• Sweden's news in English

TV-fee collectors target streaming-device owners

The Local · 27 Feb 2013, 17:10

Published: 27 Feb 2013 17:10 GMT+01:00

"We've started tentatively with this, and the people we ask usually tell us they don't have any equipment," tv-licence fee collection agency Radiotjänst's CEO Carl-Gustav Johansson told Computer Sweden, which broke the news on Wednesday.

When the Kiruna-based collectors phone Swedes to ask if they have a television, some are now adding questions about whether they have access to a computer, including tablet computers such as the iPad.

On the English-language version of Radiotjänst, the first FAQ addresses whether computer owners can opt out of paying the annual fee, which supports public service television and radio (Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio, Utbildningsradion).

Effort to circumnavigate the fee is futile, according to the website, as the licence law doesn't mention how or what people watch, but if they have a device at home that enables them to access content.

"Radiotjänst has noted that an internet service provider - Bahnhof - offers its customers a blocking service that removes webcasting from SVT Play," the statement reads.

"The obligation to pay the radio and TV fee is not linked to SVT and public service provision. The radio and TV fee is a statutory fee that you must pay if you hold a TV receiver."

Story continues below…

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Your comments about this article

18:36 February 27, 2013 by ragdoll
This whole system is crazy. I hope people realize that they are getting screwed. Its basically legalized theft. They can only do this because some action of government has permitted it. Does anyone know which parties or individuals were behind this law and if any parties or individuals are in favor of rescinding this? There are plenty of TV channels that can self-fund via advertising or subscriptions. STV obviously can not compete on the free market so use governemnt action to force people to fund them. Now they are looking for loopholes in the law to force people to pay for a product that it is very unlikely that they use. They want computer users to pay $300/year just in case they might watch a ski race or something that most countries can watch for free via normal TV? Its amazing how people here just do what they are told to do.
19:23 February 27, 2013 by truthcode
air chanels fee= corrupt government

air chanels 4 free get it
19:30 February 27, 2013 by Reason and Realism
There are millions of free websites that include streaming video and free international sports events on betting websites etc... that all support themselves with advertising, and millions of TV stations in North America that support themselves with advertising. Why does Sweden insist on terrorizing its citizens with another tax on people with 'a computer that can stream video' (which means: all computers)?

To those afraid of advertiser influence over editorial content, have one national TV station that is mandated to provide equal time to left and right leaning editorial content, and let the other stations lean left or right if they wish, or be centrists. Agree with ragdoll that we should be told loud and clear what parties support this abuse of government power.

What is next? Will we need a license to own wine glasses, because the home consumption of wine might include wine acquired in duty free purchases that were not sufficiently taxed?
20:12 February 27, 2013 by as8
Just make it a tax already and stop wasting time and money chasing people.
00:54 February 28, 2013 by Phillynilly
Reason and Realism.

Sweden TV has yet to realize its a different world to that of 10 years ago....Aside from being as boring as. They should question why people watch online shows anyway. I viewed SVT the other week and left after 10 minutes. It was that sleep inducing...The corrupt government is always looking for ways to screw people for money. They are no different to any other government.
06:18 February 28, 2013 by Nilspet
This is totally unacceptable! Ipad and tablets were not made as a device to watch TV. And what people do with their device should not be interfered by the government. In other words the govt should not assume that people use it for live streaming. It is not people's fault that SVT provides live streaming. The issue or problem lies with SVT and the public service. They themselves want more money so they use live streaming as a reason to robb people who do not consume such the media. How about swedes living abroad watching live streaming. Is radiotjänst going charge everyone in the world watching its live streaming?

It is sick that radiotjänst is trying to do that. It is simply a robbery!
07:06 February 28, 2013 by escalation666
Swedish TV is behind the times. Programming is outdated . You offer nothing worth watching except boring reruns of programs that are have been out on the market for years. I will stick with Netflix, no boring long commercials that put you to sleep and you never get to see the ending of a show because the commercials are much to long and to frequent. I would suggest your losing money because you have nothing new to offer the viewers .
08:44 February 28, 2013 by rob582
Never paid, never will. Don't watch so don't pay, simples!
09:55 February 28, 2013 by Max Reaver
The logic of Radiotjänst is similar to:

You have to pay children's tax as long as you have a functional testicle/ovary. If you don't wanna pay tax? Sterilize yourself is the only way.
10:19 February 28, 2013 by Twiceshy
This is quite a business model: simply start broadcasting on the Internet and claim all Internet users now have to pay for your service.

I wish I could make people pay for my services simply because I offer them to a new audience.
12:26 February 28, 2013 by biliousbob
So who is repsonsibe for this in the government? Can somebody out there name names. The CEO from Kiruna was on TV yesterday saying they're getting lots of complaints but he claimed people shouldn't blame them as it was the politicians who decided this rule. I don't entirely believe him, but let's identify those politicians and hold them accountable. Vote them out! Was it Reinfeldt? Lofven? Who? Who? WHO?
13:32 February 28, 2013 by lensart
Welcome to Sweden... commuting congestion tax, heating oil and electricity tax, tax on houses without a loan, fuel tax, 25% value added tax and... yes... a tax for rotten media. Since almost every family has a streaming device, why not just get rid of this tax and incorporate it into the already high income tax, just for ease of book keeping...

The neighborhood organization near me managed to tax anyone near the roads they maintain, even if they don't live in that neighborhood... typical...
13:48 February 28, 2013 by escalation666
Swedish TV offers nothing new, same old same old..repeat after repeat with commercials that dominate all programming. Offer us something new and in this century and perhaps we might consider coming back to regular TV as oppsoded to streaming. Netflix for its price is much better than watching your mundane commercials of some soccer ball bouncing off a lady's head while she plays a piano.. where is your innovation with commercials that actually make a person laugh or enjoy to watch.. you have nothing to offer me.. the internet and streaming does.
23:37 February 28, 2013 by skatty
I don't get it; the collectors of TV-licence fee asking people if they have PC, tablet, iPad at home, is it a joke?

I mean if the agency wants to collect fee, why they don't build the applications in a way that people use log in system with a payment fee. In this way, they who don't want to watch TV on the net wouldn't be bothered.

There are thousands of thousands services on the net, which people pay on the net and use it on the net, and many other services that are free.

We are talking about internet; this method of the agency to ask people if they have PC at home is very Swedish indeed!
22:45 March 9, 2013 by Peter1234
Should every Swede older than 18 start to pay alcohol tax next, just because he is entitled to buy alcohol from Systembolaget? Or will I have to pay alcohol tax as soon as I have a glas or "device" suitable to drink alcohol from it?

In my opinion this new law is violating findamental understanding of rights. Where are the laywers? Does this law comply with EU laws?

If all person with internet access should pay, then please call it internet tax. But in this case the tax should not go to the television providers and it could be easily collected by the internet providers.

Radiotjänst: Don't lie! You only want other people money because you could not run the company well! Why should I then pay for your problems??

Is there any organisaton to start fighting back? I would love to join!
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