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What streams are legal with no TV licence?

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esuhl
esuhl Posts: 9,409 Forumite
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You need a TV licence to use iPlayer or receive live TV broadcasts. So you can't, say, watch a live web stream of Channel 4 without a licence, right?

But what about other streams like parliamentlive.tv? Is that just a live internet stream, or a TV channel you need a licence for?

What if you're watching a live feed of a random webcam, and the BBC suddenly broadcast it live too. Does that require a licence?

How is anyone supposed to know what live internet streams require a TV licence and which don't?

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  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 5,186 Forumite
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    Good luck in catching many with that one.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,209 Forumite
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    edited 15 March 2019 at 11:33AM
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    esuhl wrote: »
    You need a TV licence to use iPlayer or receive live TV broadcasts. So you can't, say, watch a live web stream of Channel 4 without a licence, right?
    Correct.
    But what about other streams like parliamentlive.tv? Is that just a live internet stream, or a TV channel you need a licence for?
    You do not need a Licence to watch parliament.tv - as you say, it is not a TV channel.

    What if you're watching a live feed of a random webcam, and the BBC suddenly broadcast it live too. Does that require a licence?
    No. It is not about the content, per se, but whether the actual stream is or is not the internet version of a (UK) TV channel that is broadcast concurrently with it.
    How is anyone supposed to know what live internet streams require a TV licence and which don't?
    Based on the rule above, it is actually fairly simple and in reality only the bigger broadcasters have the technical and financial might to operate a concurrent Internet stream for their channels. (At least, for now). Therefore if your desired Internet streaming service is not operated by BBC, ITV, C4, C5, UKTV, or Sky/Now TV, then you probably don't need a Licence to watch it.

    It's interesting how events (the desire to watch proceedings in Parliament) can place a slightly opaque rule under scrutiny.
  • Chino
    Chino Posts: 2,029 Forumite
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    Cornucopia wrote: »
    but whether the actual stream is or is not the internet version of a (UK) TV channel that is broadcast concurrently with it.
    The location of the channel is irrelevant:

    "Do I need a TV Licence to watch live TV programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands?
    You need a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, no matter where they are broadcast or distributed from. This includes satellite or online streamed programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands, such as sporting events and foreign shows."
    https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/watching-online-and-on-mobile-devices-TOP14
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,209 Forumite
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    edited 15 March 2019 at 10:59AM
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    Chino wrote: »
    The location of the channel is irrelevant:

    "Do I need a TV Licence to watch live TV programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands?
    You need a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, no matter where they are broadcast or distributed from. This includes satellite or online streamed programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands, such as sporting events and foreign shows."
    https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/watching-online-and-on-mobile-devices-TOP14

    The legislation says otherwise, and so did TVL up to March 2016. (The law did not change in March 2016).
    You need to be covered by a licence if you watch TV online at the same time as it's being broadcast on conventional TV in the UK or the Channel Islands.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20160307001242/http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one

    BBC-TV Licensing does not make the law, it merely interprets it, and it has an implicit duty to do so fairly and impartially (which it arguably fails).

    I asked them some while ago for an explanation about streaming from outside the UK (which might have helped determine the truth), but their response was unintelligible, so I gave up. The more compelling evidence suggests that their historic view was the correct one, so that is how I see it.

    The number of people whose Licence status depends solely on this issue must be minuscule, so I don't really understand why they are so difficult over it (in either direction).
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281 Forumite
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    Legal to watch illegal streams without a TV licence .

    By illegal i mean services restreaming UK paid for content via IPTV or using products like Kodi to stream .
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,209 Forumite
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    JJ_Egan wrote: »
    Legal to watch illegal streams without a TV licence .

    By illegal i mean services restreaming UK paid for content via IPTV or using products like Kodi to stream .

    Illegal streams are... well... illegal.

    You may or may not require a TV Licence to watch them, though - depends on the circumstances.
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