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Smiley Culture

When is a periodical not a periodical?

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Smiley Culture

A bit long-winded, this one. A friend and I were recently accosted by a chap in Manchester, who was selling what appeared to be a street paper. Being an occasional Big Issue reader, I thought I'd have a chat with this guy to find out what this new publication was all about. It would seem that the business model is similar to the BI - i.e. vendors buy copies from a depot for a certain unit price, and then add a bit on to this price when selling to the public. My maths isn't good at the best of times, but I remember being rather unimpressed with the profit margin for the vendors.

But that's by the by - what did interest me was the fact that this person had no form of company identification or a street trader's licence. The front cover of the publication includes a statement to the effect that because it's a periodical, it's exempt from a street trader's licence according to Schedule 4 of the Miscellaneous Street Trading Provisions Act. This sounded a bit fishy to me, so after I got home I looked it up - but, lo and behold, it would appear that they are correct:

(2)The following are not street trading for the purposes of this Schedule—

(a)trading by a person acting as a pedlar under the authority of a pedlar’s certificate granted under the M2Pedlars Act 1871;

(b)anything done in a market or fair the right to hold which was acquired by virtue of a grant (including a presumed grant) or acquired or established by virtue of an enactment or order.

©trading in a trunk road picnic area provided by the Secretary of State under section 112 of the M3Highways Act 1980;

(d)trading as a news vendor;


(3)The reference to trading as a news vendor in sub-paragraph (2)(d) above is a reference to trading where—

(a)the only articles sold or exposed or offered for sale are newspapers or periodicals; and


[Reference: Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 c.30, Schedule 4. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1982/cukpga_19820030_en_1 ]

However, looking at the publication, it doesn't appear to be a periodical to me. It's basically a compilation of (rather lame and crude, but not offensive) jokes. What the producer has done is to stick a volume and issue number on the cover, so presumably they can argue that it is a periodical, even though I wouldn't be suprised if the same "issue" is being sold in six months' time. Can they get away with this? I'm guessing they can, as I suspect there isn't a black-and-white definition of what constitutes a periodical.

As I know nothing about street trading legislation though, I thought I'd throw this one out there into PS.com to see what the more knowledgeable amongst you make of it.

EDIT: typos and fixing the internet link - whoops!

Edited by Smiley Culture

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Posted (edited)

Your example of same thing wrapped in a new cover pretty much could apply to Many magazines,  for example Gardeningers Plot has the same content every spring advising on flowers, summer on salads, autumn on leaf collection and winter on tidying. 

if you are looking to prove the OP scenario, I’d suggest you would have to hav3 more than one edition to show the similarities/ differences with each copy.  Not sure what yo7 would do with that information though!

Edited by BlueBob

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