Feeds

Bill seeks to decriminalise pianos in pubs and schools

NuLab crackdown on unlicenced joannas, trumpets to end

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.