Various sources such as the BBC and MoneySavingExpert talk about the law changing with regards to TV licensing, specifically stating that UK Residents now require a TV License to watch catch-up (rather than Live) content on the BBC iPlayer, from Sept 1, 2016

However, I can't find any legislation or legal ruling that changes, amends, or supersedes the relevant act (Communications Act 2003 Part 4)

Legally speaking, what changed to require a TV License in order to watch Catch UP TV on the BBC iPlayer?

  • There is probably not a law change required - just a decision that watching catch up TV is just a different way of watching TV, similar to recording it on a video recorder and watching later.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 6, 2016 at 7:43
  • In this case though I've repeatedly seen the claim that "the law has changed" - and the BBC can't just change their own personal interpretation of the law, so something must have changed in the legal interpretation... I just can't work out what
    – Jon Story
    Sep 6, 2016 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


The changes in legislation for TV licensing which affects use of BBC iPlayer are covered in:

  1. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2009 (particularly sections 368A & 368R) which provides legislation defining "on-demand programme services" (e.g. BBC iPlayer) and their regulation by OFCOM, and

  2. The Communications (Television Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (Section 9) which defines circumstances in which a TV licence is required for use of BBC iPlayer. These are the new rules that came into force on 1 Sep 2016.

Hope that this helps.

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