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TV Licence fines to substantially increase and could double if household has Sky, Netflix, BT TV, or Amazon

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In last week's White Paper on the future of the BBC, the Culture Secretary; John Whittingdale confirmed that watching TV without a valid TV licence will continue to be a criminal offence. At present, 13% (approx 180,000 cases) that go before the magistrates each year are in relation to TV licence evasion.

 

In the consultation paper it was stated that 'more guidance' was required in relation to this offence together with 'proposed culpability factors'.

 

Presently, the Sentencing Council are undertaking a large-scale revamp of sentencing rules for 27 common offences dealt with by the magistrates and if approval is given, the new sentences will take effect in the autumn.

 

Yesterday, it was announced that substantial changes are being proposed by the Sentencing Council in relation to TV licence evasion. These proposals (if approved) could see many of the fines significantly increased, and in many cases....doubled. The most significant part of the Sentencing Council's proposals concerns the new 'culpability factors'. Under the proposal, the crime will be considered more serious if the individual:

 

Has not tried to buy a licence;

 

If they have tried to evade detection;

 

Have additional subscription television service (Sky, BT TV, Netflix or Amazon)

 

The effect will be that JPs will consider that an individual who is a Sky, Netflix, Amazon or BT TV subscriber will have committed a Category Two crime rather than the lesser Category Three offence for which they would currently be guilty.

 

For individuals who have failed to pay for a TV licence for more than six months the offence will be Category One, which would mean the fine would be at the top of the Band B range.

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The most significant part of the Sentencing Council's proposals concerns the new 'culpability factors'. Under the proposal, the crime will be considered more serious if the individual:

 

Has not tried to buy a licence;

 

Has tried to evade detection;

 

Has additional subscription television service (Sky, BT TV, Netflix or Amazon)

 

 

In relation to the culpability factor of trying to 'evade detection,' I can only assume that this means that it will no longer be the case that an individual can advise TV Licensing that they remove the implied right of access to the TV Licence enquiry agent visiting the property.

 

This could be very interesting as it impacts on trespass laws etc.

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Apparently BBC income is down by a huge amount, as people now say they don't watch live TV, but use catch up services. If this is the case, with thousands of households, then i am not sure how practical this is. They have to catch households watching live TV output and that is not easy i would have thought.

 

I think they would be better off scrapping the licence as it will become more difficult with technology. People are and will access TV services via portable devices and not via aerials or digital TV services.

 

Government have copped out of making the difficult decision, which is to recognise that the current finance model is bust and needed to be changed.


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Adding to BA's argument if this becomes criminal then the Police could become involved as it is a 'crime' now, no need for the notice as it would have no effect.

 

Would they then use s17 to enter and search as a crime is has been committed?

 

Why?

 

'There is material evidence on the premises that is likely to aid a criminal investigation.'


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In last week's White Paper on the future of the BBC, the Culture Secretary; John Whittingdale confirmed that watching TV without a valid TV licence will continue to be a criminal offence.

 

To avoid any confusion, the present position, is that watching a TV without a valid TV licence is considered a criminal offence and this position will remain the same under the new proposals. It had been hoped that the government would decriminalise this offence. It now seems certain that this will not happen.

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Is the white paper available on-line BA ?


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Now for some more bad news:

 

Under the proposals, it would seem that satellite (i.e. Sky), cable and internet TV companies will be made to pass on details of their subscribers to the Corporations fee collecting arm; TV Licensing. I have asked for further information on this proposal and when received, I will post up details.

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reminds me of the old days when retailers were prescribed to inform the authorities of every TV or radio sale.


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To avoid any confusion, the present position, is that watching a TV without a valid TV licence is considered a criminal offence and this position will remain the same under the new proposals. It had been hoped that the government would decriminalise this offence. It now seems certain that this will not happen.

 

Not quite so actually. Currently, the watching of live TV without a licence is an offence. It is perfectly legal to watch Catch-Up TV via iPlayer, ITV hub, etc... as well as many programmes on Amazon, Netflix etc.... with no licence at all. Streaming live TV is obviously also an offence, even if not accessed via a television, but watched on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop and such like.

 

I haven't read the bill, but as UB pointed out, legislating against the watching of programmes put out via Amazon and Netflix etc.... which are not being shown live would be a logistical nightmare. It would also then call into account much of the content on You Tube and countless other areas of the internet, and it would be very easy just to go on the internet and watch the same content from another country - would this also be illegal?

 

Surely the most sensible way forward would be to do away with the licence entirely, and make the BBC entirely subscription based as Sky, Virgin, BT Vision etc... already are.

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Thanks, BA a little light reading.

 

I think that this is the way it will go CD.

A contentious argument i know, but auntie BBC seems to be the only source of innovative quality TV at the moment.

I think mainly due to the fact that they do not have to chase ratings. It will be a shame IMO.


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It would be very interesting to see what survived, especially when other unlicensed areas of the BBC, like their radio stations are taken into consideration. I'd miss Radio 4 more than most of their TV programmes to be honest. Their news ceased being biased ages ago, and it would be fascinating to see if 'quality drama' and good documentaries survived - if people want it, they'd pay for it in my opinion. It certainly seems unfair to me that all other channels have to be commercially viable, yet the BBC retains this privileged position.

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I think it is good to have a channel that does not have to be commercially viable, gives them the opportunity to experiment.

 

Otherwise, you end up with the programs being made to accommodate the LCD, or imported from America(which is the same thing) iMO.


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I agree about radio 4 though.


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Now for some more bad news:

 

Under the proposals, it would seem that satellite (i.e. Sky), cable and internet TV companies will be made to pass on details of their subscribers to the Corporations fee collecting arm; TV Licensing. I have asked for further information on this proposal and when received, I will post up details.

 

It's only bad news for the criminals.

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Their news ceased being biased ages ago ........

 

I actually meant to write the opposite of this. Their news ceased being unbiased ages ago ........

 

I think it is good to have a channel that does not have to be commercially viable, gives them the opportunity to experiment.

 

Otherwise, you end up with the programs being made to accommodate the LCD, or imported from America(which is the same thing) iMO.

 

Yes, I can see that argument, though if enough people want something with a more specialist appeal, they would pay for it IMO. There's also the argument of why should we pay for something we don't view? So if people could manage happily without the BBC, why should they have to pay for it?

 

It's only bad news for the criminals.

 

Yes, I agree in part. However, data is an extremely valuable commodity nowadays. If Sky, Amazon, BT, Virgin etc... not to mention all the other ISP's are to 'donate' our personal information and details to the BBC, I'm not so sure this is a good thing. It would be interesting to know what Privacy Policy would accompany it to stop yet more data farming.

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What i dont understand is why people who dont watch the bbc's shows/radio/products have to pay for it. If i choose to subscribe to sky/BT etc or even detune the tv and only watch itv or channel 4, why should i pay for the BBC?


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Here is what they say >>

 

 

'Do I need a TV Licence to watch live TV programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands?

Yes, you need a TV Licence if you watch or record live TV online, no matter where the programme is broadcast from. This includes programmes from outside the UK and Channel Islands that are streamed online, such as sporting events and foreign shows. I guess this goes for all channels from all around the world then!

 

Live TV means any programme you watch or record at the same time as it’s being shown on TV or an online TV service. If you only ever watch on demand programmes, you don’t need a TV Licence. On demand includes catch-up TV, streaming or downloading programmes after they’ve been shown on live TV, or programmes available online before being shown on TV.'

 

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/watching-online-and-on-mobile-devices-TOP14


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Yes, that has been the way it works for quite some time MM, it's the situation they are wanting to change. I agree with renegadeimp - it should be subscription based.

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I actually meant to write the opposite of this. Their news ceased being unbiased ages ago ........

 

 

 

Yes, I can see that argument, though if enough people want something with a more specialist appeal, they would pay for it IMO. There's also the argument of why should we pay for something we don't view? So if people could manage happily without the BBC, why should they have to pay for it?

 

 

 

Yes, I agree in part. However, data is an extremely valuable commodity nowadays. If Sky, Amazon, BT, Virgin etc... not to mention all the other ISP's are to 'donate' our personal information and details to the BBC, I'm not so sure this is a good thing. It would be interesting to know what Privacy Policy would accompany it to stop yet more data farming.

 

Yes it is an argument which wil run and run, I suppose if money were not so tight, or some of these corporations were not so greedy people may just say, hey lets have it and be damned, maybe.

 

Also, I don't think it is about giving people what they want strange as it may sound. One of the things I love about radio 4 is that you get what you are given.

Sometimes something comes on and you think, oh god this is going to be boring., basically, because you have not thought about it before. Then to your surprise, you find out it is really eye opening and you have a new interest and knowledge you would not have otherwise acquired.


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Well the Government do allow Channel 5 to have adverts so why not BBC or are they too frightened to rock the boat.


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Going to say also that i don't think the news has ever been 100% unbiased as it is always affected by the way the person or the media reports it, even with the best will in the world, the only way to have total accuracy is to be there yourself. But I think the BBC have built up a degree of respect amongst its audience worldwide for its accuracy and independence. I do agree it has taken a few knocks lately, however.


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At just shy of 40p a day I'm inclined to agree with you. I'm happy paying the licence, but I understand fully the point of view of those who are not.

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Well the Government do allow Channel 5 to have adverts so why not BBC or are they too frightened to rock the boat.

 

Bit of an anachronism that PT ? Adverts on the BBC, whatever next. :)


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I do agree it has taken a few knocks lately, however.

 

A few knocks? It's failed entirely to report massively newsworthy events! I think it's been knocked out, let alone knocked recently. Getting rid of Laura Kuenssberg and Andrew Neil would be a good start, as well as Murdoch's little plant there, though I had to raise a smile when neither Michael Portillo nor Alan Johnson had even heard about the alleged election fraud last week when asked about it by Andrew Neil.

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