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.