TV licensing law (beyond the basics)

esuhl
esuhl Posts: 9,409
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I know that you need a TV licence if you want to receive live TV programmes or use iPlayer. And that it is the premises which are licenced, rather than individuals.

So... presumably it would be legal to go to a friends' house or a pub or your work (or any building with a TV licence) and download whatever you wanted from iPlayer to view at home?

Pushing the boundaries even more, would it be legal for a friend to download iPlayer content for you, and then let you download/stream it remotely? Is this any different (in law) to someone recording a TV programme and then lending you the VHS tape?

It's just one of those things that I've been wondering about in the back of my mind for years, yet I've never seen it mentioned on any "money saving" guides.

I've always found the law rather weird and fascinating... :p

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  • Xbigman
    Xbigman Posts: 3,879
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    There are some big threads where this has come up before.

    It is an address that is licenced, not an individual. Viewing live TV at a licenced address is perfectly legal for anyone.

    Copying programmes for others (or lending tapes/DVD's) is not covered by TV licensing laws. That comes under copyright law and is illegal.

    The difference between the two is that Capita/TV licensing think you are a criminal if you don't have a TV licence, even if you don't need one.
    Those that enforce copyright laws don't care about odd programs being copied. They are only interested if you are selling/lending to the public for profit.

    Its more simple that it at first appears




    Darren
    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

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  • HWW
    HWW Posts: 103 Forumite
    Or to put it another way - record an entire evenings TV viewing - on a Freeview recorder, at a location with a TV licence, then watch that Evening's recorded entertainment at a location without a TV licence the next evening - is 100% legal as regards a TV licence! - It is probably in breach of copyright of course....
  • lammy82
    lammy82 Posts: 594
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    esuhl wrote: »
    So... presumably it would be legal to go to a friends' house or a pub or your work (or any building with a TV licence) and download whatever you wanted from iPlayer to view at home?

    To be clear, if you use the iPlayer app to play back that content then I think you would be in breach of the TV licencing laws as you would still be 'using iPlayer'.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    edited 27 March 2018 at 4:43PM
    lammy82 wrote: »
    To be clear, if you use the iPlayer app to play back that content then I think you would be in breach of the TV licencing laws as you would still be 'using iPlayer'.

    It would certainly be a grey area. And you would also have had to acknowledge to iPlayer that you had a Licence.

    You could use a different process to download the content - something that creates MP4 files, for example. There is also an amount of BBC content on Youtube, UKTV player, Netflix and Amazon that does not require a Licence to view.

    TV Licensing is incredibly complex for something that the Powers That Be expect every adult to understand and comply with. A certain amount of that appears to be due to the BBC being quite creative (some might say devious) in what they say and don't say about how the system is supposed to work. Arguably, the BBC is not complying with the general principle that a public body making house-to-house enquiries should be completely transparent in how it operates.

    In the final analysis, the relevant body of law is massive, and in certain areas unclear. The compliance of TV Licensing/BBC with other relevant law is also patchy in places. And they are not averse to abuses of process in their prosecutions, either.

    None of which is conducive to public understanding and cooperation, I wouldn't have thought.
  • House_Martin
    House_Martin Posts: 1,462 Forumite
    edited 27 March 2018 at 10:11PM
    Xbigman wrote: »
    There are some big threads where this has come up before.

    It is an address that is licenced, not an individual. Viewing live TV at a licenced address is perfectly legal for anyone.

    Copying programmes for others (or lending tapes/DVD's) is not covered by TV licensing laws. That comes under copyright law and is illegal.

    The difference between the two is that Capita/TV licensing think you are a criminal if you don't have a TV licence, even if you don't need one.
    Those that enforce copyright laws don't care about odd programs being copied. They are only interested if you are selling/lending to the public for profit.

    Its more simple that it at first appears




    Darren
    But Capita are usually correct in thinking that people without a TV licence are in fact criminals.
    They took 200,000 to court last year, thats a hell of a lot of TV licence theft , and every year its increasing as more and more want to save the tV licence fee of £150 and buy "something nice " like Amazon Prime and Netflix whos yearly subscriptions add up to the TV licence fee more or less.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    edited 28 March 2018 at 9:27AM
    But Capita are usually correct in thinking that people without a TV licence are in fact criminals.
    They may well "think" that, but what Capita "thinks" is of no consequence. The official BBC statistic is that 16% of households required a Licence when challenged. Unless you have good evidence of that being incorrect then I don't think you should be making contrary statements. If the BBC had lied about it (for reasons unknown) it would be quite serious as it's the sort of thing they will have stated to Parliament.
    They took 200,000 to court last year, thats a hell of a lot of TV licence theft , and every year its increasing...
    I'm not sure that there is an upward trend, as such. The number varies every year, presumably based on a wide variety of factors. Personally, I don't think that c. 180,000 is a lot, given that the number of unlicensed homes is probably in the region of 3.2m. A prosecution rate of 5.5% is not great, when they have a list of all unlicensed homes to work from. If the "upon challenge" evasion rate was 16%, as stated, then that might explain it.

    They also let off about half the evaders they "catch".
    ...Amazon Prime and Netflix whos yearly subscriptions add up to the TV licence fee more or less.

    What's the relevance of the combined cost of Amazon and Netflix? Do most people have both? What if they do?
  • House_Martin
    House_Martin Posts: 1,462 Forumite
    edited 28 March 2018 at 9:59AM
    You re right, prosecution rate of 5.5% is rubbish. Does nt help with online websites giving their expert tuition in how to deal with Capita when they come a knocking.
    In the old days the fear of a van with an aerial on the roof and a n advert in the local press was enough to con the populace.
    Relevance of the combined Netflix/Amazon Prime is that like many they think its Ok to spend £150 a year on the goggle box but the attraction of non stop movies crapola from the USA is that the chavs can now have it both ways. All the films and free postage from Ama ZON Prime and all they have to do is slam the door on a Capita employee and tell him/her he`s trespassing or better still make no comment at all. .They can continue watching their usual Freeview live scheduled and the BBC of course. Its just basic economics.
    Job done , everyones a winner sadly ( except the BBC ) including the dodgy websites with their lucrative Adshare deals
    By the way, do you not consider that what I see on a regular basis with licence thieves is "evidence ". I m prepared to go in any court and swear on the Holy Bible my version of the truth.
    That is usually classed as "evidence " is nt it
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    edited 28 March 2018 at 11:03AM
    You re right, prosecution rate of 5.5% is rubbish. Does nt help with online websites giving their expert tuition in how to deal with Capita when they come a knocking.
    Citizens have a legal right not to engage with Capita (and long may it remain so). Nothing you or I might think or say about that has any bearing on the matter.

    If the BBC/Capita didn't persistently over-state and over-reach their authority, then perhaps the web denizens who oppose them would be less enthusiastic about it? I'm not aware of any websites giving advice explicitly to evaders, so perhaps you could name them for me, so I can have a look at what they are saying, and possibly alert the BBC if any laws are being broken.
    In the old days the fear of a van with an aerial on the roof was enough to con the populace.
    Indeed. Why does the populace need to be conned though? Why can't the "authorities" just operate fairly, honestly and within their legislated powers?
    Relevance of the combined Netflix/Amazon Prime is that like many they think its Ok to spend £150 a year on the goggle box but the attraction of non stop movies crapola from the USA is that the chavs can now have it both ways. All the films and free postage from Ama ZON Prime and all they have to do is slam the door on a Capita employee and tell him/her he`s trespassing or better still make no comment at all. .They can continue watching their usual Freeview live scheduled and the BBC of course.
    Why would they buy Netflix and Amazon and not use them?

    Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons, the law around the TV Licence is incredibly complicated, and not much of it goes in favour of the BBC/TVL/Capita. The simple fact is that under UK law, no one is obliged to answer questions (certainly not those posited by a mere commercial agent like Capita). If their process is primarily based upon obtaining such a response, then without it they are what lawyers would call "stuffed". That's simply how it is.

    Unfortunately #2, if you do not have an insight into Licence law complexity, you'll be forever scratching your head about why don't they do this... and why do they allow that to happen...? I won't pretend that it all makes sense even if you do understand the basic legal position, but it makes more sense that way than otherwise.
    By the way, do you not consider that what I see on a regular basis with licence thieves is "evidence ". I m prepared to go in any court and swear on the Holy Bible my version of the truth.
    That is usually classed as "evidence " is nt it
    No. It's not a question of whether what you have witnessed is true or not, it's a question of compliance with relevant legal processes. If you're saying you want Capita to trundle you off to Court to give the sole evidence of evasion against specific households you have attended, then there are (at least) four issues with that:-

    1. You don't have a name to prosecute. This has to be not just "A" name, for example, from the Utility account, but THE name of a specific adult who has evaded the Licence.

    2. You entered the premises to read meters, and undertaking surveillance even for a criminal offence under that pretext is probably a breach of RIPA, HRA and PACE.

    3. Your data on the validity of the Licence (or not) at the premises in question is probably out of date, and therefore unreliable. Your possession of that data such that you can compare it with the situation inside their home is probably a breach of the DPA.

    4. If, for the evaders or for LLF people who would prefer not to be subject to unauthorised surveillance in their own homes, it becomes simply a matter of excluding MDS from their homes, either using common law or by changing energy supplier, then that is going to be what they will do. MDS will be the losers in the long term, I would have thought?

    If you're saying that you want to swear an oath to gain statistical credibility for what you have witnessed, then it doesn't really work like that. Again, I'm happy enough that what you've experienced is true. The question is how representative it is in the face of official statistics that suggest it isn't very representative.
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