Germany: All web users forced to pay €17.98 TV license fee

Wow. This is the first time I’ve heard of something like this. What are they going to do next? Charge for emails? Ridic!

October 3, 2012

A German court has ruled that all internet users in the country must pay TV and radio license fees, even if they do not use the web for videos and audio.


The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that everyone with a computer connected to the internet in Germany must pay television and radio license fees.

The move comes just a few months before the system is changed to one levied per household.

As of 2013, the license fee will be replaced with a flat fee of €17.98 per month to be paid per household regardless of what equipment there is or how much television or radio is received.

The fees have sparked controversy as they take no account of how the connected computers are used- purely for work or otherwise.

The court rejected a constitutional complaint from a lawyer who said that although the computer he used at his office was connected to the internet, it was not used to receive broadcasts, nor did he intend to use it that way.

He had already lost the argument at a lower court and was then told on Tuesday by the highest court in the country he would have to pay.

The Court ruled that an internet-enabled PC was a ‘broadcasting receiver device’ and therefore liable for the licence fee.

Public broadcaster ARD welcomed the decision and the emphasis laid by the judges in the Karlsruhe court on the general importance of public television and radio.

The court said that the extension of the levy to include internet-connected computers was constitutional and prevented a “flight from license fees.”



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