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Music is now permitted again

Remember sing-songs down the pub? OK, do you at least remember hearing that once upon a time there were such things as sing-songs down the pub? And Fred would stroll over to the old Joanna and have a tinkle on the ivories…

If this sounds as remote from modern life as the Wars of the Roses, that might be because for the last few years Fred would have been liable to arrest. The Licensing Act 2003 made live music at pubs illegal without a licence no matter how small the venue.

The good news is that it is no longer a crime to play a mouth organ in a pub without a licence.

The bad news is that for nine years it was a crime, and we submitted.

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11 comments to Music is now permitted again

  • Laird

    It’s never been illegal in the US, but every venue, no matter how small, has BMI and ASCAP constantly breathing down their necks to extract a license fee for every song ever played. And they are the most officious, arrogant and generally difficult-to-deal-with organizations that you can imagine.

    I find it amusing that you have such a thing as a “Noise Abatement Society”. Its offices are next door to the “Ministry for Funny Walks”, no doubt.

  • nemesis

    Laird; we also have an organization called ‘Pipedown’ that campaigns in Britain and internationally against piped music in public places – which I have some sympathy for.
    http://www.pipedown.info/

  • Stephen Willmer

    The government needs to license things, for the sake of the people. Imagine where we’d be otherwise.

  • Stephen Willmer

    The government needs to license things, for the sake of the people. Imagine where we’d be otherwise.

  • Laird, I’m not without sympathy for the aims of the Noise Abatement Society. People’s lives can be made a misery by excessive noise, particularly at night. As I’m sure you know, many libertarians have tried to work out ways to deal with “public bads” such as pollution and noise by contract and negotiation without the use of state power. How badly state power does deal with the noise issue was shown by this late and unlamented law; a pub needed to do something to host a pianist playing even the gentlest of jazz or classical music but in order to have amplified recorded music blasting out all it had to do was not exceed the very high level of loudness that brings the cops or the council round.

  • I am not against punitive measures, necessarily. If someone makes noise that annoys the neighbours, they can be asked to stop it, and fined etc. If someone has a history of causing a nuisance through performing or playing music loudly, an order to stop them performing or playing music may then be reasonable. But (say) banning all performance of music because it *might* cause a nuisance is going too far. Let’s see if it does.

  • CaptDMO

    By “license” I imagine the word fee comes up.
    I also imagine the “license” is revocable, without refund, for any number of absolutely non-sequtur “offenses”.

    Those moats don’t maintain themselves you know.

    It’s never been illegal in the US,…

    All SORTS of State/City laws demanding “caberet” licences for a variety of “noise complaints” that seem to magically dissappear when (ie)the police department suddenly gets “work clothes, and dry cleaning” added to the list of “paid for”. Strangely, certain narrowll crafted “occupancy” laws that seem to dissolve when the fire department gets a shiny new…
    retirement pension package.

    …but every venue, no matter how small, has BMI and ASCAP constantly breathing down their necks to extract a license fee for every song ever played.

    See, now, if they only played music exclusively from The Grateful Dead, or Gregorian Chant catalogs, they’d
    only be left with pay off of “certain” organized municipal organisation “inspectors”.

  • RAB

    Academic innit? The smoking ban is still firmly in place and Boozers are still closing in droves.

  • Chuckles

    The wine and the women, not so much.

  • Paul Marks

    This post is good news.

  • Dale Amon

    As one who spent some time working in the medium levels of the music business heirarchy (ie playing and knocking about Ireland with friends who were much desired at festivals all over the world), I can say whole heartedly that BMI and ASCAP are a scam to suck money out of the venues where artists get a start and pump it into the pockets of a small number of writers who own the top 40 market… read that as pumping it into the pockets of a few record industry executives in the ‘Majors’.

    They do not even record, nor do they pay out, to the majority of the writers who are members. This is very unlike IMRO (Ireland) and PRS (UK) who do a really good job at getting something to the guys in the tiers below the Sony Record Contract (Hit Song Division)