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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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Friday, 24 July 2015

TV Licensing Threatens Residential Boat Owners


The summer season heralds TV Licensing's annual persecution of another generally law-abiding minority - residential boat owners.

Next week, mark our words, it will be members of the camping and caravanning community bearing the brunt of TV Licensing's media offensive. Or should that be TV Licensing's offensive media?

According to TV Licensing PR harlot Martin Dyan, the paramilitary wing of the BBC doesn't want boat people to get that "sinking feeling" if they're caught watching TV programmes without a valid TV licence. Boom boom. Basil Brush would be proud.

The Fishburn PR flunky explains: "We know an increasing number of people are choosing an alternative lifestyle afloat with an estimated 15,000 houseboat owners in the UK including many choosing Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation or the River Stort.

"It is important they understand the law when it comes to watching or recording TV programmes."

Dyan goes on to remind boat owners of the (extremely unlikely) penalty for the heinous crime of TV licence evasion - a maximum fine of £1,000.

The article, which is clearly cut and paste straight from the Fishburn mouth wand, humorously warns about the possibility of a TV Licensing "enquiry officer" knocking at a person's porthole (read about TV Licensing goon Gary Catterick, who kind of did the same).

A TV licence is required for any property where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes. In the case of residential boat owners, if the boat was their primary residence, and they intended to receive TV programmes there, then legally speaking it would require a TV licence. 

If, however, the boat was not the person's primary residence, then the TV licence of their primary residence would cover the reception of TV programmes on portable equipment powered by its own internal battery (e.g. an unplugged laptop, tablet or similar). In these circumstances they would not require an additional TV licence for the boat.

Of course the notion that TV Licensing is stalking the towpaths of Britain on the off-chance of catching boat-borne TV licence evaders is fanciful in the extreme. You just need to see how ineffective TV Licensing is when making enquiries at static land-borne addresses.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am curious about this. The TV licence site says a licence is required for "Houses, flats, bungalows or cottages" and seems to assume that a boat will effectively be someone's second home. But what about someone just living in a boat moored at a marina? They won't have a post code (and so not included in the Postal Address File) which is one of the first things the web site asks for when applying for a licence. So they won't get any threatograms or goon visits.

The website also says "However, if you plug your device into the mains and use it to watch or record live TV away from home, you need to be covered by a separate TV Licence at that address (unless you’re in a vehicle or vessel like a train, car or boat)."

I kind of think this is just a piece of hubris spun out by TV licensing. But maybe someone has actual experience of this?

John Galt said...

Even presuming someone wish to pay £145.50 for the BBC's biased propaganda, how would someone living an itinerant lifestyle on a moving (rather than fixed mooring) narrow boat, buy a TV License as they have no fixed residential address.

I don't ask as purely out of curiosity as I live outside the UK in a country which has no TV License, so coming to the UK in my foreign registered motor home and watching golf on telly, presumably I am breaking the law, but in a way which can never be correctly licensed.

That sounds stupid to me.

Tamarind said...

Telling boat-owners they may have a "sinking feeling" if they do not buy a TV licence could be construed as extorting money with menaces ("pay up or we'll sink your boat"). Extorting money with menaces is still a criminal offence in this country. The Inland Revenue get special dispensation, of course, but Capita is a private company. So presumably we can now look forward to the lot of them being thrown in jug.

Fred Bear said...

There are two modes of houseboat life. Some people live most or all of the time at moorings which provide various amenities - toilet blocks, water, power, WiFi etc. They have to pay Council Tax like any homeowner so I presume they'll have a postcode. Generally the moorings are secure behind a padlocked gate so it would be difficult for the goons to visit.

Others are called 'continuous cruisers'. They can stay a maximum of 14 days in one spot so they don't have an address. The boats themselves have to be licensed - usually with the Canal and River Trust. In their case the TV Licence is practically unenforceable.

Sam said...

A recent gizmo to appear on the market is a TV receiver that acts like a Wifi network. Basically it tunes to your local TV transmitter, then broadcasting a live TV signal (via WiFi) to a Tablet or PC. Its also possible to record TV.

I'm assuming these are almost undetectable as no wires are involved and is very small

If using such an item what is the legality when using for caravaning camping etc?

Link to the item....

http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/tvman-pocket-mobile-tv-hotspot-a90nj

Admin said...

Hello Sam and thanks for your comment.

If the device in unplugged and powered by its own internal battery, then its use will be covered by the TV licence of the user's primary residence.

If not, then technically speaking a separate licence would be needed.

As you say though, we're delving slightly into unenforceable hypotheticals!