Feeds

Bill seeks to decriminalise pianos in pubs and schools

NuLab crackdown on unlicenced joannas, trumpets to end

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A private member's bill proposing to decriminalise offering musical instruments without a licence received its second reading on Friday. The, er... what? You may well ask.

The Licensing Act of 2003 introduced bans on unlicensed musical instruments appearing in public. The law, intended to promote musical events at small venues, must be one of New Labour's most absurd and bureaucratic legacies. Leaving a piano in a school or church hall without the necessary paperwork and approval risks a £20,000 fine and six months in jail.

Lord Tim Clement-Jones introduced his Live Music Bill last year. The bill seeks to scrap the worst of the red tape introduced by the Licensing Act – decriminalising the provision of musical instruments.

One event that ran on the wrong side of the law was a touring artwork called Play Me I'm Yours, which offered 30 pianos upon which the public could perform in London public spaces.

"It's regarded as an entertainment facility. Without a licence, it would have been committing a criminal offence – for each piano," Clement-Jones said.

The main consequence of all of Labour's new red tape was to reduce the number of live music events in small venues such as pubs. Previously, a venue could use a "two in a bar rule", allowing two musicians to perform without the venue (which could be a wedding party, church hall, bar or restaurant, for example) requiring a licence. After the 2003 Act came into effect, almost a third of those venues didn't apply for a licence.

The peer contrasted this with the public broadcast of football matches, which don't require a licence... and which regularly result in public disorder.

(You might require the notorious Form 696, by which the police and local authorities demanded mountains of paperwork ahead of live events, singling out black music genres as a potential "terror risk".)

In typical New Labour fashion, the Act spawned a mini-industry for academics, consultants and other hangers-on. There were nine consultations, two public projects, and two enquiries. By contrast, Scotland's provisions are three lines – and there, venues are licensed until 5am.

Clement-Jones says his bill would remove the worst of the red tape introduced by the 2003 Act, and cut away much of the red tape for venues with a capacity under 100.

He admits the bill isn't ideal: for example, one clause allows acoustic performers in venues until 11pm – he'd have preferred midnight. But with 30 pubs a week closing, removing the bureaucratic requirements (for example, leafleting local residents in advance that a musical performance may be committed) will make the trade more attractive.

The bill now goes to third reading, which will be followed by a report stage, then a Commons debate. After a long slog, the peer says he now has the support of both main parties. He fully expects the bill to become law. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.