Thats the request of Jeffrey Bleich, the US ambassador to Australia.
In a Facebook posting entitled “Stopping the Game of Clones” he said,
“As the Ambassador here in Australia, it was especially troubling to find out that Australian fans were some of the worst offenders with among the highest piracy rates of Game of Thrones in the world.”
“I realize that fans of Game of Thrones who have used illegal file-sharing sites have reasons. They will say it was much easier to access through these sites, or that they got frustrated by the delay in the first season, or their parents wouldn’t pay for a subscription, or they will complain about some other issue with copyright laws. But none of those reasons is an excuse – stealing is stealing. Buying a book in a store costs more and takes longer than stealing it from your neighbor’s house, but we all know it is the right thing to do and it allows authors to make a living and write more books. “
The ambassador also said that if the 4 million or so people who watched the show legally had done so by more nefarious means then Game of Thrones may never have returned for its third season which is currently being aired now.
The points he makes are, of course, quite valid, at least in terms with how the law works. The fact that Australians had to wait longer than other countries to see the show, as well as have a premium channel or HBO subscription, doesn’t give them the right to steal the content.
But… does that make piracy a bad thing that will destroy the show and put those who work on it on the breadline?
Thats an age old question with a myriad of answers depending upon your own point of view.
HBO have their own opinion of course, one which goes somewhat against the ambassador’s views –
“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. 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.”
Michael Lombardo, HBO via Entertainment Weekly
Its interesting to see how the US ambassador’s views on this matter differ from the shows makers but then thats the thing with piracy – many of the parties involved have such differing viewpoints on it.
Sure, some piracy has a negative impact on artist’s ability to make a living and, therefore, their likelihood to continue creating content. But then there are other arguments in its favour.
For instance, in the case of Game of Thrones, I have several friends who didn’t know anything about the program so they downloaded a few episodes to see what the fuss was all about. They became so enthralled by the show that each of them went out and bought both seasons currently available on blu-ray, despite the fact that they could have got one copy between them and shared it around. Thats a lot of revenue for HBO which they would most definitely have not received had my mates not found Game of Thrones available via torrents.
So what exactly is the impact of piracy on the revenue on such a show? Personally I don’t think there is a simple answer to that question.
Lessons to be learned
- Whatever your views on piracy its almost certainly illegal where you live so don’t do it!
- Pirated content online can often come with nasty surprises, i.e. embedded malware
- The piracy destroys revenue & creativity argument may be flawed (my opinion)