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Hi Simon

 

You don't think it has anything to do with this do you?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotlan...ral/8317952.stm

 

My son opened a coffee shop/cafe in the early part of the summer and they weren't opened a week and the US version showed up and told him about the licensing fees etc. My son threw them out of his shop and threatened them back with an extortion and racketeering charge which is criminal in the US. (Note: Language has been extremely sanitized since this is a polite public forum) Then he told them he doesn't have a radio in the building, but they were perplexed when they realized the music was streamed over the internet. Also anyone can come in and play their own music, and since they (the musicians) aren't contracted to any rights group, they didn't know what to do. So they left and haven't been back since. Hopefully they won't come back. :angry:

 

Hopefully all works out OK. Do you think it's also a contributing factor in pubs shutting down over there?

 

Thanks

Leo <_<

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Hi Simon

 

You don't think it has anything to do with this do you?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotlan...ral/8317952.stm

 

My son opened a coffee shop/cafe in the early part of the summer and they weren't opened a week and the US version showed up and told him about the licensing fees etc. My son threw them out of his shop and threatened them back with an extortion and racketeering charge which is criminal in the US. (Note: Language has been extremely sanitized since this is a polite public forum) Then he told them he doesn't have a radio in the building, but they were perplexed when they realized the music was streamed over the internet. Also anyone can come in and play their own music, and since they (the musicians) aren't contracted to any rights group, they didn't know what to do. So they left and haven't been back since. Hopefully they won't come back. :angry:

 

Hopefully all works out OK. Do you think it's also a contributing factor in pubs shutting down over there?

 

Thanks

Leo <_<

 

Your son earns my applause Leo.

 

Ian

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Do you think it's also a contributing factor in pubs shutting down over there?

Anything which makes playing live music easier, must be good news. However, it will not solve the problem of some pub landlords having a preference for recorded music, rather than risk musicians driving out the few regular customers that he/she does have.

 

The main reason for pubs shutting down is lack of custom. In the region of £3.00 for a pint is expensive, and I can understand why heavy drinkers would rather pay half that price for tins/bottles from the supermarket, and drink at home.

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Your son earns my applause Leo.

 

Ian

Thanks Ian. I'll pass it along. Now if I could only convince them of a "better" :rolleyes: genre of music I'd be happy, so I don't have to wear earplugs. :lol: :blink:

 

Thanks Peter; I forgot about recordings, and cost, and you're right. It's good news. Send some common sense over here.

 

Leo

Edited by Leo
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That's good news.

We kept a music pub and it meant we always broke the law!

 

As to pubs closing ( 52 per week estimated in UK) it seems to be excessive rents by pub companies, tied beer prices, the recent property boom that turned a lot of pubs into flats etc, fashion amongst youngsters ( beer is old fashioned), cost e.g. £3 per pint!, antismoking, cheap beer at home and home entertainment, risk in streets, breath tests, parking problems, lack of late night public transport and a change in fashions and perception. It is hard to find a pub that welcomes sessions, unless it is one that is a bit desperate for cheap entertainers hence the rash of open mic and acoustic nights.

 

Not all pubs have a nice little back room anymore since they get knocked through.

 

We are lucky to have a few good old boozers in Sheffield and quite a lively younger set of players that make for good sessions but not many.

Quite a few people like to drive out to rural pubs but that means a lot of individual cars and limits some people who like a drink or don't want to travel too far.

 

Isn't it ironic that the heart of all the communities on most soap operas on TV seem to centre on the pub?

 

Edited to add a few more things that occurred to Linda and me last night.

 

 

I think the best pubs for sessions etc are free houses with a clientele that like real ale and good crack, old fashioned pubs and are a bit out of the way.

 

What are your ideals for a session pub?

Edited by michael sam wild
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Back in the early eighties ASCAP, a recording company out of Lost Angels sent reps around to small time neighborhood bars; when The Local Yokels played an ASCAP song, they'd sandbag the band at break time and try to hustle money for "copyright infringement." When they started asking for cash on the spot (at least in the smalltown in which we lived),folks finally got fed up and sent them down the road.

No legal action , although threatened, was ever taken.

 

To misquote Stewart Brand, "Music wants to be free". Or at least the same price as a pint. ;)

RB

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Leo, I think the licensing you are referring to is the copyright licence, which in the UK is administered by the Performing Rights Society. A fee must be paid for permission for copyright music to be performed in public - in practice this means that any venue where live or recorded music is played must get a licence from the PRS.

 

The article refers to a statutory licence under the Licensing Act 2003. To quote the article, "Under the act every venue that puts on live music, from large concert halls to restaurants employing a pianist, must go through a licensing process many regard as expensive and over-complicated." This is intended to cover things like health and safety, noise and public order, although these were arguably already covered by other legislation. Bizarrely, a licence is not needed to screen football matches in public, despite the greater threat to public order.

 

In particular, it was believed to be damaging to small informal music sessions, since these don't have much commercial value to the venue who would have to pay for the licence. An official enquiry had recommended that the licensing requirements should be relaxed for smaller venues, and after ignoring this for some time it appears that the Government may now have had a change of heart. Let's hope so.

 

However the requirement to get copyright permission via the PRS is something quite separate and will remain.

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Leo, I think the licensing you are referring to is the copyright licence, which in the UK is administered by the Performing Rights Society. A fee must be paid for permission for copyright music to be performed in public - in practice this means that any venue where live or recorded music is played must get a licence from the PRS.

 

The article refers to a statutory licence under the Licensing Act 2003. To quote the article, "Under the act every venue that puts on live music, from large concert halls to restaurants employing a pianist, must go through a licensing process many regard as expensive and over-complicated." This is intended to cover things like health and safety, noise and public order, although these were arguably already covered by other legislation. Bizarrely, a licence is not needed to screen football matches in public, despite the greater threat to public order.

 

In particular, it was believed to be damaging to small informal music sessions, since these don't have much commercial value to the venue who would have to pay for the licence. An official enquiry had recommended that the licensing requirements should be relaxed for smaller venues, and after ignoring this for some time it appears that the Government may now have had a change of heart. Let's hope so.

 

However the requirement to get copyright permission via the PRS is something quite separate and will remain.

Hi Howard

 

Yes that's why I mentioned the "US version". Stateside one of the largest is ASCAP. There are others like BMI. They are a corporation and have as much regualtory power that I as an individual have. None, zero, zip, nada. Their only ability is to engage in a contract which I choose to or not to engage in. They might not like it as their negotiation techniques are now no different than the gangsters from the 1920's in the US walking into a small business and telling them that unless they pay, their store will be trashed. It's called a protection racket; illegal under the RICO Act. (Racketeering and Corruption Act). Now the threat is "We'll take you to court unless you pay us". Now they would like it treated as a civil matter, but the technique is the same. So the answer to them is still: "original music, public domain, get out of here and don't bother us". So there is no fees, and they don't collect, and they are expensive. You don't want to treat the real gangsters that way. They take an entirely different technique.

 

Another group that wants their fees from the kids playing, is the "American Federation of Musicians". A musicians union. Sheesh some of this kids are still in high school under their parent's jurisdiction and protection for another few years.

 

Some additional information:

Types of Copyright

http://www.bmi.com/licensing/entry/533606

 

Music licensing companies come calling for royalties

http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/related/58121

 

Unfortunately, in the States the organizations main goals now are to make money by any means possible, and the composers, authors, publishers, and musicians only get a token pittance. I've talked to a few on both sides. Remember, the composers signed a contract too.

 

Just so you understand; I'm not against any group that will help the people they represent. What I am violently opposed to is their change of attitude from representation to leader and enforcer, advertising things they are not. I was a union negotiator for a while in another industry, and after my tenure, saw the devastation that that change bought.

 

Thanks

Leo

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I am no expert in copyright law, but I believe the PRS has some status under the Copyright Act. However I believe breach of copyright is a civil remedy. Because it would be impractical for every performer to negotiate individually with every composer, composers assign their rights to an organisation (in the UK, the PRS) and the PRS collects fees from venues where music is performed, and distributes the fees to the composers. I don't have a problem with this in principle, although the way it applies in practice is another matter.

 

The licensing referred to by the OP is a quite separate issue. I can see there are good reasons, for public safety, child protection, public order etc why premises which sell alcohol and/or put on entertainment need to be regulated. However a regime which is appropriate for a big commercially-run concert is not necessarily appropriate for a few people singing songs to each other in a corner of a pub. The Government during its consultations appeared to be unable to even grasp the idea that music might take place in public which was not part of the "music industry".

 

Most folk clubs and informal sessions here take place in pubs. These will need a licence anyway to serve alcohol, but unless they had also applied at the same time to put on music then they would need to submit a fresh application. As well as the cost of the licence itself, there is the time and cost of preparing the application and complying with any requirements imposed. In most cases these costs would outweigh any financial benefit the pub might gain from hosting the club or session.

 

If small-scale performances are now to be excluded this can only be a good thing.

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The Government during its consultations appeared to be unable to even grasp the idea that music might take place in public which was not part of the "music industry".

 

Not only that but the police and local authorities seemed convinced that a few people playing for their own pleasure in the corner of a bar or a pianist and a singer entertaining customers in a restaurant was bound to lead to riots and must be clamped down on. As a consequence, they have lobbied hard to prevent any relaxation in the licensing regime.

 

If small-scale performances are now to be excluded this can only be a good thing.

 

Agreed, though I understand the proposal put to the govt. was for venues up to a capacity of 200 people to be excluded but they are proposing the relaxation only for venues of up to 100 capacity.

 

That's par for the course, but at least, if it happens it is better than nothing.

 

Geoff

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the police and local authorities seemed convinced that a few people playing for their own pleasure in the corner of a bar or a pianist and a singer entertaining customers in a restaurant was bound to lead to riots and must be clamped down on. As a consequence, they have lobbied hard to prevent any relaxation in the licensing regime.

Of course the police think that live music leads to trouble, because those are the events which they are called to. They remain completely oblivious to the vast majority of events which cause no trouble and which require no police presence.

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It is hard to find a pub that welcomes sessions, unless it is one that is a bit desperate for cheap entertainers hence the rash of open mic and acoustic nights.

My experience is otherwise. We got through 5 pubs last year for our session. The problem wasn't finding pubs where we could play but finding pubs that didn't belong to chains that went bankrupt as soon as we moved into them! We also had unofficial approaches from other landlords who would have liked us to come to their pubs (depite the obvious risk of bankrupcy as soon as we arrived ...). I believe the current harsh trading conditions mean that many more landlords than before welcome the idea of a dozen musician turning up every fortnight and consuming lots of beer, oh, and playing some decent music while they're at it. If this proposal widens the number of pubs where landlords can have live music, then I think they'll be wanting it. Jolly good, say I!

 

Chris

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It is hard to find a pub that welcomes sessions, unless it is one that is a bit desperate for cheap entertainers hence the rash of open mic and acoustic nights.

My experience is otherwise. We got through 5 pubs last year for our session. The problem wasn't finding pubs where we could play but finding pubs that didn't belong to chains that went bankrupt as soon as we moved into them! We also had unofficial approaches from other landlords who would have liked us to come to their pubs (depite the obvious risk of bankrupcy as soon as we arrived ...). I believe the current harsh trading conditions mean that many more landlords than before welcome the idea of a dozen musician turning up every fortnight and consuming lots of beer, oh, and playing some decent music while they're at it. If this proposal widens the number of pubs where landlords can have live music, then I think they'll be wanting it. Jolly good, say I!

 

Chris

 

Five bankrupt pubs??? You must have amateur uilleann pipers in your group.

 

Here in Utah we have to play our sessions in an art gallery and a music store, which is a bit sterile compared to a pub, since it lacks both interaction with the crowd and access to beer. But if you go to a "pub" in this state, you'd better carry your concertina and a gun . . . especially if you have an amateur uilleann piper. :lol:

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