Not British, not welcome

Two actors perform on stage, smiling taking a selfie
11 Jan 2022

While we were distracted by news of politicians partying during lockdown, last month a Bill was passed that changes rights to UK citizenship. Amanda Parker examines how it threatens all our creative lives.

Music festivals pledge to tackle sexual violence

16 May 2022

More than 100 UK music festivals have made a pledge to tackle sexual violence by creating a safe environment for audiences, performers, and staff.

Parklife, Latitude and Boardmasters are among the festivals to sign an updated charter, initially launched by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in 2017.

In total, 103 festivals have signed up to the Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign, which states that all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated. 

This is supplemented by a commitment to clear, robust reporting and disclosure procedures, including how to report incidents onsite and post event. 

Charities such as Rape Crisis England and Wales, Good Night Out and Safe Gigs for Women will provide festivals with input and guidance in shaping their policies, procedures and training.

AIF Membership & Operations Coordinator Phoebe Rodwell said: “The original Safer Spaces campaign has had a positive impact across festivals for music fans and festival staff alike. 

"Festivals are microcosms of society and sexual violence is a problem that persists in our society. Our understanding and approaches to tackling the issue are evolving all the time. 

"That’s why it’s important that we renew the Safer Spaces campaign in 2022 with up-to-date messaging, resources and practices, to prevent sexual violence and promote a survivor-led approach, helping festival organisers to fulfil their duty of care at events.”

 

MPs demand legislation to protect child performers

10 May 2022

DCMS Select Committee warns that regulatory gaps are leaving child performers at risk of exploitation.

Equity claims 'landmark' holiday-pay ruling

05 May 2022

Performers' union Equity has hailed a "landmark victory" after an employment tribunal ruled that 16 of its members had a legal right to receive holiday pay.

In an action brought through the union after the 2018 pantomime season, the tribunal ruled that the members had a legal right to receive holiday pay from QDos, now known as Crossroads Pantomimes, after it was sold to the entertainment production group Crossroads Live last year.

Crossroads Pantomimes now has to agree to provide claimants with holiday pay for the affected productions or face a remedies hearing which will enforce a settlement. 

Equity General Secretary Paul Fleming, said: “The consequences of the bravery of the Equity members in this case will send ripples through the industry. 

"Crossroads through their predecessor QDos have for many years avoided industry standards and used their powerful position to deprive our members of the pay and terms and conditions which they are due, including through tactics which the judge referred to as having a ‘potentially chilling effect’. 

"A company as big and powerful as Crossroads should be using Equity collective agreements like the overwhelming majority of major commercial producers."

Reforms may have ‘negligible’ impact on ticket fraud 

27 Apr 2022

Government reforms to prevent ticket sale scams may be insufficient to create lasting change if they are not enforced, an expert says.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is being granted new powers to enforce consumer legislation, including the ability to fine businesses 10% of their global turnover for breaking consumer protection laws.

The CMA is expected to use its new tools to combat touting and fraudulent ticket sales.

But Adam Webb, Campaign Manager at FanFair Alliance, told Access All Areas the government had failed to respond to specific recommendations submitted by the CMA eight months ago. 

Without legislation to tighten rules around secondary ticket sales, the reforms won’t guarantee lasting change, he said.

“Unless there’s a willingness to take enforcement action against rogue companies, the impact of these new powers is likely to be negligible”, he added.

National reporting centre Action Fraud estimates that ticket fraudsters duped 4,982 victims into spending £3.8m in the 2021-2022 financial year – an average loss of £750 per victim. 

Craig Mullish, Detective Chief Inspector for the City of London Police, said reports of ticket scams for festivals and sporting events rose when Covid restrictions lifted last summer and have grown further this year. 
 

Leadmill battle highlights leasehold woes

27 Apr 2022

An overwhelming lack of ownership among the UK’s independent music venues puts the future of the ecosystem at risk, advocates say. 

E-marketing in the time of GDPR

Alice - A Virtual Theme Park
27 Apr 2022

Charlie Morley unpicks how the legislation introduced to protect customer data has had unintended consequences for staying in touch with audiences.

Performers need protections from AI abuse

19 Apr 2022

Performers are increasingly losing their jobs, faces and voices to artificial intelligence, a new report claims. What can be done about it?

Court rejects Holocaust memorial

11 Apr 2022

The High Court has rejected long-disputed plans for a Holocaust memorial in Westminster.

The Department for Levelling Up, Houses and Communities said the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust's case against the development should be dismissed, but a judge sided with the group, which argued the proposed site must legally remain a public garden.

The project had been approved last year after the government overturned Westminster Council's refusal to grant planning permission.

Olivia Marks-Waldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “We are surprised by the high court decision and hope that this does not preclude or overshadow the burning need for the national memorial.”

IPO eyes 'social contract' around creators' rights

11 Apr 2022

A new research project and campaign aims to improve compliance with intellectual property rights.

IPO Chief Executive Tim Moss said the office will this year investigate "how society considers intellectual property" and hopefully build a new "social contract" that better protects creators' rights.

"We need to reassess the balance of return on investment and social return," Moss told attendees at a Westminster Media Forum on Friday (April 8).

Campaigns to prevent counterfeit and illegal downloads are planned.

Moss added: "It's a massive challenge but we really do need to change attitudes around IP."

London art deals 'fuelled by drugs', fraudster claims

06 Apr 2022

A London art dealer and gallery owner facing 20 years in prison has claimed the capital's trade is fuelled by drinking and drug taking.

Inigo Philbrick pleaded guilty to defrauding buyers of more than US$86m by selling artworks multiple times, or selling fractions of them that amounted to more than 100%.

In a New York court this week he said the culture of the London art scene contibuted to his crimes.

Philbrick, who ran a gallery in Mayfair, has provided officials with information about other alleged fraud in the art market, the Times reports.

 

Historic legal proceedings against art dealer

21 Mar 2022

Artists' representatives seeking transparency over unpaid resale royalties have commenced historic legal proceedings against multi-millionaire art dealer Ivor Braka.

The Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) and the Design and Artists' Copyright Society (DACS) say they began making requests to Braka for information in 2006, with Braka reportedly refusing to respond.

The case is the first of their kind brought under the Artist’s Resale Right Regulations in the UK.

The regulations entitle artists to a royalty payment of up to €12,500 on the secondary sale of their works by dealers and associated art market professionals.

“The Artist’s Resale Right, now more than ever, provides invaluable financial support to artists and their estates, so it is imperative that we shine a light on those who are cutting off this essential source of income,” ACS Managing Director Harriet Bridgeman said.

CMA provisionally clears Sony merger

14 Feb 2022

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared Sony’s takeover of record labels AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights.

The watchdog referred the acquisition to a formal investigation last September, raising concerns the merger could worsen deals for artists.

Its investigation concluded the deal does not substantially reduce competition in the UK and is not be expected to do so in the future.

Chair of the independent CMA Inquiry Group Margot Daly said a combination of other major labels and independent providers will continue to closely rival Sony.

The CMA is now asking for views on its provisional findings by March 4, with a statutory deadline for its final decision of March 17.

10 million creative jobs lost worldwide

08 Feb 2022

"What was already a precarious situation for many artists has become unsustainable," UNESCO boss says, mooting labour law changes to protect the sector.

PM calls time on all Covid restrictions

19 Jan 2022

England's Plan B measures "expire" next week, Johnson says. Is this finally a return to normal?

Arrests over attack on controversial sculpture

17 Jan 2022

Two men have been arrested for attacking a controversial sculpture by paedophile artist Eric Gill.

One spent hours bashing the artwork outside BBC Broadcasting House in central London with a hammer while the other filmed him. No charges have yet been brought, Metropolitan Police say.

Campaigners have called for the statue, which features a naked child, to be removed but the BBC reportedly plans to keep it.

The incident follows a not guilty verdict for the Colston Four, who argued toppling the infamous statue in Bristol was justified because its continued presence constituted a hate crime or act of abuse.

Ash Sarkar, a contributing editor for Novara Media, wrote on Twitter that Gill's statue "has less in common with Colston than it does the ongoing veneration of abusers in the art world".

Jailed arts worker returned to UK

17 Jan 2022

A British Council arts worker jailed in Iran on espionage charges has returned to the UK.

Aras Amiri has been acquitted of the charges, which she says were levelled because she was associated with the council and rejected an invitation to spy for Iran. 

Amiri was among a group of Iranian citizens with British connections arrested in 2018. She had lived in the UK for a decade before her incarceration.

In a statement last week, the British Council said it had always refuted the charges.

"We are very proud of her work in our London office as an arts programme officer supporting a greater understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK."

MPs vote down streaming bill

06 Dec 2021

A bill to reform musicians' rights to payment from streaming failed to progress in the House of Commons on Friday (3 December).

59 MPs voted against a second reading, with 28 voting in favour.

All 59 dissenting MPs were Conservatives despite 44 Tory MPs signing an open letter in October that asked Boris Johnson to “start paying musicians properly”.

Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman said the Government supports the DCMS Select Committee's recommendations and will work to ensure a "fair and vibrant digital creative inudstries and music sector".

Music Managers Forum Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick and Featured Artists Coalition CEO David Martin said even though the bill fell at the first hurdle, the trajectory towards eradicating "outdated industry practices" feels "unstoppable".

"The Government has delivered a very clear message to major labels, publishers and collecting societies: if you don't deliver change, then legislation cannot be ruled out."

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor said that although well-intentioned, the bill was not the right way forward for british music.

“We have listened to the arguments made across the debate and will engage positively and proactively with the process government has put in place to look for joint solutions to ensure the streaming market continues to grow and sustain the careers of many more artists.”

Music industry split on copyright bill

a phone streams music next to a pair of headphones
01 Dec 2021

Proposed legislation to increase streaming royalties for signed musicians has received pushback from labels claiming it misunderstands the industry.

Fraudulent ticket touts' appeal rejected

30 Nov 2021

Two touts who amassed millions reselling tickets have had appeals against their convictions dismissed.

BBZ Limited’s Peter Hunter and David Thomas Smith were jailed in February 2020 following the first successful prosecution of a company over fraudulent ticket resales. 

The pair will now serve their full sentences - four years and to-and-a-half years respectively. 

They used at least 97 different names, 88 postal addresses and more than 290 email addresses to evade ticketing platform restrictions for events including Ed Sheeran concerts and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child theatre performances.

Upon upholding the conviction, The Court of Appeal noted: "[The] ticketing market is one which appears to be characterised by a high degree of criminal fraud.”

National Trading Standards Director Wendy Martin called the ruling a “major milestone” in efforts to combat unscrupulous secondary ticket sales.

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