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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Fly-poster ban 'will hurt venues'
fly posters
Camden Council took legal action Sony Music and BMG
The crackdown on illegal fly-posting could put arts venues out of business, a London theatre director has said.

Camden Council in north London is taking legal action against fly-posting agency Diabolical Liberties, having taken two record firms to court.

But Hackney Empire's artistic director Roland Muldoon said the council crackdown had "gone too far".

"Political fly-posting will never be stopped, so all that will happen is that arts venues will suffer," he said.

'Posters vital'

"Fly-posting is the most immediately effective way of letting local people know about local events," Mr Muldoon said.

"When the Hackney Empire first opened it was a vital way for us to attract an audience.

"Camden just wants to knock down free fly-posting sites and replace them with big and expensive advertising hoardings for multinational corporations.

"I agree an area has to be kept tidy, but this has gone too far."

If you live in a road covered in illegal posters it can be very unpleasant
Camden Council
Earlier this year Camden Council took unprecedented legal action against record firms Sony Music and BMG, after receiving more than 1,000 residents' complaints about fly-posters.

Sony Music escaped an Anti Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) after promising not to commission any more illegal fly-posting, but BMG could still face prosecution as it failed to make the same pledge.

The council estimates that dealing with illegal fly-posting costs borough taxpayers about 250,000 a year.

"It is incorrect to say that fly-posting does not hurt people, because if you live in a road covered in illegal posters it can be very unpleasant," a Camden Council spokeswoman said.

'Slowed down'

"It is also a myth to say that fly-posting is only carried out by struggling artists.

"The vast majority of fly-posting in Camden in carried out by big businesses who can well afford to advertise legally."

She said that fly-posting in London borough has "slowed down significantly" since the council pursued Sony Music and BMG.

"There is certainly no intention to target live venues or theatres in Camden," the spokeswoman said. "We are incredibly proud of our cultural life here."

The only way we can increase numbers going to the theatre is to increase awareness of what is going on at the theatre
Paul Savident, theatre publicist
But theatre publicist Paul Savident said fly-posting can greatly benefit the local arts industry.

"The only way we can increase numbers going to the theatre is to increase awareness of what is going on at the theatre," he told The Stage newspaper.

"New audiences aren't necessarily going to see adverts in newspapers or listings, they need to be targeted through a different medium."

And Mr Muldoon concluded: "If someone has a problem because a poster has been stuck on their wall or a shop, they can phone the person who put the poster up and ask them to remove it.

"I support anyone's right to stick something on a wall."

ASBOs 'could end flyposting'
30 Jun 04  |  Northern Ireland
Music chiefs' anti social orders
01 Jun 04  |  London
The wonderful world of Asbos
19 Jul 04  |  Magazine

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