Here in the UK we are required to hold a TV license if we operate a receiver. The actual wording on the TV Licensing website is:
If you use a TV or any other device to receive or record TV programmes (for example, a VCR, set-top box, DVD recorder or PC with a broadcast card) – you need a TV Licence. You are required by law to have one.
If I have a television in my house, how can they prove that I use it to receive or record TV programmes? The reality is that they don’t need to. The fact that I have a TV and the capability to receive a signal is sufficient proof. This seems reasonable to me. After all, who would have a TV with an aerial and not use it? That’s the simple bit.
The BBC are now streaming the World Cup football matches over the Internet which means that PC’s have suddenly become receivers of television transmissions. The BBC has issued warnings to companies that they will now need a TV license if any of their employees watch that stream. Now the rule of, “Have a receiver, need a license” has become exceedingly cloudy. As Internet streaming gets more common, it’s only a matter of time before the legalities of this get put to the test.