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.

If you've just arrived here from a search engine, then you might find our Quick Guide helpful.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

BBC Snubs Hypothetical TV Licensing Enforcement Questions


It came as little surprise that the BBC recently snubbed some hypothetical, albeit very interesting, questions posed to it on the subject of TV licence enforcement.

As we've previously said, it is not in the BBC's or TV Licensing's interests to clarify anything about its enforcement methods, as doing so would serve to illustrate how ineffective those methods actually are.

WhatDoTheyKnow member Tyrone Armatage sought information about the conduct of TV Licensing during the execution of a search warrant (an exceptionally rare event, which you can read more about here).

Tyrone's request was as follows:
_____
Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

If the BBC suspects a householder is watching TV without a licence and then obtains a search warrant to enter that person's property. On entering that property how can proof be obtained that they are watching live TV without a licence if...

A: The TV is turned off.
Or
B: The TV is turned on and the occupier is watching a film on catch-up TV, but not on any BBC channel.
Also
C: If an occupier is watching catch-up TV (not BBC channels) and their cat or dog accidentally stands on the remote control and switches channels to the BBC for a few seconds. Does that occupier then require a TV licence?

Yours faithfully,

Tyrone Armatage
_____
The BBC, just as expected, refused to respond to any of those points. Given the BBC's failure to respond, we shall have a go instead:

A. If, on entering a property, TV Licensing finds the TV is turned off, then it has no way of proving that "live" TV programmes (or BBC on-demand programmes) were previously being viewed. If, however, TV Licensing brought the set into use and saw "live" TV programmes on the screen, then it could reasonably argue that the occupier had being viewing those programmes earlier. The occupier could equally argue that they hadn't been, but ultimately it would then be for the court to decide.

B. If, on entering a property, TV Licensing finds the occupier watching a film on a non-BBC on-demand service, then it has no way of proving that "live" TV programmes (or BBC on-demand programmes) were previously being viewed. If, however, TV Licensing was able to access "live" TV programmes at the push of a button, then it could reasonably argue that the occupier had being viewing those programmes earlier on. The occupier could equally argue that they hadn't been, but ultimately it would then be for the court to decide.

C. This one really would need the court to decide.


It seems a prudent time to remind readers of the Rudd defence: For a defendant to be guilty of TV licence evasion, the prosecution (TV Licensing) must prove that a television receiver was actually used, and not merely that it was available for use.

If you've found this article useful please share it with your friends and consider using our Amazon referral link for your shopping.

3 comments:

Dean Stockton said...

I would have added that they have a smart TV and the aerial is connected so they can receive radio channel?

If they use it to listen to the radio channels then in one sense you don't need a TV license but as you could receive live TV then you do need a license. What are the chances they would say you do need a license as you have an aerial connected so could watch live TV if you so wished!

Fred Bear said...

Dean, you mighty like to look at this BBC response to a FOI request:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/193584/response/481360/attach/2/RFI20140089%20Final%20response.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1

The question is:

"Also, assuming this same 32" colour TV is ONLY used for radio reception, (EG to listen to Heart) would it need a TV licence at all?”

Reply:

"You do not need a TV Licence if you only use this equipment to listen to digital radio broadcasts."

Bernard said...

There is a new page that I have found whilst trying to watch the BBC weather on their new web-site, without having to log in. It is here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/privacy/what-are-you-doing-with-my-data/
This bit however, being a 'licence free' home, did catch my eye.
"We share some of your personal data with TV Licensing to check if you are using BBC iPlayer and to keep their database up to date. Find out more about when you need a TV Licence."
I still can't listen to radio four on the web without signing in, although ANYONE can listen to the weather on their radio.