One of the best ways to watch Top Gear before it officially aired in the United States with much crappier music was on the BBC’s iPlayer website. It was only supposed to work if you were in the United Kingdom, but it was ridiculously easy to get around, WHICH WE WOULD KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. Now the BBC wants to tighten that up.
For those unaware, if you live in the UK you need to pay an annual fee for owning a television, the result of which generally goes to the BBC. Theoretically, you should only be able to watch BBC programs—both on TV and on the internet, using iPlayer—if you’ve been a good sport and paying your fees.
But now with most Youths not actually owning televisions, and with many people just watching shows on their computers, and that not being not actually how the internet works at all, it’s become a problem.
Apparently a whole bunch of people are watching BBC programming without paying for it as a result, which, again, WE WOULD DEFINITELY NEVER DO, STOP ASKING.
It’s still unclear how the BBC will actually get people to stop circumventing the iPlayer rules, but the Guardian reports that the Beeb is jolly well thinking about it, so you better stop:
The information collected at the moment does not include address or licence fee number, which could be used to work out whether or not people are watching illegally.
A BBC source said: “There are no plans for people to enter their licence details into BBC iPlayer at present because TV Licensing has a range of enforcement techniques they’ll continue to use. We’ll look at how effective these are before considering whether an extra verification system is required.”
But even with all that, it’s still unclear if anything would be effective at all. Many of those who circumvented iPlayer rules to watch things like Top Gear and whatever else the BBC shows (Jolly Ragamuffin Scallarump Funtime? I don’t know, British people are weird) don’t even live in the UK to begin with, so weren’t ever even afforded the opportunity to pay for all that. Maybe if they could pay for it, they would.
I’m just saying, apparently there are ways to watch things on iPlayer that are super easy but you should DEFINITELY not just Google. It’s a problem, and the BBC wants its money.
H/t to Stephen McKnight!