The New Music Licensing Act

The Government have recently passed laws in the UK (applicable to England and Wales) to make charities and other not for profit organisations pay for a licence when they play recorded music in their own premises – such as for fundraising discos. Even school Christmas concerts need to be licensed. This new licensing system, which is due to come into force in April 2010, will cost the voluntary and community sector up-to £20 million. The main points to remember about the new legislation are: School performances open to friends and family are licensable – they count as public performances. The rationale is to prevent noise, crime and disorder, to ensure public safety, and the protection of children from harm. For the first time, private performances raising money for charity are licensable. The unlicensed provision of even one musician is a potential criminal offence (although some places are exempt, including places of public religious worship, royal palaces and moving vehicles) Broadcast entertainment, including sport and music, is exempt – no matter where, and no matter how powerfully amplified Maximum penalty: £20,000 fine and six months in prison. A Temporary Event Notice (in effect a temporary entertainment licence) is required but only 12 are allowed per premises per year. They will cost £21 each.