The UK TV Licence iPlayer loophole lie

On September 1st 2016 the rules requiring a TV Licence change. This is the so called “closing the iPlayer loophole” change.

The problem with that statement is that it is entirely fictional. There has never been an ‘iPlayer loophole’, yet it is repeated time and again by Government officials, the media and representatives from ‘TV Licensing’ itself.

So when is a loophole not a loophole?

When agendas are involved and they choose to be economical with the truth. A loophole is not a loophole when you are simply doing something explicitly permitted by the law.

Watching any catch-up TV shown after live transmission was originally and very clearly defined in the previous version of the law.

However this is how the truth should be spoken:

Viewers who acted perfectly legally are in fact tainted as ‘spongers’ or even possibly ‘criminals’. As it turned out people were not that bothered about being restricted to only watching post-broadcast TV. So we think we may have lost 1% of our potential audience.

Evidentially, ‘iPlayer loophole’ is a better sound bite, even though it is wholly inaccurate.

Why is calling something a ‘loophole’ such a problem?

Because it makes people who watched TV perfectly legally then appear as if they have committed a crime, and are somehow causing a problem or a financial hole in the money paid by others.

Calling something a loophole implies evasion and intent.

“A loophole is an ambiguity or inadequacy in a system, such as a law or security, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the intent, implied or explicitly stated, of the system.”

Copied from

But as I have explained (and is easy to look up and confirm) the so called loophole is in-fact a specifically defined exemption stated in plain English and meant for the lay-person to understand.

From the TV Licensing website (prior to September 1st 2016 change)

Do I need a TV Licence if I only ever watch on demand services (e.g. catch-up TV), DVDs or downloaded programmes?
No you don’t. As you’re not watching or recording live TV, you don’t need a licence.
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 live TV.


The TV Licensing organisation presumes that anyone without a TV Licence should have one, this is factually incorrect. This groups two distinctly different sets of people together:

  1. People who have no need for a TV licence as the existing rules mean one is not legally required - either by exempted reason or they simply do not watch TV.
  2. Those guilty of the crime of requiring a TV licence but have chosen not to purchase one.

These are two very different groups of people, the first are law abiding but the second clearly are not.

Many people who fall into the first group end up owning a TV licence even though they may not own a TV. This is because of the misinformation (often bullying) methods employed by TV Licensing. If the suggestion of bullying seems exaggerated, simply search online and read the stories of harassment or watch YouTube videos of victims being told by agents of the licensing authority they will be sent to court.

Whilst my own mother (66 years old) does require a TV licence and does own one, she has said to me that even if she no longer watched any form of TV — she would continue to buy the licence as “it is easier than having to deal with the problems.”

Surely it an unacceptable practise that leads people to feel they have no choice but to pay for something they are not required to purchase?

Where is the regulator to help people?

This is a good question, unfortunately there is no good answer.

There are regulators authorised by the government for energy, banking, etc and whilst these may not always be seen as successful they are at least attempting to regulate mis-selling, increase competition and reduce costs to the consumer.

Who regulates the TV Licensing organisation — who polices the policeman?

Why are they able to get away with bad practises with no change in sight. Why has the ‘iPlayer loophole’ phrase been allowed to be used despite it having no basis in fact or legal standing.


Never assume what you are told, check the facts, arm yourself with the truth. Do not let the bullies win.

1st September 2016 TV Licensing changes

Check if the changes to the rules affect you.

If you require a TV Licence please purchase one (I do NOT advocate breaking the law). My concerns regard; the lies, deceit, bullying and poor standards employed by an organisation that is only required to collect revenue where appropriate.

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