Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Friday, 13 August 2010

Captured In Full: The Non-Intrusive TVL Visit


Some great new video footage of the lesser-spotted TVL scab has appeared on YouTube, thanks to the ingenuity of TV Licence Resistance forums' M. Shakey.

Shakey, a genuine non-TV user who TV Licensing have no reason to harass, voluntarily invited the maligned organisation into his home to inspect his equipment for compliance with television licensing laws. Having baited the trap, Shakey was confident TV Licensing would jump at the opportunity to sniff around his bedroom drawers and stick their equipment into various apertures around the family home.

Armed with a camera he recorded the entire episode, which is now stored in perpetuity thanks to the magic of YouTube.

The story begins with the elderly TV Licensing "Enforcement Officer" inspecting a television set, which he quickly found to be detuned and suitable for playing DVDs and digital radio only. He then systematically moved from room to room inspecting the other sets, similarly to no avail. Evidently proficient at his job, he went to the trouble of scrolling through every TV channel to check there was no reception. There was nothing. The marvels of digital TV mean that television reception is now an all or nothing game, with even the slightest detuning erasing all trace of a picture.

The PC in the lounge took his eye - perhaps he was clocking it for Corsa Boy, who we know likes to sniff around unoccupied homes for his own gratification. Even an untrained person can establish the presence of a functioning TV tuner card (Control Panel > System) in about 30 seconds, so it seems strange that TVL man was sniffing around the various files and folders of the machine for at least 4 minutes. What did he hope to achieve? Bear in mind this is a man with no legal right to be searching for anything other than TV receiving or recording equipment. This would be the case even if he had a search warrant, which he obviously hadn't in this case.

I'd love to give more of a commentary, but my PC speakers chose last night to die on me and I haven't replaced them yet.

Edit: Unfortunately the YouTube videos that did appear here have been removed from the web by their creator M.Shakey. Apparently M.Shakey, having publicly embarrassed TV Licensing by showing the ineptitude of their non-intrusive visit, is again the victim of  TV Licensing vendetta.

Edit: Yay! Shakey's video is back on YouTube, albeit in a shortened version:


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Can you tell me how to disable the TV card in my laptop? I still want to watch iPlayer.

Brilliant site! I await my summons as we speak. Haven't had a TV for about 20 years.


admin said...

Unfortunately Lynn, I can't tell you how to disable your TV card, but you shouldn't really have to.

Why should you potentially damage your laptop when you don't use it for watching/recording TV? It just happens to have a TV card in, which you only use when you're in a correctly licensed property.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't a laptop with a TV receiving card inside it be considered "equipment ready and capable of receiving live TV transmissions" which requires a license. They don't need a burden of proof that you're receiving live transmissions in that instance, the burden of proof is met in the "ability to do so".

This is an important distinction. A tv tuner card in a PC is very different to a computer or tablet or phone without one, which is not considered "live tv ready" unless its hooked up to a receiver or some app is installed indicating live TV has been watched on that device.

The way I understand the law, BBC/TVL have been successful in the past in securing convictions for license evasion merely by demonstrating you CAN receive a live tv broadcast in your home easily and readily. Some people have the misguided notion because they have a TV (but there's no antenna plugged in) they're ok. I don't think the law quite works that way. If the TV has a tuner inside it or near it, you're considered "cable of receiving a broadcast" the fact you don't have a cable connecting it to your root antenna is usually immaterial (unless you make it impossible to receive a signal by say soldering up your antenna socket or removing it completely and putting a cover over it).

Just the *ability* to watch live TV requires a license as I understand the law. And if only 1 piece of wire (which can easily be removed/hidden) is the only thing preventing you doing that, I don't think you'd be on safe legal ground for mounting a defense against not needing a license, or not being able to receive live TV at the premises.

I personally would disable the card or else make sure there's no way it can be used easily to receive a live tv broadcast without some other equipment present. The chances are the inspector won't be clued up enough to check your laptop hardware, but I would not take that risk or chance. Better safe than sorry with these people. The fines and costs can be considerable as we have seen from others in a similar situation and once they have a warrant and get found with something which can receive live TV quite easily.