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Exclusive: Gay culture secretary says the BBC must be prevented from having a monopoly of the licence fee

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  1. The man is talking utter bollocks. ITV is struggling with advertising revenue, but is totally unwilling to provide any kind of public service broadcasting. Children’s television has been all but withdrawn, documentaries are playing to the gallery, and any broadcasting of even mediocre quality is now bookended by “sponsored by” advertising. If these people cannot generate even the most basic of non-commercial programming, why the fuck should we pay for it?

    The BBC’s remit has always been to provide a balanced output that did not have to rely on populist or ratings-based standards; material that would be broadcast on merit and standards rather than whether Simon Cowell is in it, or the lead actress gets her tits out.

    Commercial TV does what it says on the tin. It lives or dies on revenue. If it is incapable of supporting itself, so be it. That’s business. You can be sure if ITV dies, there will be others rushing in to pick it’s bones and replace it with equally stomach-turning dross, but hopefully more saleable to the brain-dead masses glued to their plasmas than their predecessors.

    The BBC however is a sickly child that will always require nurturing, but will also bring great material worth watching, as long as it doesn’t have the constant financial sword of Damocles hanging over it’s head. Leave them to get on and do what they do best.

    My only suggestion is that now that over 99% of the country own a television, the licence fee should be abolished, and the lost revenue be replaced straight out of government coffers. This would immediately increase funds when the TV licensing quango and it’s money-grabbing Rottweilers are disbanded.

  2. Downloading an mp3 is, according to this Bradshaw chap, “digital anarchy”.

    WTF?!

    Soon we’ll all be “digital terrorists” for watching a movie. What century do these people live in? And why are they so behoved to the music and film industry? How much are they “donating” to the Labour party?

    If anyone’s a pirate it ain’t me.

  3. Laim: Who do you think runs the British Board of Film Censors? The film and music industries donate generously both as taxes, and as funders of the Labour party. Unfortunately Pirate Bay declined to comment.

  4. The license fee is a tax to pay for the BBC. I’m damned sure that I’m not going to pay a tax to fund commercial stations, so if it’s too much for the BBC, then I want the change!!!

    And if I don’t get the change, I’ll stop paying the license fee altogether. It’s easy enough to get rid of my TV… when I want to watch BBC I can instead watch it for free, on-line, where there’s no requirement (for the moment) to pay the license fee tax.

  5. tsuchan: Erm.. I beg to differ. If you have a device capable of receiving television (either transmitted or otherwise) – you have to have a licence.

  6. An annual statutory instrument in 2004 (I think) effectively made streaming require a license. (Damn them… such a huge change, but it didn’t even require a word’s discussion in the Commons). But watching the programs half-an-hour later on iPlayer doesn’t *yet* require a TV license.

    About the “capable of receiving” bit… that’s the thing about defining TV apparatus, which is essentially covered by old legislation (“Broadcasting Act”?) from the 1960s or 70s. The 2003 (I think) statutory instrument to the Communications act clarified specifically that computers don’t fall in that definition.

    So in summary:
    – If you have a TV (working or not, used or not) it requires a license.
    – If you have a TV card in your PC, which receives a signal from an aerial, that also requires a license.
    – If you watch essentially live TV, on a PC, mobile phone or whatever, you need a license.

    But, if you watch non-live TV, and you don’t have a TV set (working or otherwise) on the premises, you don’t currently need a TV license.

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