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Performances: legal licensing requirements (FS120162)

(Published March 2016 replacing version February 2015)

1. Performance Licenses for Under 16 year olds

Normally, under

any child under compulsory school age (16 years) taking part in a performance must have a licence issued by the relevant Local Authority.

The Scout Association, through a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA), has been granted an exemption in England from having to acquire such licences provided the general law applicable to children's performance is followed. (Similar arrangements are being sought in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but for now, shows should apply to the relevant local authority for a BOPA).

The general law includes the following important aspects:

(a) Chaperones

When a child, taking part in a performance, is not in the charge of their parent or teacher, a Chaperone will be required at all times. Chaperones act in 'loco parentis' and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child.

Appointed Leaders or any other adults (male or female) who have undertaken a Scouting Disclosure Check may act as a Chaperone. Scouting ratios of adults to young people must be adhered to. Satisfactory arrangements must also be made for a child to be accompanied to and from the performance.

(b) Presence at venue and performance / rehearsal hours

England

Maximum number of hours duration of rehearsal/performance in one day:

Minimum interval between rehearsals/performance

Maximum no. of hours a child can be at the place of rehearsal or performance:

Earliest permitted arrival and latest permitted departure times at performance venue

A child may perform/rehearse on no more than 6 consecutive days

If the child is performing/rehearsing on consecutive days, there must be a break of at least 12 hours between leaving the theatre and returning the next day.

Scotland

Maximum number of hours duration of rehearsing/performing in one day:

Minimum interval between rehearsals/performances

Maximum no. of hours a child can be at the place of rehearsal or performance:

Earliest permitted arrival and latest permitted departure times at performance venue

A child may perform/rehearse on no more than 6 consecutive days

If the child is performing/rehearsing on consecutive days, there must be a break of ideally 14 but at least 12 hours between leaving the theatre and returning the next day.

Wales

Maximum number of hours duration of rehearsing/performing in one day:

Minimum interval between rehearsals/performances

Maximum no. of hours a child can be at the place of rehearsal or performance:

Earliest permitted arrival and latest permitted departure times at performance venue

A child may perform/rehearse on no more than 6 consecutive days

If the child is performing/rehearsing on consecutive days, there must be a break of at least 12 hours between leaving the theatre and returning the next day.

Northern Ireland

Maximum length of performance a child can appear in?

Maximum total hours of child on stage performing in one performance

Minimum interval between rehearsals/performances?

Earliest permitted arrival and latest permitted departure times at performance venue

A child may perform/rehearse on no more than 6 consecutive days

If the child is working on consecutive days, there must be a break of at least 14 hours between leaving the theatre and returning the next day.

2. Public Entertainment Licenses

A licence from the local authority is needed to hold any indoor or outdoor public entertainments whether on public or private land. A public entertainment includes any performance incorporating music, dancing, singing etc., to which the general public may be admitted whether by paying or free of charge. If members of the general public are to be invited to, for example, a Gang Show or any public event (such as discos, swimming, sports, etc.) then a Public Entertainment Licence will be required.

Most public theatres and halls should already hold Public Entertainment Licences but it is essential for staged performance organisers to check this with the managers of such places directly.

Where music or singing is performed in a place of public worship or as part of a religious service, no Public Entertainment Licence is required.

3. Copyright and Music Licensing

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts, films and typographical arrangement of published editions, rights to control the ways in which their material may be used.  Infringement of any right attributable to a Copyright Owner is capable of giving rise to both Civil Actions and Criminal Proceedings.

The way in which permissions from authors or copyright owners must be obtained depends on the types of material used.  In general, when using written materials such as plays, musical scores, lyrics, etc. or perhaps music and materials written specifically for the said performance will require obtaining permission directly from the author or copyright owner whereas the use of other copyrighted music (whether reproduced live or through a recording) will need to be dealt with through the Music Licensing scheme as overseen by the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

If in any doubt about what is required, PRS will let you know whether the music is within their remit or not when you submit a ‘Programme Return/Set List’. Further information on PRS and PPL is provided later below.

(a) Copyright materials – obtaining permissions directly from the authors, composers or copyright owners etc.

(i) Copying musical scores and scripts etc.
 Unless prior permission has been obtained from the copyright owner, it is illegal to reproduce manuscripts, scores, songsheets, lyrics etc. in visual form (e.g. photocopying or reproducing the words of songs in programmes).

There are some exceptions, and these together with problems of 'Non-supply' or 'Out of Print' after ordering from a recognised dealer are dealt with in a small booklet entitled 'Copying Music, A Code of Practice Between Composers, Publishers and Users', which can be obtained from the Music Publishers Association (MPA), 18/20 York Building, London WC2N 6JU (Tel: 0207 839 7779)

•  (Ralph Reader Material)
Non-musical sketches written by the late Ralph Reader, CBE, for Gang Shows, may be performed without the need of obtaining any prior permission.  However, we advise that words of songs by the late Ralph Reader should not be reproduced in Programmes.

• (The Scout Association Material)
Permission to use material which has been authored by The Scout Association in Shows can be assumed to have been given.

(ii) Moral rights
Even when an author or composer has given permission for their work to be used, they always retain 'moral rights' to their work which must be observed. These include:

• Alterations to Existing Material
The author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or the director of a copyright film has a moral right not to have their work subjected to unjustified modification. (Material authored by The Scout Association may be altered slightly e.g. changing place names and personalities to bring a local flavour or an alteration to update the material, e.g. 'Bob-a-Job' to read 'Scout Community Week' or 'Epping Forest' to read 'Sherwood Forest').

• Acknowledgements
Every copyright owner whether author of a literary or dramatic work, composer of a musical score or the director of a film, etc., all have the right to be identified when their work is published commercially, performed in public broadcast or otherwise made available. They have a right to object if their work (or part of their work) is falsely attributed to another person.

Therefore, once permission has been obtained to use a copyright item then the copyright owner should be acknowledged in the printed programme.

(iii) Mechanical Rights
These are the rights to produce physical items carrying the copyright works e.g. usually music. For example, if you have made an audio or video recording, etc. which includes a few seconds of copyright music, you need to obtain the mechanical rights to that music before you are able to distribute copies of that recording.

4. Music Licensing – PRS and PPL

When using recorded or live copyright music, it is necessary to ensure that the creator has given permission for use of their music so that they may receive the requisite 'Royalty'.  Having to obtain such permission from each copyright owner in respect of every piece of music used is a daunting task so the matter is administered through a music licensing scheme which helps both copyright owners and users to manage the task.

The scheme is overseen by Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) who between themselves represent the interests of different music copyright holders. These two organisations also operate a joint licence scheme where required (please note, if the premises are used only for the live performances of Copyright music, then you will need a PRS licence only).

Music licences are required where recorded or live copyright music is being played. Therefore, in either circumstance, in order to meet your legal obligations, you will need to ensure that the premises has the appropriate music license in place.  Failure to ensure that a licence is in place may constitute a breach of the law and be subject to prosecution.

Full information is available
here.                                                             

5. Summary

As can be seen, consideration as to programme content is of the utmost importance at the conceptual stage of the performance. The following checklist summarises:

  1. Are all those involved aware of the performance conditions applicable to children under compulsory school leaving age?
  2. Is there a Public Entertainment Licence in place covering the proposed venue?
  3. Is the music in the show controlled by the PRS or will it be necessary to seek the individual Copyright Owner's permission?
  4. Is there a PRS Music Licence in place for proposed venue? 
  5. Have Programme Returns (Set Lists) been sent to PRS in time?


 

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