According to the BBC, you need a licence to watch ‘live’ TV on your computer
If you go the BBC website, you can watch a fair selection of past programmes via the ‘iPlayer’. Great idea. It caters for just about as much TV as I can be bothered to watch.
But this morning, I clicked on the ‘watch live’ button on the BBC website. Actually, no I didn’t (and this has a bearing). I clicked on a link labeled ‘Live BBC News channel’.
I went through to page playing BBC Breakfast news in a player, just like iPlayer. Only at the bottom, it told me that I needed a licence to watch ‘tv as it’s being broadcast’.
Interesting. So, assuming I didn’t have a TV licence already, that would mean I’m already breaking the law by following that link? How long do I have to watch it to be guilty?
And does it also mean if I have one of those Tivo-style things and I watch everything with a 10 second delay I’m not actually watching it ‘as its being broadcast’?
Plenty to think about, while I listened to the BBC Breakfast presenters and posted on my blog. Has the law changed regarding ‘TV receiving equipment’? Is my MacBook really a piece of equipment capable of receiving TV pictures? And of course, the fun part – how could anyone ever enforce this?
Try to imagine the grey men arriving at the door: “Good afternoon, Sir. Our records show that someone watched 15 minutes of live BBC TV from the IP address associated with your ISP account registered to this address”?
And the reply: “Probably. This is Starbucks…” .
And here’s an additional thought: given that the warning isn’t located at the point where you click the ‘Live BBC news channel’ link but on the page with the ‘live TV’ picture, isn’t this some form of entrapment? By the time you’ve read the message, you’ve broken the law (according to the BBC). I can’t see this standing up in court, can you?
Oh, and finally. It seems its ‘licence’. With a damned ‘c’ ok? A ‘c’. Remember. I had to go through and change it. Which will knacker up the Google indexing of this post (not to mention miss out half the people searching this key phrase with the other spelling). But at least I’ll get it right the next time it comes up in one of those infuriating ‘how thick is everyone?’ spelling tests.