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 or record live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

TV Licensing Internet Detection


Viewing this month's visit stats I noticed that one of the top queries on Google is "can TV Licensing tell if you're watching programmes online?"

The short answer is not unless one of their employees physically catches you in the act.

TV Licensing is widely despised for the way it deals with non-licence holders, however legitimate their licence-free status might be. The only way they could possibly "detect" people watching TV on the internet is if the internet service providers (ISPs) provided them with information about the browsing habits of their customers.

Understandably the ISPs refuse to divulge that information, because doing so would be both illegal and immoral. It would also make terrible business sense, because who would want to deal with an ISP that gossipped about the private business of its customers?

The BBC has previously disclosed to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee that it has secured the conviction of unlicensed online viewers, but has also admitted it doesn't have any special strategies for detecting such viewers. It therefore follows that, in common with all other TV Licensing prosecutions, evidence has been obtained directly from the viewer, either by way of an incriminating statement or the direct observation of an offence being committed.

Remember that a TV licence is only required for properties where equipment is "installed or used" for "receiving or recording a television programme at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is received by members of the public". It is perfectly legal to watch non-live catchup services without a TV licence, including previously shown programmes on the BBC iPlayer.

Remember these key points when dealing with TV Licensing:
  • You are not legally obliged to respond to any of their intimidatory and deceitful mailings and we recommend you don't. If you tell them anything they could potentially use it against you later on.
  • You do not need to say anything to them and we strongly recommend you don't. Simply close the door or put down the telephone on their employees. Do not be fooled into thinking these people have more legal rights than they actually do, however much they pretend otherwise.
  • Visiting TV Licensing employees should always identify themselves when asked to. Unless they are executing a search warrant they should always leave when requested
  • TV Licensing employees have no legal right to enter your property without invitation, unless they have a search warrant. Search warrants are difficult to obtain if TV Licensing follow the correct legal procedures, so they will never have one on a first visit.
Should you be correctly licensed and wish to enjoy watching TV online then we can recommend TV Catchup. Again, this service provides no information whatsoever to TV Licensing.

Happy online viewing!

11 comments:

33_hertz said...

You have a way with words my friend. Well written and informative, as always.
Bless you!!
;-)))

Computers are hard lets go shopping said...

I don't see the problem. I've not had a tv licence for years, because I don't watch tv. I used to own one for DVD watching, but monitors are bigger now so meh! When I informed them I didn't use a tv, they sent a guy round to check (this is fine with me, because I'm NOT lying). He took a look, said fine no problems and they sent a letter saying I was exempt. I recently moved into a new home. When the letter arrived from them I just rang and told them. No problem. They just asked if I would let them know if things changed.

I've NEVER had a problem with them.

admin said...

Lucky you.

You must be slightly more tolerant than the majority of my genuine non-TV-using readers, who strongly object to having to prove a negative.

It's a fundamental breach of civil liberties, being coerced into dealing with an organisation you have no business with because you fear their hollow legal threats and half-truths.

If you don't use a TV then the BBC and TV Licensing has no business with you. You shouldn't offer them the steam from your piss - let alone invite them into your home.

Anonymous said...

@Computers are hard - you ARE remarkably tolerant, I would strongly object to having someone come into my house to prove something I am NOT doing. Could shop owners also send in their operatives to check I am NOT stealing anything? Also, you called them on their 0845 number, so you basically paid money not to watch TV.

Anonymous said...

Was TVCatchup not recently subject to an injunction because of their method of dissemination?

admin said...

There is currently a case going on in the European Courts about whether or not TV Catchup breaches copyright, because it temporarily stores some of the programmes streamed to viewers.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until this draft communications bill is rubber stamped [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19968068]. I bet those greedy BBC bullies are poised to raise their champagne glasses in celebration of this new source of data they can abuse and threaten us with.

Si Roberts said...

This is an interesting article - have a read if you have time.

http://www.freewebs.com/jonesuk/MagistratesTrial.htm


Does anyone have any up to date knowledge about what this is referring to? It's dated Jun 2006

In short it refers to Article 82 of the EU Competition Article which aims to prevent the restriction of markets to the detriment of consumers.

You are being told you cannot take a service from providers other than the BBC without first buying from the BBC, that is a restriction of markets to your detriment.

It does go into detail about responding to court summons and challenging the legality of that summons and also requesting the case being brought is re-tried in a Crown Court as the Magistrate doesn't have the power to refer it to the European Court.

Scary stuff as we all know the justice system is a complex minefield and if the TV Licence was that easy to avoid everyone would do it - then you could wave bye bye to Aunty Beeb!

Riaz said...

Is it really true that a TV licence is required to watch ALL livestreamed video on the internet including:

1. Footage from a webcam used to observe wildlife.

2. A one-off live video coverage of an event lasting an hour on the website of the organisation holding the event.

3. A foreign internet TV channel that does not broadcast on terrestrial, satellite, or cable anywhere in the world.

If a TV licence is legally required then it is a law that is almost unenforceable in practice because TVL will have difficulty proving that they are livestreamed.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this article.

some weeks ago i let them know i dont watch tv in my flat because really i dont have one. but i got one as a birthday gift, still i dont have budget for paying the licence. what can i do because i dont want them to use my earlier declaration against me.

admin said...

Thanks for your comment.

If you plan on watching live broadcast TV programmes then you should be correctly licensed to do so.

In those circumstances our advice would always be to get a licence.