Court: internet users must pay TV fee
Everyone with a computer connected to the internet in Germany must pay television and radio license fees, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday - just a few months before the system is changed to one levied per household.
The fees, used to fund public broadcasting which is strong and prolific in Germany, have been a sore point for many for years as they are levied on computers with internet access, regardless of how they are used.
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.
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.
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 court said that the extension of the levy to include internet-connected computers was constitutional and prevented a “flight from license fees.”