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Issue Date:- 21 April / 22 April 2009

Pet Shop Boys Will Be In Liverpool!

THE iconic pop duo, Pet Shop Boys, will perform at the Liverpool Echo Arena on 13 July 2009, as part of the Summer Pops Festival.  Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London in August 1981.  Recognising a mutual interest in dance music, they began to work on material together, first in Tennant's flat in Chelsea and from 1982, in a small studio, in Camden Town.  It was during these early years that several songs that would later appear on future albums were created.  Pet Shop Boys have since sold more than 50 million records worldwide.  Since 1986, they have had 39 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four Number Ones:- "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind", and "Heart." The duo's latest album, entitled Yes, was released to critical aclaim last month.  Over the years they have collaborated with artists as diverse as Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Liza Minnelli, Boy George and Yoko Ono and remixed for the dancefloor records by other artists including Blur, Rammstein and Madonna.  Pet Shop Boys are well known for their spectacular multi media stage shows, and this will be no exception.  Their Liverpool Summer Pops Festival show will be designed by acclaimed theatrical designer Es Devlin.  Previous shows have been designed by British film director, the celebrated Derek Jarman, artist Sam Taylor-Wood and the architect Zahar Hadid Ticket Prices:- £25.00 / £30.00 (a limited amount of Gold Circle tickets available) subject to booking / handling fee Tickets on sale Friday, 24 April 2009  from  9am, online at:-

Raising standards for voters!

THE vast majority of Electoral Registration Officers in Great Britain deliver a well-run registration process, providing a solid foundation for the improvement and modernisation of elections, according to a report published by the Electoral Commission. Last year the Commission set performance standards for Electoral Registration Officers in Great Britain. The first assessment of performance against these standards shows that more than eight out of ten Electoral Registration Officers either meet or exceed the standards set to ensure the completeness and accuracy of electoral registers. But more must be done to encourage people to register to vote, according to the Commission. “Electoral registration underpins our electoral process and these standards should give voters confidence as well as supporting improvement where it is needed. In general we’re pleased with the performance of Electoral Registration Officers – the vast majority of electors are getting the quality service they deserve. But there are areas where we want to see improvements; Registration Officers need to do more to make sure that everyone who is eligible to register does so, particularly groups currently less likely to be on the register, such as young people and those from certain ethnic minority communities. This will become more and more important as we move to a system of individual rather than household registration in Great Britain.” said Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission. During the autumn 2008 annual canvass, Electoral Registration Officers were required to assess their performance against ten standards set by the Commission. The standards cover one key area – completeness and accuracy of the register – together with a further three supporting areas: encouraging participation, integrity of the registration process and planning and organisation. The report states that the Commission will continue to help Electoral Registration Officers improve the service they provide to electors, particularly targeting support in areas of need and sharing examples of good performance. The performance on individual EROs can be viewed on the Electoral Commission website. Let us know what you think about this by emailing our news room to:-

 Do copyright laws on the UK make criminals out of iPod owners?

A survey by Consumer Focus of Intellectual Property Laws in 16 countries has found UK copyright laws are the most out of date and claims they "needlessly criminalize millions of people" as a result.  The survey also found more than half of British consumers thought burning a CD they had bought to their PC or iPod was legal, though it is in fact a copyright infringement.  Here, IP and media law expert Steve Kuncewicz of Ralli, sets the record straight.  Steve Kuncewicz says:- "Copyright is hugely important for the music industry as it is the main protection for an artist's work and the way record companies make money.  Copyright protects music as soon as it is recorded, and the copyright in a song or album belongs to either the band or their label.  It gives them the right to control if their music being copied and made available to the public and allows them to charge fees for doing so.  However, UK copyright law has not kept up with the pace of technology.  The music industry is terrified of the impact illegal downloading is having on CD sales.  The Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states it is an infringement of the artist or label's copyright if a third party copies a "work" or issues a copy of a work to the public, meaning anyone who copies music could be prosecuted.  This was fine when all we had to worry about were cassettes, but the Act never saw MP3s or the iPod coming.  Members of the public think it is perfectly legal, but what many don't appreciate is by burning a CD onto your PC or iPod, you are actually copying it.  It is illegal even if only you listen to it.  The Government did flag this up as part of the Gowers Report on Intellectual Property and has recognised the need for a change in the law.  That change was due to be ratified by the start of this year.  Downloading from iTunes is legal as you're paying for the copy of the song or album which you download, but paying for a CD permits you to listen to it in your own home and that's about it.  Changing the law would help clarify the situation.  The real problem lies with large-scale downloaders who either download thousands of songs without paying for them or who copy and sell pirate versions of major releases.  The US has a "fair use" exception to copyright law, where any act which doesn't cause the copyright owner suffering economic loss is generally permitted.  Maybe it's time the UK looked at something similar.  After all, I'm sure the record companies and the government will want to follow the black letter of the law and take action against an entire iPod generation." Email us your views on this to:-

Former Union chief & Liverpool City councillor Dies at 96

THE highly respected Transport and General Workers' Union chief and former Liverpool City councillor, Jack Jones died on Tuesday, 21 April 2009 peacefully in a care home in Peckham, south London. Mr Jones was born in Liverpool and became well known for fighting for the underdog. In the 1930s he fought in the Spanish Civil War and returned to serve as a Liverpool city councillor between 1936 and 1939. He was on the Labour Party's policy-forming National Executive Committee from 1964 to 1967. Later he became the general secretary of what was one of the country's most powerful unions, the TGWU from 1969 to 1978 after worked his way up.  His son has told the media that:- "He had all the care he could want.  He was active until the very end and had a good innings."

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