The law around the licence fee is changing tomorrow. It is now illegal to watch BBC programmes on demand, including on the iPlayer, without paying the £145.50 annual fee.
Here is what you need to know:
Do I need to do anything if I already have a licence?
No. If your household is already covered to watch live TV, you are also able to watch the iPlayer also.
What if I don’t currently pay the licence fee?
If you want to watch the iPlayer legally, you will need to pay £145.40 for the annual licence fee if your household currently does not do so.
What if I don't pay the licence fee but carry on watching the iPlayer?
You risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 plus legal costs and/or compensation.
Does the law change apply to all devices and providers?
Yes. The licence fee website lists as examples:
- TV sets (including smart TVs)
Laptops and desktop computers
Tablets, mobile phones and other portable devices
Digital boxes or PVRs (such as Sky, Virgin Media or BT Vision)
Freeview, Freesat or YouView
How will the BBC know if I’m watching the iPlayer illegally?
We don’t know exactly. The Daily Mail today raises fears that policing of the new system could breach people’s privacy.
Technology expert David McClelland told the paper that the system may require officials to monitor domestic internet use.
He said: “I’m stumped as to how else a van outside my house would be able to tell if I’m watching Strictly Come Dancing in bed on my iPhone if it wasn’t looking at my Wi-Fi usage patterns.”
City A.M. has asked the BBC for more information on detection.
What you need to know