Wherever you are from and as long as you know the law and you have the articles to support your claims can you tell me if it's legal to watch a (your) country's free local TV channels outside of their territory (e.g. watching U.S. local TV channels like for instance Fox 31 Denver outside the US or watching France 2 [france] abroad,...). I am only talking about free local/national TV Channel and not International TV Channel like CNN Intl or TV5 monde etc.(which by default are for anyone to watch as long as they are free)

I read on some forums local TV Channels use a "national performance license" and as such watching those channel is illegal but I have yet to see any proof of that. And if someone is watching a TV channel from a country where he supposedly shouldn't who is responsible, The TV channel or the user (for instance it is possible to watch local French TV abroad with a satllite dish since they also broadcast local TV using DVB-S2 protocole)?

What about retransmitting/re-streaming a TV Channel (over IP) so that it can ve viewed from anywhere as long as the URL is known?

I am asking because there are great TV Channel out there (all over the world) that I can only watch when I am visiting the country and I know I can retransmit those channel over IP with a simple raspberry pi. Also free-to-air satellite broadcast are technically and maybe financially limited to a specific region/part of the world (here again IP would be the way to go). In many countries (especially in Europe) people have to pay a "Television licence" (if they have a TV set whether or not they don't watch it) I know because I do. So is it illegal to watch a Channel already paid for by the locals?

closed as too broad by Philipp, cpast, Sam I am Feb 23 '15 at 15:56

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about legal advise, not about governments, policies and political processes. – Philipp Feb 15 '15 at 17:09
  • @Philipp so why the copyright tag? and the law (legal) tag is can relate to a wide range of topics as well. Also one can argue that governments are the ones that enforce and uphold laws (whether it's or not copyright laws). – Paiku Han Feb 17 '15 at 10:53
  • Wherever you are from ... This question is definitely too broad. – Sam I am Feb 23 '15 at 15:56

I don't think the purely legal aspects are on-topic on this site so I won't address them in details. Besides, what's legal or not is going to depend on the country or countries considered and your questions touches upon several distinct issues (copyright, public funding…).

Except perhaps in extremely repressive regimes (the former German Democratic Republic?), watching foreign TV is not forbidden per se (although some countries regulate satellite reception equipment…). Rebroadcasting (say with your Raspberry Pi) or using techniques to evade restrictions might be different.

Regarding publicly funded TV, there are several approaches/policies:

  • Create specific channels for foreign consumption. The UK has BBC World News, France has TV5 Monde (in partnership with other francophone countries) and France 24, Germany has Deutsche Welle. Those are broadcast as widely as possible, sometimes even not available in the country itself (France 24 was originally not available within France so as not to compete with private news channels) and have their own sources of funding (in the UK, BBC World News is run by a separate company that does not receive money from the TV license), possibly including money from the local ministry of Foreign Affairs. No problem here obviously.
  • Broadcast widely over the Internet and free-to-air satellite while obscuring some content. German public TV makes its own production available (fiction, current affairs, news…) but football footage is not shown in the Internet version of the news broadcast. Politically, whether the money comes from a TV license or from the general budget, there could be a debate about the wisdom of using public money to fund the server capacity to serve foreign citizens/residents. But it's their choice and there is no reason while watching that abroad should be a problem for the viewer.
  • Encrypt satellite broadcast. Swiss TV works (or worked) that way: The satellite broadcast is encrypted but not used as a source of revenue, you can get a lifelong keycard just by proving that your are Swiss resident or citizen. That's an easy way to deal with the issue without preventing citizens abroad from watching but it does not translate easily to Internet technologies.
  • Discourage/stop watching from abroad. The BBC considers that the rules do not allow them to offer their programmes abroad and they do enforce this restriction quite aggressively (e.g. by IP filtering).
  • in the last point you say "The BBC considers that the rules". What rules are those (national rules, copyright rules, etc.)? – Paiku Han Feb 12 '15 at 14:56
  • @PaikuHan Not sure, I have always heard them say that they can't do it but I don't know exactly what the rules are, hence this turn of phrase ;-) I suspect it's first and foremost about the TV license. Copyright is an issue for sport events, even music rights in fiction, etc. but there are surely at least some programmes that could be broadcasted abroad should they want to. But like I said, it's not really a good question for this site and, as a viewer, the point is moot. – Relaxed Feb 12 '15 at 15:28

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