U.S. Ambassador Calls for End to Game of Thrones Pirating

The U.S. ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich, recently set out on a new mission: to stop the illegal downloading of Game of Thrones

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The U.S. ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich, is on a mission: to stop the illegal downloading of Game of Thrones.

On Tuesday, Bleich urged watchers of the show to stop pirating HBO’s hit TV show in a Facebook message that coincided with the 17th annual U.N. World Book and Copyright Day. He urged viewers to stop, citing the illegal downloading of the show just “as epic and devious as the drama.”

(MORE: 5 Ways HBO’s Game of Thrones Exhibit Disappoints Us)

In his note, he wrote:

The file-sharing news website TorrentFreak estimated that Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV series of 2012. One episode was illegally downloaded about 4,280,000 times through public BitTorrent trackers in 2012, which is about equal to the number of that episode’s broadcast viewers. In other words, about half of that episode’s viewers stole the program from HBO.

But what exactly does Tyrion Lannister have to do with Australian policy? It turns out that Australian viewers are among the largest audience that downloads the show.

HBO has remained (unofficially, at least) tolerant of the show’s rampant piracy, drawing comments from both cast and crew members alike. Michael Lombardo, HBO’s programming president, pointed out in December that it comes with the territory.

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly. “The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

(MORE: Coming Soon: A Softer Approach to Online Piracy)

Director David Petrarca has made similar comments regarding the show’s rampant piracy on a visit to Sydney, according to the Washington Post. “[Downloads] generate buzz … that’s how they survive.”

13 comments
kevin.lated
kevin.lated

HBO just stream the show on your website with ads. I would watch that. I don't have to pay fees and the show gets money from ad revenue win win.

WillBuckley
WillBuckley like.author.displayName 1 Like

Lot of funny names here, Jow Jones, Justin Beaver.......  First to single out one title, Game of Thrones, is absurd.  The strange back-story is that the producer of the show made a gaff that he claims was misconstrued as an endorsement for piracy.  Boy did he back peddle fast.  I'm sure he got the call from HBO pronto.

The fact that this story of US Ambassador intervention has been bouncing around for weeks just proves that it has an interesting hook.

The reality.  Contrary to JowJones1,  piracy is extremely harmful to subscriptions and sales of original copyrighted content, although there are some poorly executed surveys that would support Jones1.   

My only request Mr. Ambassador, as much as I like Game of Thrones, there are literally thousand of other works of film, music and literature that people consume without giving a thought to the fact that someone else paid for it and someone else is profiting from it.  Piracy isn't Robin Hood, it is a billion dollar operation that abuses artists and their work.

Renatus
Renatus

@WillBuckley No, corporations are a trillion dollar operation that abuses artists and their work.

sachi.bbsr
sachi.bbsr


The one good thing about Game of Thrones is the sex in it.


Renatus
Renatus

@sachi.bbsr If you're merely watching it for the sex, then your priorities are screwed up.

JowJones1
JowJones1

The issue is people perceive piracy as a loss of sales. But when I was a student I would watch House online because I couldn't pay for it. If I didn't watch it online I wouldn't have paid for it. If I hadn't paid for it I wouldn't see it. So in the end piracy generally comes down to a choice between not paying and not seeing something or not paying it and seeing it.

However there's very little evidence to suggest that piracy negatively affects merchandise (including DVDs) sales. And a reasonable amount actually suggesting that pirates are more likely to purchase merchandise.

Nazonohito
Nazonohito

@JowJones1 -- In the end vehicle theft generally comes down to a choice between not paying and not having a car or not paying and having one. Furthermore, there's very little evidence to suggest that vehicle theft negatively affects automobile sales.

So, I guess it's okay for students to steal cars, right?

Lilestfozzy
Lilestfozzy

@Nazonohito @JowJones1 Your argument is bad and you should feel bad! Pirating isn't stealing, but rather coping. Thus, for your argument to work your "students" would be taking the designs of a car and making their very own car that they can use daily. People have been pirating for a very long time now. It actually started with VCR's and their ability to tape shows. If you want to continue with your stance on piracy, you would have to agree that it was wrong for people to tape items on through their VCR. 

JackJohnson
JackJohnson

Great show and I hope if the people that download it like it, they will go out and buy the DVDs or sub to HBO.

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Lilestfozzy
Lilestfozzy

@JackJohnson Actually I've seen this happen a bunch in the past few years. My sister would download and watch the show (She didn't want to pay for HBO. Plus, she had read the books and wanted to watch the show.) then she would buy the dvd set when it came out. A bunch of my friends have done the same, and have also given it as gifts because they know it is a great show. Trust me, the company isn't losing money because of piracy. They might even be gaining money due to the fact that people sample the show, love it, and then immediately buy the box set because they know they will watch it for years to come.

JustinBeaver
JustinBeaver

"Erica Ho @ericamho

Erica Ho was previously a reporter for TIME in Hong Kong where she wrote about technology, pop culture and Asian international affairs. Before that, she worked at Gizmodo, Lifehacker and AOL. She now currently runs Map Happy, a travel-oriented site."

CORRECTED:

Erica Ho worked at Gizmodo, Lifehacker and AOL, before reporting about technology, pop culture and Asian international affairs for TIME in Hong Kong.  She runs Map Happy, a travel-oriented site.

You are welcome.

JustinBeaver
JustinBeaver like.author.displayName 1 Like

"The U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich, is on a mission: to stop the illegal downloading of Game of Thrones."


Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe the USA government should stop illegally killing people with their Game of Drones.