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.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TV Licensing PR Harlots Issue Caravan Threat

If there's one thing even more predictable than barbecues this summer, it's TV Licensing's seasonal threat to members of the camping and caravan community.

One of the major advantages of owning a mobile home, caravan or tent is the freedom to escape from the tedium and technological trappings of everyday life. It would appear that ditching television, even for only a couple of weeks spent in Torquay, is a step too far for some people.

The overwhelming majority of campers, caravanners and mobile home owners are already licensed to receive TV programmes during their travels, by virtue of the fact that their home address is covered by a valid TV licence. 

Anyone whose home address is covered by a valid TV licence is also covered to receive TV programmes elsewhere, as long as they use a device powered by its own internal battery and without an external aerial (e.g. an unplugged laptop, tablet or smartphone). Anyone stopping in a static caravan is covered by their home TV licence, as long as no-one is receiving TV programmes in their home at the same time.

TV Licensing PR harlot Richard Chapman, speaking in the Dorset Echo, said: "Being caught watching TV without a licence could put a real dampener on your holidays – we want people to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law. The law says that anyone who owns a static caravan or mobile home, and watches or records TV there, is not covered by their home licence if TV is simultaneously being viewed by someone else in their main residence.

"In this case, a separate licence is needed to cover the holiday accommodation."

Stay tuned to the newspapers because we're pretty confident that Chapman's soundbites will be repeated, verbatim, by his scummy TV Licensing PR harlot colleagues elsewhere in the UK.

Edit: Just as predicted, Chapman's soundbites have been repeated verbatim as follows:

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Help Wanted: TV Licensing Search Warrant Numbers

We have just made a Freedom of Information request to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) on the subject of TV Licensing search warrants.

Contrary to what the BBC and TV Licensing would have people believe, the use of search warrants is neither widespread nor common. Assuming TV Licensing plays by the rules, which is by no means guaranteed, then there are certain legal hoops to jump through before applying for a warrant. Information gleaned from a previous Freedom of Information request reveals that Sheffield Magistrates' Court, the busiest court in South Yorkshire, granted a total of only SIX warrants in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

HMCTS has previously responded to a similar request, so there is no reason why they shouldn't respond again (notwithstanding the fact that the BBC is known to nobble them). We would appreciate the help of our readers in making similar requests relating to their local courts. By making a concerted joint effort we should be able to glean some very interesting information of our own.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is both applicant and purpose blind: this means that anyone can request information from a public authority for whatever reason they like, even if a similar (or identical) request has been made by someone else previously.

If you live in England or Wales, here's how you can help:
  • Look at this list of Magistrates' Courts used by TV Licensing. Choose the court nearest to your home.
  • Sign up to WhatDoTheyKnow.com or use an existing account there.
  • Scroll to the HMCTS page and make a new request to them.
  • Copy and paste the request text below. Be sure to insert the name of the relevant court and your own name.
  • Send your request to HMCTS.
  • Post a comment on this post with a link to your request and the name of the court.
Please note that requests in Scotland should be made in relation to named Sheriff Courts via the Scottish Court Service page instead. An example of a Scottish request can be viewed here.

For the request to be valid you technically have to use your real name, however, there are certain ways you can disguise your real name if you want to. Someone with the name "Alan Robert Jones" could use that full name, the name "A. R. Jones", the name "A. Jones" or simply "Mr Jones". Women can sign the request in their maiden name if they prefer. Requests can also be made in the name of a company or organisation.

If you choose not to provide your real name the request will probably still be processed, but you will not be able to complain to the information watchdog (the ICO) if you are dissatisfied with the response you receive.

Text of request:

Dear Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service,

I am making this request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This request only relates to information held by [Insert Name] Magistrates' Court since 1st January 2011.

Please provide me with the following information:

1. The number of search warrant applications made by employees of the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd in accordance with Section 366 of the Communications Act 2003.
2. Of those applications, the number granted or refused.
3. Of those applications granted, the number with information laid to the effect that detection/detector van evidence had been (allegedly) obtained by the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd.

HMCTS has previously released similar information (your ref: FOI/86722) so I trust will have no problem doing the same again, notwithstanding the BBC/TV Licensing's probable future attempts to deter/hamper your efforts.

Yours faithfully,

[Insert Name]

Heated TV Licensing Goon Encounter

A video recently appeared on YouTube showing an angry confrontation between a TV Licensing goon and the occupier of the legally-licence-free property he had just visited.

The goon knocked at the occupier's front door, but walked away before the occupier had a chance to answer. The occupier looked from his window and saw the goon getting back into his car. The occupier decided to approach the goon parked outside to establish his identity. To cut a long story short, despite TV Licensing paperwork being visible on the passenger seat, the goon refused to confirm his identity and the exchange between the pair became heated.

In all honesty, as the passage of time suggests, we would not be writing about this incident had it not been for the follow-up actions of TV Licensing. This whole episode is a bit confrontational for our liking.

Shortly after the goon's visit the occupier phoned TV Licensing to complain about his aggressive behaviour and failure to identify himself. The occupier explained that he had filmed the encounter and uploaded it to YouTube for closer public scrutiny. 

At this stage the occupier still had no confirmation that the anonymous caller had been from TV Licensing, but subsequent events would confirm that was the case. A couple of hours later the occupier received a call from someone purporting to be Mark at TV Licensing. Mark, one of TV Licensing's resident experts on all things legal, incorrectly told the occupier that displaying the goon's image (shown above) and car details (white Ford Fiesta, 5-door hatchback, reg EA56 YBW) on YouTube was in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Having evidently consulted the "Crapita Guide to Imaginary Law", Mark also claimed that filming the goon was in breach of the Representation of the People Act 2000, which actually governs the conduct of elections. Mark's natural ability to spout bullshit had, in our mind, clearly reinforced his status as a TV Licensing admin bitch. The occupier, however, was becoming suspicious of Mark's ludicrous comments and beginning to suspect the call was a wind-up. The occupier made a further phone call to TV Licensing, which confirmed that Mark's call had been genuine.

Had it not been for TV Licensing arrogant attempts to censor perfectly legitimate YouTube footage we would not be writing this now. TV Licensing routinely tries to censor critical footage on YouTube. Anyone would think they are ashamed of their goons' behaviour and would prefer it kept hidden.

If a TV Licensing goon calls at your property remember these important facts:
  • A TV licence is only required for those properties where equipment is used to receive TV programme services (e.g. programmes broadcast on normal TV channels, which are available to other people at the same time). 
  • Anyone who does not require a TV licence is under no legal obligation to co-operate with TV Licensing. We recommend they ignore TV Licensing completely.
  • TV Licensing goons have no automatic right of entry and must leave immediately if the occupier tells them to. If they become aggressive or refuse to leave then call the police.
  • TV Licensing rules require goons to show ID at the start of every visit and on request.
  • It is perfectly legal to film TV Licensing goons that visit your property. The goon does not need to consent to being filmed. The goon can't legally prevent the occupier from filming. Experience shows that TV Licensing goons often tell lies, whereas the camera generally doesn't. 
  • TV Licensing goons are commission-driven salespeople, which often skews their interpretation of the law. In reality they have no more legal rights than any other visitor to your property.
  • It is perfectly legal to film TV Licensing goons in a public place.
  • It is perfectly legal to upload video footage of TV Licensing goons to the web.
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

TV Licensing: Two Years, Forty-Thousand Complaints

TV Licensing received 40,000 complaints in two years, according to alarming statistics recently released by the BBC.

TV Licensing is a trade mark used by the companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of TV licence fees and enforcement of the TV licence system.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com member D. Nicholls asked the BBC to provide the following information: "Would you advise the total number of complaints received (by telephone, email, letter or in person) regarding any communications with or from any agency that deals with the collection of payments for TV licences during the last two years?"

The BBC's Rupinder Panesar replied: "The majority of complaints handled by TV Licensing are initiated following some form of contact with TV Licensing therefore we (are) interpreting your request as relating to all complaints received by TV Licensing.

"I can confirm that the total number of complaints received through all channels for the period 20 June 2012 to 19 June 2014 is 39,957."

Anyone who has cause to complain about TV Licensing is asked to consult our earlier post about compensation payments.