New UK TV licencing laws will come into effect on the 1st September 2016, closing the so called “BBC iPlayer loophole”.
Current UK TV licencing laws require you to have a UK TV Licence to watch any live TV channels on any device within the UK.
But these law did not apply to catch up Tv services such as BBC iPlayer.
So people could not pay a UK TV Licence but still watch UK TV via iPlayer on catch up perfectly legally, and for free.
This has meant many people have been watching UK TV content without paying the UK TV Licence, costing the BBC millions in revenue, at a time when its finances have been under pressure to make savings. These saving have meant a cut in service,s most notably in sporting rights, such as the loss f Formula One, live Open golf…
However, on the 7 July 2016, the UK Government have updated the Communications Act 2003 which makes it a legal requirement to have a UK TV Licence even if you only watch UK TV on Catch Up services.
This new section of law comes into effect on the 1st September 2016.
The TV Licensing website has already been amended to state that a UK TV Licence will be needed to watch BBC catch-up services from 1 September 2016. Note that it is BBC catch-up services only (using any device), although:
– S4C TV on demand on BBC iPlayer is excluded
– listening to radio on BBC iPlayer is excluded
How they police this is not known at the moment, but it may involve inputting your UK TV Licence number into your mobile device before being able to access such services. BBC iPlayer services on Sky and Freesat satellite receivers are not expected to be affected-
If you live in Spain, then there is no TV Licence scheme. In Spain you can watch any TV from any country without a TV Licence. So you can legally watch UK TV via satellite (Sky or Freesat) without a UK TV license, as the UK TV license applies only to UK properties. However if you want to watch the iPlayer services on a mobile device in Spain, (using VPN to get around the geo blocking) then you will need a UK TV licence to input in that mobile device to access iPlayer come September 2016.