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It's already law in the UK for live channels. If you have no TV but only watch BBC1 live through iPlayer, you must have a TV license. However, you don't need a TV license to watch time delayed programs (so anything from the iPlayer archive), so perhaps this is an area where the law will change, although it never has for TV.

The question is if you watch BBC1 streaming but 5 min behind, and hence watching a recording, are you required to have a TV license?

We had a debate about this at work while the Olympics were on. Interestingly you can watch live tv at work on a laptop that is not plugged in and on wifi if they don't have a tv license but you do at home. You break the law the minute you plug the laptop in.

I didn't think so but the BBC iPlayer's page about requiring a TV license claims so.

If you are using the live rewind function to either restart the current live programme or to rewind any live stream for up to 2 hours, a television license is required as you are still accessing the live simulcasts.


The usual wording is that it applies to devices that display or record something as it is being broadcast. So if you're delaying the stream yourself, that's recording a live broadcast. And a third party delaying and rebroadcasting the stream would be copyright infringement.

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