About a month ago we wrote an article titled "Closing the iPlayer Loophole: Implications for the BBC News Website".
In it we explored the possibility that videos embedded on the BBC News website (or any other BBC website for that matter) were "on-demand programme services which are provided by the BBC" and therefore a TV licence was required to view them.
We contacted TV Licensing asking for its opinion on our interpretation of the new legislation. Against our wishes TV Licensing batted our enquiry off to the BBC, which in turn offered to handle it as a Freedom of Information request. We explained to the BBC that we wanted TV Licensing to handle our enquiry, as we didn't think it was eligible for consideration under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (e.g. we were seeking an opinion rather than recorded information).
After a few weeks the BBC wrote back to us and said that TV Licensing couldn't deal with our enquiry, but if we wanted to submit it under the Freedom of Information Act we were free to do that. As explained, we know our request is ineligible for consideration as a Freedom of Information request, so by preventing TV Licensing from handling our enquiry the BBC has effectively scuppered our quest for information.
If we go down the Freedom of Information route, we would fully expect the BBC to piss about for a month and then refuse to tell us anything. We've seen BBC dithering, delaying and obfuscation time and time again. That's just the way the BBC works when it comes to transparency and accountability.
It should come as no surprise at all that the BBC is failing to clarify points of law to the detriment of people without a valid TV licence. TV Licensing thrives on misinformation and uncertainty.
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