Mudcat Café message #695390 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46702   Message #695390
Posted By: Richard Bridge
22-Apr-02 - 04:24 AM
Thread Name: UK catters be useful TODAY
Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
I am very happpy for people to distribute my flyer!

Those who are trying - thank you. I am busy on paid for work for a day or so but will be back to this soon.

Can everyone try to persuade their local "What's On, Folks" or equivalent to carry my explanation and the sample letter, free, as a contribution to folk music?

THere are two things to keep in mind. FIrst, the present law. Second, the threatened change in the law.

As to the present law, there has been the recent case, Toye, mentioned above. It may perhaps go on appeal to the house of Lords. Until then, however, it is binding authority for the statement that all karaoke uses recorded music for the purposes of the present law - which makes it illegal. It is persuasive authority, not binding (you don't really want a whole article on the law of precedent, so you?) for the statement that the 2-in-a-bar exemption only exempts two or fewer performers over the entire performance period. There are a range of technical and human rights arguments that both of these views are wrong, but the way the law of precedent (and humnan nature) works, the enforcement authorities are going to try to enforce the law on the above basis, and the courts are going to hand out criminal convictions on the above basis - unless and until it all goes to the house of Lords (shich it might not) and the House of Lords sets out the law differently (which it might not).

Arguments about what the law should be interrpreted as being, or what it should be, may be right, but do not help. Sooothing statements by politicians about some things not being illegal are designed to stop protests and will not help your publican get off in court if he is charged, and many are being charged, or warned off by jobsworths.

Now, to the reforms (sic).

THe government white paper says all public entertainment on licensed premises (pubs) will have to be licensed. THere are other restrictions abuot unlicensed premises, but since most folk music is in pubs I'm looking at pubs. THat means all music. THe government spokesmen have made it very very clear that they do not at present plan ANY exemptions. THat means Two or one musicians are to be just as illegal as twenty. It means a brand new law with heavy penalties which WILL be enforced. No licence, no folk music.

THe governemt says the new licences will be quick cheap and easy to obtain. It estimates as little as GBP 700 (!).

If your pub had to pay GBP 700 to let you play there, would it?

THe govenrment says that a pub will only need to get the licence once - but to get a licence you first have to know you need it, and most pubs won't think of it to start with, and will have to aply again when they do realise. THey have to file an operating plan with an application and if folk music is not sepcified (as when, and what public order precautions are being taken, and so on), it won't be authorised.

Don't be soothed.

Don't be misled.

Protest!

THe minimum we need is for acoustic music (if otherwise legal) to be exempt from licensing.