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Law prevents carol singing

The Shambles 20 Dec 05 - 06:33 AM
The Shambles 20 Dec 05 - 06:38 AM
The Villan 20 Dec 05 - 06:42 AM
The Shambles 20 Dec 05 - 06:45 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 05 - 06:45 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 05 - 06:49 AM
Flash Company 20 Dec 05 - 06:53 AM
Grab 20 Dec 05 - 07:02 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 05 - 07:27 AM
s&r 20 Dec 05 - 07:32 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 05 - 07:37 AM
Billy Suggers 20 Dec 05 - 09:35 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 05 - 10:26 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 05 - 11:57 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Dec 05 - 12:05 PM
JohnB 20 Dec 05 - 12:54 PM
Grab 20 Dec 05 - 01:03 PM
Wesley S 20 Dec 05 - 01:06 PM
The Villan 20 Dec 05 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,abs 20 Dec 05 - 01:12 PM
Rank 20 Dec 05 - 01:49 PM
BB 20 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM
PennyBlack 20 Dec 05 - 08:43 PM
JohnB 20 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 02:05 AM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,pavane 21 Dec 05 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,DB 21 Dec 05 - 04:12 AM
DMcG 21 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM
Wilfried Schaum 21 Dec 05 - 10:06 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 21 Dec 05 - 10:23 AM
s&r 21 Dec 05 - 10:30 AM
s&r 21 Dec 05 - 10:32 AM
Wesley S 21 Dec 05 - 11:01 AM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 11:57 AM
PennyBlack 21 Dec 05 - 12:05 PM
Wesley S 21 Dec 05 - 12:17 PM
MMario 21 Dec 05 - 12:19 PM
Wesley S 21 Dec 05 - 12:36 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 07:44 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 08:01 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 08:35 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,pavane 22 Dec 05 - 07:26 AM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 07:49 AM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 09:20 AM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 11:13 AM
Tootler 22 Dec 05 - 12:20 PM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 01:26 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 01:45 PM
Peace 22 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM
Folkiedave 22 Dec 05 - 02:35 PM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM
Bert 22 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 08:03 PM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 08:19 PM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 08:29 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 08:33 PM
PennyBlack 22 Dec 05 - 09:01 PM
Peace 22 Dec 05 - 09:02 PM
Folkiedave 23 Dec 05 - 05:53 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 05 - 06:20 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 05 - 06:24 AM
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PennyBlack 23 Dec 05 - 10:07 AM
DMcG 23 Dec 05 - 10:54 AM
DMcG 23 Dec 05 - 11:04 AM
PennyBlack 23 Dec 05 - 11:26 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 05 - 12:13 PM
The Shambles 23 Dec 05 - 01:47 PM
ET 23 Dec 05 - 03:18 PM
Nigel Parsons 23 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM
Folkiedave 23 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM
The Shambles 23 Dec 05 - 09:07 PM
The Shambles 24 Dec 05 - 04:06 AM
Folkiedave 24 Dec 05 - 06:15 AM
ET 24 Dec 05 - 07:12 AM
The Shambles 24 Dec 05 - 12:08 PM
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Melani 24 Dec 05 - 03:53 PM
Folkiedave 24 Dec 05 - 07:38 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 24 Dec 05 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,Obie 24 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM
The Shambles 26 Dec 05 - 12:35 PM
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Subject: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:33 AM

http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=edponline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED18%20Dec%202005%2020:45:12:420

The following extract from the above.

Carol singing licensing confusion

19 December 2005 07:30


Church leaders were forced to pull the plug on a popular outdoor carol service in Norfolk over the weekend amid fears it would breach public performance legislation.

And now there are concerns that many other carol singing events in the run up to Christmas could be in breach of licensing regulations.

The confusion over licensing saw the inter-denominational Christmas carol service called off at the last minute..........................


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:38 AM

This is what the department for culture, media and sport website says:

"Carol singers going from door to door, or just deciding to sing in a particular place, or even turning up unannounced in a pub and singing, would not require a licence, just as drinkers in a public house who suddenly decided to start singing carols would not be licensable.

"However, if a business in a shopping mall, for example, arranges for a group of singers to sing carols this will be the same as their arranging any performance of live music and a premises licence or temporary event notice would be required."


The above is not what the words of the Licensing Act 2003 say.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:42 AM

How ludicrous and stupid.

Will they ban all western music next just like Iran.

There are some absolute arseholes running this country.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:45 AM

See also Affected by the Licensing Act 2003


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:45 AM

I agree with Shambles that that is not what the Act says. But even so, I can see why an organised Carol Service of the kind mentioned in the first post could be thought closer to the second DCMS example than carol singers 'just deciding to sing in a particular place'.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:49 AM

I should have read the article before I posted. This sentence is significant:

The churches say they sought guidance from South Norfolk District Council, which indicated a licence was required but that it was too late to apply.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Flash Company
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:53 AM

A group of Carol Singers in 'Dickensian' costume accompanied by a dog on a lead, struck up outside a house in Weymouth. When the door was opened, the nine singers and dog, burst into the house and arrested the occupants for posession of cocaine.
Wonder how they stand with the Licensing Act 2003?

FC


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Grab
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:02 AM

So the people at that church didn't know about the part of the Act that specifically excludes singing as part of a religious service from licensing? To quote from the Act, Schedule 1 Part 3:-

The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities-
(a) for the purposes of, or for purposes incidental to, a religious meeting or service, or
(b) at a place of public religious worship,
is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act.


So the law is actually outstandingly clear on this - there's no confusion in the law at all. And whether the carol service takes place in a church or in the town centre, it's automatically exempt. Carol-singing *not* as part of a religious service though would still be licensable, because it's being done as entertainment.

From the link:-

The churches say they sought guidance from South Norfolk District Council, which indicated a licence was required but that it was too late to apply.

The fault here is clearly with the council in providing crap information. Villan's dead right - there *are* some absolute arseholes running the country - but the location of those arseholes is not what that article suggests. Shallit's Razor:-

"Never attribute to conspiracy what may be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence."

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:27 AM

I see your point, Graham, but if I was playing devil's advocate I would argue that being organised by a religous group is not sufficient to make it a religious service [and therefore exempt]. For example, the Act says exempt singing should be part of a (presumably larger) service. Is that the case? Is there preaching, for example?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: s&r
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:32 AM

Carol singing is a religious meeting in itself (doesn't have to be a service)

Stu


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:37 AM

Well, stu, Graham and the DCMS both indicated that carol singing would in some circumstances require a licence. Let me make myself clear: I don't think it ever *should* require a licence but I can see that councils will sometimes insist on a licence.

I've email my MP (Conservative) with this example, bye the bye, and asked him to press the Government to say what futher steps they intend to take to clarify that events such as this do not need a licence. I don't expect anything to happen, but it can do no harm.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Billy Suggers
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:35 AM

Cor!

The Beerfordbury Wassail got off lightly ! - I reckon on the basis of all of this the whole 30 of us oughta be spending Christmas in Chelmsford prison

... on second thoughts ...

as Mum's coming for Dinner can I have a volunteer to shop me?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:26 AM

The world has gone bloody mad..what nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:57 AM

My MP has responded. Ok, all that has happened so far is that he has promised to get in touch with Richard Bacon (the local MP) and to write to DCMS for an explanation, but even so to get any response in less than 4 hours is pretty good going.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 12:05 PM

What about barbara?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: JohnB
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 12:54 PM

Why don't you all quit and move to Canada, we don't have to put up with this BULL.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Grab
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:03 PM

Buggered if I know. :-) But in my experience of singing along to them, "carol service" generally involves a dose of sermons in your sing-song, whereas "carol concert" would involve singing but not sermonising.

My personal feel is that if you sing Christian songs then it doesn't automatically make the performance religious - think David Bowie doing "Little drummer boy", or a whole bunch of country singers. Something needs to differentiate between a Christian song as entertainment and a Christian song as praise. But anyway, that's only marginally relevant to the thread.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Wesley S
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:06 PM

Isn't peaceful civil disobedience called for at a time like this ? What type of fines or imprisonment are we talking about here ? Wouldn't most judges throw this out of court ?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:06 PM

Have the PRS and MCPS got God on their books?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: GUEST,abs
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:12 PM

and did they intending to make a collection? this would have an effect on the licence requirement.

Stu - singing carols is surprisingly not necessarily a religious meeting.

Has the local council not raised a licence for this Public Place?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: Rank
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:49 PM

I was thinking about reviving the Derby Tup in Killamarsh this year, but due to slothfulness didn't get round to it. Perhaps next Christmas. I assumed that we would be runnung foul of the law, but the government aren't very law abiding, so I don't see why I should be.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: BB
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM

Depends where you're intending to perform the Tup Play. If you're going round the pubs, you need to check whether they have 'ticked the box' for entertainment - if so, you should be OK. If not the pubs, but in public places, you would need a separate Temporary Event Notice for each place at which you want to perform.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: PennyBlack
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 08:43 PM

Will be interested to see what if any action is taken on this one, and whether the new licensing law will be invoked to stop them!

Singers defy Parliament demo ban

The new law bans unauthorised protests within a half-mile radius
Carol singers are to become the latest group to defy a ban on unauthorised protests around Parliament.
The group will test the limits of the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act by singing in Parliament Square from 1800 GMT on Wednesday.

The law makes demonstrating without police permission an arrestable offence near Parliament. Singers include long-term anti-war protester Brian Haw and Maya Evans - the first protester to be convicted.

Ironically Mr Haw is the one protester exempt from the ban, due to a Home Office drafting error.

He successfully argued in the High Court that as his four-year vigil pre-dated the law, he did not have to apply for authorisation to continue.

Since the law came into force in August, several people have been arrested and other protesters have been warned off.

Peace campaigner Ms Evans was the first to be convicted under the Act, after reading out the names of soldiers killed in Iraq at the Cenotaph.

Mr Haw will lead the Lord's Prayer at the service on Wednesday, joined by others including former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, and a 7 July bombings survivor.

A spokesman for the carol singers, Tim Ireland, said: "In this instance, the police have not been notified. They've been invited, certainly, but they have not been notified.

"We believe that the public has the right to gather in a public place and sing Christmas carols. The police may see things differently, we shall see."

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman was not able to comment on whether a carol service constituted a demonstration and said a decision about whether to take action would be taken on the day.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: JohnB
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM

Sorry the body won't be there, the spirit is however with the singers.
Godd Luck and Good Singing, JohnB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:05 AM

Penny Black - where and when did this item appear?

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman was not able to comment on whether a carol service constituted a demonstration and said a decision about whether to take action would be taken on the day.

Intersting decision for the police. Carol singing is either a political demonstration or a Regulated Entertainment.

Perhaps there is a third option that it neither?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:07 AM

Can who ever inserted 'England' to this thread's title please remove it?
    I won't bother finding out who made the title change, but I can see no good reason for the change to have been made - so I changed it back. I would expect to see a location added to titles of threads about concerts or tours, not for every damn thing.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:52 AM

Could it be BOTH at the same time? Why not?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 04:12 AM

Any chance of rock music being banned?

...thought not!


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: DMcG
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM

The web site that carried the article that started this thread is now displaying this:

How joyful and triumphant
Hundreds of carol-singers will be able to carry on carolling between now and Christmas, after the Government moved to clarify confusion over new licensing laws - thanks to the EDP. It means that scores of traditional performances and concerts - facing possible cancellation amid uncertainty over the licensing of outdoor events - will now be able to go ahead, without the fear of action.

I am searching for further detail...


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:06 AM

Has anybody considered that the root of carol singing is busking?
Young Martin Luther is known to have sung carols from door to door with other poor pupils of his local school to add to their livelihood.

Ban laws on folk!


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:23 AM

Wesley S,

The maximum penalty for the organisers is £20,000 fine or six months jail, or both.

Shambles,

Why should the person who added England remove it, as it makes clear the fact that this does not affect the USA, or Canada, or indeed many other countries, including Scotland.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (UK not Scotland)
From: s&r
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:30 AM

Does that help?

Stu


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: s&r
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:32 AM

Oh well, it printed on my post but not on the header.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 11:01 AM

Don T. - Thanks for your reply. Has anyone actually been arrested or prosecuted yet ? I'm going to make an assumpion that in England there is a freedom of religion law of some sort that would protect this activity. Who says a church meeting needs to be indoors ?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 11:57 AM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4545704.stm


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:05 PM

Shambles -

Carol Protest Demo Link - BBC

Wesley S wrote
I'm going to make an assumption that in England there is a freedom of religion law

Carol Singing is not necessarily connected with religion some treat it like "Penny for the Guy" or "Trick or Treat" a general Fund Raiser or just enjoy singing the songs. I bet there's a few atheists that have sung Gaudete in their time (and made a few bob from singing it) :0)

PB

PB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:17 PM

If it were me - I'd sing anyway and claim it's religious persecution if I were arrested. Then fight it in court.

And y'all must be in a bad way if you need permission from the police to protest near Parliment. What's up with that ? Am I missing something ?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: MMario
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:19 PM

Wesley - you'd have to get a permit to protest near the senate or the white house - so why not permission to protest near paliment?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:36 PM

I guess I need a definition of "near".


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 07:44 PM

I wonder just how many illegal carol singing events are currently taking place outside our supermarkets. I have just heard of one locally where the Mayor of my borough actually sang at such an unlicensed event.

The particpants claim that they were not singing for the purpose of entertaining an audience - valid or not - with my knowledge of his particpation - I am sure that it is a claim that our mayor will now be most eager to support.

Before this he was quite supportive of his officer's view that all music making was for the purpose of entertaining an audience.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:01 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/20/ncarol20.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/12/20/ixhome.html


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:35 PM

Oh I forgot to mention that The Mayor is also vice-chairman of the Licensing Committee.........


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 06:42 AM

Shambles,

Why should the person who added England remove it, as it makes clear the fact that this does not affect the USA, or Canada, or indeed many other countries, including Scotland.

Don T.


I do not say they should. I simply, respectfully and politely asked if they could. If I had thought it to be a good idea to include this in the title - I perhaps would have included it.

As I did not - a simple PM asking why and if I would object to any change being made to my chosen thread title would I think, to have been the polite, respectful, polite and classy way to proceed.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 07:26 AM

Besides which, Wales is also affected, not just England


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 07:49 AM

We have over the last "several" years (like many musicians) been involved in the changes to the licensing law and its effect on live music and have found various attitudes from the local councils and their enforcement officer ranging from "Jobsworth" to Vindictive and aggressive enforcement of the law, but most are ordinary people trying to get on with their jobs and will do their best to help.

One of our local councils has just replied to me with regards to "open area" events TEN etc. It also points out the fact (which we do not always take into account) that several internal departments of the council have to interact to bring about a resolution, and this isn't always a case of popping into the next office.


PB


------Edited Reply (names/locations removed)------



Pete,

I have this week had a meeting with *** *****, our arts and events officer, regarding the licensing act and the need to licence certain areas of the Borough to encourage cultural activity in line with our licensing policy. Top of that list was ********* but others were mentioned as well, some will need agreements with other parties such as ****** ****.

Clearly at this stage I and the Council did not want to stifle traditional Christmas activity such as Carole singing so an interpretation of 'in the presence of an audience and for the purposes of entertaining that audience's has been somewhat generous in favour of these events. As we issue licences for open areas this interpretation may be tightened having regard to any guidance or case law which may emerge. At present no TENS have been issued and therefore the full allocation of TENs is still available. *** has been made aware of the use of these notices and the procedure to follow.

Hopefully *** will get back to us shortly with applications for premises licences which we will process as quickly as possible.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year, incidentally any singing in ******* ****** tomorrow will probably be my section after their Christmas lunch.


********


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:20 AM

Clearly at this stage I and the Council did not want to stifle traditional Christmas activity such as Carole singing so an interpretation of 'in the presence of an audience and for the purposes of entertaining that audience's has been somewhat generous in favour of these events. As we issue licences for open areas this interpretation may be tightened having regard to any guidance or case law which may emerge. At present no TENS have been issued and therefore the full allocation of TENs is still available. *** has been made aware of the use of these notices and the procedure to follow.

This is fascinating. It is evidence that LAs at least do see that the interpretation of the words of the Act is a matter for local policy making. However - these officers seem to think that it is a matter only for paid employees and servants of the borough to decide and change these interpretations.

In the final analyis it will be a matter for the courts but LAs do have to place a workable interpretation on them first. It is the officer's role to advise on this. But I would suggest that in this case the current 'generous' (or cowardly) interpretation of 'in the presence of an audience and for the purposes of entertaining that audience's' is kept until some legal challenge is made to it.

I would suggest that any move by the officers alone to change a interpretation of these words that currently enable carols and other simlar music making events without temporary or permanent permissions is challenged. It is matter for the local Licensing Authority to decide this matters with reference to the local Statement of Licensing Policy.   

Officers really can't be permitted decide interpretations of the words of legislation based on their readiness or not to issue the required licenses and decide on a less generous interpretation of these same words when they feel they are ready..........

As they state - case law is one thing they must now wait for and any guidance issued now is obviosly far too late for they have made the local interpretation based on current guidance. Pressure from the LA on the Secretary of State to change the words in Schedule 1 is probably the best option.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM

Perhaps it is time to take stock?

Carols are currently OK wherever Penny Black lives. They would also appear to be OK unlicensed in Sheffield but licenses are required in South Norfolk. Have I missed any?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 11:13 AM

With reference to Carol Singing (to keep with the thread topic) I believe the licensing officer made the correct call when he stated there would not be a requirement for a TEN licence which was neither "Brave" or "Cowardly" It could have just as easily passed across an application form.

I don't class officialdom as my enemy and try to work with them rather than being aggresivly hostile.

It's results that I'm interested in not the fun of "The Battle".

May I suggest that areas where Carol Singers has been told it requires a TEN licence (Not Prevented as implied) that the organiser ask for what reason?(whether classed as entertainment, profit making etc)and if being held in a place where such entertainment regularly takes place eg Buskers, Carol Singing, Morris dancing etc. whether the local council will be obtaining a licence to cover such events as encouraged by the DCMS

and to add to the confusion.

Jingle doorbells and get nicked
By Glenn Ebrey

"SCROOGE" police chiefs are urging residents who want a silent night to "arrest" young carol singers.

Greenwich police say residents who feel intimidated by warbling youngsters should perform a citizen's arrest on them, because they are breaking the law.

But church and youth leaders have slammed the police for their lack of Christmas spirit.

Police released a statement to News Shopper, saying anyone carol singing on a doorstep without a charity box or a permit is "begging".

The statement also urges residents to "detain such children" and then call the police.

The Reverend Elaine Cranmer from St Luke's Vicarage, Westmount Road, Eltham, says the police's position is wrong.

She said: "It seems a bit over the top to me. It sounds like using a sledgehammer to crack open a nut.

"I'm aware some people feel intimidated but carol singing has become a traditional part of Christmas."

Marie Hunt, who runs the Deptford 2nd North Brownie and Guide group, says she has stopped taking her children carol singing because of the "petty rules".

She said: "It has gone too far now. The police are like Scrooge, they are just spoiling Christmas for the children.

"When I was younger we used to go out all the time on our own but nowadays, the kids can't do it. They don't know where they stand.

"It is political correctness gone mad."

The Greenwich police statement carries a blunt message to residents "Don't be intimidated and don't give them a penny".

It says: "Please remember that anyone (but usually children) who rings your doorbell or knocks and then starts singing carols, but have no official charity collection box or permit, are simply begging.

"Begging by children under 16 is an offence under Section 4 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. Anyone can detain such children and then you can call the police."

The law also states the parents or guardian of the singing child will be prosecuted.

-------- Reference Link --------


----------


Now where's that "Is Busking Begging" thread :0)

PB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:20 PM

Here we come a Wassailing
Among the leaves so green
Here we come a wandering
So Fair to be seen

Love and joy come to you, And to your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year
And God send you a happy New Year


...

We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door
But we are your neighbours' children
That you have seen before

Love and joy... etc.

Exerpts from an English Traditional Carol.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM

Tootler, as I'm sure you are aware Wassail, is a toast (and performed at various times of the year) the above song traditionally would have been often sung to toast in the new year.

Sort of a "Thank you for giving me some money" - "Cheers Mate" and of course not religious based when sung as a "carol".


Merry Christmas
Gelukkige Kersfeesen
Enquine le gena adersashewu
Eid-dok um-barak or Eidat Mubarak
Shnorhavor Surb Tsnund or Bari Kaghand
Luzihiro Lwa Krismas
Kwa Beno Banso Bwanana
Na Bino Banso Bonane
Nathibitate Alegara or Eguberri Alegara
Chestita Koleda or Vesela Koleda
Felicas Pasquas
Kung Ho Shêng Tan or Shêng Tan K'uai Lo or Sheng dan kuai le
Radostan Narodenje Kristovo
Veselé Vánoce
Glædelig Jul
Vrolyk Derstfeest or Zalig Kerstfeest or Gezellige Kerstmis
Gajan Kristnaskon
Roomsaid Joulu Puhi
Hauska Joulua or Iloista Joulua
Vrolijke Kerstmis
Joyeux Noël
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Christouyenna
Shubh Diwali
Mele Kalikimaka
Chag Ha-Molad Sameach
Shubh Dipavali
Boldog Karácsonyi ünnepeket or Boldog Karácsonyt
Glediles Jol
Ria Hari Natal
Gaelic Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Buon Natále or Felice Natále
Yoi Kurisumasu O Oinori Itashimasu
Koo Ju Syung Tarn
Felicem Diem Nativitatis Christi
Priecigus Ziemasvetkus
Selamat Mari Raja Natal
Gledelig Jul or God Jul
Eiddat Mobark
Feliz Natal or Boas Festas
Sárbátori Fericite or Graciem Fericit
s Rozhdestvom Khristovym
Hristos se rodi
Vesele Vanoce
Radosten Narodzenje Kristovo
Feliz Navidad or Felices Pascuas
Changamfu Krismas or Nawatakia Heri za Krismas
God Jul
Maligyang Pasko
Nevincli Noel or Noeliniz
z Rozhestvom Khristovymor z Rizdvom Khristovim
Lê Thiên-Chúa gian-sinh
Nadolig Llawen
Frehliches Krismes


and a Happy New Year

PB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 01:26 PM

I don't class officialdom as my enemy and try to work with them rather than being aggresivly hostile.

Sadly my experience is that such an approach is seldom reciprocated and the few members of local officaldom who do really try to help are usually outnumbered and outranked by the majority who do see being helpful to the public as part of their job.

And I feel it must be remembered that is a job for them - there is no mileage in viewing them as omnipotent beings who the onus is on you not to upset. Expecting what is yours by right is usually enough on its own to upset the worst of them and I have found the worst of them are usually found in licensing departments.

If this is not the case - those who work in these depts have the best opportunity to demonstrate that I am wrong. I hope they will all work to prove me wrong.

Showing respect to the folk who may work for your local council is one thing - forelock touching and being expected to be grateful for the slightest crumb - is perhaps something else.

I don't see that it is 'generous' of any council employee to simply get out of the way of the public's right to express themselves in music. In the long run the sensible interpretation of what plainly is and what is not Regulated Entertainment by LAs is actually in their best interests as it will involve them in less work.

It is my view that the Licensing Act 2003 is poor legislation - especially the entertainment aspects. If those employed to enforce it were honest they may possibly agree. However a combination of poor legislation and poor local enforcement will be a disaster.

But I really believe that bold and imaginitive interpretation from LAs can still deliver something sensible from the unfortunate words of this Act. However, my experience leads me to doubt if such a thing exists in the area of licensing. And I really don't see it happening if we are prepared to accept and excuse anything less from those who are employed to serve the local community - not to rule over it.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 01:45 PM

I am sorry if I sound a little uncharitable and unseasional. Perhaps this extract from a letter from my local authority dated 14 December 2005 may help explain why...

--------------------------------------------------------------
I write following our recent meting. Apologies for not writing earlier – I needed some time to gather views of colleagues to respond to your specific points. Please also consider this as a response to your letter dated 19th November to Councillor Ames.

You raised 4 points. I have reproduced these along with our response to each below:

Firstly Perhaps our Licensing Authority can be advised to formally hold and issue a policy that pub sessions are considered locally as incidental live music – if or until there is any test in the nations' court that may decide to the contrary and require a change?

As you know, we have a Statement of Licensing Policy and I understand that you have had input into this. We will review this policy every three years and will consult on this as a matter of course. If we discover there is a problem in the Borough regarding sessions and incidental music, we seek to provide clarification when we revise the policy (in December 2007).

As I said when we met, if we do this, we will need to provide a definition of a session. Whilst we will need to prepare specific wording, and consider any relevant case law, our definition would stress that session:

could take place without an audience;

would not be advertised;

would not be amplified; and

would be spontaneous and not organised to take place on a regular basis.

We would also stress that the musicians involved do not receive payment.

As I said in our meeting, it is important to emphasise that if musicians regularly congregate at a pub to play, this could constitute regulated entertainment and so the pub would be likely to apply for a licence to provide regulated entertainment as the Cove House Inn already has. I would emphasise that we have had very few issues regarding incidental music to date. I would also like to emphasise that we are not keen to apply 'one size fits all' rules and so we will continue our approach to consider each case on its individual facts wherever possible.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM

Ignore the arseholes. GO SING!


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 02:35 PM

"They would also appear to be OK unlicensed in Sheffield......."

Roger, when you write something you know to be patently untrue you do yourself little justice.

The truth is as you well know and have been told repeatedly that ONE pub in Sheffield has had problems not of its own making and the law has been tolerant on this occasion. There have been no other problems locally in Sheffield that I, a local carol singer knows about.

Of course, living close to matters in Sheffield (in Weymouth) you may know a lot more.

Now you may not approve of the law being tolerant to allow a traditional event to go ahead. I do.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM

I have met several people in local government that were what I believed to be obstructive and even argumentative. But have met many, many more who are very nice people some who I would be pleased to call friends. (likewise in the music scene and life in general)

Yes maybe we are "Lucky" here, that we can work with them and local licensees the media etc. to ensure live music continues, If you ask anyone that knows me they would have a real laugh at the prospects of me being a forelock tucker or kissing lower parts of the body (at the rear). However I'm not tunnel visioned, and I'm willing to sit down and sort things out within the guide lines that have to be (whether I agree with them totally or not).

If a pub wants the entertainment in the form of session to continue he/she has that opportunity, we are at the moment sorting out a day of dance and music to take place in June 2006 it will do and will be "legal", If the council area Licences don't cover the areas required we will pay for TENs - we have to pay for rooms, transport, food etc.. not a problem. Having been involved in session since the (very) early 60s I can honestly say not one was run for reasons other than increased sales, not a problem that's why the landlord is there it's working together and those same Landlord were happy to break the old "Two in a Bar Rule" if it meant more profit for them!

It would appear that the pubs in your area don't want a licence to cover entertainment?

Peace and Good Will

and as me old Dad (God Bless him) used to say; "Never Hate in Plural"

PB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Bert
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM

I must agree with Shambles regarding the editing of the thread title.

1. editor should have made contact with the author first, just to be polite.

2. editor should have got it right.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 08:03 PM

It would appear that the pubs in your area don't want a licence to cover entertainment?

Those who wish to stage Regulated Entertainment have applied and many of these have had questionably legal conditions imposed on the times these entertainments must cease.

I am just trying to ensure that where the licensee is willing - the public can exercise their right of freedom of expression through non-amplified music without the local authority preventing it by classing it as Regulated Entertainment.

Insisting that the riders of motor-bikes wear crash helmets and pay for their road fund licence is lawful and it makes sense. Insisting that the rider of a bicycle requires these by pretending that the bicycle is a motor bike - is not lawful and does not make sense.

There is no exemption for the singing of carols or traditional music but in other parts of the country where this legislation applies - these things are being allowed to take place without the licensing permission that my LA insist on to re-start a session that ran for 5 yearsbefore the council prevented it for a lack of a PEL.

I have no wish to see these things prevented elsewhere but if they are a regulated entertainment as defined in the Act - why should these take palce and my local sessions be prevented?

A participant locally carol singing outside a supermarket was shown the report from Norfolk where a similar event was prevented after the LA advised that it was regulated Entertainment. He also read the DCMS website information. But when he retrospectively asked out MP's office if the event needed a licence - the word from the council was that it did not.

He asked our MP because he was invoved in the act. The MP knows perfectly well the words of the Act do not exclude the singing of carols in this situation - so what is going on? On what grounds is this activity not RegulatedEntertainment and my session is?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 08:19 PM

Those who wish to stage Regulated Entertainment have applied and many of these have had questionably legal conditions imposed on the times these entertainments must cease

By the Police??


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 08:29 PM

Insisting that the riders of motor-bikes wear crash helmets and pay for their road fund licence is lawful and it makes sense. Insisting that the rider of a bicycle requires these by pretending that the bicycle is a motor bike - is not lawful and does not make sense.


But, Insisting that the rider of a bicycle requires these because statistics show that if they're in an accident they'll suffer brain damage and because they use the roads they should pay along with other road users could make sense (I'll ignore the fact that road tax was originally paid to the CTC to reimburse cyclist for building "modern" roads).

I am just trying to ensure that where the licensee is willing - the public can exercise their right of freedom of expression through non-amplified music without the local authority preventing it by classing it as Regulated Entertainment.

and why should amplification make any difference?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 08:33 PM

By the Police??

No by the licensing committee. One pub was granted the extended hours despite valid objections to this but conditions were imposed restricting indoor sports like darts and live music to finish at 11pm but recorded music until midnight.

There were no reported objections from the police, fire or health officers.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:01 PM

live music to finish at 11pm

so your complaint is that live music can't continue after 11.00pm?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:02 PM

Don't try to censor him. It opens a floodgate.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 05:53 AM

The more I read of Roger's postings the more I believe the council at Weymouth deliberately behave obtusely in order to wind him up.
And he falls for it every time. Shame the music scene in Weymouth has had to suffer because of their antics.

So now he insists on behaving identically in other cities - notably from my point of view in Sheffield. And no doubt his antics will lead to similar results.

I do wish he wouild take an interest in sex and travel instead.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:20 AM

Penny Black - perhaps you could provide me with an answer?

I have no wish to see these things prevented elsewhere but if they are a regulated entertainment as defined in the Act - why should these take place and my local sessions be prevented?

--------------------------------------------------------------
and why should amplification make any difference?

Because for the first time the words of licensing legislation make a distinction and specifically refer to music that is not amplified. In S177 it states the limited conditions that can be placed on such an activity.

The objection that causes most concern is one to noise. Much non-amplified music has been prevented or limited in the past along with amplified music because no distinction appeared in the licensing legislation.

so your complaint is that live music can't continue after 11.00pm?

No -

It is that extended hours were granted despite valid objections but actities that did not receive any reported objections had conditions imposed upon them, limiting the time they had to cease. This is exceeding their remit.

Indoor sports (like darts) and live music had to stop at 11pm and recorded music was thought OK until midnight. How likely is it than any member of the public would have specifically objected to late night darts? In the first instance these matters are for the licensee, locals and entertainers/participants to sort out. They are not matters for the licensing committee or officers unless specific concerns arise or objections are made to them.

Can you demonstrate on what basis that recorded music presents less of a concern to residents than live music and can go on an hour longer? Perhaps this is something that should be left to those it concerns rather than being subject to the judgement of a committee who should perhaps not allow any of the premises activities to be extended?

What is happening here and probably elsewhere is that any objection is seen as an open invitation for LAs to nose into things which are none of their concern and as the start of a bargaining process. In cases such as this one - conditions are imposed on activities that no one has objected to - to make it look as if they are doing something to alay publc concern - when in reality - even with valid objections - it is almost impossible for them to refuse extended hours.

They can and do seem to think that any objections to a licnsing application enables them to judge and to place even further restrictions on how the public choose to spend their leisure time.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:24 AM

You may have missed this editing comment as it was inserted into my post and did not refresh this thread.

Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing. (England)
From: The Shambles - PM
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:07 AM

Can who ever inserted 'England' to this thread's title please remove it?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I won't bother finding out who made the title change, but I can see no good reason for the change to have been made - so I changed it back. I would expect to see a location added to titles of threads about concerts or tours, not for every damn thing.
-Joe Offer-

[the above in small brown writing)


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 08:25 AM

The DCMS website is still saying the same thing.

http://www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/licensing_act_2003/regulated_entertainment.htm#26


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: PennyBlack
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 10:07 AM

Will carol singers require a licence?

Carol singers going from door to door, or just deciding to sing in a particular place, or even turning up unannounced in a pub and singing, would not require a licence, just as drinkers in a public house who suddenly decided to start singing carols would not required license. However, if a business in a shopping mall, for example, arranges for a group of singers to sing carols this will be the same as their arranging any performance of live music and a premises licence or temporary event notice would be required


This to me is exactly the same as applied to sessions, Door to door - would be private property, the rest would be just "spontaneous", the last would be organised sessions, advertised arranged etc.

The outdoor Carol Services held in my area would fall under that exemption and as such didn't require a licence, Likewise when a bunch of us started singing "Come Landlord fill the flowing bowl" and "Poor Old Landlord can't get the Boozers" out after a check on beers at local hostelries the other night. The prearranged sessions and advertised ones are held in venues with a licences (and as usual we leave at 11.00 so we can get our beauty sleep :0)zzzzz)

The majority of venues in this area now have a licence, compared with 15% before, which means more chance for legal sessions remembering that with the 2inabar rule most session (and a lot of bookings) were illegal, so I'm sorry but as far as this area is concern things have improved, and with all the involvement we had with the LA whilst the "War" was going on has led us to a better relationship with advice going in both directions.

I still think there would be a better practise as far as the playing of music and dance is concerned within the provisions of the 2003 license and will still try and invoke changes that would make life easier for people to make music and dance. In the meantime I won't get so involved with "Rights" that it stops me doing what I spent so much time ensuring the new license wouldn't stop.

Let us sing and rejoice because we can.(and if you see that as forelock tugging OK) but although my face might have offended me I can still see, because I have a nose to rest my glasses on :0)

Merry Christmas and may God Bless us One and All

PB

Two bottles of Mulled Wine and 3 mince pies the better off.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 10:54 AM

That's the crazy thing, though, Penny. That's what every agrees should happen - DCMS, mayors, MPs, the lot - but its not what the law says. There is simply not the distinction between the different kinds of music making/singing that the DCMS statement implies.

My guess at what really went on is that the Government wanted enough penalties to deal with large scale raves (which haven't made the press for some years, as far as I have seen) and they were simply unable to come up with a means to distinguish between those and small scale music that allowed them to be confident they would always be able to prosecute the large scale offences. So the Government has issued guidence that has no basis in the law as passed, which roughly translates as 'be sensible about it, folks'. The problem is, though, as Shambles has told us at great length on many occasions, is that there will alway be bodies who are unable or unwilling to do so, and that leaves everyone unsure whether what they are doing will be prosecuted. That is roughly where we were with the two-in-a-bar rule that was widely ignored, and my best guess is that it is also where we will end up once all this has settled down.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 11:04 AM

That's what every agrees should happen

I should have said 'where carol singing is concerned'. I don't think there is the same agreement on sessions.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: PennyBlack
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 11:26 AM

DMcG

As we all agree it's "Early Days" and the law in general is not applied Black/White - not everyone get fined for illegal parking, speeding or receive the same sentence for a particular crime - often a magistrate will make the final judgement and give a precedence.

I can't park outside my front door because someone in the highway dept decided DYL were needed there but my friends further down the street have none.

Although I agree in part that we will drift back to the "Old Days" of the two in a bar, I am glad in part that in fact the number of venues that have acquired a license, and as I have said before whether we want to class sessions as entertainment or not, that is the main reason behind the Landlord allowing them to happen.

As the LA will be the ones bringing prosecutions for contravention of the licence, surely the best way to find out is to approach them first to clarify? Whether we agree with their interpretation is another matter, and what action we take to resolve the situation to ensure the events take place surely is the important bit.

This may mean paying for a TEN or finding another location, convincing the LA to review their policy or getting the landlord to get a licence, but the outcome should be to ensure the events take place.

Having started another bottle of mulled wine and eaten even more mince pies I reserve the right that I may not have phrased everything to express what I believe (Pleading the 5th?)

Take care

PB


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 12:13 PM

This DCMS website advice and the statutory guidance (for what they are worth) all stress that if the activity is not for the purpose of entertaining it is not Regulated Entertainment.

The most important change to the old legislation which presents us with some hope - is that things like darts can equally be as much Regulated Entertainment as live music now. This demonstrates that local authorities (like mine) are simply showing a historical prejudice when it comes to live music and participatory session in particular, if they introduce additional restrictions to live music that they would not apply to social games of darts and pool, for example. And they are not following the statutory guidance to the Act - as they are required to.   

The following from the DCMS website.
If the re-enactment was staged purely for the enjoyment of those taking part and not for the purpose of entertaining an audience, no licence would be required.

No, unless the rehearsal is provided for the entertainment of the public, or the members and their guests of a qualifying club in relation to the provision of regulated entertainment or for consideration and with a view to profit.

Games commonly played in pubs like pool or darts would not necessarily need to be authorised under the licence as they are not generally played for the entertainment of spectators. However if, for example, a darts exhibition match or championship were staged for spectators, that would be regulated entertainment.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If social pub games are not to be so considered - do you consider arranged carol singing meetings outside supermarkets and regular participatory sessions an entertainment which takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience?

My view would be that any musical activity could and would repeatedly take place to the satisfaction of the participants in the complete absence of any audience or spectators (like a social game of darts) – it cannot and should not be considered as Regulated Entertainment.

A logical look at it from the other side is. The main requirement of an entertainment is missing if the organiser/licensee cannot rely on anyone turning-up or rely on on anyone deciding to play or sing if they do. Without some way of obligating the 'entertainers' to entertain - there is little point in attracting an audience expecting to be entertained.

Sadly as demonstrated by my letter - this logic and the words of the Act do not seem to be able to counter years of prejudice against live music by some LAs.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 01:47 PM

This may mean paying for a TEN or finding another location, convincing the LA to review their policy or getting the landlord to get a licence, but the outcome should be to ensure the events take place.

The problem remains that all too often it would appear that some LAs still think it is their job to ensure they don't take place.

In all of this is it is seems easy to forget that making music is NOT illegal and that the public do have the right in law to freely express themselves in music.

It is one thing when organisers call off unlicensed carol meetings (as in Norfolk) on advice from the LA that it is Regulated Entertainment - and get the LA 'off-the-hook'. Which is usually their only concern. It is quite another for any LA to actually introduce enforcement action to prevent such an event....

And that is exactly why a return to the 'old days' is so important to avoid and this is largely up to us. So much valuable music social making was lost - not because it was or even could have been legally prevented by LAs in court but because licensees were understandable wary of challenging questionable enforcements.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: ET
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 03:18 PM

I read this thread with interest and particular the carefully considered opinion of Shambles. Most of this was raised to no avail in the debate on the bill and by the Performers Lawyer Group.

I have written to Tony Blair, to the Home Secretary, the Culture Secretary, the Education Secretary and all their shadow ministers to no avail. I sometimes think I would have been better off peeing up the wall, (if I had a licence!).

My suggestion has been that the Minister, by Ministerial Order (no need for primary legislation or parliamnetary time) simply amends the list of regulated entertainment to remove the clause "live music" or if that is too bitter a pill to swallow, to amend it to read "amplied live music". That way there is control over volume but no issue for carol singing or any other traditional music.

I clearly lack influence. What about musicians writing to their MP (each and every one of them?) Not too much to ask methinks to save music making from this horror.

Incidentally the reason (jusification?) DCMS advanced for wanting to control music was on Police Advice that "live music usually resulted in trouble". Oh yes. The methodists might start bashing the Quakers over Hark the Herald Angels Sing?   I don't think so. In any event Politicians are supposed to decide on a higher plane than the Police operate on. They did so over 90 day detention without trial!

Canada sounds inviting!


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM

Apropos the carol singing at (or near) Parliament, it has been suggested that the restriction there, under the "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005", may be seriously flawed.
The ruling stipulates in section 138 (It's a big Act): the Act
The designated area
      (1) The Secretary of State may by order specify an area as the designated area for the purposes of sections 132 to 137.
      (2) The area may be specified by description, by reference to a map or in any other way.
      (3) No point in the area so specified may be more than one kilometre in a straight line from the point nearest to it in Parliament Square.

Sub section 3 would appear to be illegal, as the only measures of distance legally acceptable in UK are still the Imperial system of Miles & Yards

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM

Canada sounds inviting!

What on earth can you mean!!
http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/12/21/SCOC-swingers-051221.html


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 09:07 PM

Although I agree in part that we will drift back to the "Old Days" of the two in a bar, I am glad in part that in fact the number of venues that have acquired a license, and as I have said before whether we want to class sessions as entertainment or not, that is the main reason behind the Landlord allowing them to happen.

The idea that a licensee would allow sessions and possibly class them as entertainment is at best only partly true. In many I have attended the participants were the only custom and very welcome on a cold mid-week night. And what a licensee (or a licensing officer) may assume - does not turn a participatory night of social music making into a entertainment - for the reasons I have given.

No more than wearing a crash helmet and making vroom-vroom noises will turn your bicycle into a Harley Davidson. Bicyles and motor bikes resemble each other as far as both have two wheels.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it might well be a duck - but it also rather depends on how skilled an ornitholigist the person making the idenification is. The problem has been in the past that in order to shoot down ducks - some of our LAs have been prepared to indiscriminately shoot down anything that flies into their sights to make sure that no duck escapes them.

I agree with Eric but until we can pressurise a change in the words of Schedule 1 we are stuck with the definitions in it. We will just have to do our best to make sure that the words of the law are followed, not selectively ignored and that LAs do not continue the practice of making up their own laws based on prejudice and lack of knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 04:06 AM

I should have said 'where carol singing is concerned'. I don't think there is the same agreement on sessions.

LAs will feel they can obstruct and prevent social music making like sessions etc, under this Act simply because they always have. Mainly by bullying individual licensees and by ignoring the relatively few active participants - safe in the knowledge that it is highly unlikely that they will have to prove their case in court.   

I think that we can see thay individual LAs are now a lot less sure what to do when it comes to arranged social carol singing outside a supermarket, for example. Simply because historically licensing officers they have not bothered with this before. I suspect that they would rather not have to be bothered with it now

It is a whole new ball game when obstructing or directly preventing church leaders and congregations. It involves a lot more people who understand the activity and brings quite different publicity. And with this comes a very real possibilty that they may at some point have to be prepared to prove their case in court.

My fear is that the whole thing will die down - until next year and hat session will be no better off. Perhaps we should ensure that it is not allowed to and work out over the holiday the best way of doing this?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 06:15 AM

LAs will feel they can obstruct and prevent social music making like sessions etc, under this Act simply because they always have..

Bit of a sweeping generalisation I'd say. In fact there have been hundreds probably thousands of sessions which have been ignored by licensing authorities over the years (accepting the legality of the two-in-a-bar rule)that have been illegal.

All the carol sessions in Sheffield were decidely illegal. Virtually all sessions at folk festival fringes were illegal. So to say they always have obstructed is patent nonsense and as is often the case generalising from the particular does your case no favours. Please - if you would be so kind Roger - if you don't mind that is - no pressure you understand - feel free to do as you like - try and write with a modicum of thought.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: ET
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 07:12 AM

My experience of Local Authorities on enforcement are that they are erratic. They allow "illegal sessions" for many years then someone new comes to the athority wanting to make a name, and crash bang wallop.

It is obviously a good thing that local authorities are nervous about enforcing carol singing but this is seasonal, sessions are forever, I hope. I know that some Breweries have applied for music limited to 2 "performers" en masse for all their pubs, in the hope that this would not attract the wrath of locals. Somehow "performers", not part of the Act, connote something different to a "session" but that will not matter if the licensee says clear off, or words with similar connotations.

On the positive side, times are hard in some sections of the licensing trade and some licensees are actively seeking out musicians, (not many I accept).

In the week I went to a CHristmas party in a vertical drinking establishment.   The volume of recorded music (unlicensed-no dancing) was so great that many feared for their hearing and sanity and left for a traditional local. Am I getting past it? I don't understand the music content of computer generated beat at about 120 decibles, where one "tune" is indistingishable from another.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 12:08 PM

We don't live in a fairytale world where we are unlucky if we live in kingdom governed by by wicked rulers or lucky to live under slightly more enlightened ones - just as long we don't do anything to risk upseting their patronising and conditional goodwill.

Why would anyone think such a model as this to be acceptable?

I understood that the rule of law is supposed to provide us all with equal protection - not some kind of regional lucky-dip.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 12:55 PM

Bit of a sweeping generalisation I'd say. In fact there have been hundreds probably thousands of sessions which have been ignored by licensing authorities over the years (accepting the legality of the two-in-a-bar rule)that have been illegal.

I am sure the officers employed by the LAs concerned would not welcome the publicity you are giving them that they have been acting illegally over the years and failing in their statutory duty to protect the public.

And many folk may consider that an LA insisting that a participatory singing event could go ahead but on the imposed condition that there could not be any advertising - IS an obstuction.

It is perhaps also a sweeping generalisation to state that these sessions have in fact been illegal and such a statement is most probably not true.

For it remains a fact that the only case-law specifically on this issue does not support this opinion. It is one where a licensee was aquitted on appeal because the court judged that the customers were providing their own music.

This has not prevented the legal officers of my LA advising the elected members that the courts had decided that a licence was required even when customers provided their own music. The officer concerned later admitting that they had been unaware of this case-law when initially providing this advice in writing to my councillor. However, they were in posession of it when they they later ignored it and repeated this advice to a committee meeting.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Melani
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 03:53 PM

Gaaaa!! Every time I start to think the Brits are civilized, the powers-that-be go and remind me why we had the revolution.

Of course, considering what we've got in power at the moment, who am I to talk...Anyway, try to have a Merry Christmas, guys, if you can manage it without getting arrested.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 07:38 PM

And many folk may consider that an LA insisting that a participatory singing event could go ahead but on the imposed condition that there could not be any advertising - IS an obstuction.

I agree. But I prefer the event to go ahead. You prefer to argue about it from 250+ miles away.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:32 PM

Dave, Shambles does have a point (Christ, did I really just say that?).

The advertising is not important in the case of a strongly attended regular traditional event. The same cannot be said of sessions in general, as there is little point in the event proceeding if the only people present are the organisers and the licensee.

I am very pleased that your local event is being allowed to go ahead. We, in the affluent south, are not having the same experience.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM

If you have such stupid laws defy them and sing your hearts out.
Song will live on long after such stupid regulators are dead. Will they really throw you in jail for singing. If they do then sing in jail!
                      Obie


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Dec 05 - 12:35 PM

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/80256FA1003E05C1/httpPublicPages/819AA21916708E2C802570DE0044C1E8?opendocument

The Curch Times
'Sing now: talk later' - council
By Rachel Harden


CONFUSION surrounded the licensing laws for carol-singers this week after churches cancelled a joint event that could have gone ahead without a licence.

Churches Together in Poringland, near Norwich, called off carol singing outside a local supermarket because they believed they needed a temporary-event licence, and it was too late to apply for one.

South Norfolk Council, which would have issued the licence, said on Tuesday that the new licensing laws (2003) were "grey" on whether carol singers collecting for charity needed a licence or not.

A statement by Alex Evans, the council's licensing manager, said that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had given varying advice on whether a licence was needed for singing carols outside stores.

The statement said that that church and other groups wanting to carol-sing should go ahead, and discuss the issue with the council in the New Year, to avoid similar problems at Christmas 2006.

A DCMS spokeswoman said on Tuesday that parts of the Licensing Act were currently being reviewed, and specific aspects of it, including the parts relating to public carol-singing, would be looked at in detail.

"Carol-singers who entertain shoppers on a high street would not need to be licensed, providing the performance is incidental to the main activity, which, in this case, is people doing their Christmas shopping. If in doubt, organisers should contact their licensing authority," said a DCMS official.


http://www.culture.gov.uk/

ENDS

Does anyone know what parts of the Licensing Act are currently being reviewed and by whom?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Dec 05 - 01:15 PM

Obie,

That's the sentiment of virtually every SINGER/MUSICIAN in England and Wales. The problem with that is the fact that they are not attacking the performers. It is the licensees who face maximum penalties of £20,000 fine, or six months jail, or both, and understandably, a man whose livelihood is selling beer is most unlikely to take that chance. So, the thing that is missing is the venues.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 02:46 AM

A DCMS spokeswoman said on Tuesday that parts of the Licensing Act were currently being reviewed, and specific aspects of it, including the parts relating to public carol-singing, would be looked at in detail.

"Carol-singers who entertain shoppers on a high street would not need to be licensed, providing the performance is incidental to the main activity, which, in this case, is people doing their Christmas shopping. If in doubt, organisers should contact their licensing authority," said a DCMS official.


This is interesting. The DCMS now seem determined that this form of arranged carol singing is not illegal under the words of their own Act - even if they are not sure why. So the buck is passed back to the local authority who do not know either but which will have to be prepared to try to legally defend any decision to their local electorate and in court if/when it is challenged.

The DCMS first attempt seemed to be on the grounds that the arranged event was 'spontaneous' even though this is not a word that appears in the Act. They now seem to be trying to claim it is a performance of live music that is 'incidental'. Which does at least appear in the Act and may give other similarly threatened activities some hope when all the seasonal fuss about carol singing dies down.

But interesting that it seems now to be the nature of the 'audience' doing their main activity of Christmas Shopping that classes the earnest performing efforts of the singers to entertain them as incidental.....

The history is yhat after drafting and introducing this catch-all legislation and having all the things listed for them that would be caught by it - including carol singing - the DCMS then tried to rather imaginatively reassure us all (despite the words of the Act) that all these things were actually safe.

They tried this only because the act was understandably unpopular with all the voters whose activities were really threatened by this catch-all legislation. http://tinyurl.com/ccchk

For in reality- the words of the Act, as they currently appear in Schedule 1 mean that just about everything from darts to mumming undertaken anywhere - if it is for the purpose of an audience or spectators is a Regulated Entertainment and illegal without Premises Licence entertainment permission.

All the words of DCMS spokespersons, websites and guidance will not change the words of this Act but will only continue to confuse everyone even more.

Until the words of Schedule 1 are changed by the Secretary of State


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 04:31 AM

Now on this, Roger, I have no difficulty in agreeing with you. It would seem that just about everything we predicted to Kim Howells, Tessa Jowell, and Ronnie (Sir Humphrey) Bridgett, is happening exactly as we said, and the responsibility rests firmly on a Philistine government which has made an art form out of bad legislation.

It is becoming harder by the day to believe that the main protagonists know anything about the culture and heritage of their own nation.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 07:15 AM

I suggest that it is the words of the Act that should form the basis of any advice or public statements on carol singing from the DCMS or at least reference to the following statutory guidance. [see pages 40 onward for Regulated Entertainment]

http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7B118F40-5BCC-4195-8DA0-9E1A3A1FDAD1/0/Guidanceissuedundersection182.pdf


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 07:54 AM

Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

Incidental music

5.18 The incidental performance of live music and incidental playing of recorded music may not be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment activities under the 2003 Act in certain circumstances.

This is where they are incidental to another activity which is not itself entertainment or the provision of entertainment facilities. This exemption does not extend to the provision of other forms of regulated entertainment.

Whether or not music of this kind is "incidental" to other activities is expected to be judged on a case by case basis and there is no
definition in the 2003 Act. It will ultimately be for the courts to decide whether music is"incidental" in the individual circumstances of any case.

In the first instance, the operator of the premises concerned must decide whether or not he considers that he needs a premises
licence. One factor that is expected to be relevant is "volume". Common sense dictates that live or recorded music played at volumes which predominate over other activities at a venue could rarely be regarded as incidental to those activities. So, for example, a juke box played in a public house at moderate levels would normally be regarded as incidental to the other activities there, but one played at high volume would not benefit from this exemption.

Standup comedy is not regulated entertainment and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity.

But there are likely to be some circumstances which occupy a greyer area. In cases of doubt, operators should seek the advice of the licensing authority, particularly with regard to their policy on enforcement.


Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

Spontaneous music, singing and dancing


5.19 The spontaneous performance of music, singing or dancing does not amount to the provision of regulated entertainment and is not a licensable activity. The relevant part of the 2003 Act to consider in this context is paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 1 to the Act. This states that the second condition which must apply before an activity constitutes the provision of regulated entertainment is that the premises (meaning "any place") at which the entertainment is, or entertainment facilities are, provided are made available for the purpose, or purposes which include the purpose, of enabling the entertainment concerned to take place. In the case of genuinely spontaneous music (including singing) and dancing, the place where the entertainment takes place will not have been made available to those taking part for that purpose.

ENDS

Can arranged carol singing of the type prevented in Norfolk be considered as specifically exempt as 'incidental'?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 10:21 AM

Standup comedy is not regulated entertainment and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity.


so if someone tells a joke between tunes/songs at a sessh, then no licence needed?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Snuffy
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 11:14 AM

Mummers plays could be classed as stand-up comedy (well, the way we do them...)


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Dec 05 - 02:44 AM

The following from the Statutory Guidance to the Act.

Page 28

Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

Cultural strategies


3.47 In connection with cultural strategies, licensing policy statements should include clearly worded statements indicating that they will monitor the impact of licensing on the provision of regulated entertainment, and particularly live music and dancing. Care will be needed to ensure that only necessary, proportionate and reasonable licensing conditions impose any restrictions on such events.

Where there is any indication that such events are being deterred by licensing requirements, statements of licensing policy should be re-visited with a view to investigating how the situation might be reversed. Broader cultural activities and entertainment may also be affected.

In developing their statements of licensing policy, licensing authorities should also consider any views of the local authority's arts committee where one exists.

3.48 Over 325 local authorities from all over England and Wales are members of the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers (NALGAO), which is the largest organisation in the country representing local government art interests. Some local authorities do not yet have arts specialists or arts development officers and in such circumstances, a licensing authority may wish to consult NALGAO for practical help and advice.

3.49 The United Kingdom ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1976. Article 15 of the Covenant requires that progressive measures be taken to ensure that everyone can participate in the cultural life of the community and enjoy the arts. It is therefore important that the principles underpinning ICESCR are integrated, where possible, with the licensing authority's approach to the licensing of regulated entertainment.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:18 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Carol singing has exposed not just confusing ambiguity at the heart of the Licensing Act, but also potential discrimination issues under human rights legislation.

While acknowledging DCMS advice that prearranged carol singing may be licensable, legal officers for Sheffield City Council appear to have decided that the annual tradition of carol singing in local pubs should benefit from the licensing exemption for music that is incidental to a religious meeting or service (Licensing Act 2003, para 9, Schedule 1) unless they receive evidence suggesting that such events are not religious meetings.

In a letter to me dated 23 December 2005, the council's Assistant Chief Executive Liz Bashforth drew my attention to the religious meetings exemption, adding:

'Carols, are hymns of the Christian faith, usually sung in celebration of the Christian festival, that is, Christmas. I take the view that there must be a presumption that a prearranged carol service close to the Christian festival of Christmas is the provision of entertainment for the purposes of a religious meeting or service unless there is evidence to the contrary.'

This response came in reply to my request for clarification about carol singing at the Travellers Rest pub in Oughtibridge, near Sheffield, which does not have a live music permission on its premises licence.

Sheffield's welcome light touch contrasts sharply with other councils. On 23 December, the online Church Times reported the cancellation of carol singing outside a shopping centre near Norwich because of doubts about its legality without a licence:
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/80256FA1003E05C1/httpPublicPages/819AA21916708E2C802570DE0044C1E8?opendocument

A DCMS spokesperson is quoted suggesting that such carol singing could benefit from the exemption for incidental music. But this welcome advice came rather late in the day. In any case it contradicts the long-standing advice on the DCMS website:
'... if a business in a shopping mall, for example, arranges for a group of singers to sing carols this will be the same as their arranging any performance of live music and a premises licence or a temporary event notice would be required.'
http://www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/licensing_act_2003/regulated_entertainment.htm#26

The only carol-singing exemption considered on the DCMS website is where the event is 'spontaneous' - a word that is not used or even implied in connection with regulated entertainment under the Act.

The exemption for music that is for the purposes of, or purposes incidental to, a religious meeting or service would seem to discriminate against secular music in secular venues or at events that could not be described as 'religious meetings'. Why should carol singing in bars be treated differently to secular singing in bars?

The Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Parliamentary committee which scrutinises all new legislation, considered the religious venue exemption back in 2003, commenting:

'The Government announced on 3 February 2003 that there would be exemptions from the need to obtain a licence for places of religious worship where secular entertainment takes place. This apparently random exemption for places of religious worship might tend to undermine the argument for the rationality of the blanket licensing scheme as a whole, and could engage other human rights issues by appearing to discriminate against occupiers and users of non-religious premises.'
['Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report', Fourth Report of Session 2002-03, HL Paper 50, HC 397, 10 February 2003, para 18, p10]

Of course, the Act's exemption for entertainment at places of religious worship covers not only entertainment at places of religious worship, but entertainment at any other place if it is for the purposes of, or purposes incidental to, a religious meeting or service. In other words, the scope for potential discrimination is far wider than first considered by the JCHR.

It may therefore be possible for secular singers in non-religious venues reasonably to argue that this exemption amounts to arbitrary and wholly unjustified discrimination against their right to manifest '...religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance' under Article 9 of the European Convention. This in addition to the by now well rehearsed arguments that the Act unjustifiably restricts the right to freedom of expression (Article 10) and freedom of assembly (Article 11).

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 01:45 PM

Religious services, places of worship etc.

9
The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities —
(a) for the purposes of, or for purposes incidental to, a religious meeting
or service, or
(b) at a place of public religious worship,
is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the
purposes of this Act.

So my cockney knee-up around the pub piano would have earlier qualified as being thought 'traditional' enough to be exempt and now I assume it would not be considered as religious enough............

There must be some irony in the fact that these carols are only being sung in the local pubs because they were not thought suitable for church services. Perhaps LAs should not be risking being seen to take sides in these theological matters?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 02:53 PM

So my local church can put on rock concerts 7 nights a week without needing a licence?


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 04:46 PM

Well Carol never could sing that well.......


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 04:56 PM

Given there is a body of Christian Rock music and performers of same, the answer could possibly be yes :-)

Seriously, though, I am beginning to wonder if this whole issue isn't being blown up out of all proportion.

Granted we have a major new piece of legislation, some parts of which do not seem to have been properly thought through which appears to be leading to a number of anomalies. OTOH, with any major change there are inevitably those who will foresee problems simply because they do not like change and the uncertainty it brings.

However, having followed various of these threads, it seems that for a landlord to allow music in his/her premises, they need to tick certain boxes in their application and, providing the licence application goes through, then music is allowed and you can have your session if the landlord wishes it to happen.

If they do not tick these boxes, surely there must be provision to apply for a variation in the licence conditions - with appropriate justification and safeguards - so that the situation can be remedied should they so wish to do?

That still leaves temporary and one off events, but provision seems to have been made for that, providing the organisers think ahead.

Yes there will still be teething problems with this legislation, but in time it will all settle down and everyone will begin to wonder what all the fuss was about


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 05:08 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 05:08 PM

I finally did it 100


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 07:30 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

BBC Radio 4 Today continued its licensing and live music coverage with a piece this morning about Sheffield pub carols (transcript below).

Dr Ian Russell, an expert in this field, was interviewed by presenter Stephen Sackur. Dr Russell suggests that if local authorities 'take a liberal view', such events will escape red tape. He adds that 'many local authorities' are of the opinion that where a pub is singing 'the rules do not apply in the same way'. I hope he is right, but in the past at least many local authorities took a very different view of communal singing in pubs.

Dr Russell also says: 'The enthusiasm for the carols has never been stronger. There are more people from outside coming into the area. Cultural tourists, if you like, visiting the Sheffield region staying B&B for a short holiday, a week's holiday, and then travelling round several communities to sing the carols.'

This calls to mind the contrasting attitude of chief police officers, expressed publicly and to great effect during the Licensing Bill debates:

'Live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly.'
[letter to Tessa Jowell by Chris Fox, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, 2nd July 2003]

The Government broadly endorsed this statement. It was read into the Hansard record by government minister Lord McIntosh as a supporting argument for rejecting an entertainment licensing exemption for small venues (House of Lords, 3rd July 2003).

I missed presenter Stephen Sackur's introduction to this piece. However, you will be able to catch it on the web later this morning: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

Transcript of BBC Radio 4 Today - Pub carols and licensing - Friday 30 December 2005, 7.45-7.48am approx

[sound of communal singing 'While shepherds watch their flocks by night...' to an original tune]

Stephen Sackur: Now Sarah beside me is humming away. I'm sure many of you are at home as well. Familiar words there but perhaps not quite such a familiar tune. Dr Ian Russell is an expert on these kinds of 'village carols', that's what he calls them. Dr Russell, what is special about them?

Dr Ian Russell: Well, in the first place the carols are very much something that has come from the grass roots. They're carols that are considerably older than 'O little town of Bethlehem' or 'Once in royal David's city'. They, the carol we were listening to has its origins in the mid-18th century and erm came from the pen of somebody who was an artisan, a tradesman, not, not somebody who was educated in Oxford or Cambridge, or from a high church background.

Stephen Sackur: Um I don't know how to put this delicately, but you don't really need a good voice to sing some of these village carols.

Dr Ian Russell: No, they're not about elitism in any sense, they're about people joining in and participating, and anybody who wants to sing is welcome, it's not as...

Stephen Sackur: Usually in a pub, is that right?

Dr Ian Russell: Yes, many of the traditions are based in the pubs. There are several that are not, er some are itinerant traditions visiting and going round communities as many many places did in the past, and some, er a few are based also in chapels.

Stephen Sackur: Because of that, and because of what you were saying about the artisans who actually came up with some of these songs, is there no religious element at all, or is that in the background or what?

Dr Ian Russell: Well carols have always been betwixt and between. They've always been a bit liminal, a bit secular at the same time as being sacred. I'm sure for many people er the carols have a very strong spiritual content, and for some a very sacred content. But for others the carols are very much to do with the time of the year, very much to do with fellowship and community, and being together in warm convivial surroundings.

Stephen Sackur: Now we we captured that one in Ecclesfield. Are they thriving?

Dr Ian Russell: They are indeed thriving. I've been quite amazed this Christmas as I've gone round. Um, numbers are up in many of the communities. The enthusiasm for the carols has never been stronger. There are more people from outside coming into the area. Cultural tourists, if you like, visiting the Sheffield region staying B&B for a short holiday, a week's holiday, and then travelling round several communities to sing the carols.

Stephen Sackur: And quickly if I may there's some suggestion the new licensing laws might be a problem for these village singers because there is the idea that if you plan a carol concert in a pub you've got to get a Temporary Event Notice from the local council.

Dr Ian Russell: Yes, these these temp.. I'm not sure about the full legal situation, but the Temporary Event licence are not very expensive, I do know that. But apart from that, er many licensing authorities are of the opinion that where a pub is singing um we're not talking about a performance situation with an audience, and therefore er the same, the rules do not apply in the same way.

Stephen Sackur: They can escape the red tape?

Dr Ian Russell: I think that er if the local authority take a liberal view there should be no problems.

Stephen Sackur: Good to hear. All right, Dr Ian Russell thank you very much indeed.

Sarah Montague: The time 12 minutes to 8...

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 07:47 AM

Dr Ian Russell: I think that er if the local authority take a liberal view there should be no problems.

Sheffield council also consider that this pub event could be Regulated Entertainment. To their credit (and because they have also permitted this event to continue unlicensed under the previous legislation) they have found a way around this. Some authorities (like mine in the following letter of 14 December 2005) are not quite so prepared to take a liberal view to enable threatened musical activities. In fact it almost appears that they are continuing to be as obstructive as possible towards live music and as prejudiced against musicians as they have been in the past.

I am sure that they would not see regular congregations of pool players in a pub as ever constituting Regulated Entertainment - even though the Licensing Act 2003 now requires them to view indoor sports like pool and darts equally as Regulated Entertainment.....Why are musicians singled-out and considered by them as requiring special treatment?


I write following our recent meting. Apologies for not writing earlier – I needed some time to gather views of colleagues to respond to your specific points. Please also consider this as a response to your letter dated 19th November to Councillor Ames.

You raised 4 points. I have reproduced these along with our response to each below:

Firstly Perhaps our Licensing Authority can be advised to formally hold and issue a policy that pub sessions are considered locally as incidental live music – if or until there is any test in the nations' court that may decide to the contrary and require a change?

As you know, we have a Statement of Licensing Policy and I understand that you have had input into this. We will review this policy every three years and will consult on this as a matter of course. If we discover there is a problem in the Borough regarding sessions and incidental music, we seek to provide clarification when we revise the policy (in December 2007).

As I said when we met, if we do this, we will need to provide a definition of a session. Whilst we will need to prepare specific wording, and consider any relevant case law, our definition would stress that session:

could take place without an audience;

would not be advertised;

would not be amplified; and

would be spontaneous and not organised to take place on a regular basis.

We would also stress that the musicians involved do not receive payment.

As I said in our meeting, it is important to emphasise that if musicians regularly congregate at a pub to play, this could constitute regulated entertainment and so the pub would be likely to apply for a licence to provide regulated entertainment as the Cove House Inn already has. I would emphasise that we have had very few issues regarding incidental music to date. I would also like to emphasise that we are not keen to apply 'one size fits all' rules and so we will continue our approach to consider each case on its individual facts wherever possible.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Law prevents carol singing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 08:34 AM

However, having followed various of these threads, it seems that for a landlord to allow music in his/her premises, they need to tick certain boxes in their application and, providing the licence application goes through, then music is allowed and you can have your session if the landlord wishes it to happen.

First and with respect - I think it regretable that anyone who has followed these threads would still refer to 'box ticking' in this way. For in has been demonstrated that this was always just Government spin (but obviously very effective spin).

Apart from the costs of licensing entertainment alone - which has generally reduced and must be welcome (although the overall cost of licensing has increased) - the process for obtaining entertainment permission - triggered by the said box-ticking - is in fact pretty much the same as before.

And any public notice declaring a venue intends to provide any form of live music - tends to result in objections to this. A good way for premises to avoid any public objections and not hold-up their application for a Premises Licence - (even if they may welcome a session for example) is not to apply for live music permission.

For officers do tend to see these objections as an open invitation to interfere and impose judgement on unrelated matters that are really none of their concern. You will still also find that in response to a noise concern for example - no distinction will be made between amplified and non-amplified music - and the latter is often limited or prevented (on application and in advance of any noise actually being made) when there is no justification.

If they do not tick these boxes, surely there must be provision to apply for a variation in the licence conditions - with appropriate justification and safeguards - so that the situation can be remedied should they so wish to do?

Any variation involves the same process (and payment) as the original application - so how likely is it that any licensee who has not made application for entertainment permission in this first round - is now going to go through all of this again - just to enable you and I to make music together for our own enjoyment? Be it carols, traditional music or a cockney knees-up?

The question I would ask is what has the nature of what material is being sung - really got to do with licensing under the four main objects of the Act?


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