How illegal is it to use a TV antenna at work?

Who remembers the screen you see above? Back when we all used physical media to watch movies, it showed up on every single disc. You couldn’t forward past it, either. I think this kind of nagging, along with the long load times of Blu-ray discs, were the final nails in the coffin for physical media. If it took longer to start a movie from a disc than it did from streaming, why would anyone do it? But I digress.

What a warning like that means

Every single broadcast work is copyrighted. That means you can’t profit from watching it or showing it. You can’t show it in public places without permission. You can’t pretend you created it, and you can’t even use part of it in something you create. This sort of thing is there to protect the people who did actually create it. They deserve to make a living from their hard work, right?

This is definitely true of pay-TV and streaming.

I’ve told you before, you’re not supposed to bring a pay-TV receiver or a streaming box into the office. They’ll find out, guaranteed. And when they do, there’s a good chance your business will get a visit from some very nice people in well-fitting suits. Those people will tell you that you have to stop what you’re doing or else face a massive lawsuit. They might, if they’re nice, try to settle with you in some way. But one way or another, you’re going to have to stop using their equipment illegally in your office or public space.

And yes, it’s true of broadcast radio and TV. Yes, really.

Yes, it’s really illegal to play the radio or put up a TV in the office. It’s considered a public performance, and unless you’re paying royalties to the people who created it, you’re in the wrong. The way you really should do this sort of thing is to get a pay-TV subscription which will give you licensed music channels and TV stations where the royalties are paid.

But let’s be honest. With a radio or over-the-air TV broadcast, the lawyers won’t know that you’re doing it. I suppose you could have the extremely bad luck of having a broadcast executive walk into your office at the exact moment when their program is on. I suppose Ariana Grande could stop by your place of business just as her latest hit is on the radio. Of course, that’s pretty unlikely.

A victimless crime?

That’s what you’ll hear it said. It’s a victimless crime. Everyone does it. It’s like taking a few grapes at the market. They factor it in.

Maybe that’s true. But a victimless crime is still a crime. And there comes a point in the life of your business when you just don’t want that kind of stress. Your employees depend on you for their livelihoods? Why would you create any sort of risk for them?

Because, here’s the bottom line folks. Getting satellite TV from Signal Connect is going to give you the best experience. Not only will you get a lot more channels than you get from an antenna, you’ll get them legally. What’s more, satellite TV packages for business are generally about the same price as those for home. You can do the right thing and it won’t even cost you a lot.

It all starts with one call. Don’t call the pay-TV companies. They aren’t going to be able to handle your business’s needs. Instead, call Signal Connect at 866-726-4182 and you’ll get a business accounts specialist who’s there for you when you need them. If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within 24 hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 7,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.