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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Philadelphia Changes Busking Law (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chance
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It's incredibly rewarding to finally see some serious discussions happening here!

Trekdad is of course 100% correct in everything he says, but there is one small thing I'd like to add: Any time a law is proposed that would limit a right such as Free Speech, it must be implimented in ONLY the MOST permissive manner possible. This is due to the fact that certain rights are considered inalienable. But even inalienable rights may sometimes be temporarily reorganized for special consideration, such as public health & safety. But even then, the temporary restriction may only be applied in the most permissive and least restrictive manner possible under the given circumstances of that moment.

Example: Busking used to be banned in subways systems all over America. Public safety was the excuse given most often. As in, the crowded nature of underground stations might one day lead to an innocent person getting pushed onto the tracks, all because of the congestion a busker might help cause.

But busking is a right. A very solid one in fact. Can a city just call out a few magic words (public safety) and ban busking outright as a result? Bill thinks they can; so did (do!) many city councils all over the country. But obviously the courts feel otherwise.

In fact the courts have ruled that in order for a city to try to use such a claim for altering Free Speech, they must actually conduct a comprehensive safety study and present the results to the court (Friedrich v. Chicago). In other words, they CAN NOT simply make the claim and restrict our rights based on assumptions, they must categorically prove it to be true IN ADVANCE, based on solid facts & figures.

I've said this many times: We stand on very solid ground as buskers. Our rights are incredibly valuable and strong, and much more permissive than 99% of us are aware. If we all stood up together we could, quite literally, change the face of this country.
JoeJoe
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I'm personally very much in favor of permit systems, mainly because they protect us from things like business owners wanting to chase us away and cops in a bad mood. But the key to making these permits work are "least restrictive manner possible". Very few permit system hold to that principle.

I don't buy into the "public safety" argument against busking either, mainly because a lot of buskers never draw a crowd. Like an old man playing blues on the guitar, or a strolling balloon artist ... having a crowd is not a prerequisite to being a busker; if your working for tips you are busking be it a flush or a trickle.

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solrak29
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I hate to get off topic but I am curious on the busking laws as far as performing above ground with no sound system in places like South Street and Penns Landing or places of that nature.
and I am also talking magic not music...not that it makes a difference.
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Pokie-Poke
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Penns landing is privit property. so don't bother. so. st is ... well So. St.
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Bill Palmer
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Can anyone on this forum specify in what US document the term "inalienable rights" is found?
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Chance
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You'll find it just before the word "busker".
Bill Palmer
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Very funny. Now answer the question.
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Chance
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Not everyone here can be baited quite so easily. If you have a point to make then make it and sit back and wait for responses. Besides which, I've already commented on some of your positions which you just ignored. Quid pro quo.
Bill Palmer
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First thing is this. You are evidently bandying a term about that you really don't understand. At least, from what you have written, you show a certain amount of ignorance of what the term means and/or actually is. I'm trying to get to what is considered the root of any debate, if this is a debate. That root is definition of terms.

If you think the term "inalienable right" is in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence, you are completely mistaken. You would then be guilty of misquoting one of the most important documents in the history of the US. That is the Declaration of Independence.

You are also apparently mistaken about why I am posting this. I'm not against busking. I'm not against busking on public property. Far from it. I'm trying to put some perspective into this rambling discussion.

The case that JoeJoe is quoting, was about a completely different aspect of free speech than the right to busk. It's a case of apples and boxcars.

I didn't respond to your comments, because I didn't feel that I needed to. I do agree with much of your position.

However, free speech is a modifiable right. You don't have the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre. It's a right that also carries responsibilities, as many others do.
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gman
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This is an interesting thread. It has some pretty good points to it Forgive me for asking this but, how is performing magic, music or anything else for that manner be considered free speech or fall under freedom of expression when we are in fact putting on a show and asking (or in some cases demanding) that folks pay us money for the performance?

If what we are doing is truly a business then should we not have to follow the same rules that apply to other businesses?
Chance
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It's not free as in cost-free. It's free as in completely free from governmental obstruction or intrusion. The 1st Amendment names Speech, Press and Religion directly, and since then the courts have taken it to include any for of artistic expression as well, and that includes busking.

As I was saying in another thread today, earning money while engaged in a 1st Amendment-protected activity doesn't dilute the protection of the 1st Amendment.

Posted: Jun 26, 2009 7:56pm
Bill, why do you think I think that? Have I said it? If I have then please copy the link here.

I know very well where the real quote is from, and I also know the artistic license I am taking with my words. I thought that would have been obvious when I used the busker reference earlier today.

How about we stop the bantering and just talk straight? Here's what I think: I think our busking rights, falling under the protections of the 1st Amendment as they do, are by the nature of that document, inalienable (even though that word is not found there.) Tell me what you think. And if you disagree, please take a moment to explain why.
marty.sasaki
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In the Boston subway system you need a permit and you can only perform in designated areas, although you can perform in areas that are not marked, or at least I've seem folks perform there.

The subway system is technically private property, and owners of private property have a right to control what happens on their property. As an example, you can't walk into a church and begin extolling the virtues of pornography, the church is private property so they can determine what is appropriate.
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The Great Zoobini
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Quote:
On 2009-06-26 20:40, marty.sasaki wrote:
In the Boston subway system you need a permit and you can only perform in designated areas, although you can perform in areas that are not marked, or at least I've seem folks perform there.


:lol:
Meet you in Busker Alley Smile
Yehoshua
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I, myself, have noticed local areas that have marked spots that allow for panhandlers, but those same cities outlaw buskers! I tried busking in Atlantic City recently. Didn't ask for permission, just did it. Got away with it on the open boardwalk...not out front of a casino or anything....for about 3 hours. In those three hours, ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, mind you, I saw not one other busker. I was told, eventually, that I could keep performing, but without city permit, I couldn't ask/accept tips. So I packed up. I then called City Hall to ask about the permit only to find out that they are not currently accepting new applicants or renewals until possibly mid July or later!!!

Now I ask you, what is the reason for this? Who are buskers hurting on that boardwalk, so famous the country over? NOONE! I had controlled crowds, and they enjoyed the show! It was the opening of the summer season, and not one other performer was to be found?? That's absurd!

While I semi agree that we aren't technically -just- artistically expressing ourselves, and that we ARE in fact businesses working for profit, and so I think this complicates our protections under the 1st, ....I ALSO believe strongly that in this country, if a man (or woman) wants to work their ass off to become successful and put food on the table, they should have the right to! THAT is our "Right to Pursuit of Happiness"!

And expensive permits and thumb prints, etc, are not appropriate. Having names and faces on file I can agree with. This way, if a musician or magician turns out to be a thief, or worse, then the city knows who to go after...Accountability is important. But charging me an arm and a leg for something only to tell me I have to stand in the dunes to play, below the crowds knee-level (thats atually what AC requires) ....forget that! I'd rather take my chances with the cops! Sorry adoring public, I'd love to entertain ya, but the big guys just wont let meh Smile


As for South Street, someone mentioned above.....Just go out and do it there. I do every weekend, and sometimes mid-week. I have never had an issue, except for my crowds getting too big, which is a wonderful problem to have! Not the best tipping pitch in the area, but worth the experience!
MagiCol
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Yehoshua, the rebellious side of me, when I read your comment: " I was told, eventually, that I could keep performing, but without city permit, I couldn't ask/accept tips." is two:
1. Tell people the local law doesn't allow you to ask or accept tips. But if they abandon money alongside you you'll have to pick it up to keep the sidewalk tidy.
2. Take a friend with you, or call them up to you at the end, and tell folk they can give money to that person, but not to you. Later on, s/he passes the money over to you.
The presentation makes the magic.
Yehoshua
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Ha! I love that logic, MagiCol! As far as I see it, and I'm no expert on the Constitution, but ...Right on my dollar is SAYS for ALL debts, public AND private! Well....does that not entitle the passerby in a public area to do with it as they wish in any private manner? I mean, if I walk up to you and just decide I wanna help you pay for that coffee you just ordered...I'm allowed. giving money is giving money. *shrugs* maybe it's just me lol
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