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To Wonder How The Government Plans to close the "iPlayer loophole"

(56 Posts)
wasonthelist Thu 12-May-16 12:55:31

First of all, I have no problem and no objection to this.

But how will they do it?

Just pass a law and expect everyone to behave?

Or something else - can't see how it's going to work practically.

Mirandawest Thu 12-May-16 12:56:40

I suppose things like using sky need to have a way to know you've paid so it would be similar to that maybe?

TormundGiantsbabe Thu 12-May-16 12:57:25

They would have to password protect iPlayer like Netflix.

FreedomMummy Thu 12-May-16 12:58:18

It will probably be like NowTV, Netflix or Amazon Prime. You'll pay for an account I presume.

wasonthelist Thu 12-May-16 13:00:40

What will they do about houses with multiple devices? - i.e. how many sign-ons per address will they allow?

Justanotherlurker Thu 12-May-16 13:03:09

It would fall on the BBC to implement it how it should have been done at the outset, the bbc didn't want to.

It isn't difficult, and with Netflix etc cutting down on vpn use its not going to eliminate the problem but it will significantly restrict it.

MargaretCavendish Thu 12-May-16 13:22:20

Sky allow four devices, I think? So that's not an unreasonable baseline.

You would obviously be able to get round it with some technical skill: the BBC is unlikely to create some hitherto unknown super-security system. But then you can get round all the restrictions on other paid-for services - Sky, Netflix, etc. - and indeed you can just illegally download all the programmes anyway. It all relies on the fact that while some people will do that, most people won't.

SheHasAWildHeart Thu 12-May-16 13:26:09

It'd be just like NowTV - you get login and password and can use it on a maximum number of devices (I think it's 4).

wasonthelist Thu 12-May-16 13:41:28

I was just (idly I admit) wondering if they would try to make it harder to do - or just rely on the current "don't do it" principle like they do for "old fashioned" TV.

I mean at present (before anyone starts - I am NOT in any way supporting or advocating this) it's pretty easy to watch TV without buying a licence if you are determined.

ChaseAvenal Thu 12-May-16 13:48:31

They're not exactly very good when it comes to enforcing TV licences now, so I figured it'd remain the same. I never used to watch live TV (no working aerial) and only used my TV for gaming and would have been fine with them coming round to check but they never did.

ChaseAvenal Thu 12-May-16 13:50:09

Oh, x-post, yes I basically thought the same as you OP.

Justanotherlurker Thu 12-May-16 13:50:46

I mean at present (before anyone starts - I am NOT in any way supporting or advocating this) it's pretty easy to watch TV without buying a licence if you are determined.

They will put some measures in place, but as you say, it is possible to bypass these restrictions already and they are relying on the majority following the rules rather than the minority. The issue is that the iplayer loophole is turning into a majority issue amongst the younger demographic, and the way people are consuming TV changing people are willing to make sure the money is recouped.

donotreadtheDailyHeil Thu 12-May-16 13:53:23

I was also wondering this. I very rarely watch anything live on my tablet but as a family we often watch things on catch-up, particularly my husband, although he tends to download things to watch on the train. So I wonder how they will treat:

downloads to watch later
live TV

and what they will do about multiple devices (we have a TV, and four tablets between us). But from what people say Sky and Now already have a solution for this.

Maybe they'll also have a pay-for account for those outside the UK rather than the silly situation they have at the moment where you can't watch things if you are outside the UK unless you illegally use a workaround. And equally can't watch BBC Worldwide videos if you are inside the UK (go to the BBC Travel twitter account and click a link and you'll see what I mean).

londonrach Thu 12-May-16 13:56:02

when you pay for a licence you get a code. Iplayer only works if a code is put in. Link code to addresses.

OddBoots Thu 12-May-16 13:58:51

I don't know there are two adults and two teens in this house all using iplayer on up to 2 devices each, usually on our home wifi but sometimes on other wifi or mobile data.

WordGetsAround Thu 12-May-16 14:02:32

I think it will be quite easy. As others have said above, it will be a password thing. There will always be people who avoid paying their dues, but the vast majority will.

HermioneJeanGranger Thu 12-May-16 15:29:59

They'll just get people to put their license number in, and allow you to use the same number on a certain number of devices, I would guess.

Ricardian Thu 12-May-16 15:34:20

Link code to addresses.

That's much easier said that done. And would cause massive problems for people (say) accessing iPlayer when travelling abroad, which is a perfectly reasonable use-case.

wasonthelist Thu 12-May-16 15:35:13

Can't see how they could limit device numbers - there's no limit to how many conventional tellies you can have in one house, so how can they impose one on devices?

MargaretCavendish Thu 12-May-16 15:40:20

Ricardian - you can't currently watch iPlayer abroad, and I think they've said that this will remain the case.

wasonthelist - I'm not sure I follow your logic. You never used to get iPlayer at all as part of your licence fee, but now you're saying that the BBC 'owe' you it on infinite devices? If they say the rule is 4 devices (say) then what would stop that being the rule?

wasonthelist Thu 12-May-16 15:49:23


You're right, no reason why iPlayer should follow existing licence rules I guess. For larger families with many devices it seems a bit mean, is all I guess. I accept there may not be too many of these.

Ricardian Thu 12-May-16 15:50:23

you can't currently watch iPlayer abroad, and I think they've said that this will remain the case.

If you're paying for it, then that is going to be a very hard line to hold. I understand the issues (rights, in particular, mean that even if Mr Living in France wanted to pay, the BBC don't have the rights to broadcast some things in France, which is why Radio 5's streaming is geoip-locked to the UK, but there is an international stream that has had the sport removed) but in general it's been excused as being on the assumption most UK residents are covered by a license and those outside the UK aren't.

But OK, for "abroad" read "while on holiday in a caravan in Tenby, using the campsite's WiFi".

If they say the rule is 4 devices (say) then what would stop that being the rule?

It would be manifestly self-destructive. The BBC's fantasy is to shut down the UHF broadcast network, because the amount of money they are paying to Arqiva is beyond reason. The great thing about taking your TV over broadband is that you pay for the transmission, mostly: you pay BT / Virgin / Talk Talk / etc for broadband, and in turn they use some of the money you pay them to build the core infrastructure. The BBC just need a dirty great big pipe and, as I understand it, have been able to get the ISPs to pay even for that, because the quality of the iPlayer experience is a key differentiator between ISPs (Ie, if it turned out that new-ISP-X were cheap but iPlayer didn't work properly, who'd get their broadband from them?) So the last thing they want to do is give the impression that they are going to impose arbitrary restrictions on iPlayer-alike services, because that would just delay the day when they can turn off the transmitters.

Becca19962014 Thu 12-May-16 15:54:30

The logical way (so it won't be this then!) is to request a license number to access iplayer.

The fact is with each update more and more problems are appearing with iplayer tv and iplayer radio anyway and more and more people don't use it -recent updates have blocked the download facility in some devices completely. I use the download facility if I'm somewhere with wifi (as I don't have it) but that's rare. I don't have a license, because it explicitly states for live programmes only. If they make it license only I'd just wait like I did in the years I didn't have a tv or iplayer and get a DVD or not bother at all and go elsewhere online.

They really haven't thought this through though. People will expect far far more from iplayer like all programmes being made available to watch, not the BBC picking and choosing as they do now - there are plenty I've wanted to see in the past which have either been missing altogether or had episodes removed 'for copyright reasons'.

Ricardian Thu 12-May-16 15:58:06

White paper, page 17:

"enable the BBC to make its content ‘portable’ so UK licence fee payers can access BBC iPlayer while on holiday in other EU member states."

Ibid, p.95:

In order to improve enforcement and allow BBC content to be ‘portable’ for UK licence fee payers (so they could gain access while on holiday in Europe, something which is currently not offered) the government thinks there is a case for iPlayer to require verification – i.e. access should be conditional upon verification of licence fee payment – so that individuals in other countries, and those in the UK not paying the fee, cannot access licence fee funded content for free.

Vagabond Thu 12-May-16 16:04:21

The BBC would make so much money if it allowed overseas subscribers to pay for their service. I would certainly pay for it quite happily. I used to be able to access iPlayer via my VPN but that has been shut down. I miss the BBC and would pay a substantial fee to access it.

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