US ambassador asks Australia to stop pirating Game of Thrones

Still of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated TV series in recent history, but there’s good reason for it. No I’m not condoning piracy, and it’s certainly immoral in many cases- not to mention illegal. You see Game of Thrones is an HBO exclusive television series. Up until the beginning of this season, there were only two ways to watch the show until the DVD box set shipped. You could either watch the show on HBO, if you were subscribed to your cable providers premium package, or through HBO’s proprietary streaming service HBO GO.

Unfortunately, HBO GO is only available to those who have an active subscription to HBO, and even so it’s only offered through a select few cable providers. That means, in most countries if you wanted to watch the show then you were out of luck. Folks in Australia, for example, met with a bit of delay during the airing of the first two seasons. They could watch the series on a local premium channel, but the kicker is that the show itself aired a week later than it does here in the US. That means Australians were a week behind. That’s a huge pain especially if you frequent Twitter, and pretty much any part of the internet- spoilers crop up everywhere.

It’s no surprise then that Australia is one of the worst offenders when it comes to pirating the series. For this season, however a lot has changed, and the delay in air times between the US and Australia is down to just a mere hour. Despite the fact that the show is readily available in Australia, more so than it was a year ago, the country still has the highest piracy rating.

In a Facebook post titled “Stopping the Game of Clones”, American ambassador Jeffrey Bleich has a simple request for the citizens of Australia:

“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.”

He’s obviously troubled by the reputation his country has earned in regards to this matter.

“If the 4 million people who watched Game of Thrones legally had been illegal downloaders—the show would be off the air and there would never have been a Season 3.”

Most people are probably scratching their heads at this news because Bleich’s plight is contrary to how the people actually connected to Game of Thones feel. The show’s director David Petrarca doesn’t seem to be phased by the high piracy ratings. He explicitly said that the illegal downloads don’t really matter since the show itself relies on “cultural buzz.” Even the head of HBO Michael Lombardo said pretty much the same thing.

It’s amusing to see the US ambassador more troubled by the situation than the head official of the network provider and the show’s own director. Especially considering that even with the high piracy ratings, Game of Thrones is one of the top earners on television currently.

What’s your take on all of this dotTechies? Let us know in the comments below!. And this is totally unrelated, but I LOVE GAME OF THRONES!

[via Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, Ars Technica]

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4 comments

  1. AT

    Make things available at the same time. Don’t sit on something for 6 months to 2 years and then release a stripped down version. If consumers can’t get the proper version, they will find other ways of getting it.

    See also any and every foreign film ever. And stop dubbing.

  2. Seamus McSeamus

    Ambassador Bleich should find something important to worry about, especially in light of the fact that his concerns aren’t shared by, well, anyone.

    I suggest he work on getting me some NRL games on my TV.