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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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Saturday, 1 October 2016

BBC On-Demand Programme Services

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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Chris (Aka: TheKnightsShield) said...

What would be the legal ramifications (if any) of the BBC not responding to questions relating to legal issues? You'd think that since they aren't being very forthcoming about the rules, they shouldn't imediately expect the tax paying public to comply with their rules. How else are people supposed to know what's what when the BBC can't find the time, or be bothered, to answer a simple question?

Chris said...

A couple of ideas, I appreciate they will take up your time however:

1) Consult a solicitor on the legal ramifications of the BBC not responding to this perfectly reasonable request to clarify their position, since the stated requirements ("BBC iPlayer") are at odds with the wording of the ammendment to the legislation ("an on-demand programme service which is provided by the BBC"). Many solicitors will provide consultation for free for a short time (eg 30 minutes). This is more for curiosity as to the legal position of them not responding. Perhaps one of your readers is a proper solicitor (not just someone with an opinion) and can advise.

2) Write to the BBC (not email) and insist that they answer the question properly, and make it clear you are giving them a final opportunity to address this perfectly reasonable question before you escalate it.

3) Commence a formal complaint following the process at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/contact_us/making_a_complaint.html and simultaneously write to your MP and news organisations to let them know how silly it is that a valid concern has to be turned into a complaint just to get a clear answer on something so important.