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PCs may be exempt from broadcast fee

DDP/DPA/The Local · 21 Dec 2009, 15:58

Published: 21 Dec 2009 15:58 GMT+01:00

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The Brunswick administrative court ruled in favour of a professional translator who refused to pay the fee on a second PC she was using for work and took action against the Hamburg-based public radio station NDR.

The unpopular licence fee is collected by the Fee-collection Centre of Public Broadcasting Institutions (GEZ) on televisions, radios and computers connected the internet.

The fee money funds public broadcasters such as ARD – of which NDR is a subsidiary – and ZDF, and is often collected by plainclothes officials who go door-to-door busting fee shirkers.

The woman had been paying the fee on her other household equipment since 1991. NDR argued she should have to pay an extra fee on her second computer because she was using it for work and it therefore had a separate function.

But the court ruled the fee could only be levied on devices that were specifically set up to receive broadcasting.

A computer has multiple uses and therefore does not fit this criterion, particularly in the case of a work computer, on which radio reception was unlikely to be a function, the court said.

It also pointed out that NDR did not offer unlimited access to its broadcasting on the internet.

The court therefore ruled the fee was illegal on her second computer.

Story continues below…

The court further stated that both private and work-related second computers should be free from the fee. The ruling is not yet fully in force because the NDR can appeal the decision in the Higher Administrative Court.

But should this court also uphold the complaint, the ruling could have sweeping implications.

The GEZ currently demands €5.76 per month for an internet-enabled computer, though only if neither a radio nor a television is registered. If the householder pays the monthly fee of €17.98, then all of their communications devices are covered.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:01 December 21, 2009 by Bushdiver
I say shut down these state run stations or make them cover their own operating costs like other private networks do through commercials and maybe even some descent programs. Most of these state run stations are mostly watched by the elderly who are probably becoming less and less as the years go by. Why not just leave it to the people to deceide if these stations are still required. Let's have a vote on it, that's something that doesn't happen very often in this country. What I don't see is that if I have cable I have to pay the cable company, if I have satellite TV and want for example Sky I have to pay them so why and for what am I paying TV tax to the goverment for. What are they offering me?
23:20 December 21, 2009 by Frenemy
"Let's have a vote on it"??

Hate to be the one to break this to ya, but we would lose that vote, buddy....big time!

And here's why:

06:04 December 22, 2009 by parografik
I just learned of this fee on my last trip there, and as much as I am a fan of public radio stations, I find a mandatory fee for Hansi Hinterseer and Herbert Grunemeyer to be an insult. We are considering a move to Germany, and I find this fee as well as the tithing to be intimidating and archaic.

As a musician, I find the overuse of Accordion gratuitous and pornographic as well and should be restricted in a similar manner to Herr "Frauenartz" that is mentioned in another article in this publication. Now excuse me while I turn up Die Toten Hosen on my Ipod.
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