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Ocean City Boardwalk Musician Fights Noise Ordinance

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A legal battle between the town of Ocean City and a boardwalk musician concerning noise and first amendment rights could be decided by a federal court judge by next week.

The case against the city was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of William Hassay Jr., a longtime street musician known for playing his violin over pre-taped orchestral versions of American standards.

The suit claims the city's 30-foot noise ordinance impairs Hassay's ability to make a living as a busker, and also violates his first amendment rights.

Ocean City's attorneys argued however, that the noise ordinance is there to ensure that street musicians like Hassay don't just continue to turn up the volume, thus creating a proverbial battle of the bands each summer night.

The judge's decision will only determine whether a temporary injunction is granted against the city's noise law. But it should be noted that the complaint would still warrant a full ruling on the legality of the city ordinance.

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