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JoeJoe
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The city of North Myrtle Beach is shaking me down ... they sent me a letter claiming I need a business license to street perform at Barefoot Landing.

Barefoot Landing is a private pitch, I am paid as an indepentant contractor. I collect tips, but everything is "free" - free balloons, free magic shows ... I go out of my way to tell people they do not need to tip me, it is free and I have hours and hours of video tape of me telling people they don't need to pay.

I have a business license in Horry County, but that is outside the city limits ... it is my position that I booked the gig with Barefoot Landing from my magic shop at the NMB Flea Market where I hold both a business license and a sales tax license. Thus, I do not need a city business license since I am not conducting "business" within the city limits.

Do I have a legal leg to stand on? Can anyone recommend case study for me to look into? Suggestions? Recomendations?

Thanks,
JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Bill Palmer
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You might want to use a "straw man" to call the city as an independent entertainer. Have someone who is a guitar player call and ask if he needs a business license to play the guitar and sing at a party within the city limits. Dollars to doughnuts, he won't. Or have someone call and ask if they need a business license to juggle or do a magic show at a kid's birthday party in the city limits.

Make sure that the person who calls the authorities gets the name of the person they talk to. Then you will have the legal ammo you need to get some badly needed attention to the problem.
"The Swatter"

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RiffRaff
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Here's what you want:
http://communityartsadvocates.org/bairdteacherguide.html

This is the second time I've referenced CAA in one week, however, I am not affiliated with them in any way.
JoeJoe
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Thank you for the link RiffRaff, I've posted it a few times myself. Smile



As of right now, I believe I will pay for the business license and then issue a letter of protest to the City Council expressing my opinions and legal rights ... along with a nice press release that includes pictures of me performing at Barefoot Landing.

Officialy, I have 10 days from the date I pay the fee to "appeal" to the council, but I am not yet sure if I am going to actually "appeal" or just "protest".

Bill: it is actually interesting that I was told in 2005 by the business license office that I would not need a business license to perform at a store within Barefoot Landing as the store had a business license. Which makes me wonder why Barefoot Landing wouldn't have a business license?

The actual ordinance states that anyone that insurers for risk within the city is in need of a license, which I dispute because anyone can sue anyone for any reason - you don't need to be in business to get sued. Anyone know how many "amateur" magicians acquire insurance through SAM/IBM/OTHER??

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Bill Palmer
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That whole thing sounds like a put up job. Someone has it in for you.

BTW, regarding the IBM/SAM/OTHER insurance policies, watch out for them. The SAM policy's coverage is for the whole insured group. Once the ceiling has been reached, there is nothing else in the kitty. The IBM policy is better.

I recently got a bid from a company that has taken full advantage of the IBM directory. Their policy is awful. The initials of the company are KK.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2007-06-11 01:39, Bill Palmer wrote:
That whole thing sounds like a put up job. Someone has it in for you.



My girlfriend and I both totally agree ... it sounds like all the performers at Barefoot Landing have been targeted, not just me ... so it could be just about anyone with a chip on their shoulder.

I saw the business license inspector today and tried to explain my position on deaf ears. They said that because I receive a 1099 from Barefoot Landing, it is considered doing business. I went ahead and paid the $50 to prevent getting arrested, despite the fact that in Bery vs. New York the courts ruled "it is well settled that a speaker's rights are not lost merely because compensation is received".

So I am now drafting a letter appealing to the City Council explaining why my performances are exempt from needing the same license that merchants and vendors are required to have. It is about time someone lay down the law in this *** backwards town. Wish me luck.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Bill Palmer
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You certainly have the most sincere wishes of luck from me.

It's not surprising. I think the city council has gotten a few things confused, though. Florida is supposed to be full of alligators. This situation is a croc.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
SeaDawg
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This thread sure sounds like someone is getting reamed....

Just one more thing to throw on the governement bureaucratic dung heap...

Good luck Joe Joe.....
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
JoeJoe
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From my blog: Sacrifice art for profit?

My mind is being sidetracked by a request (translation: demand) by the City that I get a business license. I don't know what these local yocals think, but the Supreme Court has ruled that street performers do not need the same licenses and permits that vendors and merchants are required to have ... so I'm gearing up to fight the City over this.

Some history for people that don't know me: I started out as a street magician, when I first moved to Myrtle Beach I was excited to be in a beach resort where I could perform. Only, the City Attorney claimed I would be arrested on the spot if "any money exchanged hands". While disappointed, I was not deterred ... I could still be a magician and began a career in show business.

I did pretty good, resident magician at 2001 Nightlife, MC at Coconut's Comedy Club, along with all the other places I performed around the beach. But something happened ... the deeper I sank into the "business", the less "show" there was. At some point, I just quit. Stopped. I didn't have the passion, I didn't feel the love, I no longer enjoyed what I was doing.

A few years down time, and it started to come back to me ... I realized why I wasn't happy. I decided to come back to magic, but this time I was going to do it my way ... and not the way the City Attorney wanted. I asked Barefoot Landing if I could street perform on their property for tips, and they granted me permission. I was happy again.

In my years at Barefoot Landing, I have been able to focus on the "magic" and not on the business ... and in that time, I have accomplish a lot. I have created several illusions of my own (Disappearing JoeJoe, the Sword and Rope, Solo Slice), not to mention I have now graduated into larger scale illusions like Snowstorm and the Floating Street Lamp. I hope to make a building levitate by the end of the year, and begin testing designs that will allow me to make a tree vanish before a live audience!

That is art ... there is no "business" in what I do. I could not do these things if I was worried about profits. This time around, I am not going to let the City take my art away from me. I do not "sell" anything, I do not "charge" for anything. I am not legally required to have a business license. And I am going to defend my rights. I refuse to let the City of North Myrtle Beach take my art away from me - I simply cannot sacrifice my art for profit, it means too much to me.

To be continued....

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Father Photius
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Good Luck, JoeJoe. But my experience is anytime government thinks they can collect even a penny in tax money they will harass you til they get it. Whole reason for business licenses is really to identify businesses for tax roles. I know in Texas cities come in every year and tax all the goods you have for sale as well as all fixtures you use in ur business. So if you were in a Texas city they would want to affix an annual tax to ur props. Don't know SC law, but I sure hope you win this one. You would think the City Attny. would have bigger fish to fry.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
supercool
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Hmm, I to have a legal question. in chicago I had to buy a street performer perment to work and then last summer they said there was a new city ordinance that prevented performers from performing north of Superior Ave on the Michigan Ave (where all the money is). is this legal?
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JoeJoe
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Supercool: it can be ... a street performer permit is differnt than a business license; a business license is for the "privledge of doing business", and the zoning board can determine if you are allowed to conduct your business at the specific location. The City does not have the right to tell me I can't perform.

A street performer permit is used to restrict the time, place, and manner of your performance to protect the welfare of it's citizens. If they can claim there is some sort of safety concern with performers north of Superior Ave then it could be legal. The city cannot prevent you from performing period, but they can restrict what times you perform and in what places you perform.

But I'm not a lawyer nor am I an expert ... where is Chance on all this?? He is the biggest advocate of public busking I know of.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
supercool
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Thnx for the info joe joe, the safty issue was that I would get a big crowd of people and block up the side walk, that's what I get for doing my job right. PS- when I was younger I use to go to myrtle beach all the time but I moved away for awile and now I'm back in NC so next time I'm down there id like to come and check out your show.
peace Don
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jay leslie
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I had a customer call to complain that a city he was working at wanted 200 for a business lisense. He was at a restuarant once a week but he lives 60 miles away.

If we have to get a lisense for every city we go to it would put us out of business. I believe that every company that adverises is "doing business".

If I ever get the call I will makt the department go through every phone book, every telivision and radio commercial, and demand that every internet business as well pays their tax.

Some magicians are also attournys and this could become a class action law suit that would make citys pay us back... if they keep it up. Make friends with an attourny. I always ask clients what they do for a living.
supercool
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I love America but I hate the government
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JoeJoe
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Today I put on my top hat, waltzed into the City Clerk's office and presented my appeal. I don't think she took me very seriously at first, but after she read through the first few paragraphs of my four page appeal she became very nice and told me she would take care of it.

Apparently, she will give a copy to the City Attorney and he will present it to the Council at tonight's meeting, which was about five hours ago. She told me these types of issues normally get sent to executive session. So all I can do now is wait and hope.

At least, that's all I can do on the "official" front ... unofficially I have begun wearing my the business license in my hat band while performing, and plan to do a rip-and-restore routine with it. Barefoot Landing has offered to reimburse me for the license, but I told them that would not be necessary as I do intend to fight this. After all, it is not about the money ... it is about the principle of the matter.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Wayne Whiting
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Thanks for update JoeJoe. Keep us informed. I am facing a similar issue in my town where they say magicians cannot perform if they have a "table" because it is "too permanent of a structure." If you have a table you have to be in a designated spot, and pay a $400 annual fee. Musicians can put up amplifiers, speakers, microphone and sit on a stool, but we can't have a table. Go figure. I wasn't approached on my first outing, but I expect it eventually.

Wayne
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Chance
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JoeJoe has pm'd me and asked me to get involved in this topic.

The trouble as I see it, is that Joe bothered to get "legal" in the first place. Busking requires NO permits. None. It's covered by the 1st Amendment. I mean, can you believe the uproar if your local city council decided you needed a permit to be a Baptist? Legally speaking, it's the same thing.

If a city does not offer a proper, constitutional buskers permit, then none is required. Simple as that.

If one IS offered, and it is constitutional both in content and intent, then by all means buy one.

But there are many ways a so-called legal permit can become illegal. Many. And funny, but it always seems that those kinds of permits always, somehow, seem to benefit the local merchants much more than they do the buskers they are supposedly suppose to serve and protect. Funny how that always seems to be the case, but I digress.

JoeJoe, imho, go back to City Hall and give back all your current illegal permits. Then dare them to arrest you, or even fine you, for not having them. I'd be willing to take odds that you will never hear from them again.

But the way I would do it, is to draft a letter -- a good one, a strong one, with all the proper key and code words like Civil Rights, Freedom of Speech, ect., citing as many example cases as you can find at Stephen Bairds website -- then send it certified registered mail to the Mayor, the City Attorney, the City Manager, and finally the local newspaper.

They have been served, and then some.

Guys, we buskers have far more collective power than we realize. I just wish another 100 guys out there knew as much about it, and cared about it, as I do. We could really make a difference!
JoeJoe
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Chance ... being as how I was served notice to obtain the license the same day I was scheduled to actually perform I really didn't have time to react. The penalty is $500 fine and 30 days in jail, and I felt it would be best to fight this from outside the prison system.

I have submitted a four page appeal to the City Council, and have now issued a press release. Should the Council fail to refund me, I will consider filing a suit against them in small claims court - I done checked into it, and here you can sue the City for up to $100 in small claims court which would cover both the fee for the license and court costs.

If anybody is interested in reading my press release and appeal point your browser to:

http://joejoeonline.com/magicians_rights_disappear.htm



-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
SeaDawg
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JOeJoe,
The more I read of your case, the more disgusted I become....

Performing Live Interactive Street theater shouldn't be a prohibitive undertaking... especially when you have the blessing of the organization whose property you are performing on....
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
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