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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, 30 July 2016

Imminent Changes to TV Licence Legislation


According to TV Licensing's PR harlots, only 1-in-5 households is aware of changes to the TV licence system that come into force on 1st September 2016.

Of course, given that around 95% of properties are covered by a valid TV licence (and most of the 5% that aren't, don't legally need a TV licence), the changing legislation will be of no relevance whatsoever to the overwhelming majority of the population. That isn't quite such a headline grabbing statistic, which is undoubtedly why TV Licensing's PR flunkies have chosen to ignore it.

As there appears to be confusion in certain quarters, we shall briefly (and simply) summarise the key changes in legislation from 1st September 2016:

If your property is covered by a valid TV licence:
  • The changes in legislation will have no impact on you at all.
If your property is not covered by a valid TV licence:
  • As is currently the case, a TV licence will be required for the property if equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes (e.g. programmes shown on any channel at the same time as they are broadcast to other members of the pubic).
  • From 1st September 2016 a TV licence will be required to watch BBC on-demand services (e.g. those on the BBC iPlayer). No TV licence is required to watch BBC on-demand services until that date.
  • As is currently the case, a TV licence will not be required to watch non-BBC on-demand services.
As previously mentioned, we consider the changes in legislation to be confusing and unenforceable. It is poor legislation designed to fix a problem (the so-called iPlayer loophole) that didn't really exist in the first place, given the negligible number of unlicensed people that used the BBC iPlayer for catch-up only.

We anticipate that the tiny increase in revenue generated will be more than offset by the added difficulties in administering and enforcing the new system.

When it all falls apart, you can be confident that we'll be first in line to tell the BBC "we told you so!"

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a curious querk in the legislation which redefines a "television receiver" to be any apparatus installed or used for the purpose of receiving:

(a) any television programme service, or
(b) an on-demand programme service which is provided by the BBC,

Point (b) doesn't specify "television programme" and as iPlayer can also receive on-demand radio programmes, this ridiculous piece of legislation vastly extends the power of the 2003 communication act. Note also that the change was 'laid before parliament" just before the summer recess leaving no possibility of any effective oversight by parliament.

Anyway, I suspect that the proposed change will not result in the sale of any new TV–Radio licenses whatsoever.

Shady Pete said...

@Anonymous
" iPlayer can also receive on-demand radio programmes" for which you do not require a TV Licence. The radio licence was abolished in 1971

Anonymous said...

This appears to be a trojan horse designed to ultimately lead towards a compulsory licence by possibly linking internet/ISP's under the BBC's umbrela. An internet tax, as it were. They're laying the foundations for something far worse than a normal TV licence.

Chris (aka: TheKnightsShield said...

@Anonymous

I've never believed that the BBC could ever get a licence fee that would cover all internet usage, based on the fact that there is a lot more content on the internet than just theirs. If they ever did manage to get such a thing, you can bet that there'd be a large uproar from those that don't legally need a licence that they are effectively being taxed just because they have an active internet connection. The world of entertainment is moving at a very fast pace and the BBC is at risk of getting left behind in their pursuit of these silly little licence fees. It's far easier to control access to content online than you might think. If the BBC think that going down the subscription route isn't possible for their TV services, then they can sure go down a similar route with their online content, they may even make a small profit in the process, seeing as more and more people are looking for content online these days over what's on TV.

Maryon Jeane said...

I am one of the (as you said in this piece) very few people affected by this new legislation. I (legally) have no TV licence but I do watch the occasional film or documentary on the BBC iPlayer.

However, when I say 'occasional', that's precisely what I mean. When I want some relaxation but haven't got the time/can't be bothered to set up the DVD player and room etc. to watch a film, I have a look to see if there's anything 'on demand'. This even saves me having to move away from my computer (to which I seem almost permanently welded). Only very rarely is what I choose to watch on these occasions from the BBC - their offering is easily the poorest of all.

What has happened in the past is that there has been the odd film or series which I have found good - and so I've bought it on DVD, thereby generating revenue for the BBC. Quite simply, they are now going to lose that revenue because I will never get to know about the series or film concerned.

A bit of an own goal really, don't you think?...

david sedgwick said...

"installed or used."

Still unclear as to whether this means one can have a television set in one's house or not?

For example, what if I own a TV set upon which I play DVDs or video games?

Having a TV set would suggest I have TV equipment "installed?"

Admin said...

Installed means ready to bring into immediate use (e.g. a device that is plugged into the mains, has an aerial connected and has TV channels tuned in that can easily be accessed in a few button presses).
Used means using a device to watch or record TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast to the general public.
A TV licence is not needed merely to own/possess any sort of equipment - even a TV set. It is the act of receiving TV programmes that is licensable.

Jonathan said...

As with the first Anonymous poster (30 July 2016 at 15:36), I had noticed that the new Regulation refers to "an on-demand programme service" rather than a television service, seemingly encompassing on-demand radio. Many media outlets this week have the same news agency story that claims iPlayer Radio is not covered, but the BBC and TV Licensing sites don't say this explicitly. However, isn't there a previous Regulation that exempted equipment used only for receiving sound broadcasts (making it legal even to listen to TV sound without a licence as well as Freeview radio)? Is this what makes it OK to listen to on-demand radio? I would be interested if anyone knows the correct legal answer.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Jonathan.
Please see this link: http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/bbc-iplayer-and-the-tv-licence
If you click to expand the "Will I need a TV licence for all on-demand programmes?" expansion button, you'll see the following:
"You will need to be covered by a licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand – including catch-up TV – on BBC iPlayer. There will be just two exceptions – watching S4C TV on demand and listening to radio. There may be other exceptions in the future."

Brian Ronald said...

Which legislation is changing, and where can I read it? None of the news outlets have mentioned this, and the BBC simply said "the law is changing" without bothering to tell anybody *which* law.

Admin said...

Hello Brian.
Please see this earlier post, which links to the new 2016 Regulations:
http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/tv-licence-legislation-extended-to.html