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US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich wants you to please stop pirating Game of Thrones

By 26 April 2013 90

THRONES

Canberra’s US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich is a big fan of Canberra, which endears him to us here at RiotACT.

He’s also a big fan of Game of Thrones, which also has a fair amount of popularity with us.

He has posted on his official Facebook account a very polite request for Australia to please to stop downloading Game of Thrones.

Does this make this a matter of foreign policy?

Earlier this month, my family and I joined millions of others in watching the premiere of the third season of Game of Thrones. For those who aren’t already fans, it is a great epic chronicling the devious machinations of rival noble houses fighting for supremacy. Unfortunately, nearly as epic and devious as the drama, is its unprecedented theft by online viewers around the world. 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. 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. While some people here used to claim that they used pirate sites only because of a delay in getting new episodes here, the show is now available from legitimate sources within hours of its broadcast in the United States.

In 2012 I paid for a season pass for the second season and felt quite good about it. I then discovered that because I’m in Australia I couldn’t get the episodes in HD, and I would have to wait over a week after the episode aired before I could access it. Then I felt a little like I wished I had just stolen it.

I can certainly see why someone would torrent it. (I can even see why someone might pay for it AND then torrent it anyways. So they get a reasonable quality product on time while still supplying HBO with money, not that I’m admitting to anything).

Johnboy would like everyone to know he paid for it also.

What do you think Rioters?

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90 Responses to US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich wants you to please stop pirating Game of Thrones
#1
johnboy11:25 am, 26 Apr 13

OOOH YEAH!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3b7fZIT0nk

“From here to there,”
“From here!To there!”
“Three boys, a goat,”
“And a dancing bear!”

#2
Barcham11:35 am, 26 Apr 13

“Game Of Thrones” Actors Doing Normal Stuff Is So Weird

Quick more links so nobody realises that this story isn’t really about Canberra, but is more about how much we love Game of Thrones.

#3
goggles1311:36 am, 26 Apr 13

if the show was on free-to-air tv here in Australia (other than ABC or SBS), I would most likely record it and skip through the ads. under this scenario, I would not have paid to see it, nor purchased anything from the companies advertising during its screening. so have I stolen the show?

it is unlikely that I would burn the show to DVD, nor buy official DVDs. I don’t do this for most shows I watch.

I do however agree that if I then burn a downloaded copy to DVD, rather than purchasing an official DVD, I am denying the show money for seeing it.

#4
ScienceRules11:48 am, 26 Apr 13

Some people I’ve spoken to would love to support the show by downloading from iTunes or similar but have said that they are frustrated by being unable to then watch their content on other platforms (say a TV) as well as the iPad.

#5
Solidarity11:49 am, 26 Apr 13

Um what about all those people that downloaded the series, watched a few episodes, decided it was crap and deleted it?

#6
Diggety11:54 am, 26 Apr 13

I really like Jeffrey Bliech, it was good having him on Q&A to correct all the Assange disciples too.

But mate, when it comes Monday afternoon around 4pm, I’m doing the dirty download to get my GofT fix. I’m just far too poor to watch it legally… Sorry!

#7
Deref11:57 am, 26 Apr 13

It sounds interesting. Is it shown on TV here?

#8
johnboy11:59 am, 26 Apr 13

I have an appletv

it cost $99, it’s the size of a hockey puck and it puts my shows onto my TV, as well as streaming my music into the TV speakers.

When I’ve got a new episode available of shows i’ve bought I get an email.

It works really well and if you can’t afford $40 for a season of a quality show you like then you need to re-evaluate your life IMHO.

#9
Rollersk8r12:02 pm, 26 Apr 13

People always make excuses – oh I would pay for it, but I don’t really like major corporations like Apple or Fox, or I can’t get it in the exact format I want, or I only download it now because I always buy the DVD later…

Bottom line – stealing it is incredibly easy and people will continue to do so while they can.

#10
Diggety12:12 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

I have an appletv

it cost $99, it’s the size of a hockey puck and it puts my shows onto my TV, as well as streaming my music into the TV speakers.

When I’ve got a new episode available of shows i’ve bought I get an email.

It works really well and if you can’t afford $40 for a season of a quality show you like then you need to re-evaluate your life IMHO.

But what benefit is there to paying $130 compared with $0 for the same result?

Not as much sex in this season is there? A bit slower than normal too. But still an incredible show.

#11
NoImRight12:20 pm, 26 Apr 13

Rollersk8r said :

People always make excuses – oh I would pay for it, but I don’t really like major corporations like Apple or Fox, or I can’t get it in the exact format I want, or I only download it now because I always buy the DVD later…

Bottom line – stealing it is incredibly easy and people will continue to do so while they can.

Cue the Pirate Party to yabber on about how ripping off someone else’s work without paying them anything is really doing them a favour.

#12
Mr Evil12:28 pm, 26 Apr 13

So, it looks like I’m the only person who hasn’t bothered watching this crap?

Actually, I do tell a lie: I watched portions of about two episodes, before deciding that it was utter crap.

Next fad, please!

#13
Dilandach12:37 pm, 26 Apr 13

Rollersk8r said :

People always make excuses – oh I would pay for it, but I don’t really like major corporations like Apple or Fox, or I can’t get it in the exact format I want, or I only download it now because I always buy the DVD later…

Bottom line – stealing it is incredibly easy and people will continue to do so while they can.

That’s only if you dismiss those valid concerns.

The content providers are determined to stick with a distribution method that is unsuited for today and something that the vast majority don’t want.

Why if I want to watch GoT (not that I’ve watched a single episode yet) do I have to sign up for a large package of channels that I don’t need or want to watch when I only want to watch *one* show? Why do I need to be locked out geographically when I have my money and be willing to pay the price of the show?

People are only responding to the options that are simply not there. The studios and distributors are unwilling to meet those demands because there is a perception that if they enable global access then the distributors will lose out on their slice of the pie, they want their cut and they don’t want the studios to provide it directly to the consumer.

Give me a subscription that is not geoblocked, globally released at the same time, HD quality, is charged by the shows that I watch and not in packages of shows and movies that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot clown pole and that I can do whatever I want to do with the files so I can play it on my PC, tablet, laptop or HTPC.

There are millions of people wanting the service that doesn’t exist. That is why there is such an issue with torrents. People want to pay what they use and not pay for what they’re not using. I don’t want 5 channels of sports, I don’t want cooking or music channels, Why should I be paying for old comedy shows that are on FTA?

Dismissing it all as “yeah, people just don’t wanna pay.” is not looking into the reasons behind it nor when people are given the opportunity to pay they usually do.

I see the amount of people doing it as “TAKE MY MONEY! PLEASE!” but no one is listening or willing.

#14
johnboy12:47 pm, 26 Apr 13

If you don’t like Game of Thrones you’re an awful person.

Ditto if you don’t pay for it.

#15
Dilandach12:53 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

If you don’t like Game of Thrones you’re an awful person.

Ditto if you don’t pay for it.

I have the first two episodes sitting on my HTPC, I just haven’t watched them yet. I’m a busy guy, cyclists don’t read signs themselves!

As for paying for it… well, no comment.

#16
Dilandach12:56 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

If you don’t like Game of Thrones you’re an awful person.

but is it really that good? I like my breaking bad and TWD.

Even my dad has been telling me to watch it, Mrs Dil had one of her friends tell her to watch it too. The more the crowd chants, the more likely I am to resist.

#17
Mr Evil12:58 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

If you don’t like Game of Thrones you’re an awful person.

Ditto if you don’t pay for it.

I’m happy to be judged as awful for not liking Game of Thrones – if it means that I’m not another one of the sheep who are following whatever’s popular this month…. :-)

#18
johnboy12:59 pm, 26 Apr 13

Yes, not watching good tv makes you an individual. Glad to see you’ve cracked it,

#19
Solidarity1:08 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

If you don’t like Game of Thrones you’re an awful person.

Ditto if you don’t pay for it.

What does it matter either way?

#20
gooterz1:12 pm, 26 Apr 13

johnboy said :

I have an appletv

it cost $99, it’s the size of a hockey puck and it puts my shows onto my TV, as well as streaming my music into the TV speakers.

When I’ve got a new episode available of shows i’ve bought I get an email.

It works really well and if you can’t afford $40 for a season of a quality show you like then you need to re-evaluate your life IMHO.

For those that have ever owned DVD’s for a long enough period you know that they aren’t infallible.
A good number are authored wrong and freeze, the new bluray format is copy protected so much that at anytime the powers that be can strike down your player from existence (forcing consumers to go out and upgrade all their now useless home entertainment equipment), and there is no way to play it on Linux.

DVD/Bluray you can take to a friends and watch it. You can easily put it in more than one place with a little effort. Making a backup is slightly tricky. Unless its Bluray the quality is pretty bad and your forced to sit though anti-copyright BS for 5-10 minutes before the movie.

Buying online is more expensive and less portable, you can’t actually buy the movie but only a licence to watch it. DRM is a pain. You can’t easily burn a tv show to DVD so you can play it in a car DVD player on a trip or watch it on your phone etc.

Black market, is easy to access, portable and easy to watch and backup.
However its not free: Internet costs money a bit its very cheap, people are willing to pay for it, yet they want to be unrestricted in how they keep and use it.

More recently, TV shows and movies are starting to be user-funded. There are many kickstarter programs out there trying to raise money to bring series back. I conceive this is where the industry will go. Users pay to have what they want made and they get to see it when its produced.

Black markets only exist where the perceived value of something is less than what the item is selling for and everyone knows the USA and others are notorious for ripping off Australia.

Many videos on youtube are now restricted from being viewed in Australia. Why allow it for free to country A by try to sell it to country B?

#21
what_the1:14 pm, 26 Apr 13

Here’s one for you – if I’m watching it on my own tv using my friends login details for HBO he’s paid for, is that stealing?

Ps piracy is not ‘stealing’. Piracy is copyright violation.

Pps, Game of Thrones is awesome, and I’m not into fantasy usually.

#22
dixyland1:21 pm, 26 Apr 13

I borrowed the Blu-Rays from guy from work – I wonder if I’m going straight to hell for watching it and not paying for it. :)

This is a polarising debate that opposite sides can’t and don’t want to see. It’s sad because that makes the debate boring as hell. Debates are usually only good if a middle ground is possible , and this one just degenerates into childish name-calling.

As for the people not wanting to be sheep and resisting watching it when others say it’s a good show – there is a reason that people sat it’s a good show and that you should watch it.

#23
eh_steve1:29 pm, 26 Apr 13

They should try to embed ads in the torrents and release a couple of episodes that way, just to see what happens.

#24
what_the1:31 pm, 26 Apr 13

dixyland said :

I borrowed the Blu-Rays from guy from work – I wonder if I’m going straight to hell for watching it and not paying for it. :)

This is a polarising debate that opposite sides can’t and don’t want to see. It’s sad because that makes the debate boring as hell. Debates are usually only good if a middle ground is possible , and this one just degenerates into childish name-calling.

As for the people not wanting to be sheep and resisting watching it when others say it’s a good show – there is a reason that people sat it’s a good show and that you should watch it.

I hope it wasn’t region coded! Now there’s a scam…

#25
JonahBologna1:40 pm, 26 Apr 13

I watch Game of Thrones without paying for it. I am also unable to stream it.

I’m not able to stream video at home with my horrible 50-year-old copper ADSL connection. I have found a way to directly download video from ABC’s I-View so I can watch it without all of the stopping and sputtering. Is that pirating (copyright infringement) or hacking (using a device or service for an unintended purpose) or does it matter?

With this insanely slow internet connection distributed downloading (bit-torrent) is the only viable file transfer method since speed and connectivity are not an issue.

I guess I could pay for Foxtel, and then record each episode as it airs (piracy/hacking), and then broadcast the media to my TV when I want to watch it, but I won’t pay nearly $100 per month for the opportunity.

#26
utah1:44 pm, 26 Apr 13

…and yet “Game of Thrones” director, David Petrarca, doesn’t care:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2013/02/26/this-game-of-thrones-director-isnt-bothered-by-piracy/

While we’re talking about things that are morally wrong, how about them drone strikes, Jeffrey?

#27
HiddenDragon1:48 pm, 26 Apr 13

The American perspective on this subject has clearly evolved (presumably in keeping with the shift in the international balance of trade in ideas) from this rather liberal, and deftly nuanced, view put forward two hundred years ago by Thomas Jefferson:

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html

#28
A_Cog1:59 pm, 26 Apr 13

Dear Jeff,
I’ll make a deal with you. If you stop dragging US allies into bullsh!t wars spanning decades, I’ll stop pirating Game of Thrones (which is really just a medieval version of Dallas, with all these scheming aristocrats) and also stop pirating the plethora of mediocre shows and movies your country keeps pumping out.
Fair?

#29
Dilandach1:59 pm, 26 Apr 13

eh_steve said :

They should try to embed ads in the torrents and release a couple of episodes that way, just to see what happens.

They’d be stripped or skipped over. What a lot of them do is product placement (which might not be possible with a show like GoT, while I haven’t seen it I’m sure it’d be immersion breaking if the character has a sword in one hand an a coke in the other) or ad insertion.

If they put a little banner for a product for 10 seconds every 10 minutes or so I wouldn’t mind. As long as it wasn’t obtrusive. Of course there are many options for them to come up with solutions on making money on what people want but the studios / distributors are being stubborn on this and want their monopolies and double (sometimes triple) dipping to remain in place forever.

Would I steal a car? Well, no but if I could download a car then you better believe I would.

#30
NoImRight2:04 pm, 26 Apr 13

A_Cog said :

Dear Jeff,
I’ll make a deal with you. If you stop dragging US allies into bullsh!t wars spanning decades, I’ll stop pirating Game of Thrones (which is really just a medieval version of Dallas, with all these scheming aristocrats) and also stop pirating the plethora of mediocre shows and movies your country keeps pumping out.
Fair?

Without getting too far off topic we were hardly “dragged” into the last couple of wars. We went in so fast Howard hardly had time to get off his knees and wipe his lips.

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