Use of EU satellite decoders to become an offence after Brexit

Relaxed use of EU decoders in UK to tighten

by Andy Bassett
Movies & TV News

15

Use of EU satellite decoders to become an offence after Brexit

It’s all too easy to tune out the endless drone of Brexit comings and goings but in the real world there will be knock-on effects for technology and how it can be used.

One such change has come to light in new Government guidance that states that consumers “who access programmes via EU satellite broadcasting services to avoid a charge for a UK service will need to stop after Brexit.”

As it stands, pre-Brexit, UK consumers can use legitimate satellite decoder devices intended for use in the EU to view programmes otherwise included in UK broadcast without needing a validating reason to do so. This is the result of a 2011 Court of Justice of the European Union ruling that stated that section 297 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) - which determines the illegality of using an illicit/cloned decoders intended for another country in order to dishonestly avoid paying a charge to the UK broadcaster - should not include legitimate decoding devices. This is because such a restriction is inconsistent with the EU’s ‘freedom of services’, provided by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Boiled down, what this means is that, currently, it’s acceptable to use a decoder designed to access EU broadcasts that also include UK programming that consumers would otherwise have to pay for.

However, from the point of Brexit, currently 31st October 2019, that will no longer be the case and the EU introduced ‘loophole’ will be removed from the CDPA. Therefore, to use a decoder in such a way as to circumvent the charge associated with the programme will become an offence.

The only exception to this is for viewers who use an EU decoder device to access programmes included in UK broadcasts for purposes other than the circumvention of payment. One such example would be expats living in the UK who require access to programmes in their native language - something that is enshrined in human rights laws.

This change will not weaken or change in any way the illegality of illicit decoder devices for the acts specified by section 297 of the CDPA (for example, cloned, counterfeit, or stolen decoder devices).

Let us know in the discussion thread if this change in rules will have a direct effect on you.

Source: www.broadbandtvnews.com, www.gov.uk
Image Source: DigitalGlobe.com
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