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Howells (now) asks for help PELs

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The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM
The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 11:36 AM
Mr Happy 18 Feb 03 - 11:45 AM
Pied Piper 18 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM
Dave Bryant 18 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM
IanC 18 Feb 03 - 11:58 AM
Mr Happy 18 Feb 03 - 12:02 PM
The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 03 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Feb 03 - 02:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 03 - 03:05 PM
The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 03:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM
DMcG 18 Feb 03 - 04:24 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Feb 03 - 04:41 PM
The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 04:53 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Feb 03 - 04:59 PM
The Shambles 18 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM
The Admiral 19 Feb 03 - 03:13 AM
daithi 19 Feb 03 - 03:53 AM
IanC 19 Feb 03 - 05:06 AM
GUEST,vectis 19 Feb 03 - 05:42 AM
The Shambles 19 Feb 03 - 05:49 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 03 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 Feb 03 - 07:21 AM
JudeL 19 Feb 03 - 07:49 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 03 - 12:34 PM
The Shambles 19 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM
The Shambles 19 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM
Folkiedave 19 Feb 03 - 03:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Feb 03 - 03:56 PM
ET 19 Feb 03 - 04:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 03 - 04:43 PM
The Shambles 19 Feb 03 - 07:16 PM
The Admiral 20 Feb 03 - 03:32 AM
The Shambles 20 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Feb 03 - 10:53 AM
The Shambles 20 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM
Folkiedave 20 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM
Folkiedave 20 Feb 03 - 06:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Feb 03 - 06:55 PM
Folkiedave 20 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM
The Shambles 20 Feb 03 - 08:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Feb 03 - 08:11 PM
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Subject: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM

20/03 18 February 2003

"WE CAN WORK IT OUT" - KIM HOWELLS INVITES
MUSICIANS TO WORK WITH GOVERNMENT ON
DELIVERY OF THE LICENSING BILL


Licensing Minister Kim Howells today launched a package of
measures to allay fears about the Licensing Bill's impact on live music.

The three strands of the package are:

An invite to the music world, along with local authorities and
industry, to inform the drawing up of statutory guidance for licensing authorities that will ensure venues can put on live music more easily, while protecting the rights of local residents.

Amending the Bill to make it clear that entertainers who perform
at unlicensed venues will not be committing an offence, unless they have a role in organising or managing the entertainment themselves.

Issuing a leaflet entitled "The answer to 20 myths about public
entertainment and the Licensing Bill" that sets the record straight on some of the most pervasive myths being circulated about the Bill.

The first strand of the package follows concerns expressed by
musicians that licensees will be discouraged from putting on entertainment by a fear that licensing authorities will impose unnecessary and costly conditions to their licences, such as
requesting expensive adjustments to venues.

The guidance will clarify what appropriate conditions are. The
Government plans to set up a working group of key players from the music world, local authorities and the industry to inform it in deciding how to take the work forward.

The group aims to report back in April, but in the meantime the
issue will be discussed with representatives of the music industry at a summit on February 26 and at a face-to-face meeting between Kim Howells and John F Smith, the General Secretary of the Musicians' Union, on March 4.

Kim Howells said:

"Our principle is clear ? we want to spread live music. The
Licensing Bill will do that.

"I want to ensure the Bill is enforced with a heavy dose of
commonsense on the ground. I hope the music world, local authorities and the industry will take the opportunity to help shape the guidance and make sure this happens."

The amendment of the Bill, which forms the second strand of the
package will ensure that, for example, a band booked for a concert will not be committing an offence if they all they do is play in an unlicensed venue.

Kelly Wiffen, Research and Parliamentary Officer at Equity, said:

"Equity is delighted that the Government has listened to our
concerns and amended the Licensing Bill to exclude performers from clause 134. This change means that performers can make full use of the new employment opportunities we hope the Bill will deliver."

This amendment will also make it even clearer that very many of
the myths that have been circulated about the Bill are completely without basis. This message will further be backed up by the leaflet, which clarifies the position on many false scenarios.

Kim Howells said:

"A host of rumours ? many of them completely ridiculous ? have
been circulated about this Bill. Today I am setting the record straight for the benefit of everyone involved in live entertainment, either as a participant, organiser or spectator.

"The truth is this Bill will make it more affordable for venues to
put on live performance in the vast majority of cases. This will in turn increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform.

"Musicians have nothing to fear from this Bill, but much to gain
from it."

In addition to protecting the performance rights of artists, the
Licensing Bill will also help to protect their intellectual property rights - by including copyright offences. The unauthorised broadcasting of film, music or television could lead to
the removal or suspension of a licence. Equally, those who have
committed such offences may not be granted a personal licence.

Notes to Editors

1. In conjunction with the changes noted above, the Government
is also tabling other amendments to the Licensing Bill, which deal with:

Government's concerns about copyright infringement and music
and video piracy in licensed premises.

Broadening the range of offences to ensure police can properly
check offenders applying for personal licences.

Making planning authorities responsible authorities where they
have an interest in a licence application.

Ensuring that regulations are in place to govern the
administrative processes which will follow the Bill's implementation.

Provide Parliament with an opportunity to debate the Secretary
of State's Guidance made under the Bill when it is issued or supplemented.

2. Under the original draft of the Bill it would have been an
offence for a musician to play at an unlicensed venue, although they could have claimed a defence of "due diligence" if, for example, they had sought to check the premises had a licence in advance.

3. The publication of the first draft of the statutory guidance to
licensing authorities was announced in press release 19/03, published on February 13 2003. The Government will use the guidance to draw very clear distinctions about what might and might not constitute appropriate conditions to apply to licences that authorise
live music. Licensing authorities will be required to have regard to
the guidance. This means that, although they are able to depart from the guidance, for example to take account of particular circumstances, they cannot disregard it and they will have to demonstrate good reasons for departing from it.

4. The answers to twenty myths about public entertainment and
the Licensing Bill

Existing public safety and noise legislation does NOT cover all
of the issues dealt with by licensing law.

Music in pubs will not be harmed by the Bill

It will NOT cost anything extra for a pub to apply to provide
entertainment as well when applying for permission to sell alcohol.

Local authorities will NOT be able to impose unreasonable
conditions on licences.

Individual performers will not be disadvantaged by the Bill

Performers will NOT need to be individually licensed.

Performers will NOT now be liable to a fine or to imprisonment
just for playing or singing.

A licence will not be needed every time someone plays a musical
instrument

Rehearsing or practising will NOT be licensable.

Music tuition will NOT be licensable.

Busking will NOT be licensable.

Testing a musical instrument in a shop will NOT be licensable.

Community venues will not be disadvantaged by the Bill

Village, church and parish halls, and other community buildings
will NOT need to pay for licences to provide entertainment.

Any entertainment provided in a church will NOT be licensable.

Church bell ringing will NOT be licensable.

Spontaneous performance will NOT be licensable so:

Spontaneously singing "Happy Birthday" will NOT be illegal.

Spontaneous pub singalongs will NOT be licensable.

Carol singers, going from door to door, or turning up
unannounced in a pub and singing, will NOT be licensable.

A postman whistling on his round will NOT be licensable.

Private events where invited guests are not charged will NOT
usually be licensable
so:

A school nativity play, which took place before a non-paying
private audience of parents will NOT be licensable.

A licence will generally NOT be required for performances
taking place at a private party where the host organises the music and does not charge their guests.

A licence will NOT be required for a band playing in a marquee
at a wedding reception in someone's garden.

A performance in an old people's home, hospice or hospital
before a non-paying private audience of staff and patients will NOT
require a licence.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:36 AM

The 23 February (draft) guidance referred to can be found here

http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/guidance_section177_licensing.pdf


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:45 AM

does this mean we've won?


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Pied Piper
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM

Not yet Mr Happy. We should not release our grip round Howells throat until the act is passed and the way it's operated is apparent.
Judge him by what does not what he says.
pp


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM

Only if they include all these exemptions in the actual wording of the bill - remember Sam Goldwyn's famous statement "A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on".


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: IanC
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:58 AM

No, we haven't won.

If you read it, it's the same old stuff rolled out again.

So ... keep on supporting the Lords amendment which takes nearly everything out of the licensing regime ... keep on with the petition. etc. etc.

Even if we got all of the rights back we had before, there are still plenty of injustices and sillinesses left to campaign against.

Why stop even if we get a few changes made?

Let's keep the momentum going and put an end to all these stupidities.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:02 PM

thanks,

'roll on the day'


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM

When David Heath asked in the Commons for guidance to be issued to local authorities under the current legislation, none appeared.

Now we have new legislation (the words), we have guidance coming out of our ears, all trying to convince us that the words of the new legislation don't really mean what they do.

Session are still at threat and you can be locked-up for organising one in an unlicensed pub. That looks as if it will be just about every small pub in the land, where you may wish to hold one.

They still keep banging away with the word 'spontaneous', even though it does not appear in the Bill and no one knows what it means. It means what a local authority wants it to mean.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:33 PM

Room for guarded optimism - or possibly modified pessimism. I haven't had time to work through this - but at a glance this jumped out at me:

"Amending the Bill to make it clear that entertainers who perform at unlicensed venues will not be committing an offence, unless they have a role in organising or managing the entertainment themselves" - which would imply that if people organise a session by ringing round or sticking it on their website, they are liable.

Not that that part of the Bill is too much of a worry - so far as playing in pubs or coffee houses or whatever, what matters is whether the landlord or whoever is in charge is liable for prosecution, because if he or she is, we won't be able to play anyway.

I get the impression Kim lad is making it all needlessly complicated. And of course this is the kind of input that should have been invited before the Bill was even published. (And the fact that it is needed is a measure of how badly it was drafted, and what libellous tosh Howells was talking when he bleated about the Musicians' Union "misinformation".

"Government plans to set up a working group of key players from the music world, local authorities and the industry" - so who is going to be on that, and will there be anyone who understands how our kind of music works? They should have Hamish, but I have a feeling Kim would blow his top at the suggestion. Or Martin Carthy - or Norma Waterson might be even better.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM

Here's a song I wrote last week, and posted in another thread - but it's grown another verse since then. The last verse looks forwards to his retreating, getting dumped, or going off his head, in any order:

          C       G       F          C                      F                  G
We'll never find a better friend than the Minister of Culture.
                   C         G          F             C                F                           G   C
They may say we sent him round the bend, from Westmoreland to Wiltshire,
       F                                 C                   F                         G
But every time we sing a song, and the licence is not handy,
               F          G   (F)   C G C                  F                  G   C
We will think of Kim the Minister, from the land of Tonypandy.
         F                            G   C            F                      C G
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
                     F            G         C G    C       F                     G C
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


Well he promised this and he promised that, but he never could deliver,
"If there's no money changing hands it's different altogether
Oh you can hold your sessions there's no reason for a licence."
Just a fine of twenty thousand pound to calm us into silence?
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


When it's summer down in Somerset you might hear the chorus ringing,
He says "I'd rather be in hell than hear those Somerset folks a-singing"
And he won't have no sing-songs in the public bar in London,
So the piano locked and bolted, with a lock that can't be undone.
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


Oh the bells were ringing in the church, and the dancers on the paving,
And the Minister of Culture he was very close to raving.
Oh he blamed it on the Union, for grave misinformation,
But the Minister of Culture now is a joke through all the nation.
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


February 14th 2003


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 02:33 PM

Please go check the perfomer lawyer group letter.

Lots of what Kimmie says is the same tired lies.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 03:05 PM

Lies don't matter any more than promises (well, they're the same thing). All that matters what ends up in black and white in the Act, I'd think.

Any advice on what "statutory guidance" means in this context? Does it actually determine how the law will be interpreted in court?


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 03:11 PM

http://www.adac-records.co.uk/licensing-bill/kim-howells/

The above link to the Performer-Lawyer Group letter referred to By Richard.

Kevin I thought the last verse has a certain 'rap' feel to it.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM

Wel, the grammar is a bit approximate if that's what you mean. But that's pretty traditional too.

I've read the press release now, and there's not much in it to comfort us - even if it's incoporated one way or another in the Act or in binding guidance.

For example when it talks about carol singers in pubs it says they'll not be licensable if they turn up unannounced. Which means that the sort of village carols that take place up in the Sheffield area will need need a licence. And of course thebpeople who organise it will be legally liable if the pubs don'tvhave tyeblicence.

Moreover that indicates that the meaning they give to "spontaneous", if they do use the word in the guidelines, is likely to be restrictive, more or less meaning "doing it on the spur of the moment" or casually, rather than "doing it off your own bat", and not because you are being engaged to do it by the landlord or proprietor.

Notbthta itb would be satisfactory even with a definition that permitted sessions, and allowed us to bring them to people's attention.

As Ian C pointed out, even if we got back what we've got now, we'd still be in a rotten situation. This PEL campaign started up with people hoping for reforms that would make things far better than they are now, and it would still be so easy for that to be achiueved, with a few amendments to the exemptions section. Whatever happens there has to be a continuing drive to get those kind of reforms.

In particular I want changes that would make it possible to have folk venues in a coffee house setting. I like pubs, but I don't like a situation where the only places you can play are in pubs.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 04:24 PM

As has been said all along, its what's in the bill that matters, not what's in the guidance, because experience says that will be largely ignored. So to that extent it doesn't really matter in the end whether the guidance is written by DCMS or the MU.

I'm all for the MU, EFDSS etc being involved in the guidance, but not in a way that implies reducing the effort in getting the bill improved, or can be interpreted as those bodies 'approving' the end result.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 04:41 PM

As indicated above, "Statutory guidance" means it's binding and has to be followed - this is stronger than guidance circulars to local authorities on new legislation, which they can interpret at their discretion.   But yes, we need to make sure they get the statutory requirements right in the primary legislation.

I've seen the draft guidance circular on the DCMS website (104 pages) and they haven't got round to drafting the guidance on Schedule 1 (regulated entertainment) yet.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 04:53 PM

As indicated above, "Statutory guidance" means it's binding and has to be followed - this is stronger than guidance circulars to local authorities on new legislation, which they can interpret at their discretion.

Isn't this strange concept of 'statutory guidance' what we would refer to then as the law? What is the difference??


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 04:59 PM

I think it means that the guidance will have to be laid before and approved, or at least not voted against, by Parliament (like the Highway Code, and the Code of Practice on Street Works).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM

"Government plans to set up a working group of key players from the music world, local authorities and the industry" - so who is going to be on that, and will there be anyone who understands how our kind of music works? They should have Hamish, but I have a feeling Kim would blow his top at the suggestion. Or Martin Carthy - or Norma Waterson might be even better.

I am given to understand that the MU has not specifically been invited!

All input from the music 'industry' is to be filtered through a special adviser there called Steven Navin. Please check with the DCMS on 0207 221 6200 and feel free to offer your advice and services to Dr Howells.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Admiral
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:13 AM

At the end of the day it stills spells the end of Folk Clubs and Sessions, someone organises them and that person is still going to be liable for the fine or the jail sentence. I for one cannot risk that. I really believe that they have no comprehension about Folk or the fact that majority of performances of the same are organised by unpaid volunteers but how can we get this across to them?


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: daithi
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:53 AM

Forgive me for being thick, but have I missed something here? Doesn't the Bill mean that ALL pubs can automatically be licensed for music - at no additional cost - when they apply for their liquor licence? It's going to be part of the package. So in practical terms most, if not all pubs , WILL be licensed. So no problem for folk clubs - and sessions (which don't charge money anyway).
Dith


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: IanC
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:06 AM

Daithi

Perhaps you'd like to read some of the other information. Believe me, it's not like that. Also it affects more than just the inside of pubs.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:42 AM

You and I and others like us will have to be prepared to go to jail if that's what it takes to open peoples' eyes. I certainly will NOT pay any fines incurred by organising my club.

If you believe in it enough you'll do time for it.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:49 AM

Existing public safety and noise legislation does NOT cover all of the issues dealt with by licensing law.

In Scotland, in a typical bar or restaurant, the licensee is free to provide live music, if its secondary to the main business, and during permitted hours. Now what's really significant is the platform of safety and noise legislation, that applies is the same as in England and Wales.

Music in pubs will not be harmed by the Bill

It will NOT cost anything extra for a pub to apply to provide entertainment as well when applying for permission to sell alcohol.


Before applying for any entertainment, they will already be paying extra. A pub currently paying 30 for three years will paying at least 50-150 per year for inspection charges, on top of the one off fee for the life of the business of 100-500 and the cost of the new personal licence.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 06:56 AM

"I am given to understand that the MU has not specifically been invited!"

Does that mean that it has been blacklisted, or that it hasn't been invited, but in principle still could be? Any information as to who is drawing up the list of people to be included, or people to be consulted?

The EFDSS would be a very logical body to be invited (from a bureaucratic point of view), and they would be the right people to nominate someone who actually knows something about our end of it.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:21 AM

Has anyone thought of the 'custom and practice' rule. In Sheffield sessions at pubs like Fagans, The Dog, The Red House have been going on for years. I think it would be hard for a prosecution to stick.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: JudeL
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:49 AM

1) If under the bill &/or the statutory guidance it will be an offence to host, organise or promote an event involving live music without a licence then even if (as Mr Howells claims) performers would not be committing an offence by taking part it would still damage if not kill many clubs as without the publicity to encourage attendance and the organisation behind that there are few clubs that could survive.
2) I noted also that the exclusion from requiring a licence for "private functions" only affects events where no money changes hands, this would mean that those clubs who currently operate in private function rooms as "a private members club" which can sign in guests will under the new legislation be expected to have a licence as not only is it "not spontaneous" as it has been organised and advertised but money changes hands as well.
3) While it may not be of such immediate importance to folk clubs, the distinction in the proposed guidance between charging and non charging events a) makes a mockery of the idea that this has anything to do with health and safety or public order and b) will stop a lot of charitable fund raising events. School concerts may be private functions but they often charge (an admittedly nominal) fee to attend in an effort to boost school funds or raise money for a worthy cause. If they are to become licenceable events and get charged for the licence this will impact on their ability to fund raise , it will also be yet another bit of bureaucratic paperwork for school staff to deal with instead of concentrating on educating our children.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:34 PM

Pubs will apply for licences for the sale of alchohol. Music is included in this price, whether they have music or not. This is not a music issue per sa, but an alcohol licencing issue. If this price is more than in previous years then that could be a cause for debate.

Where music benefits is that prior to this Bill pubs DID need a licence- now they get one whether they have music or not.
For one who supports creative arts, I consider this to be a good move.

But I do agree that the way the BIll has been portrayed by the Government has created concerns.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM

Where music benefits is that prior to this Bill pubs DID need a licence- now they get one whether they have music or not.
For one who supports creative arts, I consider this to be a good move


Pubs still do need the licence and they only get one IF they apply for entertainment and the local authority agree that the premises are suitable and if there are no complaints upheld by residents etc.

I would agree that IF all public places were made safe for entertainment and no one could opt out, it would indeed be good thing. But as many of our smaller eatablishments will not apply, we will be back where we started.

With local authorities seeking out swaying to music and foot tapping by audiences.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM

Western Morning News 09:00 - 19 February 2003
By Paul Andrews


The Government attempted to head off criticism of proposed changes to
licensing laws yesterday by inviting musicians to a "summit" to help draw up guidelines which will govern their operation. The move coincides with the WMN campaign to challenge the Licensing Bill, widely seen as a direct threat to live music in pubs.

Minister for Culture Kim Howells said: "I want to ensure the Bill is enforced with a heavy dose of common sense on the ground. I hope the music world, local authorities and the industry will take the opportunity to help shape the guidance and make sure this happens."

But despite yesterday's announcement, musicians and licensees have said they are still "extremely wary".

Hamish Burchill, spokesman for the Musicians' Union South West, said: "This is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. The fundamental problem remains that small-scale informal events do not need licensing."

The Bill, which could be law by next year, will abolish the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows a landlord to have one or two musicians play in their pub without needing a full entertainments licence.

Landlords would need to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical event, however small.

Because of the expensive conditions which may be imposed by the fire, police and health and safety, there are fears landlords will simply abandon live music.

Yesterday, Mr Howells tried to allay these fears by stating that local authorities will not be able to impose "unreasonable conditions" on licence applications.

But publicans' representatives remain unconvinced.

Mike Priest, a spokesman for the West of England Licensed Victuallers' Association, said: "This is merely recognition by the Government of how deeply this Bill has concerned people. We are still extremely wary.

"When the Bill was introduced it was done so based on the their idea of creating less red tape. But what it has been replaced with is a set of procedures which merely add to the bureaucracy.

"Regardless of what may be said in public this proposed legislation is still simply a way of creating a new revenue source."

Mr Howells said he would host a music industry summit on February 26 and hold talks with Musicians' Union leader John Smith on March 4 to listen to performers' concerns.

Musicians' representatives will be included in a working group alongside councils and the pub industry to draw up guidelines on how licensing authorities should operate the new regulations.

Mr Howells said: "A host of rumours have been circulated about this Bill.

"The truth is it will make it more affordable for venues to put on live performance in the vast majority of cases. This will in turn increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform. Musicians have nothing to fear from this Bill, but much to gain from it."

Nick Harvey, Lib-Dem spokesman for Culture and MP for North Devon, said: "The Government are obviously feeling the heat of the campaign against this Bill. Because they failed to publish guidelines when the Bill was first published it is very much a mess of their own making. They should have invited these people to contribute to the process long ago. Now at least they will face the front line."

More than 2,546 readers have now sent in protest forms to the Western
Morning News campaign to challenge the Bill. Along with the petition forms, which will be printed every Tuesday, these will be handed to Dr Howells, demanding that live pub music is protected.

This newspapers fine month-long campaign articles can be seen on the following site http://tinyurl.com/5qsh

May take a while to load.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM

Even if iut worked like that with oubs (and ut won't), that still means on the face of it that it'd be illegal to play in any othewr public place which didn't have a licence. As it is now (or at least it's illegal to permit it to happen - a subtle but essentiually irrelevant distinction in mots circumstances).

And that's why we no longer have any knd of coffee bar/coffee house folk scene, which is largely where it started back in the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:28 PM

[snip]For example when it talks about carol singers in pubs it says they'll not be licensable if they turn up unannounced. Which means that the sort of village carols that take place up in the Sheffield area will need need a licence. And of course thebpeople who organise it will be legally liable if the pubs don'tvhave tyeblicence.[/snip]


The Position of the "Sheffield Carols" is not exactly as stated. It is EMPHATICALLY not organised - any more that (for example) the singing in Haxey before the Hood is organised. If you turn up the first Sunday after Armistice and subsequent Sundays then you will be at the carols. There is no organisation. The pub will need a licence although the local MP Helen Jackson who is a caroller (as indeed is David Blunkett) has written to the pubs telling them that they won't -based on what Howells told her!!

The reason local pubs have got away with it so far is because unlike Weymouth for example the local authority has turned a blind eye.

It is easy to prove spontaneity or otherwise. Clearly since they are not advertised or organised - then they are spontaneous. Equally since people come from all over the world to join in then they cannot be spontaneous. At some there is an organ player - therefore not spontaneous - at others there is no organ player - clearly spontaneous then. Which is why it is important that the DCMS supplies a definition of spontaneous!!!!

The DCMS is prepared to put up Aunt Sallys (Twenty Myths) only to assert they are myths. Ministers assertions have no legal significance except under particular legal circumstances and these do not fulfil that. Mind Howells would look a real wally even more now should anyone be prosecuted. So much so I am tempted to volunteer!!

Best wishes,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk
www.holmfirthfestival.com


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM

spontaneous - "Arising from ones own internal tendecny, dispositin,inclination, without external influence, consraint, compilsion; voluntary".

I don't know if there's some legal meaning of spontansous that is narrower than that; on the face of it none of those things Dave mentioned would in any way mean that the activities weren't spontaneous. For example, if, of your own free will, you travel half way round the world to take part in singing carols in a pub, that is a completely spontaneous action on your part.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:56 PM

Hmm. Guest above hasn't twigged that the pub's licence doesn't cover music unless this was specified in the application for a licence. And Kim Howells' appeal doesn't seem to recognise that music is not just an industry. Pub sessions are about people getting together for a social evening or lunchtime of chat and entertaining themselves. If we're having good craic just chatting, and making jokes, does that need a licence?


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: ET
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:15 PM

I know that the world of darts is somewhat different but Howells has said in his guidance that darts is not licensable if played by people for their own enjoyment - only if played to entertain an audience! But like most Howells stuff it is double speak. Home and away teams i am told, often bring "spectators" (the word is audience in the Bill) - even if its just the van driver! The difference here is too subtle for words but doesn't this seem familiar - what pub sessions have an audience - don't we play for our own pleasure?

The cafe line is interesting. I asked DCMS last year - what about playing in a cafe or similar without an alcohol licence - the one liner back was - just apply for a licence under the act but don't fill in the alcholhol bit - great - so a small cafe then shells out 150 per annum and gets inspected, the locals are told about music and will think of throbbing walls and object. A likely story!


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:43 PM

I'm rather hoping that this is going to get him in trouble from the dart playing fraternity.

I mean when it get to the crunch, Morris Dancers with big sticks are going to be handy, but a few companies of seasoned arrow throwers could be just what we need...


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:16 PM

I had a long chat with our old friend Ronnie Bridgett at the DCMS today 020 7211 6374. It was a bit sad as he does not understand any better than over a year ago. He is from Northern Ireland and you would expect him to know about sessions and the problems his Bill present to them.

I have come to the conclusion that this key musicians consultation is just a stunt. The stake-holder talks continue and it would appear that this is what he refers to. I certainly won't be invited as he said the public consultation period was up.

This does rather make a mockery of Dr Howells press statement.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Admiral
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:32 AM

Keep plugging away, the fight is not over yet. In issuing the twelve myths KH has shot himself in the foot, human rights wise. How can he defend licensing live music when organised whilst exempting all sorts of other nefarious activities? We're getting to the nub of it all - money. Which is laughable when you consider that most of us put far more money into music than we get out!
Mary, I believe in the cause as much as anybody (indeed a lot more than a lot of the people in your area do from conversations last weekend - I'm sure the significance still hasn't sunk in) but I believe that I can fight this better outside prison than in.
Kitty, I agree, music to the likes of us is not a money making scam and the sooner the likes of KH realise that the better, which is why I've been having a go at EFDSS and it seems that they have been playing the proverbial duck (paddling like fury underneath) and are talking to the DCMS and some tame Lords. Maybe, for once in their existence they can make a difference?
With all the exemptions that are flying around now there is no reason at all why we can't be left to organise our clubs and sessions in peace, apart from a knuckleheaded refusal to understand what we do and how we do it.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM

The Publican

18th February 2003


New licence fees will have to be set higher than the government's proposals or councils will go bust, claims a leading licensing lawyer.

Speaking at a House of Lords committee meeting Chris Hepher, of Pullig & Co, said the government's suggested annual licence fee would leave a black hole in local authorities' accounts "the size of Enron".

Under the new system, the government is suggesting the one-off cost of applying for a premises licence will be between 100 and 500, with an annual charge of between 50 and 150.

But because public entertainment licences (PEL) will be scrapped it will mean councils will lose millions of pounds in fees.

"A large pub or club might pay 12,000 for a PEL," said Mr Hepher. "If it is asked to pay an annual renewal fee of 150, you can see the council is going to lose money hand over fist.

"Councils will need more money to help them deal with licensing, not less."

A spokesman from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We have published an assessment which gives an in-depth analysis of the cost implications of the Licensing Bill. We are therefore confident that the fee levels proposed are sufficient.

"We are in on-going dialogue with the Local Government Association and will discuss with it any concerns."

More stories http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=8590&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%o%20%B%20%Y


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:53 AM

My feeling is that the nub of it, so far as our music is concerned, isn't really money, as The Admiral suggests - I think it is much more the result of a political culture in which to make concessions and recognise mistakes is evidence of weakness, and evidence of weakness is damaging for ambitious politicians and civil servants.

So what is needed is to present them with options which can be presented in a positive light, as evidence of responsive and imaginative thinking, and stuff like that.

I think that putting some emphasis on exemptions which would make it easier for informal social music to flourish in non-drinking settings would have that quality. It ties in with the idea of diverting young people from seeing pubs as the only place to go; and it also takes account of the existence of ethnic minorities, such as Muslims for whom pubs are not (officially anyway) part of their culture.

Since the whole brief of the people involved in putting this legislation together was centred on pubs, they could reasonably hope to be excused for failing to take these issues into account earlier, and commended for taking them into account at this stage.

An amendment I have already suggested would have the effect of opening up such settings, as well as protecting pub sessions and singarounds, and such activities as Morris Dancers, bell ringers and carol singers - "The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities or participation in such activities where the primary purpose is for the mutual enjoyment of performers is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act."

It wouldn't be enough to solve all the problems. The kind of paid two-person gigs which have been allowed without licence problems under the present law would still be at risk. But it would be easy enough to draft an exemption that would cover them - perhaps something exempting two-or-three person outfits if un-amplified, or with amplification below a certain level. Existing public safety requirements would still be in force in any case.

Of course drafting amendments isn't the same as getting them. But these ones would have the merit of simplicity - some of the other suggestions I have seen appear to get getting too complicated for the average MP or Minister to be able to understand.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM

The BBC news on the press release is interesting.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2775821.stm

Government's concerns about copyright infringement and music
and video piracy in licensed premises.


I wonder what this has to do with the stated objectives of the Bill? This should be watched closely, for I have a nasty feeling about this one and the PRS.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM

I worte to Dominic Tambling about recreational dancing ( my wife does Scottish Country Dancing). And some more stuff.....about the carols

His statements DT............my reply to him afterwards DE. The point about "for fun" is I hope a good one...........

DT I see no reason why any of the dancing activities that your wife undertakes on Monday nights should be licensable under the Bill.

DE I did say..........that sometimes "...they practice to live music." So...........you are saying that if a live band in a building not licensed for public entertainment is playing - if that playing is not for entertainment purposes is not licensable?.........Surely the band is playing for the entertainment of the dancers?

DT Entertainment will only be regulated entertainment if it "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".

DT Dancing for fun, rehearsal of practicing for displays do not fall within this - unless of course they are done in front of an audience with the purpose of entertaining them.

DE I have isolated and highlighted this because I find it interesting. If dancing for fun albeit to a live band is not regulated that is marvellous news. It isn't what the bill says - and it is certainly not what anyone has so far understood. Great.

You will clearly agree that if dancing for fun is not licensable then clearly singing for fun cannot be licensable. It is equally clearly true that playing music for fun is not licensable either. And surely any combination of these viz. dancing and singing; singing and playing; and playing and dancing IF DONE FOR FUN are not licensable either.

That is fantastic and really good news. Please.....I reckon I can halve the mail you are getting.

Be kind enough to get the Minister to say again..........in the bill this time of course..............something along the lines of what he said on the Mike Harding Show last July - that a group of people in a pub let's say, who are playing and singing and dancing for fun - no money changing hands - no attempt to entertain an audience.............it is not unusual you know...........that those premises will not need a PEL.. I can get large numbers of people off your back immediately. Misicians, singers. licensed trade, the lot!!

And that is a promise.

That is if you are sure.

DT There is no definition of spontaneous within the Bill or elsewhere for the purposes of the Bill. The point is that what most people understand to be spontaneous singing or dancing would not count as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Bill (because it would not satisfy the conditions in Schedule 1) and would not, therefore, require a licence.

DT In reference to your more specific point - it is hard to see how a regular event could be regarded as spontaneous. Those performing/attending must presumably have known that it would happen and turned up accordingly. That is certainly not what I understand to be spontaneity.

That means that virtually any traditional event - the carols in Sheffield, the Haxey Hood Game, Padstow May Day, Allendale Bonfire etc .etc...........will all need a licence. None are spontaneous, all take place at specific times and places, most involve a bar/alcohol at some time. And whilst the sight and sounds of some of them may not be to some people's personal taste they do clearly entertain people.

I hope that it is clear who is saying what to whom.........(it is in colour in the orginal)

Dave


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 06:44 PM

That last bit as you might guess is from me...

Dave


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 06:55 PM

Who is Dominic Tambling and do his opinions carry any weight? The suggestion that a thing cannot be spontaneous just because it happen regularly is, I would suggest, fallacious.

For example I would think that it would be reasonable to say that out hearts beat spontaneously. My heart is definitely not under the control of my will, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM

Dominic Tambling is a civil servant one level below Andrew Cunningham (I think that is his name)in the DCMS who was busy defending the Bill today at the Wigmore Hall. Dominic is quite important enough to argue that black is white if necessary.

He can be reached at Dominic.Tambling@Culture.gsi.gov.uk. Not that you should start bombarding him with emails you understand. He is busy enough answering mine.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:04 PM

DT There is no definition of spontaneous within the Bill or elsewhere for the purposes of the Bill. The point is that what most people understand to be spontaneous singing or dancing would not count as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Bill (because it would not satisfy the conditions in Schedule 1) and would not, therefore, require a licence.

DT In reference to your more specific point - it is hard to see how a regular event could be regarded as spontaneous. Those performing/attending must presumably have known that it would happen and turned up accordingly. That is certainly not what I understand to be spontaneity.

Then why insist on using the word, if a definition of the bloody word does not appear in the Bill?

Things are what they are. These people are trying to make actual activities fit to the words and concepts that they invent, claim to understand, but don't define. This is quite quite mad.

For if a session does not fit with a civil servant's idea of a word that he has come up with it must be regulated entertainment..............

But it remains is what it is and they will just have to find another way to describe it. It is the whole spark, the magic, the very essence of why we take part in music...and because they can't come up with a word for it, it is reduced to 'regulated' entertainment. Help us please!

Of course a regular event can be 'spontaneous', in musical sense. As Segovia says music must be an explosion of freedom.

All live music is always 'spontaneous'. The word could be exchanged and used instead of saying live music. It is a concept that a civil servant has little chance of ever understanding, as this exchange sadly shows.

These people have not listened for 3 years, they are not going to start now. They can talk though...........

Don't waste your time with them.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:11 PM

Nagging Civcil Servants is a waste of time unless it has some beneficial affect. If it has some beneficial affect it's not a waste of time. Even if it's unlikely to have some beneficial affect it's possible, and therefore should be tried.

The same goes for Ministers, MPs, Lords, newspapers... What's definitely a waste of time would be just shrugging and waiting to see what hapens.

73881


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:26 PM

The others can and must be reached and at some point, must listen, even if it is only self-preservation.

But civil servants like these are safe and insulated and therefore can carry on just saying the same things forever, but have no need at all to ever listen to us.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:03 PM

Civil Servants vary just like everybody else.

In any case I would assume that they've been working on having alternative plans all ready in the top drawer, just in case one day Kim Howells or Tessa Jowell, or their successors, waltz into the office and say a u-turn is required.


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Subject: RE: Howells (now) asks for help PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 02:30 AM

We will just have to concentrate on their masters.

Civil servants at this level, may not listen or do what we request, but they will (hopefully) do what their masters tell them.
Up to now, with this Bill, I fear it has been the other way round.

They are people just like everybody else of course, but importantly they are not listening to, or directly accountable to us.

We also know that terrible things are possible, when fine but unaccountable people, simply work efficiently..........


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