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The Shambles Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 (439* d) RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 07 Apr 07


[The last post was cut off in its prime - for some reason - this is it in full]

The following (incomplete) advice from my council's Licensing Manager, recently provided to my MP - re the Act's requirements for indoor sports.

"The advice we offer applicants when they are intending to vary their licence for any reason is that they may as well, at that stage, tick the relevant box on the application form to make sure that they are covered for all eventualities including exhibition games without incurring further expenses at a later date. We have always made the distinction between standard games of skittles, darts, etc. and things such as celebrity darts players putting on an exhibition match."

You may think that this sensible approach would also apply to participatory pub gatherings that would repeatedly take place and be judged as successful by all concerned - in the complete absence of anything that could be described as an audience or spectators. But no.............

Contrast this with the following (ingenious) advice from my Council's director, provided to me and a local councillor after two meetings last year re the Act's requirements for live music.

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.

AND

As you know, the Act contains no definition of 'incidental' and my legal team advise me that in these cases it is normal to use dictionary definitions to aid interpretation.The dictionary definition of incidental includes the word 'casual' which, in our view, does impact on the regularity of incidental music. I can confirm that we would advise licensees asking us that we wold regard incidental music as that which:

could take place without an audience;

would not be advertised or held on regular basis;

and would not be amplified;


I do not know how you feel, but I tire of losing rights granted to every other member of the public (including the players of indoor sports) by being described as a musician (or under the old legislation- as a performer).

There is (as yet) no law that prevents members of the public from meeting and making music. And now even a 'performance' (i.e. to an audience) of incidental live music can be exempt from the licensing requirement - even when regular or amplified.

That such congregations could constitute regulated entertainment is not in doubt. But this depends on meeting the other requirments laid out in Schedule 1. Requirements that now equally apply to those congregating with pool cues and darts to play indoor sports, which also appear in the Schedule 1 list.

But with the added complication that a pub providing dart boards and pool tables now also require entertainment permission for these Entertainment Facilities.

So why - when there are exemptions for live music and none for indoor sports - is this quite different advice being provided as being a requirement of the Act for two activites both listed in Schedule 1 of the Act?

The advice re 'incidental' is nonsence. For before delving into the dictionary, the officers would first need to read the Act's Statutory Guidance. Where they would see that their fanciful interpretation would preclude the example of incidental live music that is provided there. That of stand-up comedy. Which could take place with an audience, be advertised and take place on a regular basis and still be exempt.

And without the need to delve into a dictionary - they appear to have no trouble in understanding what (the playing of) incidental recorded music that is and of exempting this.


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