Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I Can See it Happening Here: A New Scottish Law Will Curtail Book Readings

Undated Map of ScotlandAn amendment to a Scottish law going into effect April 1st (no joke!) is going to severely handicap authors — and others — from providing free readings and other entertainment to the public.

The new law requires that any event to which the public is invited, now be licensed. The license may be purchased at a flat rate of £245 (Today’s Conversion Rate: $285 USD).

In the past, free events were not required to be licensed. Apparently, non-free events licenses could be licensed on a sliding rate.

Scottish politicians are trying to spin this as “people control” and “crime deterrent,” but it’s clearly a mechanism to increase cash in the government’s pocket.

I got my information via the blog SUBROSA. You can read the full story here. The blogger talks about how a writing group she’s associated with is going to be hurt by the new law.

I encourage you wander over to SUBROSA and read the comments. Folks bring up the fact that affected events now include such things as Easter Egg Hunts and Yard Sales (I gather it’s large charity sales, such as those for Scouts or other clubs which are included, not personal yard sales).

One author mentions that it will be cheaper to take a train out of Scottland to do a reading, then to pay the flat rate fee.

How much do you want to bet that Scotland sees a dearth of free public events rather than an uptick in the fees collected for such?

It’s scary legislation. SUBROSA calls it “insidious.” I agree.

Unfortunately, I envision it happening here soon.

7 comments to I Can See it Happening Here: A New Scottish Law Will Curtail Book Readings

  • I say don’t invite the public and act surprised when they read your Twitter stream, personal blog, Facebook post, Google+ mention, (or any other social media venue you might innocently mention it) and “crash” the event.

  • Hi Kelly,

    Ack! That’s awful! Nothing we can do to help the Scottish, unfortunately, except get the word out – and be on our guard against it here. $285 is an outrageous fee, especially for free events (that take place over a few hours, no less!). I was balking at the $200 yearly fee in my state to open an LLC – to pay more than that for a single event is madness. Insidious is a good word for it.

    Best,
    A. R.

    • Hi A.R.! Let’s definitely get the word out. According to some of the posts on the SUBROSA blog, it appears no one was interested in commenting on or talking about the proposal until it was a done deal. We can’t afford to let that happen here….

  • Wow, that’s extreme, though I do like Carl’s solution! I knew all this social media stuff had it’s uses! 🙂

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