HBO says online piracy does not hurt sales, is a “compliment”, and helps grow buzzApril 1, 2013 8 Email article | Print article
With millions of people downloading episodes via file sharing, we already know Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show of 2012 and is likely going to top the charts in 2013, too. You’d think with so many million illegally downloading the TV show, Game of Thrones staff and HBO would be livid. As it turns out, they aren’t.
At a discussion at University of Western Australia last month, Game of Thrones director David Petrarca was asked about the huge number of people that pirate the show. Petrarca responded that piracy of the show was actually a good thing; it helps “cultural buzz” and social commentary about the show. In fact, Petrarca feels “that’s how they [shows] survive”.
Aside from Petrarca, Rose Leslie — the actor that plays Ygritte — feels huge piracy of Game of Thrones is actually a “compliment”:
“I don’t think HBO will be too happy, but yes, one way or another that’s a huge compliment. Not just to me but to the show as a whole.”
HBO programming president Michael Lombardo agrees with Leslie, telling EW:
“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”
Lombardo went on to drop an even further bombshell — piracy does not affect sales:
The demand is there. And it [piracy] certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.
These comments by HBO and related staff are very interesting, because it is very that someone connected to the entertainment to praises piracy. More importantly, when put into context with studies that suggest people who pirate music are more likely to buy music, there seems to be a pattern that online piracy is not as bad as the entertainment industry wants us to think. Does that make piracy right? I doubt most people would say “yes”. However, I’m sure most people will agree that anti-piracy advocates have blown it way out of proportion.