been to a place where they have a singaround one night, a session the next...

I don't know about official 'laws' - I just know it happens (without 'license') all over the place.

Cheers,

Catrin


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 02:18 AM

It seems to be OK for the two people playing at one time sort of thing. When there are more players than this, the letter of the law is being used, as in this case, by someone complaining to the local authority and that does appear to be the law, if invoked?

"If the law believes that then the law is an ass".

If it is the law, can anyone suggest a way around it? Like more info on the private party idea. Would the entire pub have to be closed for this or will just one room do?

What a bloody country.........


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 02:37 AM

Any public place (including village halls,etc) needs to be licenced for Music and Dancing if more than three people are singing at any one time - for a pub it's only a small addition to the licence to sell alcohol, and not very expensive, so if you're worried for your session's legality have a collection to pay for the extra licence and give the money to the landlord.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 03:22 AM

You need a licence to operaste a jukebox in a pub. Is that the same thing, or is that just to keep the MRCPS away?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 04:15 AM

I was involved with a folk club a few years ago that used to meet in a amateur dramatic theatre (which did not have an MCPS licence). Somehow MCPS found out and sent the theatre a bill for their estimated annual fee (their estimate was far more than we could afford). I wrote to MCPS explaining that we were a traditional folk club performing traditional unlicenced songs and I gave them a few examples. They wrote back to me claiming that some of the songs I had listed had been covered and although the author could not be traced we may be using the arrangement (they claimed that the Pogues and U2 had recorded songs with the names I had given). If it wasn't serious it is funny to think that they think an unaccompanied singer may be trying to sound like U2 !!

Now this really annoys me, that we have to give money to these bands so that we can perform traditional songs in public when they probably learnt the songs from people such as us in the first place. After a number of phone calls I eventually managed to negotiate the fee down to a level that we could afford to pay (we did consider moving the club but there was no other suitable venue). Unfortunately MCPS have the law on their side once they find you, so my advice is don't get caught and if you speak to MCPS don't mention that there is a public bar anywhere near where you are performing.

Ian


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 08:06 AM

I seem to recall that associate membership of EFDSS cured all problems with the PRS. MCPS shouldn't come into it with live music.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Long Firm Freddie (at work)
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 08:12 AM

This is how one local authority sees it:

click here

LFF


Link fixed - JoeClone


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: SueH
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 08:26 AM

You need a public entertainments licence if more than 2 people are going to perform, paid or unpaid. Pubs have to apply for these just as any other venue does.
I believe changes in the conditions for public entertainment are being considered. Ely Folk Club has just closed after 10 years, because they have had to move velkues several times over the past few years & have not managed to find anywhere appropriate.
One of the biggest problems seems to be that local councils are at liberty to interpret the law as they wish, & also to determine their own scale of charges - although I believe that the charges are only supposed to cover costs, not make a profit - and in some cases the charges are prohibitive.
SueH


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 08:26 AM

It would seem that it is a matter of interpretation. Some sensible councils, see it as participation. For others if two fiddles are playing badly, it is not entertainment. If three fiddles are playing badly, it is entertainment and then needs a licence?

The problem for publicans is that in order to obtain the licence, an inspection has to be made. This could involve expensive improvements. The irony being that on nights when there are no entertainments, the place could squeeze in as many folk as they want, without any inprovements, whether this was safe or not.

Not a very satisfactory state of afairs.......


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 09:05 AM

Shambles, in answer to your original question: Just try it and see what happens. It seems that some parts of the UK are a lot less flexible than others on this law.

I was in Norwich last week and I gathered that sessions are moving from pub to pub and are pretty well being driven underground because of the situation over there.

I do not know what the reasoning behind this law is but it seems ridiculous to me. I have never known a group of folk players get drunk and start fights in a pub...

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Bernard
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 04:09 PM

The one thing to remember is it is policed by complaint.

If nobody complains, then nobody is prosecuted.

Obviously it is a bit risky, but in my experience nobody is prosecuted on the first complaint, anyway - the Police visit the licensee and explain that 'a complaint has been made, so please toe the line...'

My 'experience' goes back over thirty years, during which time nobody was prosecuted, although three licensees were given friendly warnings.

There was an exception, however - one pub had a next door neighbour with a grudge, and the Environmental Health department were called in to take audio level readings. Although it never came to a prosecution, the ill feeling killed off the sessions.

Hope that helps...


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 08:14 PM

I think that is the point exactly. Ill feeling exists, for example, from a nearby licenced pub. They feel upset that they are paying for a licence and complain. This law is then used, completly wrongly in my opinion and creates even more bad feeling. The local authority should make a distinction between paid entertainment and participation.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: vindelis
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 08:43 PM

What happened prior to 1982? As this appears to be when the current law came in to being. It does seem the sort of thing that Oliver Cromwell would have had a hand in.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Jan 01 - 07:19 AM

The interpretation of a number of musicians playing informally in a pub as the pub providing public entertainment, and thus requiring a licence, poses a number of questions.

If a pub provides a dart board or a pool table, does that mean that an entertainment licence is required, especially in the cases where teams of players visit for competitions? An audience may be attracted but in essence the entertainment is provided by and for the participants. Is this not exactly the same as a session?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: selby
Date: 01 Jan 01 - 09:09 AM

Although I havn't got an answer a folk club I was involved with was asked to leave by a landlord as we where breaking performing rights law's. He had recieved a letter on headed note paper demanding a fee as they had got hold of our publicity. He gave them my name and address as the organiser and I spent some weeks worrying as it was a lot of money, in the end I heard nothing Keith


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Bernard
Date: 01 Jan 01 - 05:51 PM

The PRS have no jurisdiction over folk clubs.

Sounds as if the Landlord in question just wanted his room back - they can be devious swines!!

Either that, or he had a jukebox he wasn't paying his whack for!


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Jan 01 - 06:11 PM

I am a copyright lawyer, but this is not solicitor-client advice (for that, there are fees, and what our law society calls a "client care" letter (translation, contractual terms of business)).

THere are two issues. THe first is that of a public perfomance licence, and the law is correctly set out on the Dudley webiste at the link given above.

THe second is the PRS - the performing right in the music, administered by the performing right society. perfomring the music in public is an act restricted by copyright, and don't bother trying to be clever about "public". THe premises need a PRS licence, because most stuff done in folk clubs is NOT public domain. THey probably have one to cover the juke box anyway, but check.

If in doubt, get someone else from a different area to teplephone the PRS and tell them they are thinking of starting a folk club and ask for advice.

If still in doubt get a member of the musicians' union to ring the MU and say he's been offered a gig at a folk club and ask whether he has a PRS problem if he does a cover of another composer's music.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,John Hil
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 07:45 AM

i know this is side tracking a bit ... but does anyone know if you need any sort of licence to play a radio in a shop?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 09:19 AM

This is the law as set out in the Dudley website, linked above.

"An entertainments licence is required for any public dancing or music or any other, similar public entertainment. An entertainments licence is also required for an entertainment consisting of and including any public contest, exhibition or display of boxing, wrestling, judo, karate or any similar sport.

The common definition of a public entertainment is one which involves one or more of the above activities, is publicly advertised and where a fee is charged either before the event or on entry.

There are exemptions for these requirements, which broadly speaking are as follows:- If the music is merely incidental at functions such as garden fetes, bazaars and sporting events or in the case of boxing, wrestling and karate, if the event is held in a pleasure fair. Similarly, if the premises are liquor licensed, then under that licence, it is permissible to have up to two performers playing live music or singing but not dancing. In the case of "karaoke" evenings, unless it can be guaranteed that no more than two people will be performing including the D.J. and that there will be no dancing, a public entertainments licence will be necessary".

Does not the section that I have printed in bold specify the common definition of a public entertainment? So if a session is not publicly advertised or no fee is given or charged (and providing of course that nobody dances), by this definition the session is not a public entertainment? Therefore does not need a licence?

Or is that a too simple reading of it?

What would be the process the local council would have to go through, assuming that they wanted to pursue the matter, if a landlord continued with a session without an entertainment licence? Would they have to prove that the session was a public entertainment? Has this definition ever been tested in court?

The question I keep asking myself is what or whose interests and welfare are supposed to be being protected by stretching this interpretation of this law to cover sessions? Maybe Oliver Cromwell would indeed be the one to ask?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 09:20 AM

This is the law as set out in the Dudley website, linked above.

An entertainments licence is required for any public dancing or music or any other, similar public entertainment. An entertainments licence is also required for an entertainment consisting of and including any public contest, exhibition or display of boxing, wrestling, judo, karate or any similar sport.

The common definition of a public entertainment is one which involves one or more of the above activities, is publicly advertised and where a fee is charged either before the event or on entry.

There are exemptions for these requirements, which broadly speaking are as follows:- If the music is merely incidental at functions such as garden fetes, bazaars and sporting events or in the case of boxing, wrestling and karate, if the event is held in a pleasure fair. Similarly, if the premises are liquor licensed, then under that licence, it is permissible to have up to two performers playing live music or singing but not dancing. In the case of "karaoke" evenings, unless it can be guaranteed that no more than two people will be performing including the D.J. and that there will be no dancing, a public entertainments licence will be necessary.

Does not the section that I have printed in bold specify the common definition of a public entertainment? So if a session is not publicly advertised or no fee is given or charged (and providing of course that nobody dances), by this definition the session is not a public entertainment? Therefore does not need a licence?

Or is that a too simple reading of it?

What would be the process the local council would have to go through, assuming that they wanted to pursue the matter, if a landlord continued with a session without an entertainment licence? Would they have to prove that the session was a public entertainment? Has this definition ever been tested in court?

The question I keep asking myself is what or whose interests and welfare are supposed to be being protected by stretching this interpretation of this law to cover sessions? Maybe Oliver Cromwell would indeed be the one to ask?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,John Hill
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM

Where does that leave the situation of a radio in a shop. Is it public entertainment?... no fee is charged on entry.. nor are there any performers. I assist in a charity shop sometimes.. and someone said a licence is required to play the radio. (they have Classic FM on). Is that true?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 02:19 PM

Legally speaking, you require a licence to play a radio in a shop irrespective of what is playing. The same applies to any form of 'Background Music' system, whether music is playing or not.

The PRS calculate the licence fee by means of the hours of playing time per day and the average audience.

However, if the radio is in the upstairs flat for the benefit of the occupant of the flat, but it can be heard in the shop...!!

Charities are not exempt from licencing, but this opens up a moral dilemma. If a charity is paying a licence fee, then the money being collected is, in part, not going to the charity at all.

It is arguable that all overheads have to be met, and this is the dilemma. Which overheads are morally acceptable, and which are not?

Rent, gas, electricity, water, telephone, stationery, staff wages, PRS/MCPS licence - where do you stop?

The difficulty comes from 'Who benefits most from licence fees?'. Sadly, it is not the artiste, nor the composer! No, the people who are being 'protected' receive very little 'Royalties' compared with what is actually collected!

Without actual figures to back this up, I'd better say no more - however, I'm sure someone else can oblige!!


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 04:36 PM

Subject: UK Music Licencing problem
From: GeorgeH
Date: 02-Jan-01 - 02:16 PM

The real thread under this title seems broken (well, I can't get beyond about the 6th message so I can't post to it).

The enquirer needs to look at the recent discussion of this on uk.music.folk, which includes the 'best' statement of the law you are likely to find.

However at the end of the day the matter is between the Licensing Authority and the Publican (or owner/manager) of the venue . . If you can't persuade the Authority that your use is within the law then the Publican is unlikely to risk prosecution on your behalf . .

And no, the "members only" ruse doesn't always work . . Nor does any other one.

Ask Ruth Bramley of Ely Folk Club about this one . . but only if you're prepared to buy her several large drinks afterwards . .

G.


Thread fixed and post transfered. If anyone does spot a broken thread, it is helpful to be informed in the help forum as one of us will soon fix it. I have been reading this thread (using IE5 which reads past this error) and failed to spot anything wrong - Jon Freeman


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 05:14 PM

It seems to be a 'bully boy' tactic. Is a local authority really going to take action if three people were playing at the same time in an unpaid/unavertised session. Are they not going to look very silly?

If a publican is in agreement for me and others to play in their establishment, what the **** has it to do with anyone else?

I am a reasonable man. Am I missing something here? Or is this situation really as stupid as it appears?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 05:36 PM

Shambles, my understanding is that the situation is really as stupid as it seems.

The closest I have come to real trouble was in a session in Menai Bridge. I can only guess that someone had complained to the police who came in to the pub and demanded the names and addresses of everyone in the room and how much we were being payed to play/ had payed to go there. There must have been about 30 musicians and 10 listners and it took some time. I don't know why but no action was taken and this session continue to run in that venue for a few years before returning to its home in Bangor.

Conwy hosts the North Wales Bluegrass festival. There are occasional sessions in the town all year round but just about every year at the time of this event, notices are circulated to every licensee about the need for this licence and that those pubs who have more than 2 players and no licence will be prosecuted.

Seems crazy to me - the biggest music event in the town and most pubs are to scared to have a few musicians drop in and play and presumable don't want to have to get a licence for one weekend of the year. I'd have thought that if there is a case to just trying to get a good atmosphere in the town and making it feel welcoming to encourage musicians to return and turning a blind eye, this is one and I would guess that the town benifits far more from the visitors than it would from the licences...

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 05:41 PM

OK, enlighten me. WHy do you expect folk music to be free?

ANd why do you not expect regulation of organised gatherings and celebrations (and drinking)? If it was a punk band you'd soon demand that they be licensed. ANy sort of "knees-up" can get out of hand. THe history of it probably goes back to the gin mills and the likelihood of working-class riot.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 06:06 PM

Richard, a publican already has a licence and laws are in place to regulate certain types of behaviour. Why should they need an extra one to be allowed to have a group of people sitting down and (largely) entertaining themselves?

As for getting out of hand, in my experience, normal drinking in a pub by customers who don't know each other or possibly have a gruge against someone is far more likely to get out of hand than a group of people who are sharing and enjoying a common interest in music (punk included).

Certainly in my part of North Wales, the pubs that have had bad names for trouble have not been folk venues or venues that we would consider using. I would suggest that the law looked at where the real problems lay.

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jan 01 - 06:44 PM

Richard the fact that people are paid to perform music does not mean that is the only way to do it.

Where did anyone suggest that music should be provided free? However I surely have the right to provide my music freely, if I choose? If the publican wants me to do it, paid or unpaid in their pub, is that not their right?

That however is not the point. The point is that the premises are already controlled for drinking. They are safe to gather and drink, why should the same people not be safe if music is being played, whilst drinking?

There are issues of noise levels and there already regulations to deal with this. When there is no such issue, with acoustic instruments, where is the problem?

An entertainment licence will not prevent a riot. in the unlikely event of one breaking out, I do not think that it would be the people from the licencing dept that would be called. I think that your "gin mills" were not too much of a problem by 1982.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 04:49 PM

More here Help with PE licencing


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Andy Wall
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM

One point which was touched on was the holding of a folk event as a private club with a registered membership, etc. The Ely Folk Club operated in this way for a period, renting a room in a pub away from the main bars. The Cambridgeshire Police advised the local Environmental Health Officer that even if a folk club is meeting as a private members club on public licensed premises, the publican must have a Public Entertainments License! The club was rendered homeless less than two days prior to a relatively expensive guest night and had to fork out £45 for a room elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 07:37 PM

The Mudcat synchronicity has been kicking in once more. I missed this thread, and opened another one called Help: Public Entertainment Licences, with this long post prompted by something that I read in a lcal folk publication:

This is quite a long post, but not overlong for the content, so bear with me.

I've just been reading in Unicorn, a local folk magazine in my part of the world (Herts Exxes border in England) about Ely Folk Club closing its doors, largely because of hassles about the Public Entertainment Licence system.

To quote the January editorial:"We believe that the right to enjoy live music is one that we should be upholding, and any restrictions to the performance or presentation of live music, provided it does not infringe the rights of other members of the public, must be eliminated.

"For our part we intend to investigate firstly what laws are in place that affect the performance of live music and secondly, what can be done either to interpret these laws to benefit ourselves, or ultimately to make representations to have these outdated laws repealed."

So I thought I'd post something here, and maybe pass it on to Unicorn (send them an email with a link to the thread).

Essentially the problem is that unless a place has a PEL, it's not supposed to have any entertainment involving more than two live performers. The interpretation of the law has been very varied, but Ely came up against an interpretation that meant that more than two performers in the course of an evening broke the rules! And pubs with function room and with PELs are pretty scarce.

One factor is that to get a PEL it can cost a bit - œ150 a year or so for the license - but more important it can bring in public safety requirements which can cost thousands. So the pubs give up the licences, get rid of live music and use canned music, which has just the same public safety implications, but gets round the law.

What seems to be the problem is that the law doesn't appear to distinguish between the kind of public entertainment which involves large audiences milling around, and that which involves at couple of dozen sitting in a room singing making music together.

Most of the sessions we have in England are quite likely strictly speaking illegal, and dependent on landlords bending the rules and the police turning a blind eye. Which makes it all a bit precarious.

So any experience, and suggestions.Both from folkies in England and people with relevant experience in other places.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 07:58 PM

Here's the link to Unicorn which dropped out when I copied that post across from another thread. http://members.aol.com/unifolk/unicorn


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 08:02 PM

Sorry - I missed out a vital bit there - this should work better Here's the link to Unicorn which dropped out when I copied that post across from another thread. http://members.aol.com/unifolk/unicorn.html


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 01 - 08:57 PM

Shambles makes what seems to me a decusively good point. If the Dudley rules are an accurate statement of the situation - and Richard Bridge said he reckons they are - then clearly sessions where no charge is made in advance are not "public entertainments" -

"The common definition of a public entertainment is one which involves one or more of the above activities, is publicly advertised and where a fee is charged either before the event or on entry."

Of course it then goes on to talk about places with liquor licences being allowed to have two performers, and no dancers, under their liquor licence - but if that first definition is accurate, that would only be relevant to the situation where the place with a liquor licence is charging admission - as pubs often do on special occasions, such as New Years Eve.

So maybe we've all been labouring under a misunderstanding all along, and pubs do not in fact need PELs for sessions - and they don't even need to worry if a few people start dancing sets, as does sometimes happen in a good Irish session.

Clearly it would be useful to have a link to the actual legal basis for all this, the relevant Act etc, which I imagine should be available online. So if some clever person could hunt it out and blue clicky it...


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jan 01 - 02:17 AM

It would be interesting to know if these fanciful interpretations of Public Entertainments have ever in fact been tested in courts. It would seem pretty unlikely to me that any reasonable court would be impressed by some of the interpretations, from the licencing side.

The difficulty of couse is that if they wave the 'big stick' at the publican, that they will never be tested. The only losers are good folk who wish to share their music.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 01 - 09:54 AM

I would think that that document by Dudley Council would be a pretty waterproof defence, in Dudley anyway - even if the courts decided in thy end that the council had actually got it wrong.

And the same would go for anywhere where the local licensing body has come out with a similar statement. So if anybody can come up with any similar documents touching on the point at issue - "what is the definition of a public entertainment", it would be handy.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 03:50 PM

I've been doing some trawling around trying to find out more about the law on these issues. It's confusing, but then we knew that.

Now here is a very clear, but not particularly cheering website from Greenwich in London

The reason it's not cheering is that it is emphatic that if anybody can go to something, than it counts as public whether or not there is an admission charge or not. Which means that sessions in pubs would be included.

Moreover it also says that the two performers rule covers the whole evening, which would make any kind of singaround in a pub illegal. And if you are lucky enough to find a pub which still has a private function room, you've got to have a tight membership policy, with no membership on the night for example.

The only slightly bright point is that the relevant legislation here is said to be "Schedule 12 to the London Government Act 1963" – whereas the legislation outside London is "the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982".

That means that it is possible the rest of the country might have different rules, and that maybe these restrictions might not apply.

As for licensed premises (assuming that what is taking place inside them does count as "public entertainment", the legislation here is "Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964".

So far I haven't been able to track down any of these Acts on the Internet – there's a law now saying that all legislation has to be published on the Net, but it only came in a few years ago, and isn't retrospective.

The impression I get is that most of what we do in the folk music way probably is illegal, and we get away with it because the law turns a blind eye, which is not really satisfactory. Morris dancing in public, for example has to be technically illegal if the dancers haven't got a Public Entertainment Licence…

It does occur to me to wonder whether things like that could possibly stand up in terms of current Human Rights legislation.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 08:47 PM

If the big stick is waved at publicans, it is unlikely that it will ever be tested. The Human Rights Act give you the right of assembley and of expression but are subject to other prevailing conditions such as licencing.

Catch 22?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 07:17 AM

Sorry about the length of this but I have found if i write it all down I can move on.

I have come to the firm opinion that a publican does not need any additional licence for a session to take place on their premises. They should of course give their permission and any conditions and requests that they make should be observed. Should the gathering become too large or disorderly, all of the control necessary is in the wording of the existing drinks licence. The authority can take the licence and thus the publican's livelihood away.

When a group of pub customers have a get-together involving say darts, pool, quiz nights or any other such shared interests, the above is the process they go through and will not be troubled by the local licensing authority. Even if the events are advertised and receive an audience, it is recognised that it is organised largely by the customers and for the customers. If these events involve a fee, it could be argued that a public entertainment is being staged in but in practice it is unlikely, if not unheard of that any action would be taken against these events.

When exactly the same process is undertaken for a similar event, where the event is organised by and for the participants, and this event involves music (or dancing), such as a session or sing-around, some council officials are making the case that this event then, constitutes a public entertainment. On the grounds that because there are more than two people making music, this event therefore needs an additional Public Entertainment Licence, on top of the controls that are already in place to enable the establishment to sell drink.

This would appear to be just because music is involved? Also because they suspect that it may well be an attempt by the publican to get around the paying for a PEL. For there is the loophole that if music is staged in a pub, but the number of performers do not exceed two, this is covered by the drink licence and does NOT need a PEL. There seems no end to the imaginative ways that the licensing authority's officers will twist this interpretation, all to the detriment of session and folk clubs. Some interpret it to mean that it must not only be not more than two at a time but must be the same two individuals all evening.

It largely explains why there are lots of single performers and duos playing in pubs. It is easier for publicans to limit the number of performers than to go through the inconvenience and expense of obtaining a PEL. Or easier still to knock the music on the head altogether.

Places that have paid for a PEL, understandably do not like places that do not hold them, staging (largely musical) entertainment, even when, using the loophole these are legal. In addition, from my conversations with ours, I suspect that individuals working in council licensing offices do not like this either. That partially explains the apparent zeal in which they pursue their quarry, without seemingly being able to see the effect or seeing it from any other view.

The threat of action from the authority to the publican, will usually be all that is required to ensure that the session will be asked to go elsewhere. The revenue gained from holding sessions and folk clubs, not being enough to cover the cost and unwelcome attention of the authority.

So if the licensing authority is using this strict interpretation of the law to pressure it's pubs to obtain PELs, it is not working. I feel very strongly that pressure should be applied to make to them stop, while we still have some places left to hold sessions. All that is being generated by this action and interpretation of the law, is bad feeling.

In fairness some authorities do not use this interpretation to sessions. Milton Keynes, I am given to understand, interpret sessions as participatory and not as public entertainment and therefore not needing any additional controls. A very sensible approach (from the home of our Open University), in my view and one I wish would be adopted generally. For I can imagine people in other countries being very mystified by all this.

There is also an issue of basic human rights here. The right of assembly and of expression have both being obtained for us very recently, by The European Convention On Human Rights, in The Human Rights Act (appearing in a pub near you very soon).

It would appear that non-musicians and some musicians are now unable to see music as anything other than public entertainment and this usually means paid public entertainment. People having been singing together for the sheer pleasure of doing so in public places, such as churches, without this being classed as public entertainment. This the way I feel this issue should be viewed. Maybe if the session was held in a church it be OK? Obtaining a drink licence for a church could be more of a problem though?

This is not in any way an attack on those professionals who try to scrape an honest living from what they do well and love. However they do have unions to look after their interests. There maybe the view held that an unpaid session could draw an audience from a paid performance in a nearby establishment. I don't know the answer to that one, but I do not think that the answer is to take away a musicians right to provide their services freely, if they should wish to do so. Sessions do however tend to be held on the 'dead' nights of the week, when the musicians are not at paid gigs and are able to attend, so they will very rarely clash with paid gigs.

The publican's also have their associations to look after their interests. What concerns me is there does not appear to be any official body that is looking after the interests of MUSIC, in this situation. It would seem to me that it is MUSIC that is losing the most out of these interpretations of the law, at a time when more and more people appear want to make music.

The fact that a law may exist does not mean that it is in the best interests of anybody, that some are enforced and to the letter. The penalties for sheep-stealing are pretty severe and also for arson in her Majesty's Dockyard, but would not be enforced in today's climate.. There are more than enough laws and bye-laws already, that if they were all enforced, would mean that no one would be able to do anything. We are in great danger, on this issue of 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'.

It would seem generally and certainly in this case that, many peoples constructive and positive efforts to try and benefit many, can be undone by one single negative voice, raised for whatever motive to the licensing authority. Because one can do something, it does not always follow that one should.

This is an issue that up to very recently I knew little about and this despite often performing in pubs. I feel sure that when sensible people are given the facts, they will immediately see the folly of this interpretation of this law and will try and look to find some common ground. That is all I would ask.

The only answer I can see at the moment is for individuals to approach their local councillors and request that their licensing authority interpret this law in a common-sense fashion. This to ensure that MUSIC is not the only loser in a battle where making MUSIC should not even be an issue.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 10:57 AM

"Maybe if the session was held in a church it be OK? Obtaining a drink licence for a church could be more of a problem though?"

Stortfolk runs in a Church vestry which has a bar...


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 03:38 PM

And I did hear of a place where the church was out of use or something, and they had the services in the pub. Maybe that's the answer!


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:00 PM

Shambles, I don't see much hope of persuading over-zealous council officials of common sense!

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:27 PM

There's over zealous council officers and there's helpful council officers, and the same goes for councillors. There are folk musicians and publicans among them. Never w3triote people off in advance.

The law is a mess, but changing it would be likely to make it even more of a mess. The normal way that gets sorted out in England is people agree to ignore the law. But sensible public policy statements at a local levelon how the council interprets the law would be helpful in practice.

Maybe this is one issue where London folkies could get on to Ken Livingstone. It's the kind of issue he might like to pick up and run with. (Except that'd probably get Tony Blair vengefully down on us, so maybe it's not such a good idea...)


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM

I take your point Jon but I do not suggest taking on the officials head on. I tend to agree with you and fear that this attempt would only result in them 'digging in their heels'.

In theory they only carry out the instructions of the councillors, whom we elect to carry out our wishes. If we can get our councillors to think that they will receive the blame for the 'killjoy' effects of their interpretation of this law and that this may effect their future elction prospects, we may have some hope?

Anyway I am going to take my banjo in to the nearest church and keep playing and praying that the Good Lord will find somwhere more suitable for me to play.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM

You have a point McGrath but in areas that are relitively trouble free, I would be more nervous of bringing this subject up with councillors as it could well lead them to suspect that there are sessions..., than keeping quiet.

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:57 PM

I find that I have to keep reminding myself that it is the year 2001 and not 1901.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:00 PM

If you've been to some places with PELs - such as discos and music pubs with nightclub licences - and I have because of my daughter's slightly metallish, grungeish, skatepunkish band - you'd know why PELs were required to enable public music performances to be regulated.

It would not be workable to define folk music for this purpose (hel, look what happens when we try to define it here), indeed look at the mess the UK gov't got into trying to define "raves" in order to ban them. THeir definition probably catches a performance of Ravel's "Bolero".

If you want to persuade the govenrment to change the law you need to knw very clearly indeed how the current law works, and even more clearly how you want to change it and what the effects will be. I went through a very long process a few years ago trying to persuade teh govt to change copyright law in order to protect TV programme formats - which a number of foreign countries' laws do, so I have some idea just how bloody minded some bureaucrats can be.

Ken Livingston may be the best bet. Rumour has it he likes Irish music.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:10 PM

Richard, surley the nightclub license should cover any addional requirements for these special and clearly identifiable cases and I still fail to see the need for the PER. Could you explain further?

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:15 PM

Dear Jon,

Go to a pub with a punk band playing and watch the "mosh" develop, and you will know why a licence including a requirement to use town hall licensed bouncers is needed.

Not to mention the night a punk decided to show his Prince Albert to my daughter as she was in mid-song. THe bouncers were needed for that too.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:33 PM

Richard, maybe it is a case of living in different areas (not that I would expect the law to cater for that) but I can assure you that I am a supporter of live music in all forms and do turn out to pubs that are putting on local bands of all styles incuding punk when I can and have not observed any trouble.

In this area (and I would suspect others), the trouble tends to come in the "dodgy" pubs and night clubs where I believe drugs play a big factor and under age drinking is another. I see no reason to blame or penalise music for this.

I feel that the law should cater, as it does, for certain controls and standards of behaviour and it should be up to the licencee to ensure that these requirement are adhered to but I still fail to see why this should require a PER (as opposed to other licensing laws) and why music should appear to be so singled out.

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:38 PM

The law very sensibly provides for more care to be taken where unruly bevahiour is likely.

Put music, drink, and the two genders together, and unruly behaviour is likely.

THerefore it has been regulated (long ago, originally, and without much subtlety).

Some form of licensing system is I submit obviously necessary. What I can't see at the moment is a way to redefine to avoid the folk baby being flung out with the mods and rockers bathwater.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:40 PM

"I find that I have to keep reminding myself that it is the year 2001 and not 1901." Well, Shambles, I doubt very much if there'd have been these sort of problems back in 1901, they weren't so silly. Illegal to sing in pubs? There'd have been riots in the streets!

I'd have thought an easy enough way of drawing the kind of distinction Richard Bridge thnks wouldn't be practical would be just to allow anything that wasn't amplified. I suppose it might mean Trad Jazz making a come back in pubs, but that's be all right. I can't see unamplified singing and playing, however rough and ready, causing disturbances (except maybe on occasions when musicians get thrown out for annoying the regulars).

But now you're back Richard, could I pick your brains. Earlier you said "The first (issue)is that of a public perfomance licence, and the law is correctly set out on the Dudley website at the link given above."

Did that include the include the bit where they said "The common definition of a public entertainment is one which involves one or more of the above activities, is publicly advertised and where a fee is charged either before the event or on entry"?

Because if you did, and if you and Dudley Council are right on this, then this whole thing is a misunderstanding so far as sessions are concerned.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 02:38 AM

Mabe a useful way to approach the claim that a session was a public entertainment or a performance would be to demonstrate the uneven quality of such gatherings.

It would be immediately clear to anyone attending that there was no attenpt made to entertain or perform to anyone, in the accepted sense of those words. It is a event where the players themselves can practice and learn new tunes.

In fact the session would not be all that different to say a choir rehearsal. Would such a rehearsal be described as a public performance, if it was held in a pub without a PEL?

How about it Richard, should we be stressing the fact that its nature is really more of a rehersal in a public place, rather than a public entertainment? Should it really not be looked at as a practice night rather than a public performance anyway? Surely that is the sensible way out of this mess?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 03:44 AM

I am not trying to stage a public entertainment in an establishment that does not have a Public Entertainment Licence. If I were trying to perform there with a three-piece band, the law is clear (if a little strange), that the establishment should have a PEL.

The local authority are claiming that what I am trying to do, which is to hold an informal musical session, constitutes such a public entertainment. On the grounds that more than two musicians will be playing and therefore does need a PEL.

As the threatened action is not against me but is against the publican, who does not want to obtain a PEL and is unlikely to want to contest the issue with the council, this interpretation of the law is unlikely to be tested in court. The only likely outcome of this pressure being applied on the publican to obtain a PEL to enable this event to take place, will be that the session will be asked to go somewhere else.

Given the laws definitions of what a public entertainment is, I do not agree that the event I am trying to hold constitutes a public entertainment. Therefore it does not require a PEL.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 09:14 AM

The other thing that occurs to me is that there is a specific exception where the music etc is merely incidental to the main activity, with the example of a boxing match or a fairground.

In a bar in a pub, a few people playing to each other in acornwer are surely incidental to the main activity, (which I suppose is drinking and social interaction) unless maybe you've driven all the regulars out...

All right, there are sessions which are entertainment, but most are, for most people, something happening in the background. That's not saying the music may not be very high quality, but it's a different kind of activity from a concert or a dance. And that "incidental" exception does appear to offer room for commonsense to be applied.

I wonder if we've got any magistrates on the Mudcat who'd like to comment?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 05:06 PM

Spooky or what?………. There was a TV programme on tonight about architecture called 'Victoria Died In 1901 but Is Still Alive Today!'

The following is a Q and A, from An introduction The Human Rights Act.

DOES THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT AFFECT THE WAY GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC BODIES BEHAVE?

Yes. The Human Rights Act says that all public authorities must pay proper attention to your rights when they are making decisions that affect you. Public authorities include Government Ministers, civil servants, your local authority or health authority, and also agencies like the police, the courts and private companies when carrying out public functions.

That's nothing new - respecting rights and balancing rights and responsibilities has always been an important part of public service in this country. But the Human Rights Act makes sure that those in authority over you will have to check that they do not ride roughshod over your rights, even when they believe they are doing so for a good reason. They will have to be careful about the balance they are striking and think hard about how they can cause the least possible harm to individuals.

More can be found here www.homeoffice.gov.uk/hract.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 05:12 PM

The one I gave above, did not seem to work


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 08:06 PM

Useful stuff. But complicated. Couldn't we get the EFDSS or the Muisuicians Union to do the heavy lifting here?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 03:00 AM

I think it would be fair to say thet the MU concerns itself more with the interests of professionl and semi-profesional musicians than the interests of music-making in general. Where these may clash or be unclear, the issue will quite understandably be seen from the point of view of the majority of their membership.

The problem here is one the freedom of public expression in largely un-paid events, not one that the majority of its hard-gigging members are too interested in.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 04:41 PM

The MU always seem to be at festivals with a recvruitingt stand aimed at folkies - and meeting and playing music with friends in pubs is something professionals and semi-professionals like to do sometimes too.

In fact it's part of the process for getting the contacts that provide chances for work. For example a session can lead to an offer of a gig for a musician. So in principle they should be onside.

But are there no magistrates or JPs out there with advice or anecdotes? Or publicans?

And I know it says Uk up there - but how do these things work out in other places?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 07:27 PM

At the very start of all this I did Email the MU and was impressed to receive a very prompt reply from the Assistant General Secretary of the MU, themselves, no less.

It was very precise and factual and confirmed that the fact that the act requiring a PEL applied to three of more performers in pubs, whether they were paid or not.

I have not explored the question of whether a session would constitute a public entertainment, with them but it maybe a good idea to do so.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 07:43 PM

ESpecially in a context where it was essentially more like a practice session, as you suggested Shambles - a chance for musicians to find whether they like playing together - in a situation where the music itself is really incidental, and therefore arguably excluded from the restriction.

I think continuing that dialogue with the MU would be well worth it. All the MU people I've ever chatted with at festivals have seemed very helpful They seem to see amateur folk musicians as allies rather than as any kind of enemy - and there are an enormous number of instruments around with MU stickers on the case most places folkies congregate.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 06:48 PM

Public = the public can in effect get in.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 07:56 PM

The law is pretty clear that two musician playing in a pub is not a public entertainment and does not need a PEL.

In the above case the public certainly can in effect get in but it is clearly not considered a public entertainment.

It is not quite so clear that the addition of one more musician then automatically makes the event a public entertainment, without the further definitions of what a public entertainment consists of, being taken in to account.

Well not to me, but I am a musician not a lawer.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 02:00 PM

"Public = the public can in effect get in."

But what is "entertainment" in this context? The Dudley guidelines appear to indicate that payment was a necessary condition.

There re all kinds of things which people can get into which are not counted as "entertainments", even where they might be quite enjoyable. Political meetings, church services, funerals, auctions...

But Shambles - as I read it, it isn't that two musicians playing together in a pub do not per se counted as public entertainment - it's that if this is counted as public entertainment, there is an automatic permission for it, under the pub's license.

But it is quite arguable that in certain circumstances musicians playing in a pub are not providing a public entyertainment at all (however good they may be). Their playing is merely incidental to the real business in hand and therefore specifically excluded from the definition of public entertainment.

The point being that the customers should be presumed to have come there primarily for a drink and to meet friends, and have not paid any admission charge. Musicians in this context are no more an public entertainent than the pictures hanging on the wall are an art exhibition.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 02:56 PM

Oh dear.

One more time.

Public = public can get in.

Entertainment = to be gawped at or possibly but not necessarily participated in or enjoyed.

2 public entertainers = no licence needed.

3 public entertainers = licence needed.

If you want to change the law, hassle Tony Blair. Or perhaps the Department of Culture Media and Sport (or whatever they have now changed the name to). Not your publican or the council.

If you want to go broke, get a solicitor and seek a declaration that the Human Rights Act renders the previous law unlawful.

If you are entitled to legal aid, (I think we do have some members who are) get a legal aid solicitor. As good a choice as any might be Benedict Birnberg, and another might be Chris Magrath. Both in the directory. Or there's that other human rights firm that acted for the MaWhinney Four (the name will come back to me soon).


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 03:23 PM

So a funeral is a public entertainment? I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

BY which I mean that the fact that something happens in public and can be worth watching does not in itself mean that it counts as a public entertainment.

IT seems pretty clear that there is a very wide variety of ways in which the law is interpreted and administered. I think it'd be useful to have a clearer picture of what this variety actually consists of.

For example most poeple seem to assume that this no-more-than-two performers business means no more than two at a time. Whereas it can and has been interpreted to mean no more than two in a session, even if they are performing solo.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 03:23 PM

So a funeral is a public entertainment? I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

BY which I mean that the fact that something happens in public and can be worth watching does not in itself mean that it counts as a public entertainment.

IT seems pretty clear that there is a very wide variety of ways in which the law is interpreted and administered. I think it'd be useful to have a clearer picture of what this variety actually consists of.

For example most poeple seem to assume that this no-more-than-two performers business means no more than two at a time. Whereas it can and has been interpreted to mean no more than two in a session, even if they are performing solo.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 09:35 AM

Oh dear!

Richard your first contribution to this thread started by saying

"I am a copyright lawyer, but this is not solicitor-client advice (for that, there are fees, and what our law society calls a "client care" letter (translation, contractual terms of business))."

Thank goodness for that. Please keep your advice, free or otherwise. For as you are pointed out above all you are expressing here is basically a personal view, no more valid than anyone else's view in this thread. From what you have demonstrated here, if I were going to pay any lawyer for any advice on this subject, it certainly would not be you.

I feel that, if you wanted to, you have may be able to provide some helpful advice on this issue. As it is, your patronising contributions and simplistic definitions, seem to demonstrate that you have failed to grasp the implications of this issue or even to have actually read the wording of the law you referred to.

In my view, your insultingly short and long-suffering sounding, definition of the word public, over a issue of music in a PUBLIC house, even if they had been intended to be helpful, was a definition that was totally unnecessary. It appeared to me to be stating the 'bloody obvious ', just to further your apparent need to exercise your sense of superiority over those poor non-legal people in trouble and asking for help. You have gone on to produce yet another post, in the same patronising tone.

The clear and simplistic view of this or any other law, that you stick to, is the type of sure and certain interpretation, that some solicitors tend to give to prospective clients before they start to take their money. After that point they tend to give a less sure interpretation and things tend to become more complicated and expensive.

I would like to thank all of those who have seen the implications of this issue and have contributed helpful suggestions in this thread with a view to get a common sense view and solution to this problem.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 10:45 AM

Well, namesake,I'm not a lawyer (except for the barrack-room variety) but I don't think pubs have to pay a vast amount for "licenced for singing and dancing" status, certainly most village halls etc are.... and I've seen at least one church in Colchester (perhaps it's an Essex thing)licenced to sell beer wines and spirits. With the amount of extra drink thirsty singers consume I'd have thought it worth any licencee investing. The law may be an ass re 2 people or 3 but there's no point railing against it- the landlord needs to keep his nose clean with the licencing authorities.
RtS


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 11:03 AM

Richard.

Public = public can get in.
Entertainment = to be gawped at or possibly but not necessarily participated in or enjoyed.

2 public entertainers = no licence needed. Are 2 darts or pool players in a pub team on a match night with an audience, public entertainers?…. By your definition. Yes.

Does a pub have to hold a public entertainment licence?….By your definition. No.

3 public entertainers = licence needed. Are 3 darts or pool players in a pub team on a match night, with an audience, public entertainers?…. By your definition. Yes.

Does the pub have to hold a Public Entertainment Licence? ….Again by your definition, Yes.

No one (even you) it would appear, is really claiming to that the need for a PEL is being interpreted as applying to 3 darts or pool players, providing largely their own entertainment.

Then it surely must follow that it cannot apply to 3 musicians, providing largely their own entertainment, with the publican's permission of course.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 12:38 PM

Sham, believe me, at the present time if you had been a client you would have been one of the very few I have had to tell that they were terminated and that I would not accept their instructions. A client with the intelligence to contribute to the debate (which I think you probably would be) is a great help. A client who thinks he knows the law better than his lawyer, and wants to sound like a smartarse is usually a royal pain. James the First is reputed to have been annoying to his legal advisers.

3 people in a session need a PEL. There is no cost-effective way to challenge it unless you qualify for legal aid.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 01:24 PM

Noone's planning to challenge it in court at this point Richard, and you haven't been taken on as a lawyer, as you pointed put in your first post. What we've ben trying to do is clarify what the law is, and how it is interpreted in diffeent parts of the country.

And it's not as simple as you seem determined to suggest. You yourself have in fact contradicted yourelf at least once - you said that the Dudley Council guidelines were accurate, andn then that the question of payment was not material, when in fact Dudley Council had said it was a necessary criterion for something to be classed as a public entertaionment.

"The first (issue)is that of a public perfomance licence, and the law is correctly set out on the Dudley website at the link given above." Richard Bridge.

"The common definition of a public entertainment is one which involves one or more of the above activities, is publicly advertised and where a fee is charged either before the event or on entry" Dudley Council website.

Clearly there are plenty of cases where groups of singers and musicians play in bars in pubs where there is no Public Entertainment Licence, on a regular basis, without any problems. I've taken part in such sessions more times than I can remember, in many parts of the country. I've also been in pubs where we've been told not to play, because there isn't such a licence.

What is notb clear is whether it's a queswtion of a blind eye being truned to breaches of the law, because noone has complained about it, or whether the authorities see the music as incidental to what uis taking place in the bar - to quote the Dudley website: "There are exemptions for these requirements, which broadly speaking are as follows:-

If the music is merely incidental at functions...".

I think it is most likely the former - a blind eye being turned to the law in cirumstances where strict application would be silly and counterproductive.

But where the law is not enforced on a wide enough basis, this can have implications as to whether it in fact continues to be enforceable at all. There are lots of silly laws which have fallen into disuse, and which it would not in practice be possible to enforce now, even though they have never been repealed or amended. (Mince pies being outlawed at Christmas, that kind of thing.)

But it would be interested to actually have the words of the legislation involved. Which would be, so far as I can see: "the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982", "Schedule 12 to the London Government Act 1963", and "Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964".


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 03:27 PM

Richard if the laws of the land were ever as clear as you maintain this one is, there would be not be a need for lawyers to be paid to argue them in court or be any material for them to argue with.

I am sure that if I had the same amounts of money available as say OJ Simpson, my legal team would have far more material to work with on this issue, than his team ever had in organising his defence.

I feel that there would be enough material provided here to demonstrate that there were enough grounds to at least contest your strict interpretation. All one asks for is for a little attention to be paid to detail and the grey areas. You simply refuse to recognise that any of these exist or even be prepared to address any of your own contradictions, when these are challenged.

This law may not need to be changed, just tested where it is being stretched to cover participatory events in pubs, a purpose for which it was clearly not designed. A blind eye being turned to these as Kevin suggests may enable sessions to take place but there would remain a furtive element and an uncertainty to organising these events, which would not really be helpful. At the very least, there needs to be a uniform approach by our licensing authorities to its interpretation and its enforcement. The fact that there is not, would lead me to think that there may be some hope.

I may indeed be considered to be a "smart arse" and also naïve but I believe that the law is made, by us and for our protection not as a tool to enslave us.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Red Headed Ann
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 12:28 AM

Its all Bollocks. The bottom line is if they want to bust you, they'll bust you and if they dont, they won't. If the publican thinks you'll bring in drinkers he'll take the risk. When he gets found out he'll kick you out. The one the cops can't handle is when they walk in and everyone is singing a different song or playing a different tune. Then you are unconnected individuals singing or playing to yourself. And if you all pretend to be deaf it really does their head in. Another trick is to stop playing and start miming when they come in. You've got to stay dead pan and not crack up. It totally freaks them out. Or start singing hymns and claim to be new age christians. Tell them you'd all like to talk to them about Jesus. You won't see them for dust!


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 08:25 AM

Refresh

Still need help.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 07:30 PM

There are several issues here.

One is the business of finding out what is the best understanding of the law. (And a sighting of the actual legislation would be useful there.)

A second is to find out what the actual situation in different places, and the different interpretations placed on the law. (Which clearly varies very widely.)

A third is identifying if there is anything that can be done to try and make the situation a bit more friendly to informal non-electrified musicmaking.

And a fourth would be to deal with the actual problems that have arisen for Shambles and friends at present.

I can't see us sorting all that out in a hurry. But I'm sure there are people out in the Mudcat world who can throw light on all these issues, and that seems a very good idea to me.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 02:08 PM

Licensed Premises: Entertainment Legislation
House of Lords Monday 11 December 2000
2.53 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, members of the public count as "performers" if they sing on licensed premises; and, if so, how local authorities can enforce public entertainment licensing legislation in a proportionate manner that is compatible with performers' rights under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 exempts licensed premises from the need to obtain a public entertainment licence where the entertainment provided consists of music and singing by not more than two performers. Whether members of the public who sing on licensed premises count as performers is a matter for the licensing authority to decide, depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, the compatibility of this provision with the European Convention on Human Rights would be a matter for the courts to determine. As part of our proposed general reform of the licensing and public entertainment laws in England and Wales, we propose to do away with the Section 182 provisions.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his interesting reply and particularly for his last point about doing away with the section. However, does he agree that currently it is very strange that if a couple of pianists or a pianist and a singer are in a pub and a member of the audience gets up to sing along with them, they are liable to prosecution with quite heavy fines? Indeed, some local authorities have already threatened the owners of pubs with prosecution if they allow that to happen on their premises.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the Government have decided to reform the Licensing Act 1964 for the very reason to which the right reverend Prelate referred. Clearly we need more sensible, modernised laws in this field. I do not know of any authorities which have acted in the peculiar and perverse way to which the right reverend Prelate referred. I am sure that most local licensing authorities act quite reasonably. Of course, if the right reverend Prelate or other Members of your Lordships' House have knowledge of any particular difficulties or complaints, I shall be more than happy to pursue them and to ensure that fair and reasonable enforcement takes place in this field.

Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, the Minister's Answer worries me. Is he saying that if a Welsh male voice choir which has performed of an evening in the local hall or chapel then goes into a pub and, after a suitable intake, believes in venting its good spirits in hymns or other songs, it is breaking the law in so doing?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, my noble friend the Attorney-General says that they should not go to the pub, having been to the chapel. I am grateful for that very good joke. I suspect that the issue also depends on whether one considers it to be entertainment. However, that is a rather more complex and vexed question. I would not expect any reasonable licensing authority to act in the manner to which the noble Lord referred.

Lord Jenkins of Putney: My Lords, is it not possible that the performers' unions will have an interest in this matter? If that is so and if my noble friend is approached by Equity on the matter, am I right in saying that I can assure the members of that union that he will lend them an ear?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I may lend them more than one ear and, of course, I shall endeavour to be as helpful as possible.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, is this not a perfect example of what, had it been put forward by the European Commission, would have been described as "Europe bans popular singers"? Therefore, will the Minister ask the Home Office to consider the matter carefully and invite the local authorities not to behave in such a silly manner?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Baroness is quite right, and we are ahead of the game. We worked with the Local Government Association earlier this year and jointly published guidance to local authorities on how to act on these matters. We are working very closely with local authorities to ensure that fair enforcement is carried out.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, will the Minister give the right reverend Prelate the assurance which he normally gives; that is, that if he provides the names of the pubs and so on, the Minister will investigate personally what is happening there?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, at this time of the year it would be a great pleasure personally to visit those pubs.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, the Minister referred to the Government as being ahead of the game in this matter. However, I do not recollect that licensing was mentioned in the Queen's Speech. Therefore, will any other measures be laid before us?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it is not a matter for me to determine what will be put forward in other measures. Some aspects of the White Paper have found their way into the battery of measures that we are bringing forward to deal with anti-social behaviour. As we have said on a number of occasions, we shall legislate in this field when parliamentary time properly permits. (ends 2.58pm


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM

Lord Bassam says "I would not expect any reasonable licensing authority to act in the manner to which the noble Lord referred".

Let us see tonight if I still have the misfortune to live in in an area where the authority is acting "in the perculiar and perverse way".

Watch this space.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 02:39 PM

Well done, finding that Shambles. At least now you know you can bend the ear of the Bishop of Oxford if thing do pear-shape - and Lord Bassam of Brighton. Lord Basam of Brighton indeed - I'm sure our American friends must think you're making this up.

Those guidelines he mentions would be worth getting a look at. And that proposed abolition of "the Section 182 provisions" sounds suspiciously as if they are thinking of removing the minimal existing exclusion for licensed premises, and making things worse rather than better.

Kepp us (and the Bishop of Oxford) posted...


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,ham.drum@virgin.net
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 04:29 AM

I wrote the Bishop of Oxford's question, put to the Home Office in the House of Lords on Monday 11 December 2000. I am a jazz musician who has been researching and writing about the live music licensing issue for just over two years. The Church of England lends its name in support of my campaign because they feel that these laws are oppressive and unfair, and that more local access to live music can strengthen the community.

I now advise the Arts Council on the subject They now accept (better late than never) that the legal restrictions on live music, particularly folk and jazz, have become an anachronism and are working with the Department of Culture and the Home Office to ensure that licensing reform benefits local access to 'cultural life'.

What you may not know is that, in 1988, very similar laws were 'struck down' in New York City following a successful 'freedom of expression' lawsuit brought by jazz musicians. The laws (a 3-musician limit in zoned areas)had operated for more than 50 years.

Since the Human Rights Act came into force last October, 'freedom of expression' (Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights) has become available as a defence in UK courts.

I hope you don't mind if I take you through my analysis of why the violation of Article 10 for musicians should now be taken very seriously by local authorities.

Why should performances be stopped where there are no safety concerns? Article 10 is a 'qualified right', in the sense that there are limiting conditions. 'Public safety' is the only one that applies here. However, the provision of Section 182.1 of the Licensing Act 1964, which gives rise to all the formal cautions and prosecutions against local live music in pubs and bars, cannot be public safety because it operates irrespective of the number of persons present. For example, there may be only three people in a pub, but if they sing they are breaking the law - unless an entertainment licence is purchased. There can be no overcrowding issue here, and it is usually overcrowding that local authorities mean when they talk about public safety risks. In any event, public houses, like all 'workplaces', are covered by a slew of health and safety Acts and Regulations that cover all activities taking place on the premises. Providing employers have fulfilled their statutory duty to make comprehensive risk assessments, and the Environmental Health department has fulfilled its statutory duty to audit complaince with the appropriate statute - there should be no problem at all. Indeed, under Schedule 1 of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998, safety inspections may include 'practice or presentation of the arts... entertainment or other cultural activities' within their remit. That phrase has, I understand, been in the statute since 1989. In other words, if the pub was seriously unsafe, then either the local authority, the fire service, or both, must have failed to fulfil their statutory duty to ensure all workplaces are safe. Making live music an excuse to discover this is absurd, irrational and unfair. Satellite tv, for example, which is exempt from the public entertainment licence requirement, often attracts large and noisy crowds - but do you see Environmental Health inspectors wading in to turn off the TV? Not likely. But they can, and should, if there is any significant public safety risk. But local authorities prevent live music on the basis of a breach of Section 182 where no prior assessment of any public safety risk has been undertaken, and where no noise complaints have been received. It is this action that places them at risk of acting unlawfully under the Human Rights Act (HRA). Under the HRA, local authorities have a statutory duty to interpret all legislation compatibly with European Convention rights. Where there two possible interpretations of the law, one of which is compatible and the other not, the compatible interpretation must be taken. The fact that a court may have interpreted a law in a certain way before does not mean that after the coming into force of the HRA, it will interpret the provision in that same way. Nor can that earlier interpretation be relied upon by a public authority (i.e. local authority). Under the HRA all local authority prosecutions must also now pass a stringent test of 'proportionality'. I have adapted some of the above from the Home Office's own 'Core Guidance to Public Authorities'. Here's what they have to say about proportionality: This is a crucial concept. Any interference with a Convention right must be proportionate to the intended objective. This means that even if a particular policy or action which interferes with a Convention right is aimed at pursuing a legitimate aim (for example the prevention of crime) this will not justify the interference if the means used to achieve the aim are excessive in the circumstances. Any interference with a Convention right should be carefully designed to meet the objective in question and must not be arbitrary or unfair. You must not use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Even taking all these considerations into account, in a particular case an interference may still not be justified because the impact on the individual or group is too severe. Many Section 182 prosecutions would fail these tests. And, since the musicians are quite definitely directly affected by these prosecutions, they could bring proceedings against the prosecuting authority. Compensation could be sought. Folk music is an important cultural tradition which cannot exist without public peformance. It relies on performance for the transmission of this musical heritage to the next generation. Article 10 of the European Convention refers to the '... freedom to... receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority...'. It may not be immediately obvious that music would be counted as 'information and ideas', but I have a letter from Philip Alston, Professor of Law at the European University Institute in which he refers to live music as 'this very important form of information'. Professor Alston is the author of many well known law textbooks, particularly in the human rights field. He was chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1991 to 1999. The new legal environment created by the HRA also opens UK courts to the world of comparative jurisprudence. And this brings me back to New York City, where jazz musicians brought that successful freedom of expression lawsuit against very similar anti-live music laws in 1988. This ended an oppressive regulatory framework that had stood for more than 50 years. I am not saying that the fundamental rights approach would necessarily have such a dramatic impact here (a 'declaration of incompatibility' may be the best outcome), but since common sense arguments appear to have failed to persuade local authorities to act rationally and fairly in respect of live music, then perhaps it is time to flex some legal muscle.

I am not a lawyer, and would definitely not recommend simply jumping in at the deep end on this. But it something to think about, and if raised in the right context (meetings with your local authority licensing chief, head of the Arts Dept), and with some legal advice, it may persuade local authorities that a fundamental rethink of enforcement policy is called for.

Please let me know if you have first-hand experience of what you regard as heavy-handed local authority enforcement and I will bring it to the attention of both the Arts Council and the Home Office.

With best wishes. Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for coming in here Hamish, that's interesting stuff. I've sent an email to Unicorn magazine drawing their attention to this thread and to your post especially.

As I say in a post earlier, Unicorn are trying to get information together about this, arising out of hassles that have effected the Ely Folk Club. The website link I put in my earlier post doesn't seem to work - but here us the email address I've got for them: trpthomas@aol.com

I think it might be worth getting directly on to them yourself, because they might well have gathered some useful information by now.

My feeling is that these restrictions probably wouldn't stand up in a court at the end of the day, but the status quo quite suits too many people, and the people who are adversely effected aren't in a position to fight it through expensive court actions. And there's also a worry people have that clarifying the legal position might even make things worse – which, given the way the courts work sometimes, isn't so silly. (Though I think the HRA might have changed the likelihood of this happening a bit.)


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 03:16 PM

If the distinction between a performer and a member of the public, making music for their own entertainment in a public house, presents a problem. This distinction can be clearly and easily demonstrated in the quite different relationship the publican has with them.

This difference should be immediately obvious to any competent enforcement officer following the Cabinet Office Enforcement Concordat of March 1998, before they proceed with any threats of prosecution.

The performer is employed by the publican to perform. If the publican does not want them to perform, they inform the performer and the performer will not turn up on the night, ready to perform.

The member(s) of the public has usually asked the publican's permission to make music in their public house, and is there because they are a customer. If they are a customer who has come to the pub largely in order to make music and the publican is forced to ask them not to make music, the publican knows this will upset the customer and they are unlikely to come again.

A successful publican is one who does not upset their customers. The licensing authority should recognise this and not place the publican in an impossible position. They should certainly not do so when there are no issues of noise or public safety.

In the case of an informal tradition music session, taking place on licensed premises, with publican's permission, it is quite clear that there are, no performers.

There are only customers providing their own entertainment.

Thus the number of them playing is not relevant.

They are using only their voices or non-amplified instruments.

There are no resulting issues of noise or public safety.

Therefore the requirement for a Public Entertainment Licence under section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, is clearly not applicable, under these circumstances.


It would appear that the present situation, where central government has indicated that the Section 182 requirements are to be removed, but they remain in existence and still form the licensing authority's bible, is possibly the worst of all worlds.

Publicans, aware of the government's intentions will be understandably reluctant to pay additional funds for a PEL, and enforcement officers seem to be determined that the publicans will not get away with more than two performers, without one.

Sessions, clubs and other informal musical gatherings in pubs, appear to be taking most of the flak of this unsatisfactory situation.

An analogy (that is possibly a little OTT), would be one where those responsible for WW2 concentration camps, seeing that the camps were shortly to be liberated and a new order would be shortly set up, ignore that fact and then set about implementing their current orders, with an increased zeal.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 03:27 PM

Could some clever soul find Section 182 and post a link to it, or post the text itelf, if it's not on the net anywhere. (And then of course it will be on the net for any future purposes...I mean, if they are going to get rid of it, it's as well to know, in case there's anything in it we might value.)


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 06:35 PM

Format won't copy. Go to

http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/worddocs/5211063


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 07:34 PM

Well, here is the relevant extract from that site Richard helpfully found us (the link direct seems to have a problem, but I ferreted around on the site, which is Herts County Council's, and got there eventually):

Section 182(1)
(Relaxation with respect to licensed premises of laws relating to relating to music and dancing licenses and billiards)

No statutory regulations for music and dancing shall apply to licensed premises so as to require any licence for the provision of public entertainment:

a) By the reproduction of wireless (including music television) broadcasts

b) By way of music and singing only which is safely provided by the reproduction of recorded sound.

c) By not more than two performers.

d) Sometimes in one of those ways or sometimes in the other.

Which by itself seems to suggest that if they just remove section 182, as Lord Bassam of Brighton indicated they are planning to do, it will mean that a pub will have to apply for licences for anything, including playing a wireless set, or having even a single person singing or playing.

Which doesn't seem a great improvement. But then I got the distinct impression from that Hansard extract that the Lordships don't have a clue about this whole thing, even less than the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 05:53 AM

Medieval theologians were sharply divided over just how many angels could dance on a pin-head. Who counts as a 'performer' under s 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 is an equally spurious debate.

The fundamental principles are: everyone's right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, [and] enjoy the arts... (Article 27.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948); and the right to freedom of expression (Article 10, European Convention etc etc).

Local authorities may only interfere when public safety is genuinely at risk. Establishing whether this is the case is a statutory duty shared by the licensee and the local authority Environmental Health dept.

Public disorder issues, inside or outside premises, are dealt with by the police under separate legislation.

Where there are no noise or safety concerns, local authorities, as 'emanations of the State', have a duty to encourage local cultural life. But the primary legislation itself (s 182), excessive fees and conditions, and the strangulation grip of enforcement combine to violate these basic rights.

The only plausible argument I have heard for retaining a separate licensing system for public entertainment is that it allows local authorities to tailor other types of condition (parking restrictions, for example)specifically to the premises and the entertainment in question, and that a PEL gives local people have a sense of control of what is going on in the neighbourhood. This is the line local authorities will take in defending their need for strict regulation of public entertainment.

While the first part of that argument is achievable under existing health and safety legislation, the second is more problematic.

The word 'licence' is very reassuring for certain people -it has a ring of authority, even when its function is virtually redundant. The deep divide that exists between kill-joys and good-timers in this country means that it won't be easy for one section of the community to let go of the absurd idea that even a pub sing-along should be licensed.

Entertainment licensing per se was first codified in the 'Disorderly Houses' Act of 1751. The rationale was explicit: 'The multitude of places of entertainment for the lower sort of people is another great cause of thefts and robberies, as they are thereby tempted to spend their small substance in riotous pleasures and in consequence are put on unlawful methods of supplying their wants and renewing their pleasures'.

The relish with which licensing departments enforce PELs surely harks back to these attitudes.

The Government's licensing White Paper (Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws), published last April, was negative about musicians.

There were two specific references: one explaining that s 182 should go because two musicians with amplifiers can make more noise than a band without; the other identifying a risk that musicians could face reduced opportunities for work when s 182 is scrapped.

In other words, the Government knows that the new licensing regime would simply allow local authorities to fall like ravening wolves on all types of entertainment. And I have letters from Camden's Prosecuting solicitors expressing the view all public entertainment should be licensed 'for reasons of public safety' - a view shared by many local authorities.

So it is essential to keep up strong lobbying of local authorities (arts departments), MPs, the Department of Culture, the Home Office, the Arts Council, and the Church of England (Board of Social Responsibility) and to generate as much media coverage as possible. I feel sure that if it were widely known that folk clubs are being forced to perform in secret locations, this would be a great story for local and even national tv. Someone must know a good producer or two...?

Ultimately it is only by a shift of public opinion that the law will be changed so as to end the present oppressive regime.

ham.drum@virgin.net


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 06:12 AM

Medieval theologians were divided over just how many angels could dance on a pin-head. Just who counts as a performer under s 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 is an equally spurious debate.

The fundamental principles are: everyone's right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, [and] to enjoy the arts... (Article 27.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights); and freedom of expression (Article 10.1, European Convention etc).

Public authorities may only interfere if there is a genuine risk to public safety. Establishing whether this is the case is a statutory duty shared by the licensee and the Environmental Health department of the local authority.

Public disorder issues are dealt with by the police under separate legislation. Noise issues are dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act, and Noise at Work Regulations.

Local authorities, as emanations of the state, share the duty under Article 27 of the UDHR to promote access to every form of cultural life, including sing-alongs in pubs. But the primary legislation itself (s 182), excessive fees and conditions, and a strangulation grip of enforcement together constitutes a grave violation of this right.

It is a national scandal that folk clubs in England are actually being forced into hiding in order to put on performances (in Norwich at least). There really is more than a suggestion of Fascistic oppression about this, and that is what gave rise to the formulation of fundamental human rights in the first place.

The Government's licensing reforms, published in a White Paper last April, mentioned musicians only twice, and both references were negative. The first announced that the reason for doing away with s 182 was because two musicians with amplifiers can make more noise than three without; the second was that musicians could face reduced opportunities for work when s 182 is scrapped.

You are right to say, therefore, that we could be in a worse position if local authorities then fall on all entertainment with the same ravening intensity.

There has to be a profound shift in public opinion in order to bring an end to the present oppressive regulatory regime. This will only be accomplished by persistent lobbying: of local authorities (arts departments particularly), MPs, the Arts Council, the Home Office, the Local Government Association, and lastly, but almost more important, the media.

ham.drum@virgin.net


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 06:18 AM

Sorry about the duplicated message - the first didn't seem to go through.

H


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 02:28 PM

Hamish, what you said there confirmed my worries about the cackfisted way our legislators have when it comes to reforming absurdities, which rends to be just to compound them.

The crucial thing which has emerged from this is that there needs to be a recognition that it is unfair and unjust, and probably illegal to count people playing or singing primarily for their own benefit as "performers".

Coordinated lobbying sounds like a good idea. But I think it would be helpful if we have aclearwer idea of what excatly we would ideally like the situation to be.

I think the essential thing should be that non-amplified music, where no paid entry fee is charged should be protected from any requirements for licensing, unless there is any reason to believe that a public nuisance is being created, or that public safety is being put at risk.

That would cover coffee bars, barber-shop quartets in barbershops or whatever as well as pubs. It would also be very much in-line with the Human Rights requirements.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 06:20 AM

I have tended to concentrate on events where the musician is not a performer, and this is easily demonstrated to anyone wishes to see it. There are those however, who may think they have reasons not to look too hard to see this distinction?

A performer is a member of the public, whose prime reason for being present in a public house, is to make music at the publican's request because the publican is paying them for that service.

A performer is not a member of the public whose prime reasonfor being present in a public house is as a customer. ……If as a customer they may make music as an expression of their cultural identity, having obtained the publican's permission to do so, this does not then make them a performer.

I could be considered to be a bit of an expert in the field of informal musical gatherings but as is probably very clear from the wording of the above, I am not a lawyer. I would be grateful if the legal-minded of us could help and comment constructively on the above, rather than just to quibble.

Even a silent acceptance by licensing authorities of this general interpretation would mean that informal musical gatherings could take place and hopefully be advertised openly, in the present legal uncertainty. This would be a good first step.

It can easily been seen why a licensing officer would see the above interpretation as a 'Trojan Horse' and one that would make enforcement of the Section 182 requirements more difficult. However the law does not exist just to make our lives difficult or to make their lives easy, or does it? Possibly this one does?

If the licensing authorities continue to force this issue, despite HM Government's clear message (above) that they should not do so, they are 'shooting themselves in the foot' I do not see that there is any choice but to use this wonderful opportunity that they have presented to us. The media will have great fun with this. It is up to us to bring it to their attention.

The next step?

The fact that only 20% of licensed premises hold PELs, it is unfortunately very easy to demonstrate the pretty disastrous effect that the Section 182 requirements have had in limiting on the community's rights of cultural expression.

For you have only to look at the musical events taking place in public houses in your area, to see that the majority of these consist of musicians working solo or in duo form. This is rarely I would suggest, entirely out of choice or entirely for artistic reasons.

A number of these events are not advertised, for fear of bringing unwelcome attention from licensing officers. I wonder how many planned events do not even get off the ground, for the same reasons?

All this where there are no issues of noise or public safety.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 03:42 PM

SCOFF Article here.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licensing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 05:18 PM

Thanks for the article, Shambles. It strengthens the worries I have about the dangers. With an election coming up, this is a good time to write to MPS. And would-be MPs.

But I want to be a bit clearer about a few matters first, because this isn't the kind of thing I expect my MP to be too knowledgeable on - so it'd be handy to have a clearer indication of what the position is as regards proposed legislation/regulations - who has the job of drafting it, what working drafts might be in existence etc.

Something else that would be helpful would be knowing what the legal position is in other countries in the European Union, especially perhaps Ireland. And how about Scotland? (Is this something where the Scotish ASssembly no whas authority rather than Westminster? (And Wales?)

I mean, if someone else has got it more or less how we'd like it, in a way that is consistent with Human Rights requirements, that would be useful to know. No need to re-invent the wheel.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 07:05 PM

Hamish, that was good. With respect, Sham, you can't just make up a definition and expect it to have legal effect, however good it might be. As to what one wants, many folk clubs charge entrance. Some also use PA. Politicians will never release a liceinsng system for public entertainment, so you will need to be very clear what you try to lobby for. Magrath, some public libraries will have Halsbury's laws and Halsbury's statutes, or the law department of a local university or poly.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licensing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 07:27 PM

"Politicians will never release a licensing system for public entertainment, so you will need to be very clear what you try to lobby for."

Well, I agree with that last bit about needing to be very clear what you are asking for, because you just might get it - but the law at present specifically makes a blanket exception for licensed premises, for certain types of "entertainment".

And the government is apparently committed to changing the existing law - so essentially what would be likely to suit us would be that the new law makes a similar blanket exemption, but not on the basis of numbers but rather on that of non-amplification. And maybe only applying where no admission charge is involved.

And I don't think there's any need to assume that something on those lines that would necessarily be looked on unfavourably, if presented in the right way. I think it seems fairly common-sensical.

Ideally, as I've indicated, I'd like that examption to be extended to other places, like coffee bars and barber shops and anywhere where people might like to get together. But licensed premises would be a start - and they have the advantage, from a government point of view, that there is in place a procedure that is supposed to ensure that they are safe and well-conducted.

If we can't get the relevant text of the legislation off the Internet, I suppose trying to trace it down in hard cover will be the necessary course of action. However the most relevant text is not the existing law, but the proposed replacement - and that should be on the net somewhere.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 08:30 PM

Thank you Richard but the present situation is that we seem to have something with a devastating legal effect, being exercised without such a definition.

I have found that most of the legal minds I have recently spoken to, know a lot less about informal musical gatherings, than even I know about the law.

Is it possible that musicians and licensees may actually be more qualified than lawyers, to determine what a performer is, or what controls are placed on their livelihoods and right of cultural expression?

Lawyers would certainly more qualified to enable any definition arrived at, to have legal effect.

Perhaps you could inform us what the Section 182 definition of a performer is? This law is the only reason such a definition is required and according to some interpretations, would appear to be anyone who makes music anywhere?

The licensee pays the performer, the customer pays the licensee. The definition really is that simple.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 02:16 AM

Sorry if I am not able to see this issue in the required detached manner. I speak as one who has spent a lot of time and ennergy in organising an event, which struggles on and remains under a cloud because officals are appearing and couning me and the other musicians as performers.

Section 182's numerical requirements refer to specifically to performers. Not musicians, members of the public or to customers.

It would be obvious to anyone, without a hidden agenda, visiting that they are not witnessing a performance.

The onus is on the officers to define the word, for they remain the only ones who are seeing performers and a performance.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 03:54 AM

Hello again Shambles, McGrath, Richard

Lawyers cannot agree who counts as a performer. One of the bibles for licensing officers is 'Entertainment Licensing - Law and Practice' (Butterworths), by academic lawyer Dr Colin Manchester.

It was Dr Manchester who e-mailed me last year confirming that 'there is no decided authority' to support an interpretation of s 182 which counts members of the public performers if they join in with music making in a pub (either singing or playing an instrument). His personal view was that a 'performer' was someone specifically engaged by the proprietor for the purpose.

And it was Dr Manchester who pointed out that the provision of s 182 'cannot be public safety because it operates irrespective of the number of persons present' in premises.

I have had two informal opinions from QCs agreeing that this is a 'freedom of expression' issue, one from Simon Mehigan and the other from Robin Allen. Mr Mehigan is an editor of Butterworths 'Licensing Laws', and Mr Allen is the co-editor of the study guide to the Human Rights Act published jointly by the Bar Council and the Home Office last December.

The licensing White Paper has already dispensed in principle with a separate entertainment licensing framework, this being subsumed into the 'Premises Licence' which will apply to all on-licensed premises (pubs, clubs, bars etc).

The White Paper also emphasises that safety conditions should not exceed the safety provision available under existing health and safety legislation, and, by allowing local people to object to the 'operating conditions' (which will include whatever entertainment will be on offer in the premises) this will increase 'local democracy' in the decision to grant a Premises Licence.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 04:00 AM

Thanks Hamish. Is it really only just the four of us?

I do appear to be giving the legal mind more credit than possibly others are doing? For I do not believe that 'sloppiness' was the reason that the word 'performers' was used in 1964, in wording legislation on Public Entertainment Licensing. For however unfortunate the result of the legislation may be, there would have been a very good reason to use the word 'performers'. It would have been chosen with great care.

Am I now being told that this care was not taken?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:07 AM

Hamish, you are one or two jumps ahead as usual.

THe parliamentary draftsman does not always know what he is doing, as the decades of muddle about "Road Used as a Public Path" demonstrates. Smetimes this leads the law into stragne byways.

I strongly suspect that a performer is to be viewed here as widely as in what used to be the perforemrs' protection acts, and as now is in Part III of the COpyright Designs and Patents Act - where the policy is one of inclusion. If (for example, and not by way of limitation) you sing out loud in the knowledge that others will hear I would expect that to be a "performance". I see no reason (yet) to think otherwise, with all respect to the learned author you cite. But the only ways to get a better idea would be to doble check in say LEXIS or LAWTEL to see if there are any cases if not deciding the issue at least coming close toit, or possibly trying to find Hansard from when the old Act was passed.

By the way, can you scan and post the whole of S182 and surrounding and related clauses, if you have the textbook?

'Twould facilitate rational debate rather than speculation.

I have had a look at the White paper (found in DOgpile search) and if I am looking at the right thing I don't see it saying what you say, so I am probably looking at the wrong thing. Can you provide a link or a url? I guess it must be on the open gov website somewhere.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licensing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:38 AM

New legislation is pending in respect of all this, if U understand Lord Bassam of Brighton's reply above in Hamish's initial post.

This would mean that somewhere someone, or more likely a committee of some kind, has been given the job of drawing up draft legislation. And that would normally include a duty of consulting with relevant people, and allowing member of the public to make representations.

So that is the information that we need, so that people like us can make our representations. It's obviously better if possible to get these sort of things right while the legislation or regulations are being drafted, rather than try to get them amended at a later stage.

So any information about that Hamish, or anyone?

This seems to have developed into an exchange between four of us - but there must be other people with useful contributions to make. Especially maybe on that point I raised about what happens elsewhere, especially perhaps Ireland.

Since this is getting rather long, I've started a part 2, with a new title, since that might get a few other people involved.Sessions under threat in the UK?. So I suggest that we adjourn there.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:43 AM

Sorry - that link just got us back here. ("There must be some way out of this said the Joker to the Thief..."). This one should do better:Sessions under threat in the UK?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 01:17 PM

The Unicorn link won't work for me - out of date?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,mikemackenzieuk@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM

Please advise if an Entertainments Licence is required for Karaoke at a small bar in Colchester,Essex.The stage holds about 4 people and Karaoke is held twice weekly.
Thank you.Mike Mackenzie


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 01:53 AM

The answer is YES under the current and the new legislation.

At the moment because MIDI is considered as 'recorded sound' and a combination of that and even one live 'performer' is NOT exempt under S 182 'the-two-in-a bar-rule.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 07:22 AM

They never seem to have any problems with licensing rules about 10 miles down the road at "The Royal Marine" Walton-on-the-Naze :-)


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 04:23 PM

Is the RM definitely unlicensed and not insisting on membership?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 06:58 AM

I hope you don't want to shop them to the authorities ! I think they come in the Tendring area.

I've sung there dozens (possibly hundreds) of times over the last 25 years, and I've never signed a membership form. Perhaps they have got a license now. Have a word with Jon at Thrift Music, as he runs the folk club there. They do of course run many events there during the Folk Festival, and there is also the Shanty weekend during November.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Mikethemike
Date: 23 May 04 - 01:22 PM

I am singer/entertainer.
I read all the questions and answers with intrest.   Could somebody answer this poser please. I have been asked to do an evening for a private party, at a private address, in a marque erected in the garden.   The garden is large but still surrounded by other houses.
I use pre-recorded backing tracks which will be amplified ( but not to loud). People will obiously end up dancing. And I plan to finish about 11.30/12.00. Will the organiser need a licence of any kind ?


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 04 - 03:04 PM

Under the old (still in force) rules - no
Under the new rules - not if you were booked direct. There has been some debate about the situation where an agent is contracted to provide the entertainment.

If the event is not genuinely "private" then a PEL will be required.
Under the old rules this isn't your problem. Under the new rules you will be required to show that you used due dilligence to determine that it wasn't a licencable event.

There are a whole separate set of issues about noise and public nuisance. Local authorities are empowered to confiscate sound equipment in certain circumstances.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 04 - 04:05 PM

I am not going to re-read the new Act again now but I think there may be theoretical problems still capable of arising. It was intended to catch private events at members' clubs, and you may get the sidewash.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,mike the mike
Date: 23 May 04 - 04:45 PM

Many thanks for a speady reply. This is a booking gained by me and me alone I dont use agents. Do I therefore I assume this is classed as being booked direct? This customer saw me, liked me and booked me.
I have also contacted the local licencing officers at the local police station I will let you all know the resulting answer


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: RichardP
Date: 24 May 04 - 12:54 PM

Unless you have taken the booking more than twelve months in advance, the new Act will have no impact on your gig.

Under either Act the local police are not directly involved the licencing of entertainment, so don't hold out too much hope or put too much reliance on any information they provide.

When the new act comes into force, no musician or singer can commit an offence by singing or playing. Only premises owners/operators and organisers making a profit out of an event can commit an offence. In your case the organiser would not need a licence under the new Act if the event in his marquee was not open to the public. Even then, if the event was more or less a one-off it would be sufficient for him to serve a "Temporary Event Notice" at no cost.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 04 - 02:05 PM

When the new act comes into force, no musician or singer can commit an offence by singing or playing. Only premises owners/operators and organisers making a profit out of an event can commit an offence.

If the musician was also the organiser of an event, where they knew there to be no entertainment permission, they would be committing an offence.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 24 May 04 - 03:06 PM

But the offence would arise from the role of organiser not from the role of musician.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 04 - 07:11 PM

I think you would accept that the effect would be the same and for many small-scale (folk) events, the organiser is very often also a participating musician.

Despite the reassuring tone of all of Richard P's postings - it as well for us to to remember that the original intention of the Bill was that musicians would be committing an offence.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 May 04 - 03:31 AM

All from memory, but...

Also if there is more than one musician and one lends another an instrument there is a technical problem.

Another technical problem is if there is a bandleader and the band is paid by payment to the bandleader.

Finally "In your case the organiser would not need a licence under the new Act if the event in his marquee was not open to the public." I am not clear that this is correct in all circumstances.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 May 04 - 01:55 PM

Richard,

You will know better than I that no normal person is immune from prosecution for almost anything. However, in the two cases you site I am sure that you would expect to go to court with an incredibly strong defence case unless and until some judge upsets the applecart.

I think that you are right that there are some circumstances where an organiser in a private event could ned a licence, however I am pretty sure that the case which started this thread is not such a case.

There is a risk of tunring this thread into a parallel general thread on licencing rather than concentrating on the particular case which initiated it. Such a generalisation will benefit noone.

Richard


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 May 04 - 10:11 AM

Shambles,

You wrote "Despite the reassuring tone of all of Richard P's postings - it as well for us to to remember that the original intention of the Bill was that musicians would be committing an offence. "

It is certainly true that the original would have had the effect that musicians could have committed an offence. It is impossible to know whether it was an intention or a case of inappropriate drafting. Certainly, the government sought credit for having it removed from the bill during its passage.

Of course the true cynic would accuse them of including it for the primary purpose of getting credit when it was removed.

Whatever the motivations in the past. The Act does not put musicians at risk of preosecutioin for playing music.

Richard


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 04 - 11:59 AM

Certainly, the government sought credit for having it removed from the bill during its passage. *Smiles*

I am sure they did. However, I feel that the hard work and credit for this and many other measures that make the Act (only slightly) less of a 'pig's ear' than it might have been, is due elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: HELP with UK Music Licencing problem?
From: GUEST,mikethemike
Date: 26 May 04 - 02:11 PM

My apologise for not remaining in the thread of things, had to go away!   But, not being one for all this chat thing I didnt realise that so many people would actually bother to read, let alone answer my question.   Many thanks for your replies. I have had an answer from the local police office in charge of licencing, who assures me that after asking his "learned friends", that I will not need to worry about any licencing because this is a private party, not open to the public . But the organisers should be concerned about the Noise problem with the neighbours, which seems a reasonable remark. The gig is in July, I shall let you all know in due course the outcome. In the meantime I shall follow the thread.    Regards


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