A federal court judge has approved a settlement between Ocean City and a spray paint artist, changing the town code so that it no longer violates the free-speech rights of street performers.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge L. Ellen Hollander signed the consent decree, which was submitted by both parties last week. It allows writers, painters, performers, sculptors, musicians and others to sell their works along the boardwalk without fear of interference by police. Those who sell manufactured goods such as candles, stuffed animals and sunglasses are not included in the protected class.

The proposal settles a case filed against the beach town last summer by spray-paint artist Mark Chase, who claimed that restrictions along the famous three-mile boardwalk violate his constitutional rights.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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