The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Wednesday, 19 July 2006


The sound of silence - will it become law?

The IPKat has discovered that the Piped Music and Showing of Television Programmes Bill had its Third Reading in the House of Lords this week. For the benefit of his readers, he reproduces the Bill in full:
A Bill To Provide for the Secretary of State to draw up a plan to prohibit piped music and the showing of television programmes in the public areas of hospitals and on public transport; and to require the wearing of headphones by persons listening to music in the public areas of hospitals and on public transport.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Piped music and showing of television programmes plan

(1) The Secretary of State shall, within two years of the coming into force of this Act, draw up a plan setting out the measures he will take to—

(a) prohibit piped music and the showing of television programmes in the public areas of hospitals;

(b) prohibit piped music and the showing of television programmes on all public transport journeys less than fifty miles;

(c) require the wearing of headphones by persons listening to music in the public areas of hospitals;

(d) require the wearing of headphones by persons listening to music on all public transport journeys over fifty miles, in the United Kingdom.

(2) In preparing the plan the Secretary of State shall consult—

(a) such organisations as appear to him to represent—

(i) local authorities;

(ii) the interests of business;

(iii) the interests of users of, and workers in, hospitals;

(iv) the interests of users of, and workers on, public transport; and

(b) such other persons as he thinks fit.

(3) The Secretary of State shall—

(a) as soon as is practicable after completion of the plan, lay the plan before each House of Parliament; and

(b) consider any matters arising from any debate that takes place in either House of Parliament on the plan.

2 Exceptions

The plan under section 1 shall provide exceptions for—

(a) television programmes shown for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of users of hospitals or travellers on public transport;

(b) such other showings of television programmes in the public areas of hospitals and on public transport as the Secretary of State considers to be in the public interest.

3 Interpretation

In this Act—
“piped music” means pre-recorded background music played through
“public areas of hospitals” means the areas of hospitals to which the public or a section of the public have access, but does not include in-patient wards;
“public transport” means every type of vehicle open to the public, including aircraft flying between airports both of which are situated in the United Kingdom.

4 Citation and extent

(1) This Act may be cited as the Piped Music and Showing of Television Programmes Act 2006.

(2) This Act extends to Northern Ireland.
The IPKat, who notices that 'music' is undefined, also wonders whether this is yet another attempt to limit opportunities for hard-working collecting societies to secure royalty income for composers, performers and recording companies - or to deprive London drunks of the simple pleasure of being able to pop into the outpatients department to watch Match of the Day after an evening's recreational drinking. Merpel thinks it's a good idea, though. It means that those responsible can start piping poetry instead - starting with the Pied Piper ...

Piped music hate sites here (for bravehearts only) and here
Make and play your own panpipes here
The sound of silence here and here


Ilanah said...

I'm so glad that there's sufficient Parliamentary time for this, but not to pass primary legislation properly sorting out the moral rights of both authors and performers.

I note also that 'television programs' are left undefined. A number of London buses now have plasma screens on which adverts are shown. Do such adverts count as programs?

Chris McLeod said...

Also, it seems that any journeys on public transport which are over 50 miles will be exempt. Is the logic that being on public transport for a journey of 50 miles or over requires television or piped music or a combination of both?

Anonymous said...

And I didn't realise it was the first of April today.

Whoever dreamed up this wonderful piece of legislation might be asked the following questions:

(1) How many flights are less than 50 miles? Probably none, other than helicopter flights.

(2) So, if I am making a phone call on a bus (travelling more than 50 miles) and I am put on hold with a music jingle, do I have to put on headphones or break the law? Similarly, what if the bus passes a rather loud busker in the street - instant donning of headphones?

(3)Why no requirement to wear headphones for journeys of less than 50 miles?

Will the SoS's plan be an empty piece of paper?

Chris McLeod said...

What about a mobile walk-on hospital when the journey is under or over 50 miles? And where does it say the headphones have to be used to listen to the music? As long as one is wearing the headphones, it appears that one has a defence to playing the music....
Also, given that piped music is one of the subjects, wouldn't Pan-European legislation be more appropriate?

Ilanah said...

While we're being pedantic:

i. the act only covers background music. Does that mean that if the music is played really loudly in a way that blocks out all other noise, it won't be covered?
ii. the only obligation on the SoS is to draw up a plan and then to listen to the ensuant debate.

Seriously, now that mobile phones also contain MP3 players, there are some people who think it is acceptable to play the music contained therein at full volume. However, I've only ever heard this on London buses, which don't travel more than 50miles and so won't be covered.

Anonymous said...

Don't even bother with the detail, this this has to be barmy. The SoS is obliged by this Bill to "create a plan" to prohibit 'x','y' and 'z'.

So what happens when those the SoS is obliged to consult with, quite say that he/she has completely lost their marbles!

Anonymous said...

i have to say i play my music on london buses and am convinced that i bring happiness and joy to my fellow passengers.

as does the thought of reading your blog as I come home on the bus...

the ip tomcat ;-)

Subscribe to the IPKat's posts by email here

Just pop your email address into the box and click 'Subscribe':