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Piracy Australia Television Entertainment Your Rights Online

Who's Pirating Game of Thrones, and Why? 1004

Posted by timothy
from the stop-abrogating-my-television-rights dept.
TheGift73 writes "In a few hours a new episode of Game of Thrones will appear on BitTorrent, and a few days later between 3 and 4 million people will download this unofficial release. Statistics gathered by TorrentFreak reveal that more people are downloading the show compared to last year, when it came in as the second most downloaded TV-show of 2011. The number of weekly downloads worldwide is about equal to the estimated viewers on HBO in the U.S., but why? One of the prime reasons for the popularity among pirates is the international delay in airing. In Australia, for example, fans of the show have to wait a week before they can see the latest episode. So it's hardly a surprise that some people are turning to BitTorrent instead. And indeed, if we look at the top countries where Game of Thrones is downloaded, Australia comes out on top with 10.1% of all downloads (based on one episode). But delays are just part of the problem. The fact that the show is only available to those who pay for an HBO subscription doesn't help either."
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Who's Pirating Game of Thrones, and Why?

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  • I have HBO... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iCEBaLM (34905) <{moc.mlabeci} {ta} {mlabeci}> on Sunday May 20, 2012 @06:55PM (#40059417)

    ... but I get busy doing something most Sunday nights or forget to watch it, so I usually start the download Monday morning and watch it after work.

    It's not pirating if you're time shifting.

    • Re:I have HBO... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:03PM (#40059493)

      ... but I get busy doing something most Sunday nights or forget to watch it, so I usually start the download Monday morning and watch it after work.

      It's not pirating if you're time shifting.

      I have no interest in Game of Thrones, but I download a lot of other TV shows from a variety of sources.

      -- Don't have to remember to program the DVR
      -- Commercials are already cut out
      -- .mkv format with gives good quality with a fairly small file size
      -- I can save them all to my hard drive and have hundreds of episodes available any time I want
      -- Easily transfer to a thumb drive or other computer for maximum portability

      Once again the entertainment industry is failing to provide people what they want and so people are taking matters into their own hands.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 20, 2012 @06:58PM (#40059447)

    Stop using scarcity [wikipedia.org] with something that is an unlimited resource.

    Stop forcing people to pay for packages. Stop forcing people to pay for networks. Stop using the limited countries mindset, those are artificial political boundaries.

    Start making your shows available to everyone world-wide at the same second. Start asking for reasonable prices per episode, not a higher price than buying the DVD box set which you sell after a season is over.

    Stop being dumbasses and start being smart. People want to see your shows, they just won't jump through your stupid, mindless 1950's hoops anymore.

    • by marnues (906739)
      Artificial scarcity makes Time-Warner more money right now. Plus they might be able to pull off some huge win copyright lawsuits. They'll wait for someone else to create a successful business model before they change.
      • by russotto (537200) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:56PM (#40059823) Journal

        Artificial scarcity makes Time-Warner more money right now. Plus they might be able to pull off some huge win copyright lawsuits. They'll wait for someone else to create a successful business model before they change.

        So basically they make a lot of money by being dicks. Some people respond to them being dicks by getting their show without paying them any money. But they're still better off for being dicks. So what's the problem? Everybody wins.

        Time-Warner can whine about stealing and piracy and all that, but since they abandoned the moral high ground by being total dicks, no one should listen to them. What they really mean by all their pissing and moaning is they want the state to back up their right to be total dicks. That's a bad move; that just makes gives them more incentive to be total dicks.

        Summary: Want to promote unbundling and shows seen sooner in foreign markets: pirate away. Want more bundling and longer delays for shows in foreign markets, DVD releases, etc -- respect copyright.

  • The Oatmeal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by juventasone (517959) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @06:58PM (#40059451)

    The Oatmeal has already demonstrated the problem [theoatmeal.com] perfectly.

    • Re:The Oatmeal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fallingcow (213461) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:23PM (#40059645) Homepage

      Bingo. I'd pay more for HBO Go than I do for all of Netflix, but I don't have the option unless I *also* pay for cable, and I want exactly nothing from cable except HBO. I don't want to pay $100+ for the DVDs because I doubt I'll re-watch the show.

      I'd have to pay something like $60 a month (a guess--it might be higher) for one channel, which is ridiculous. $20/month for all of HBO Go? Hell yeah.

  • by RPGillespie (2478442) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @06:59PM (#40059455)
    ...But I didn't realize it until I left. Half of all the youtube videos I try to watch are blocked for one reason or another, Hulu, Netflix, and my Amazon Instant accounts were all out of commission, and iTunes was pretty much my last resort to stream content. I hate iTunes. I also hate trying to stream videos I own on Amazon through a proxy. Suddenly BitTorrent looks mighty friendly to a boredom-induced insanity.
  • Oh please (Score:5, Funny)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:01PM (#40059467)
    Because we live in a society where everyone deserves everything. And no puppies are killed if you do download it. Solving piracy is pretty simple to do. Instead of threatening to sue, you send them a package with a dead puppy in it.
  • Not only that but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by multiben (1916126) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:04PM (#40059501)
    In Australia, our TV networks show an incredible amount of greed and disdain in regard to popular TV series from the US. They constantly shift the time and day on which the show airs. They frequently leave gaps of several weeks between episodes (see Big Bang Theory) in order not to compete with other networks which may be launching a new show expected to dominate in the ratings. The more popular the show the more advertisements they pack in - sometimes up to 6 ad breaks in a single 21 minute show! The ad breaks are now so aggressive that they sometimes cut off punch lines (see the Simpsons). And sometimes they even play the damn episodes out of order (Firefly and American Gothic)! And they wonder why we go and download them where we can actually enjoy the show. F you Australian TV networks. You have no-one to blame but yourselves.
  • Several reasons (Score:5, Informative)

    by cockroach2 (117475) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:09PM (#40059551) Homepage

    In my country the delay would probably be around a year plus there's a good chance that we'd have to watch a poorly dubbed German version instead of the original English thus there's really no other option except piracy.

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:25PM (#40059657)
    This season is a major let down. Too many sub plots, not enough time. Changing to someone else every 5 minutes has gotten tedious and really isn't making for a smooth flowing story line.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:27PM (#40059671)

    Aussies have to wait a week to see a new show? Well, be glad you're not in dubbed Europe. You may rest assured that you will wait at the very least a YEAR until you get to see a show. That's because next to negotiations, you have to wait until they're done dubbing the show... and dubbing it BADLY. There are a few webpages dedicated to translation bloopers and joke explanations so you finally have a chance to even fathom just WHAT the authors wrote when (not if) you just can't figure out what the fuck's going on.

    It's also "only" a year, mind you, if, and only if, a network here decides to pick up the show. In other words, it's one year from the moment they actually WANT to show it. That is not necessarily a year after it's broadcast in its country of origin.

    And now think about this: You have internet access, and you use it regularly. There is a show out there that you watch religiously and it depends on suspense and NOT knowing what's going on next week. Think LOST, or worse, Bab5. Now imagine you're watching the first season of Bab5 while everyone on the 'net is discussing the outcome of the Vorlon/Shadow war.

    Can you see why people download shows?

  • by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:53PM (#40059815)

    It is not available in P.R. China through any authorized channel. Even if it were, it would be edited to nothing. The real odd thing to me is that it has recently been featured in the national student newspaper (21'st Century) in a two page spread . The article was mostly an attempt to explain the program and to help students understand the names.

    What I found interesting was that there was a full two page article on a program that is not even officially available and contains a significant amount of material that would be censored even if it were available. All that being said, it is not popular with the Chinese students that I know. The plot is too complicated for the male students and it is too violent, and overtly sexual, for the female students. However, it seems to be popular with many of the westerners here; further, considering that the article was written, I expect it is popular with some Chinese, just not here.

  • by SilverJets (131916) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @07:58PM (#40059837) Homepage

    I already own the paper version. I just download it so I have a copy that plays on my other devices.

  • by Roogna (9643) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @08:46PM (#40060117)

    My wife and I didn't pirate it, but did finally purchase the entire first season when it appeared on iTunes. This gave us good quality, and commercial free. For a hell of a lot less money than cable and HBO runs in our area. But, now here's of course why so many pirate instead.... we had to wait over a year to -PAY- HBO for the show. If we'd been in any rush to see it (Which the Networks seem to be desperate to have people rush to see their content, given how hard they try to get people to have cable to see it the day it airs) we would have had no choice except to pirate it. Now for us, we weren't in a rush we've got plenty of other entertainment so their show is welcome to sit on the back burner until they make it available. Except here's the thing, now that season 2 is on we're again waiting... which is no problem for us, but the obvious thing would be for HBO to make season 2 episodes available immediately after airing on iTunes. If they did, we'd again be paying for it already! Instead I guess we have to wait until the season 2 dvd's are available... which means that we may not purchase at all if by that time we've found something else to watch or do.

    The moral of the story: If you want people to pay for it, then SELL it to them. If you drag it out and keep telling people they can't buy, then yeah they're going to either steal it, or just ignore you.

  • Here is the answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mattr (78516) <.mattr. .at. .telebody.com.> on Sunday May 20, 2012 @10:28PM (#40060657) Homepage Journal

    I don't know this show and am not interested in viewing it. However I can think of two models that will work.
    MODEL I:
    Copy iTunes or Mubi.
    But it probably will not deliver enough viewers to fund the series by itself.
    So, on to...

    MODEL II:
    1. Ideally create one global launch date for all languages/regions and stick to it. This will provide maximum social networking and minimal spoilers. This would require sales to other markets starting after the pilot is made but before a whole season has been created. In other words, a new global sales strategy. So talk to a global ad agency. The other option is to make one global launch date per language, but you may get pirate versions I would imagine.
    2. Insert reasonable number of advertisements into market-specific versions, e.g. EN-US, EN-UK, EN-AU, etc.
    3a. If you can just provide speedy downloads from your site and akamai then do it. But that is going to be awfully expensive.. unless you have an amazing contract with ISPs all over the world already.
    3b. Instead, create a bittorrent for each format, with many seeders of the appropriate version within each region's territory. This way Australians can download the Australian version with Australian advertisements fastest due to having many seeds provisioned within its continental LAN. A few college kids could do this, but if you ask the ad agency to do it, they will charge you the same as or slightly less than the cost if you had hired akamai.
        Video quality should be 720p or higher. The easier the delivery is made, the less important and moralistic will any other pirate versions (undoubtedly somebody will edit out ads and make an uninterrupted version. Maybe the honest version will only have ads at beginning end and same points as TV version, so people may still prefer it and give back to the creators.)
    4. Create websites and social networking to advertise and link it all up. Word of mouth / magazine / twitter all linking there. Websites point to the torrents. Also sell via app stores, amazon, etc. Try to get fans to sign up. They can read blogs, teasers, special cilps on the website, post in forums, ask questions and maybe even help guide the series. Imagine if Joss Whedon was doing this.
    5. Offer extra things to purchase, maybe Amazon wants to do a special product deal.
    6. Offer DVD, Blu-Ray box sets and 1080p files as standalones or full season download via bittorrent or app stores. These products have no advertisements and will include special extras like making of clips, interviews with director and actors, printable pamphlets, maybe desktop wallpapers, 3d printable models, suscriptions to follow the different actors, blogs by the fashion designers or whatever. Pricing of the collections should however be the same price or cheaper than the current box sets if buying the digital version since no physical distribution is then necessary.
    7. $$$

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @10:35PM (#40060705)

    I want to pay for Game of Thrones. I'm proud to pay for great TV, music, books, and news.

    HBO won't let me. I'm standing here with dollars in my fist yelling "TAKE MY MONEY", but they won't do it, because they insist on the ludicrous, outdated concept of "subscription" and "scheduled programming".

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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