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The right to sing?

The Shambles 09 Dec 05 - 11:24 AM
concertina ceol 09 Dec 05 - 11:35 AM
jacqui.c 09 Dec 05 - 11:51 AM
TheBigPinkLad 09 Dec 05 - 11:53 AM
MMario 09 Dec 05 - 11:54 AM
MMario 09 Dec 05 - 11:56 AM
George Papavgeris 09 Dec 05 - 12:01 PM
TheBigPinkLad 09 Dec 05 - 02:01 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM
sharyn 09 Dec 05 - 02:45 PM
MMario 09 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 05 - 03:02 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 05 - 03:12 PM
Alaska Mike 09 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM
Ferrara 09 Dec 05 - 03:49 PM
TheBigPinkLad 09 Dec 05 - 05:28 PM
TheBigPinkLad 09 Dec 05 - 05:39 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 05 - 06:09 PM
The Shambles 09 Dec 05 - 06:23 PM
Ferrara 09 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM
Stephen L. Rich 10 Dec 05 - 12:17 AM
The Shambles 10 Dec 05 - 06:35 AM
George Papavgeris 10 Dec 05 - 06:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 05 - 07:41 PM
The Shambles 10 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM
Stephen L. Rich 11 Dec 05 - 01:51 AM
rich-joy 11 Dec 05 - 08:48 AM
George Papavgeris 11 Dec 05 - 09:23 AM
The Shambles 11 Dec 05 - 12:19 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Dec 05 - 01:09 PM
Nigel Parsons 11 Dec 05 - 02:03 PM
The Shambles 11 Dec 05 - 02:05 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Dec 05 - 02:20 PM
Snuffy 11 Dec 05 - 06:31 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Dec 05 - 06:50 PM
Folkiedave 12 Dec 05 - 10:39 AM
Cluin 12 Dec 05 - 03:46 PM
Herga Kitty 12 Dec 05 - 05:20 PM
The Shambles 13 Dec 05 - 04:18 AM
Folkiedave 13 Dec 05 - 05:06 AM
The Shambles 13 Dec 05 - 02:03 PM
Folkiedave 13 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM
Folkiedave 13 Dec 05 - 02:53 PM
The Shambles 13 Dec 05 - 03:01 PM
Folkiedave 13 Dec 05 - 07:43 PM
The Shambles 14 Dec 05 - 02:03 AM
The Shambles 14 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM
Folkiedave 14 Dec 05 - 04:33 AM
Grab 14 Dec 05 - 08:27 AM
Jeri 14 Dec 05 - 08:49 AM
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Subject: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:24 AM

The spoken or written word is protected all over the world by copyright etc - but this does not prevent us from speaking or writing.

Is there a danger that protections in place to protect the composers, publishers and performers of songs - are in danger of generally preventing us from being able to sing or of seriously limiting what we can sing and where?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:35 AM

I don't know. From my experience people on the folk circuit are only too happy for you to sing their songs - perhaps I've just been luck y with who I've asked?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:51 AM

Agreed CC. A lot of the songs I sing are either in the common domain or are by songwriters who actively welcome the singing of their songs, such as Utah Phillips. Most folkies do appear to be a very generous crowd who understand the power of shared music.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:53 AM

Copyright infringement is not so easy to prosecute as you might imagine. For a court to proceed there has to be proof that the song was not only used without permission, but that the person committing the infringrmrnt profited by the performance monitarily and that the copyright holder suffered either monitarily or otherwise (i.e. reputation, defamation of character etc.) In many (if not most) situations, the errant performer can make amends with a public apology (whether or not it is accepted). Protecting yourself from prosecution can be as simple as naming the tunesmith "This next song was written by Bob Dylan ..."

Sing and be damned.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: MMario
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:54 AM

Is there a danger that protections in place to protect the composers, publishers and performers of songs - are in danger of generally preventing us from being able to sing or of seriously limiting what we can sing and where?

legally, in the US, it already does - unless performance fees are paid. Luckily they have pretty well ruled that the responsibility for this lies with the VENUE; which is why some venues ask that your set list be restricted to your own or public domain /trad/out of copyright items.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: MMario
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:56 AM

but that the person committing the infringrment profited by the performance monitarily

NOT true - at least not in the US. One of the most frequent myths about copyright infringement.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 12:01 PM

Legislation does not limit the "what" in any case, Roger. Anyone can sing any song without permission anyway, though most ask.

The "when" is always subject to causing a nuisance, but with a little common sense I avoid disturbing neighbours without feeling limited.

Finally, legislation might limit the "where" (unlicenced premises under certain circumstances) - but there are always alternatives. I certainly have not been stopped from singing anywhere, yet. Not on the street, not in friends' houses, not in gardens, not in churches or schools or hospitals or village halls or restaurants or coffee shops or Arts Centres.

There are always alternatives. Some may involve the hire of a room, where before one was had for free. But there are alternatives.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 02:01 PM

but that the person committing the infringrment profited by the performance monitarily

NOT true - at least not in the US. One of the most frequent myths about copyright infringement.


Yes, my apologies, MMario, I'm talking about Canada here. But it's not referring to simple infringement, but to successful prosecution. The infringement might be obvious, but there has to be an element of malicious intent (not the same as ignorance of the law). I'm looking around for an example of a failed case but not much is coming up ...


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM

BPL - you also need to distinguish between prosecution, ie the state process against a criminal infringment of copyright, and, on the other hand suing, the civil process for the civil infringment of copyright.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: sharyn
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 02:45 PM

As a writer who has been involved in copyright infringement litigation, I have this to say: if you wish to sing one of my songs, take care to learn it correctly: it is not raw material for you to improvise on, rearrange, rewrite. You are not invited to take my lines and rewrite them. If you perform substantially changed versions of my work in public and attribute them to me, my reputation suffers. If you record one of my songs you are obligated to pay for the privilege -- and it is a privilege: that song is my work, the work of a lifetime of writing, listening and singing.

What I ask as a writer is that you treat my work with respect -- if you need to change it to sing it, then don't sing it.

I haven't noticed that copyright restrictions in the U.S. much affect what people sing and I have yet to collect one cent from a club where my songs have been sung (not by me).


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: MMario
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM

sharyn - are your songs registered with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC - because if they aren't you won't get any performance royalties regardless. And even if they are - the way things are weighted chances are unless it is a pretty big hit you STILL won't get any royalties.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:02 PM

A link to a page from the Canadian copyright office here .

No mention of the profit condition BPL suggests.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:12 PM

The motive of gain defeats the academic exemptions in Canada, see Ssn 29.3, 29.4, and 29.5. I have not yet found any other relevance of the motive of gain under Canadian copyright law.

I think BPL you need to re-check what you have said and give authority.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM

I also write, perform and record my own songs. I have had other individuals sing my songs on three different continents. Invariably, these people change the lyrics or melody a bit when they make my song part of their show. This is absolutely OK with me.

I am honored whenever someone likes my creations enough to learn them and sing them for others. I believe that the small changes they make might even improve these songs in small, but meaningful ways. My heartfelt thanks goes out to each person who has helped to share my songs at festivals, folk clubs and song circles wherever they may be.

Best wishes,
Mike


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:49 PM

What we can sing, and where, has been somewhat limited ever since the first copyright protection laws were written in each country. Before that, in the U.S. at least, people simply stole other people's published songs, and re-published them shamelessly, profiting from the theft. A common thing was to write slightly different words to a popular tune, and publish them under the original name, for example the copycat versions of Tenting Tonight and Man on the Flying Trapeze that I have seen.

The copyright laws helped change that. Probably a good thing, especially for people who actually write/wrote songs for a living, like, say, Irving Berlin.

Everything is a compromise. Every time you right a wrong, you are in danger of committing another one because no law can take in every case ahead of time.

Any song, copyrighted or not, can be sung for personal pleasure in the privacy of one's own or one's friends homes, where no money is being exchanged or received in connection with the occasion. My own family used to gather around the piano and sing dozens of copyrighted songs -- that's why they publish sheet music.

Making a profit from singing copyrighted songs is quite different. Yes, people are limited in many ways in deciding what they will do to make a profit.

There are plenty of uncopyrighted, public domain songs for folk singers to sing for money, or in venues that charge money, or in public venues of any type. And, as several people have pointed out, lots of folkie song writers freely allow their songs to be sung by others.

If you want to perform copyrighted songs, well, you may have a problem. But there's no one who has the right to do everything they feel like doing! So, there are restrictions on singing most copyrighted songs for other than personal pleasure. That occasionally limits our doing what we feel like doing. Pick another song and keep on singing.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 05:28 PM

Well, pardon me for trying to help without a law degree. My authority comes from standing in court and losing my case. The jist of my caveat is in this line:

"Only the courts can rule whether fair dealing or infringement is involved."

In order to get beyond this (it was a civil court) you have no hope in hell if your ego is all that is bruised. You will need proof of substantial loss (this is what the court will determine) borne by the copyright holder.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 05:39 PM

Sorry, I meant to put a 'smiley' after the first sentence ... I'm not being intentionally rude, Richard.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 06:09 PM

Well, I'm not a Canadian lawyer - but I have a friend who is. Actually he is an Englishman, a barrister, who is authorised to practise in Canada.

Have you a written judgment in your case? If so please PM me with an email address as I'd like to see it, as the way you present it, I don't see how you could have lost. Of course, if the defence was "fair use" it would have needed to fall within one of the categories of "fair use" and then profit could have been relevant, maybe.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 06:23 PM

Perhaps the where is most problematic?

In general terms I feel that it is important that you should be able to freely express yourself in music and song as you can in speech or in any other form. No not important - vital.

That if any one or any organisation feels they have any claim due to them - that it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate this claim.

The same is due to situations where authorities wish to prevent free expression in music making. It is up to them to demonstrate any real danger etc presented by this music making.

My concern is that much music making is prevented or limited in premises where there could be no legitimate or specific claims and where no real risks are involved.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM

True, Shambles.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 12:17 AM

"Is there a danger that protections in place to protect the composers, publishers and performers of songs - are in danger of generally preventing us from being able to sing or of seriously limiting what we can sing and where?"

    It's not so much a danger as anexisting reality. It comes in to play every time the ASCAP or BMI bully a venue owner and cause said owner to stop having entertainment completely or to limit the performers' repetoires to original or public domain material.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 06:35 AM

Have Sam Smiths'pub banned ALL music?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 06:13 PM

The Sam Smiths' ban is a limitation, Roger, and an unwelcome one at that (by us folkies). But in the context of your original question, i.e. whether "protections in place to protect the composers, publishers and performers of songs - are in danger of generally preventing us from being able to sing or of seriously limiting what we can sing and where", I argue that it is not a serious limitation, because there are alternatives. No impending end of the music or of the singing is forecast.

The Sam Smiths ban was a business decision on their part. The public now can vote with their feet and prove them wrong - or right.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 07:41 PM

Of course, in the light of this court case this week, if you try singing the wrong kind of song anywhere within a kilometre of the Mother of Parliaments in London, it appears that your right to sing goes out the window together with your right to speak - MPs condemn arrest of woman who spoke out:

"Maya Anne Evans, a 25-year-old cook, became the first person to be prosecuted under the law which bans unauthorised demonstrations within one kilometre of Westminster after reciting the names of British soldiers killed in Iraq outside the gates of Downing Street."

It'll be interesting to see how they'll deal with people singing appropriate Christmas Carols touching on issues of war and peace in the Forbidden Zone, as happened last Christmas. (20 DECEMBER 2004, LONDON: ANTI-WAR CAROL SINGING. 3-7pm. Parliament, Downing St, Trafalgar Sq. Traditional carols adapted to highlight the brutality and hypocrisy of the illegal war in Iraq. All are welcome, of any faith or none, to join us in singing these topical carols. Organised by Advocating Sanity.) Of course that was before our freedom loving leaders made it illegal - but I'd be surprised if something like that doesn't happen anyway.

Actually I imagine what they might well do would be to make use of the new Licensing Law against making music using in a place that isn't covered by a licence, rather than the anti-demonstration powers. But that'd just get them headlines about how the government was cracking down on Carol Singers, and that might be even more embarassing.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM

It is the reason why Sam Smiths banned all music in their pubs that is important. It was because they were not prepared to pay the increase in the required PRS/PPL licence.

It is also the reason why other chains in the UK also now have a non-music policy. It is now clear that the idea that music is a goose that will always lay golden eggs is being seen to be false. For there is clearly a limit to how long premises will be prepared to give in to this form of extortion.

The sad thing is that it is music that is the loser in a dispute where neither side (or any other body or organisation) seem to care very much about the future of music - except as a purely finanicial concern.

I would argue that any needless and clumsy limitation of music making is a serious one.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 01:51 AM

The good news is that the music my be slowed down temporarily, but will not be stopped. When when Vaudeville and Music Halls seemed to be dead, that type of entertainment merely took to the streets. The jugglers, magicians, and other variety acts are now buskers instead theatrical acts. The music WILL find another outlet somewhere no matter what the powers that be might have to say about it. It's stronger than they are.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: rich-joy
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 08:48 AM

So is this for real? :

http://infowars.net/articles/december2005/091205lyrics.htm


where the MPA (Music Publishers Assoc'n) is going to war in 2006 to close down lyric and tab sites on behalf of its members - and advocating gaol (sorry, "jail") terms for offenders!!!!!!


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 09:23 AM

Slight thread-creep here; the original question was about outlets for people to sing, as Roger explained. Also, the MPA only controls US artists, I understand (could be wrong there), whereas Roger's references concern the UK. But it is related - so here's my tuppence worth: I think the MPA is barking up the wrong tree when it comes to lyrics, and they are doing nobody any favour, including the artists they represent. The same goes for the tablatures. In both cases the material represents someone's interpretation of what they "heard" anyway. When it comes to MP3 distribution, that is a different matter, as it directly affects potential sales by the artist (let's not start a discussion about "to what extent", this has been beaten to death before).

But the overall impression is of a music industry that is totally missing the point of emerging technologies, and instead of embracing them and working with them they try to stifle their usage. They are no more capable of doing that than Canute was of stilling the waves.

Anyway - I distribute my MP3s (28 of them) and all my published lyrics from my own website. They are all copyright-registered, but I offer them for free. How on earth could the MPA stop me from doing this (I know they are interested in music-swapping sites, rather than cases like mine). In any case, let them try.

Bring it on...


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 12:19 PM

The question for debate is much more than just outlets to sing and it is not confined to any one country.

Perhaps the right to express oneself in music needs to be protected in legislation just as much as the right to one's own intellecual property quite properly and currently is.

In the UK I now find that I do not have the right to freely sing my own un-published intellectual property in a pub for example (or just about anywhere else). To enable this - the premises first needs a PRS/PPL licence to be paid for and the premises also need to apply and obtain entertainment permission from the local authority - without which any music making is illegal.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 01:09 PM

While I deplore any limitations imposed by such legislation, Roger, I don't want to give in to the fatalism of "they won't let me" either. There are alternatives. We both live in the same country, both singing our own material (and most of mine is unpublished abyway), yet I don't find myself at all seriously limited in singing it - I have plenty of alternatives.

Same situation, different attitudes, that's all. By all means let's correct any injustices, but let's not cry into our beer while we are waiting either.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:03 PM

Well I haven't heard of any local folk clubs closing, or moving premises, as a result of the new laws. Perhaps the landlords round here know when they're onto a good thing.
Folk clubs get paying customers in, spending money over the bar. And this, often on nights when trade would normally be slack, and the landlord might consider paying to run a quiz just to get customers in.

There again, this is the "Land of Song"

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:05 PM

Before you can correct injustice it is probably better not to try and minimise the extent of it.

Yes there may be alternatives but for how long? I am reminded of the Shefield Carols where the material was though unsuitable for singing in churches. So the singing of them moved to into the pubs. Now this tradition is again threatened in these pubs for the reasons I previously gave.   

Folkies have traditionally sung for freedom - perhaps it is time that we put any minor difference behind us and concentrated together for a while on obtaining the freedom to sing?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:20 PM

OK, Roger, agreed. Off the top of my head:

a) We need an organisation - simply having hundreds or even thousands of music lovers petitioning independently will not be good enough.
b) That organisation needs to include all lovers of live music (i.e. not folk-specific so that it cannot be marginalised).
c) We need petitioning, demonstrations, articles published, perhaps a free newssheet to be distributed, interviews on TV and radio.
d) We need money for that - we need therefore a paying membership of that organisation.

All (most?) of the above is already in the hands of the Musicians Union. So we need to get behind their efforts and support them.

Further thoughts?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 06:31 PM

The MU is coming from somewhere else, George. Our problem isn't with pubs needing a licence to book musical acts.

Our problem is with a blanket ban on ordinary pub customers (unbooked and unpaid) singing anything at all for their own amusement without a licence. I think the MU might be inclined to support such a ban, as it might benefit their members.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 06:50 PM

OK, then an organisation is still needed. If the MU does not represent the majority of live music lovers, another one has to be created.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 10:39 AM

I am reminded of the Sheffield Carols where the material was thought unsuitable for singing in churches. So the singing of them moved to into the pubs. Now this tradition is again threatened in these pubs for the reasons I previously gave.

I am not sure why Roger says the carols are under threat. No doubt he has evidence to support this assertion.

From where I sit at my computer I can see three pubs where carolling takes place on a regular basis. I go to a number of carolling spots on a regular basis. I am in the heart of carolling country so to speak.

None of these are under threat. I have visited other venues where carolling takes place already this year, and I am going to another three or four before Xmas and none of these are under threat either.

One pub has revived its singing on a Monday night. Another introduced singing two years ago and is delighted with the response. Other places have record numbers of people and books of words and music are constantly reprinted as new singers anxious to join in the tradition purchase them. Anahata in another context recently made reference to a new edition this year of the "Jack Goodison" book which I understand is selling well.

The traditions around Derbyshire especially Eyam have taken on a new lease of life too.

There is an issue with one regular carolling place - but the landlord has asked for no publicity and I respect his wishes. So I am not going to refer to previous threads where this has been mentioned for that reason.

As far as I am aware Roger has never been to Sheffield for the carols and he recently referred to this world famous tradition as being akin to "cockney knees up".

The history and fact that the carols may be 'traditional' makes it little different from a cockney knees-up around a pub piano.

From: The Shambles - PM
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 09:55 AM


So there is my evidence that Roger said it was "little different from a cockney knees up"

Where is Roger's that the carols are under threat?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Cluin
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 03:46 PM

Singing will become a dangerous illegal act. Speakeasies for musical entertainment will spring up. Dillingers with guitars will become the new bad guy folk heroes. Smokers, dopers, and live music fans will share outcast status.

Go hear the live music in secret seamy venues who aren't afraid to stick it to the Man. Stick it! Stick it again!


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 05:20 PM

Snuffy's right - the legislation was aimed at professional performances, and is woefully inadequate in respect of people singing and playing for their own amusement (and not necessarily anyone else's).

I'm not sure how Sharyn's post fits into this thread Anyone can sing what they like if they're not recording and distributing it. If Sharyn's songs can't be changed, they aren't folk songs. And clearly they aren't, because she carefully crafted them with a view to casting them in stone. She's entitled to be aggrieved if people attribute versions to her that she didn't write (though most songwriters I know are happy to inspire different versions), but control freakery and folk music don't go together. This is the first time I've heard a songwriter say that there is only one definitive version of a song they've written, and I don't think it can be policed.

Most singer-songwriters of folk songs change their own songs, as they evolve and take a life of their own, so they don't mind if others carry on the songs in their own way.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 04:18 AM

Shefield Carols 2005

Where is Roger's that the carols are under threat?

Dave - if you have evidence that events local to you where the public provide their own music are not at threat from first the pub not paying to obtain a PRS/PPL licence and secondly from the local authority insisting that it is Regulated Entertainment and illegal without entertainment permission - then please provide it?

Then everyone - including a cockney knees-up around a piano - will be able to benefit from this evidence.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 05:06 AM

Of course Roger - I am delighted to do so.

One session that has featured in Mudcat as one that suffered under the previous licensing regime has re-opened - that at the Palm.

A new session at the Hillsborough Hotel has started directly as a result of the new laws - MC FAT mentioned this elsewhere, the gist was the licence had dropped from £1600.00 I think it was to £160.00 and as a result the landlord was much more happy to have sessions. The figures may not be precise but the generality is correct.

My Monday night "Morris" pub is delighted with the £1,000+ money that has been saved. I suspect the same thing applies to Fagan's, Kelham Island Tavern and the Red House, other session pubs in Sheffield but I haven't been to them recently.

My own local pub, the Walkley Cottage has already held two music events as a result of his new permissions. The music may not be to my taste but there will be no problems performing there for folkies should they wish to do so. Previously he was unable to have an entertainment licence because the alterations to his building would have cost £13,000. These were not demanded when the law changed.

All these pubs are within walking distance of where I live so there can be no argument about whether they are local or not.

To go back to the original question, where is your evidence that the carols are under threat, or will there me more spurious hoops for me to jump through before you finally admit they aren't?

Dave


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 02:03 PM

In the UK I now find that I do not have the right to freely sing my own un-published intellectual property in a pub for example (or just about anywhere else). To enable this - the premises first needs a PRS/PPL licence to be paid for and the premises also need to apply and obtain entertainment permission from the local authority - without which any music making is illegal.

It was always going to be the case that the Licensing Act 2003 was going to make obtaining entertainment permission alone cheaper whilst increasing the overall cost of licensing. The fact remains that under this legislation - if premises do not apply for the required licenses - any form of live music making in them will be illegal.

Except seemingly in certain pubs in Yorkshire. Where the secret of exactly how this is achieved - remains a secret and can be of no benefit to other musical events with similar problems anywhere else.

My view is that social music making in pubs should never be illegal simply because a third party is not prepared to pay to enable it or prevented from happening because a third party is not prepared to pay to enable it.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM

I think we can take it now that as Roger has ignored two opportunities to offer supporting evidence to his assertion that the carols are threatened that there is none.

Now Roger let's test another couple of assertions in this last contribution.

Except seemingly in certain pubs in Yorkshire.

Where are these pubs? There is one which has been discussed elsewhere where the landlord has asked for no publicity. Its circumstances are unique. I have no intention of discussing that one any further.

As far as I am aware no other pub has asked for "no publicity" so come on Roger name names. Or will this second (or more of course) pub go the way of the threat to the carols you so eloquently talked about and then refused to back up with evidence when contradicted?

The fact remains that under this legislation - if premises do not apply for the required licenses - any form of live music making in them will be illegal

And if they do apply for licences it wont.

We all need licences for all sorts of things. I am about to renew my Road Fund Licence. I need that to drive my car legally along the road. If I had a TV I would need a TV licence. I may not like paying for any of them and there are conditions attached to the Road Fund Licence as well, like insurance and MOT certificate. I need it. I may not like it but it makes me legal.

Allow me to make my position clear. I am against this iniquitous bill. I see all sorts of problems with it. I fought it all the way. I would prefer the position to be that of Scotland.

But any alteration of it will come about by presenting facts about its impact - not simple assertions. And it will certainly not come about by trying to translate one unique example into a nationwide precedent.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 02:53 PM

can be of no benefit to other musical events with similar problems anywhere else

I have explained patiently to Roger in both public and private correspondence that the circumstances of this particular pub makes it totally unique and thus is of absolutely of no benefit to pubs elsewhere.

I have also explained that should he be able produce similar examples and thus make it no longer unique I shall do my best to support any problems that they may have. But, I may not be able to be of assistance, since I was not responsible for the circumstances and neither was I responsible for their solution. Nor do I know how it was finally resolved with the licensing authority.

And anyone can feel free to PM me for more details but with the proviso that the explanatory correspondence remains private in accord with the landlord's wishes. But you will be able to judge for yourself whether I am telling the truth.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 03:01 PM

If we have the choice to pay the licence to enable our choice we may well decide to pay it. But that is not the case - is it?

Third parties now have to decide to obtain the required licences to enable us to express ourselves socially together in music making.
They will only choose to do this if they consider (or are allowed to consider) that it will be financially viable for them to do so.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 07:43 PM

I will ignore the fact that after a third opportunity you have not yet produced evidence that the carols in Sheffield are threatened. Indeed you have singularly failed to address the issue once challenged.

Third parties now have to decide to obtain the required licences to enable us to express ourselves socially together in music making.
They will only choose to do this if they consider (or are allowed to consider) that it will be financially viable for them to do so
.

Roger, has it ever occured to you, and I honestly suspect it may not have done, that not everyone likes music? And that even music lovers do not like folk music? Has it over occurred to you that an owner/tenant/manager of a pub has a choice as to whether he or she actually lets you in to their pub? Let alone lets you in to their pub and then allows you to make music?

This applies to the law in Scotland (which I admire) just as much as it does in England. The right to make music in a pub is subject to the landlord's agreement. He or she may have all sorts of reasons why they do not want it, on a day, on a particular night, or forever.

If you want an unfettered right to make music where and when you or a group of friends personally want to make music, then as far as I know it doesn't happen anywhere in the world.

But no doubt you have examples where it does happen.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 02:03 AM

The right to do anything (on their premises) is subject to the rights of others. If a licensee does not wish you to express yourself in music or in any other way that is of course their right and will be respected.

But when the licensee is agreeable - should it really be a matter of them having to pay to obtain third party licensing permission for you to exercise your right to express yourself in music making?

If your local pubs do not choose to pay and apply in advance to obtain the required licensing permission - your event cannot legally proceed. No matter how unique you claim they are or no matter how your argument then makes every other similar social music making event Regulated Entertainment and increases the threat to them.

There is of course no certainty that these charges will stay at there current levels and as a result your events will always be under threat. Indeed it was the proposed increase in the PRS/PPL licence fees a Sam Smith's refusal to pay them that has lead to the current threat to the premises you keep saying you are not going to talk about.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM

But any alteration of it will come about by presenting facts about its impact - not simple assertions.

Your assertion that this event is unique is just an assertion. It matters not if you can convince me or anyone that it is unique. Except for the damage you do to other equally worthy and threatened events elswhere which you would appear quite happy to sacrifice an have considered and threatened as Regulated Entertainment.

The point is if the words of the legislation consider it to be Regulated Entertainment or not. Perhaps you can demonstrate for us in the words of Licensing Act 2003 where your event is exempt from the licensing requirement on the grounds of being a unique and traditional event in Yorkshire?


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 04:33 AM

It is not unique by virtue of being a traditional event in Yorkshire.

As I am getting increasingly tired of pointing out Roger - the point is not about regulated entertainment but that the landlord has asked for no publicity.

You are well aware of why I consider the circumstances of the licensing of this particular event to be the result of unique circumstances and you are well aware I believe that the licensing of it could be ultra vires.

You have failed - as usual - to point to any other event where the circumstances are identical.

I do actually believe we are going around in circles now and I would prefer - once again - to bring this discussion to an end, at least in public.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Grab
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 08:27 AM

if premises do not apply for the required licenses

If pub owners choose not to allow music sessions in *their* premises, they have every right to do so. Moreover if we give a damn about protecting people's freedom to do what they want on their own property then we have to let them do it!!! Although you have rights to self-expression, do you have rights to walk into your neighbour's house uninvited and play music? Of course you don't. So why are pubs different? Yes, they allow the public in, but they have every right to dictate what their customers do while they're in there.

If pub owners choose to allow live music, they can tick the box and pay not one penny extra to do so. If pub owners choose not to allow live music so don't tick the box, and then later decide they messed up, then they can choose whether to pay the extra for changing their minds. Shame they have to pay extra - but if you make a decision then you accept the consequences of the decision, whether it's good or bad, and if they can't take that then tough titty.

As far as sessions go, our (unpublicised) club has had to move as a result of the change to the law. Where we moved to, we were requested to set up no publicity until after the new law had come in. Now it's all sorted, we're allowed to publicise our session (2nd and 4th Fridays, at the Carlton Arms in Cambridge) which we never were before. And things are looking up for it in a big way. Another positive example of the new law, to add to Dave's.

All of this has shifted the thread a long way from the original post, though. The resident legal eagles ;-) have said pretty clearly that we're not in any danger of losing our right to sing through copyright rules. The UK licensing laws were never intended to be used for enforcing copyright though (and nor do they have any provision for doing so), so why have you pulled them in when they're not connected with your original question?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: The right to sing?
From: Jeri
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 08:49 AM

Here in the US, I'm pretty sure I can stand up at an open mic and sing someone else's copyrighted songs. I'm not sure why it's OK to do that, but I believe it's because venue owners pay somebody a license fee.

There was the whole issue with Max & Mudcat getting hounded by Harry Fox a few years ago, but that was about publishing, not performing. Does anyone know the process that makes it legal to sing other people's songs at venues in the US?


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