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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Promoters fight poster crackdown
By Tom Bishop
BBC News

fly posters
Camden Council took legal action against Sony Music and BMG
Arts promoters want more legal poster sites to be made available as councils crack down on illegal flyposting.

Three employees of promotions firm Diabolical Liberties have been suspended from flyposting after legal action by London's Camden Council.

"These posters are vital to help small and medium venues attract an audience," a spokeswoman for the firm said.

"There should be regulated street poster sites set up in the capital, as in other city centres such as Leeds."

Unprecedented action

Camden Council's fight against illegal flyposting is seen as setting a UK precedent.

Earlier this year it took legal action against record firms Sony Music and BMG, after receiving more than 1,000 residents' complaints about flyposters.

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

Whenever we have worked with flyposters we have always asked them to be as considerate to their environment as possible
Adrienne Merrill, Diabolical Liberties
The council estimated that dealing with illegal fly-posting costs borough taxpayers 250,000 a year.

Earlier this month Luton Borough Council put "cancelled" stickers over music promoters' posters that had been placed on lampposts without permission.

And Wyre Forest District Council in Worcestershire has been urged by its town council to get tough on illegal flyposters by implementing fines.

London-based Diabolical Liberties has helped promote dozens of clients, including music releases by Dido, Eminem and Busted, radio station Kiss 100 and The Observer newspaper.

Street culture

Among the variety of advertising techniques it uses, flyposting is an effective way of attracting the attention of a young audience, said communications manager Adrienne Merrill.

"Whenever we have worked with flyposters we have always asked them to be as considerate to their environment as possible," she said, "but ultimately they do not work for us, so we cannot control them."

Its partner company City Centre Schemes is working with local councils to set up approved poster sites in city centres, including Liverpool, Glasgow, Dundee and Swansea.

Promoters just want to use public space and colonise it for profit
Camden Council
"We believe there is a really strong argument for maintaining a culture of low-level street posters," Merrill said, "but we honestly believe it should be regulated."

Camden Council remained unconvinced, however. "Promoters just want to use public space and colonise it for profit," a spokeswoman said.

"If a small theatre or small local venue or resident group feels they have a need to advertise, we will look into it.

"Otherwise we do not believe our residents want to see commercial organisations put even more posters on their streets."

Flyposting in some ways can be compared to graffiti, which many years ago people were trying to get rid of but is now admired
Paul Savident

Theatre publicist Paul Savident said flyposting had been invaluable in the promotion of stand-up comics at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and theatre shows such as Puppetry of the Penis.

"A council such as Camden, which prides itself on having a degree of street cred, should allow two or three flyposting companies to advertise in their borough," he said.

"Flyposting in some ways can be compared to graffiti, which many years ago people were trying to get rid of but is now admired."

He concluded: "If councils succeed in banning flyposters, we will have to find other methods of reaching to our audience. We could try text messages or emails or flash-mobbing, but it would be hard to beat flyposters for street presence."


SEE ALSO:
Fly-poster ban 'will hurt venues'
26 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
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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