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No GEZ fees for Internet PCs November 26, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in German culture, Random musings.

I never thought it would happen. The German courts have ruled that there is no legal basis for charging the GEZ fee (German TV and radio license fee allowing you to be in possession of equipment capable of receiving radio or television broadcasts) for PCs with Internet access. As an American, where we don’t have to pay a license fee, I never liked the idea of charging a fee to listen to the radio or watch TV. Technically it is a fee to support public broadcasting, but I prefer to donate to the stations I watch directly, which wasn’t ARD and ZDF. Nope, I was a fan of Pro7, Sat1 and RTL – all the channels that showed all the American and British shows. Not to mention the Dutch channel. But I digress… Once I bought my car I paid for a radio, but not a TV, just to keep them off my back. I stumbled on a fun discussion in English about the fee while researching this post. It’s worth reading for a giggle.computer

When I was still living in Germany I heard rumblings that the authorities were going to start charging a fee for PCs that access the Internet. Apparently because they claimed that people would be able to watch TV and listen to the radio over the computer, which back then was a pipe dream and now is reality. Well, no more. Several people filed lawsuits against the fee for the professional use of a PC with Internet access and the court decisions keep coming – all against the fees. The courts agreed, saying there was “no justifiable legal basis” to charge a fee for a PC that is used solely for business. And apparently people who use their PC at home for their job will also not have to pay additional fees as long as they have registered other radios or TVs. That’s one less useless fee Germans have to pay. Maybe they’ll revolt and get rid of it altogether – a girl can dream…

For more articles and blog posts on this subject (in German), visit:

And don’t bother posting comments telling me I should pay. I don’t live in Germany any more and don’t have any plans to move there for an extended period of time any time soon.



1. kslossner - November 29, 2008

This subject is also a hot topic on the BDÜ boards, where individual members report that the GEZ claims the court decisions striking down fees for businesses have only local scope. Someone also claimed that I should be paying a fee for my business PC because I do not pay fees as an individual (no radio or TV in the house). However, since the business is in a separate residential unit in the same building I expect to win that war if it ever breaks out. The situation with fees is, in the small minds of the GEZ bureaucrats at least, far from settled.

2. jillsommer - November 29, 2008

Hi Kevin, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the small-minded GEZ bureaucrats… Hang in there and fight the good fight!

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