TVL Demands License for Laptop and WiFi

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by CJB, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. CJB

    CJB Guest

    I've just had an aggressive demand from our 'friends' the TVL for a new
    laptop I've just purchased with Windows Media Centre and a t.v. card.
    However the t.v. reception and display is so damned awful that I am
    seriously thinking of getting the t.v. card removed. This test was at a
    location that is IS licensed for t.v. reception, but anyway I'm damned
    if I'm going to pay for a second license just so that I can use the
    laptop elsewhere - even as a simple computer.

    So please could folk advise me:

    1/ is a license necessary for a t.v. equipped laptop that is used at
    another location even if the t.v. feature itself is not actually being
    used (prior to removal of the t.v. card),

    2/ if the laptop has WiFi is it necessary to have a license for the
    location where the WiFi router is situated if the laptop is used in
    another location that is / is NOT licensed

    Specifically I want to set up a local free WiFi service for a block of
    flats, but do not wish to pay for a t.v. license specifically for the
    room in which the WiFi router will be located.

    Many thanks - CJB.
    CJB, Sep 11, 2006
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  2. CJB

    Mark Horton Guest

    Yes as long as there is a method of receiving off air transmissions.
    The licence is required for where the receiver (your laptop) The WiFi
    router is merely that.
    The WiFi router should not need to be licenced, as it is merely routing
    signals. It is not a receiver. It is like saying you need to have a
    licence for a TV/Radio signal booster, when you only have an FM radio tuner.
    Mark Horton, Sep 11, 2006
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  3. CJB

    CJB Guest

    Damned John Lewis told them after I purchased the thing. CJB.
    CJB, Sep 11, 2006
  4. All letters from the TVL are aggresive. It's in their interests to scare as
    many people as possible to buy a license.

    They threatened a warrant to enter against me once when they forgot to
    update their records after I notified them of a change of address, and I had
    previously ignored their letters (as I'd done nothing wrong). A this point
    I wrote an equally snotty letter back threatening to sue them for wasting my
    time, and pointing out their mistake. Heard nothing more.

    Anyhow, on your issue, I believe it is the presence of gear that can receive
    the signal that's the test. So a video recorder must be licensed even if
    there is no TV. In this case it's unclear to me whether it's the presence
    of the TV card itself, or the TV card plus a computer that constitues a
    piece of equipment a license is required for. (If the TV card isn't plugged
    into a computer it can't actually receive a signal. But if you have a
    computer it could fit into, even if it wasn't plugged into it, I suspect
    you'd be liable.)

    Technically therefore if you take your laptop somewhere else without a
    license you need a license. I struggle to see how they'd know and enforce.

    Wireless shouldn't have anything to do with it unless you stream TV using
    this to other PCs. Within the same property would be OK if you have
    license. To other properties or over the internet would be unwise.
    Piers Finlayson, Sep 11, 2006
  5. CJB

    Jaxtraw Guest

    My god, are the b*st*rds tracking computers as well now? How did they find
    out it has a TV card in it?

    Jaxtraw, Sep 11, 2006
  6. CJB

    [ste parker] Guest

    .... because you have to supply your address whenever you purchase
    equipment capable of receiving a TV signal, ie. the TV card.
    [ste parker], Sep 11, 2006
  7. Next time buy your gear from a dodgy website that doesn't know they have to
    notify the licensing authority when a piece of TV receiving equipment is
    Piers Finlayson, Sep 11, 2006
  8. CJB

    Beck Guest

    They are now required to by law when selling any
    televisions/receivers/freeview boxes etc.
    Beck, Sep 11, 2006
  9. CJB

    Gaz Guest

    No. But, can you show that you are not using it for that purpose? Are you
    'recieving' the tv signal? If not no, but being able to do so at the single
    click of a mouse might not be convincing...

    probably..... If you try to simplify it down, if you had one aerial on the
    roof, and that fed four different apartments, they would all need tv
    licenses, if they all recieved tv.
    think of the router as the aerial, and the laptop as the tv.
    Gaz, Sep 11, 2006
  10. CJB

    CJB Guest

    Mark - thank you for the quick response. So the WiFi router doesn't
    need a license. However if I use the laptop in another location that IS
    licensed then I assume that I'm covered OK. But what if I use the
    laptop in say a cafe or pub with a WiFi hotspot or even on a moving
    train? I can't imagine the latter will be licensed!! And will my home
    license cover the laptop whilst I'm travelling. What about sitting in a
    field or on the beach using a WiFi connection (but not using the t.v.
    feature - which as I said is next to useless)? Many thanks - CJB.
    CJB, Sep 11, 2006
  11. CJB

    Mark Horton Guest

    Same way as they know a person who buys a TV from a shop and takes it to
    an unlicenced premises.

    All purchases of all types of televisions (even PC and laptops with TV
    cards), have to have the name and address of the person who bought the
    item. This is collected at the same time as the info you give for your
    warranty, etc.. Eg at the POS terminal in the shop.

    Places like Tescos and Woolworths ask you to fill out a form. Sometimes
    the staff can't be arsed, and you don't. But it is a legal requirement

    Mark Horton, Sep 11, 2006
  12. CJB

    robert Guest

    Retailers have to provide them with name and address when they sell
    any TV reception equipment - this is not new.

    The charity shop where I help out has now stopped selling 2nd hand
    TV's, VCRs etc because the redtape is too much hassle for the money
    robert, Sep 11, 2006
  13. CJB

    Tx2 Guest

    Only doing what I believe they are legally obligated to do. You could of
    course purchased the laptop from a back street dodgy dealer....
    Tx2, Sep 11, 2006
  14. CJB

    HVB Guest

    IANAL... technically, yes, in most cases you need a licence for it.

    You could tell them that you don't use the tuner to watch or record
    any broadcast programmes - make sure it's not tuned in to anything and
    remove the aerial, if possible. Even better if you can remove the
    tuner card. If you do this you don't need a licence.
    WiFi uses a range of frequencies for which no licence is required.
    You don't need a licence to do this. The problem is solely that your
    laptop has a TV tuner in it.

    HVB, Sep 11, 2006
  15. CJB

    Mark Horton Guest

    Then legally you would be covered by your home licence if you were using
    the laptops own batteries.
    Covered by your home licence until you plug it into a wall socket
    Same as above.
    (but not using the t.v.
    Your best bet would be to remove the card, especially as it is useless

    No card = no receiver = no problem :)

    Mark Horton, Sep 11, 2006
  16. It's the other way around; the licensing authority have to prove that
    you have _configured_ (or intend to configure) the receiving device. So
    if you never tune in your TV you do not need a license. You do not need
    to prove that you don't use it (it's impossible to prove a negative).
    Just send them a polite letter stating that you don't use the TV
    receiver, haven't configured it as such, and don't intend to do either.

    The best thing to do would be simply to uninstall the viewing software.

    I'm also not sure that you need a separate license for a battery-powered
    TV (as which the laptop ought to count!) - it used to be that you could
    use a home license as a roaming license for a TV which was battery
    powered... I wouldn't count on that, though, there have been a few
    changes to the license regs in the last decade.

    Geoff Winkless, Sep 11, 2006
  17. CJB

    Jaxtraw Guest

    Probably best to pay cash and if an address is demanded, have a fake one
    (i.e. somebody else's) ready.

    With the likelihood of broadcast TV whithering on the vine when video on
    demand finally properly kicks off, no doubt the BBC have already got their
    lobbyists ready to demand a PC licence as well. Bastards. I can't comprehend
    why people put up with this Stalinist anachronism, I really can't.

    Jaxtraw, Sep 11, 2006
  18. CJB

    Dougal Guest

    That's true and it's also true that this government has added several
    laws to the statute book which require you to do just that to defend
    Dougal, Sep 11, 2006
  19. Presumably the normal rules apply - if the laptop is 'installed' for the
    purposes of receiving broadcast programmes (can't remember the precise
    wording, no pedants please) then you need a license. With a television
    set you can unplug the aerial and do a few things to help show that it's
    not 'installed' for that purpose. Not sure what you can do with the
    laptop - perhaps remove the card if possible, or else uninstall the
    drivers and disabled the device.

    It's doubtful that the average inspector would understand what you had
    done - they struggle with 'deinstalled' television sets - so might be
    worth making a call to TVL and explaining what you are doing and then
    follow up with a letter. At least then you have it on record.

    Or you could simply inform TVL of the situation and then ignore them,
    safe in the knowledge that you have made the necessary changes. Since
    TVL are unlikely to leave you alone no matter how hard you try and
    assist them, this usually turns out to be the easiest option.
    I don't see that wifi is any business of TVL.
    Chris Lawrence, Sep 11, 2006
  20. CJB

    Mike Civil Guest

    I posed this question to the TVL about a TV being used as a monitor for
    gaming. Their answer was that no license was required as long as the
    equipment wasn't being used to receive TV signals (they also included
    PCs with TV cards in their answer).

    They did ask me to advise them if I was going to do this and that I
    might expect a visit to check up.

    Mike Civil, Sep 11, 2006
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