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TVL Myths

Exploding the myths about TV Licensing

Exploding TVL myths

One of the reasons why TV Licensing is still able to operate, despite its questionable methods and lack of remit is public misunderstanding. People believe things about TVL that aren't true.

We've done everything we can to keep this site accurate, but this page contains a Top Ten of TVL myths for your entertainment.

Top Ten TVL Myths

  1. Myth: TVL is a Government Agency
    Not true - TVL is a BBC brandname, and a department of the BBC

  2. Myth: You need a Licence just to own a TV
    No, the Licence is to watch/record (live) TV broadcasts or watch/download TV from BBC iPlayer (but not Radio or S4C)

  3. Myth: TV Licence staff have special legal powers
    Not true - TVL and their staff have no legal powers or justification for their day-to-day harassment work

  4. Myth: TVL need to know if you don't have a Licence
    TVL already know that you don't have a Licence, so let's not pretend. What they want is to bring you into their "process" and get information about you

  5. Myth: Just tell TVL that you don't need a Licence and that will sort it out - it'll take 5 minutes
    Telling them you don't need a Licence just doesn't work - they won't believe you

  6. Myth: TVL have to check claims that a Licence is not required
    There is no legal requirement for checking, and it goes against basic principles of justice (presumption of innocence). It's not a claim, anyway

  7. Myth: TVL have TV detectors that they use to track evasion
    No. There are no TV detectors in day-to-day use. No detector evidence has ever been used in Court

  8. Myth: The TV Licence money is shared by the BBC and other broadcasters
    Not true. As of November 2016, no other broadcaster receives Licence fee funds and they never have

  9. Myth: TVL staff are simply trying to do their jobs as fairly as possible
    Some of them, maybe. But what chance do they stand when the whole system they work for is unlawful? There's also ample evidence of wrong-doing by other TVL staff, and some have been succesfully prosecuted for various offences, including fraud and violence

  10. Myth: You can be imprisoned for Licence evasion
    No. The only penalty is a fine, and the typical fine is around £150. Prison is not an option. In exceptional cases, where a previous fine goes unpaid, it is possible for any offender to be sent to prison, typically for 7-14 days

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