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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Sunday, 25 January 2015

TV Licence: Have Internet, But No TV

An increasing number of people are abandoning conventional TV in favour of the internet, but where do they stand in terms of TV licence law?

Recent Ofcom research indicates that today's teenagers are more tech savvy than ever, with the next generation of licence-fee-payers spending less than half their viewing time watching licensable live broadcast TV programmes. 

An increasing number of younger viewers are turning to DVDs, online catch-up services and downloadable programmes, none of which require payment of the £145.50 a year TV licence fee. Furthermore, only 3% of the 16 to 24-year-olds surveyed said they would miss watching live broadcast TV programmes, compared to almost a third of those aged 65 and over.

It appears people's viewing habits are shifting dramatically with the evolution of new technology, but TV licence legislation remains pretty much as it was first drafted in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.

Current legislation, section 363 of the Communications Act 2003, states that a TV receiver must not be installed or used unless the property is covered by a valid TV licence. 

A TV receiver, within the meaning of the Act, is any apparatus installed or used for the purpose of receiving (whether by means of wireless telegraphy or otherwise) any TV programme service, whether or not it is installed or used for any other purpose. Quite simply, if it's not installed or used for receiving TV programmes, then it's not a TV receiver and does not need to be covered by a TV licence.

Although TV programmes are freely available only a few mouse clicks across the web, a computer (tablet or mobile phone) is not a TV receiver unless actually used for the purpose of receiving TV programmes. That will only be the case if the person using the device actually navigates to a web page displaying TV programmes.

Mere ownership of a computer (tablet or mobile phone), or access to the web, does not therefore require a TV licence unless that device is actually used for the purposes of receiving TV programmes.

Similarly, mere ownership of a TV set does not require a TV licence, unless that set is used for the purposes of receiving TV programmes.

We'd also remind readers of the following important points:
  • In some limited circumstances a person will already be covered to view TV programmes in a property other than their normal home address. This rule is particularly useful for students.
  • The viewing of non-live catch-up services does not require a TV licence, as these fall outside the legal definition of a TV programme service.
  • The occupier of a correctly unlicensed property is under no legal obligation whatsoever to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing and we strongly recommend they don't.
  • The occupier of a correctly unlicensed property is under no legal obligation to confirm the licensable status of their property to TV Licensing.
  • TV Licensing goons work for a private company contracted to do the BBC's dirty work. They have no more legal rights or authority than any other visitor to a property.
For further information please download our free ebook, TV Licensing Laid Bare.

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Anonymous said...

I have personally blocked Iplayer on my PC to prove my point I don't watch any TV.

Any other Live TV sites that don't require registeration I would block the same way.

I do more programming on my PC than watching TV.

Chris said...

You don't need to block iPlayer or any other sites, just as you don't need to sabotage your TV or aerial setup. Simply don't use them to watch live TV. By making you feel that you have to do this, Capita are already inside your head.

In fact it could be counterproductive - it implies that those sites which you've failed to block are being used to watch live TV, since why go to the trouble of blocking any at all if that wasn't its intended purpose?

Your actions are akin to locking up all the knives in the house to prove that you don't stab people. Whatever happened to being innocent with the onus on another party to prove your guilt?

Just enjoy life without live TV and forget about the TV license and needing to prove anything. If you get harassed by them either ignore it or take legal action against them to recover your costs. Either will work.

Admin said...

This is totally correct.
Anyone without a TV licence can just not receive (e.g. watch or record) TV programmes. They don't need to modify and potentially damage their equipment - they can be fully compliant with the law by simply not receiving any TV programmes.

TV Licensing has confirmed this fact in writing. Please see our "Taking A TV Licence Fee Holiday" article for more information, including a link to TV Licensing words on the subject.

Fred Bear said...

I'm enjoying the historical series 'Wolf Hall' on the BBC catchup service. Great cast and well produced and I'm not paying a penny to the BBC. In fact I haven't paid the BBC a penny for many years now. If they want to give away their content for free on the web, then why should I refuse?

Ray Turner said...

If genuinely not receiving TV programmes, the sensible thing to do is to de-tune the TV, remove all aerial leads and either disconnect or remove your TV aerial or satellite dish etc.

Although some will argue that this is not necessary, it will be a lot easier to defend your position if you have taken these precautions...

Shady Pete said...

It's important to know that a TVL goon cannot "examine and test" computer equipment unless they have authority under Sec.49 RIPA 2000 which Capita Business Services will never have.

Those who have misgivings about watching catch-up TV without a licence, catch-up TV is second-hand. Licence-payers who originally paid for the content have already consumed it. Watching catch-up is no more amoral from picking up and reading someone's discarded newspaper.