07/14/2012 12:08 EDT | Updated 09/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Buskers take legal action against Montreal

A group of buskers in Montreal is taking legal action against the city for rules overseeing how street performers are scheduled.

On June 12, the city of Montreal adopted a new ordinance which requires buskers to sign a schedule contract in addition to obtaining a permit to perform in the Old Port.

A group of performers are opposing the city's contract, and say the system they have been using to schedule their performances has been proven useful for years.

Steven Pettipas, a long-time busker in the Old Port, is taking legal action against the city.

"We work the same pitch rules as are worked internationally for buskers anywhere in the world. We get together around noon to do a draw with cards and the order is determined from the luck of the draw."

In a release, the Ville-Marie borough wrote that it does not believe these ordinances violate the artists' fundamental rights' and that performing in the Old Port is a privilege, therefore rules have to be followed.

The release states that, "in recent years, [the city] received several complaints to the effect that a small group of street performers was calling the shots in Old Montreal for the allocation of performing areas."

Another Montreal busker was arrested earlier this month by police who interrupted his show in front of tourists.

He had a permit, but no signed contract.

The Ville-Marie borough gave the mandate to allocate the performing areas for street performers and musicians to the Société de développement économique du Vieux-Montréal in 2010 and 2011. That group did not wish to pursue the mandate this year.