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Piracy Television Your Rights Online

HBO Says Game of Thrones Piracy Is "a Compliment" 447

Posted by samzenpus
from the piracy-is-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery dept.
An anonymous reader writes "HBO programming president Michael Lombardo not only says that illegal downloading of Game of Thrones isn't hurting the show, but goes so far as to say it's 'a compliment' and worries about the image quality of pirated copies"
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HBO Says Game of Thrones Piracy Is "a Compliment"

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  • No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phizi0n (1237812) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:03PM (#43325181)

    Finally a suit that understands piracy HELPS more than it hurts, especially when the legal means of consuming the content is limited to few regions of the world.

    • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jfengel (409917) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:15PM (#43325261) Homepage Journal

      The question is whether more piracy would help the show more. He presumably would like somebody to actually pay for what appears to be a fairly expensive show to produce. A little piracy is free advertising; universal piracy kills the bottom line.

      So he may well decide that the current amount of piracy is a boon, but would continue to suppress pirates to the full extent of his ability and the law, to keep it from being any bigger than it is. He could easily eliminate piracy by seeding the torrents himself, and telling everybody that it was OK to take it from there. But I doubt that even this "enlightened" suit will do that, nor would he if he were permitted to.

      I suppose he might try to depend on subscriptions from people who decided they wanted to get it via HBO's regular distribution channels anyway, though it seems unlikely.

      • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:20PM (#43325295) Homepage

        Finally a Slashdotter that understands piracy both helps and also hurts, especially when the legal means of consuming the content covers most of the intended market.

        • by jhoegl (638955)
          Remember when... [youtube.com]
        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Funny)

          by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:01PM (#43325535) Homepage Journal

          Wait. you mean that scale matters? And that you can have too much of a good thing? Say it ain't so!

          Why can't we go back to the good old days when everything was black and white? These varying shades of grey make it hard to use boolean logic in my online debates.

          • Re:No shit (Score:4, Interesting)

            by nametaken (610866) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:54PM (#43327931)

            You win all the cookies for today.

            I think of it like an Adobe and Microsoft approach. Don't make anything too hard to pirate, because you want kids and emerging markets using your products. Hook 'em so you'll be the standard.

            Maybe later you bitch that nobody pays for anything and release the hounds. But mindshare comes in at priority #1.

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          Whether it helps or hurts is in itself a mere opinion and really depends on what you believe is hurtful to begin with.

        • Yes, but do you understand that current copyright ALSO helps and hurts. There is vast amount of 'wrong' on both sides. No one can claim the moral high ground of the current IP situation.
          • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmail.3.1415926com minus pi> on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:40PM (#43327297)

            Yes, but the one invariant is that copyright harms everyone else, with no help to be found. It's responsible for the repeated attempts at crippling the internet, gives us fundamentally broken technologies like DRM, wastes millions of dollars in the legal system, leads to obscenely non-constitutional laws and statutory penalties, thoroughly subverts the democratic process, and serves as the driving factor in several terrible economic/trade policies. In short, it completely sinks legitimate users as well as innocent bystanders, while the jury is out on whether it even serves any real purpose for the proprietors (and it really doesn't appear to at all, once you lose the farcical notion that each pirated copied is one (or hundreds, in the case of Jammie Rasset-Thomas) of lost sales).

            We really need to reconsider our copyright policies. This world can't afford to be held back just because America chooses to sell itself out to moneyed interests.

            • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Monday April 01, 2013 @12:31AM (#43328489)

              Copyrights (and patents) harm everyone except those monied interests you mention at the end of your post.

              I could stop right there, with that observation, but there's more to be added.

              These tax schemes with shell corporations in Ireland and the Cayman Islands only work because "client" corporations in America pay the shell corporations all of their profit. The mechanism they use to justify any number and every number they wish to use? Royalties. Copyright and patent royalties. The tax fraud being perpetuated relies on the ability to pay a bogus "licensing fee" to the shell corporation. This number is anything the perpetrator wants it to be, "negotiated" on the spot to whatever is most convenient to enable the fraud. And it's legal.

              Any significant blow to copyright or patents runs the risk of ruining the game, hence copyright and patents must be protected and extended at all costs, population and culture be damned.

              Not to put too fine a point on it but... "Follow the money."

        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Informative)

          by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @03:57PM (#43326233)

          ...especially when the legal means of consuming the content covers most of the intended market.

          ...after the two/three/four years that it often takes for a top-notch show to reach my country in the first place.

          • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mjwx (966435) on Monday April 01, 2013 @12:33AM (#43328497)

            ...especially when the legal means of consuming the content covers most of the intended market.

            ...after the two/three/four years that it often takes for a top-notch show to reach my country in the first place.

            This,

            Dearest HBO, I'd like to buy Game Of Thrones but you leave no option open to me as an Australian.

            So I end up pirating. It's not that I'm trying to rip HBO off, it's that HBO wont shut up and take my money.

        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:11PM (#43326875)

          How about, we all just accept that:

          * A little piracy helps more than it hurts and is a generally nothing more than free advertising
          * Making content easy-to-use, open/DRM-free, accessible and reasonably priced deters piracy better than does antagonizing your own fans through legal bullying ("you'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar")
          * Despite your best efforts, a negligible and inconsequential number of people are going to be freeloaders no matter what. These are people who are either unable to obtain it through "legitimate" means because it's (1) not made available to them, they (2) can't afford it, are (3) simply cheap or are (4) naive.

          There are some sub-points on that third item:

          (1) Unavailabliy: there is no excuse for this. These people are paying customers except that you won't take their money, so they turn to the only possible alternative. If it's unavailable to certain users becuase of their location, that's your own damn fault for keeping everything locked up in bullshit legal entanglements. There is clearly a market and reaching that market is a trivial expense in 2013.
          (2) Can't afford it: don't write these people off. They are in the market, just not yet. These are the same college students that use cracked copies of Photoshop, but who will later be purchasing it at the full ridiculous price from Adobe.
          (3) Just cheap: OK, you probably won't deter these people because they can't be detered. They don't care and it's not worth persuing them and becoming universally despised as a result.
          (4) Naive: they just don't know how these things actually work, they just assume that it's all on the up-and-up and that a computer is just a glorified stereo and VCR. And why wouldn't they? Radio's free, OTA TV is free, YouTube is free... the way to attract them is not to send letters threatening to riun their lives over 24 songs. You tell them, "look, here's the improved level of service and quality we can provide you for a reasonable price."

          In essence, it's a matter of balance and legal bullying is the wrong way to go about tipping the scale when it's too heavy on the side you don't like. It sounds like /maybe/ they're just starting to get the slightest, subtle twinge of this realization.

          • by fafalone (633739)
            You tell them, "look, here's the improved level of service and quality we can provide you for a reasonable price."

            That statement needs to be true before it's effective. Pirated content provides a better experience. You don't always need to be online and the selection is almost always better. And quality? These days I just download the 1080p streams they post on the web. Personally I hate being at some companies whim and fancy about what seasons they can or cannot carry, can or cannot offer in HD, and wh
        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Interesting)

          by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:14PM (#43326893)

          especially when the legal means of consuming the content covers most of the intended market

          Uh, perhaps they should intend a bit more then?

          Really, this is starting to piss me off. Where I live it is basically impossible to legally watch anything but "America's Next Top Model" and "Extreme Reconstruction" on expensive internet set-top box TV or buy buying decade old series I've already watched on DVD for ridiculously high prizes. No new series, no legal streaming, no working cinema on demand. You can't imagine how gladly I would pay for being able to watch a series or movie on my PC in halfway good quality... in English without subtitles, not synchronized or with letters smeared all over the picture. But no, apparently it's just totally impossible to set up reliable streaming outside the US in a country where just about everyone has a 100Mb fiber optics connection.

      • Re:No shit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Entropius (188861) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:28PM (#43325339)

        If there were a way to pay fair market value for a DRM-free recording (meaning: one where I can go mplayer GOT-S1E01.mkv and have it work) of the show, then fewer people would pirate it.

        People pirate it because the only way to watch it legally is to subscribe to HBO. Their business model induces the piracy.

        • But what is fair market value? The $3.99 charged per episode by the iTunes store seems reasonable when compared against other forms of entertainment. I don't think making it DRM free should increase this price either.

          The problem is, for every person like you who is prepared to pay fair market value, there are 10 people like me who pirate TV shows because a) it is free and b) there are no adverts included.
        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dahamma (304068) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:01PM (#43325525)

          People pirate it because the only way to watch it legally is to subscribe to HBO. Their business model induces the piracy.

          Their business model induces piracy about as much as a woman's clothing induces rape. Pirate the show if you want (clearly the harm is much lower/almost non-existant) but don't pretend it's the content owner's fault you did it.

          • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:28PM (#43326965)

            Talk about total false equivalence. First not only are they completely different kinds of acts, rape has a real victim, piracy does not, but indeed the business model can very well induce piracy.

            Let me give you an example: I discovered some little French cartoons called Minuscule. It is some funny anthropomorphic 3D rendered insects overlaid on live photography extremely well. I found it charming, and knew my mother would be delighted. That it was French in origin matters not at all as there is no speech, just sound effects. The rights were owned by Disney, by the way.

            So I set out to buy her a DVD for Christmas. It was not for sale, DVD or download, anywhere in the US or Canada. Apparently it has never been redone in NTSC format, it was PAL only. Not a problem, I have the video software necessary to do such a remaster. So I found it in France on their site. No English anywhere, the whole site was in French. With the help of Google, I translate it and give it my info. It is going to be stupid expensive to get, like 10 Euro from the DVD but then 20 Euro to ship it. Fine, I'm ok with that, mom will love it.

            I hit checkout and the first English ever pops up, it says basically "We are not allowed to sell this to your country."

            So fuck them, I pirated it. I went out of my way to buy a copy, far more than was reasonable, and still got shut down. They had decided this "wasn't for the US market" and I wasn't allowed to have it.

            That is what people are talking about. Now Game of Thrones is a somewhat lesser case, but still. To watch it, online or not, you have to have an HBO subscription. To have an HBO subscription you have to have cable TV, and a pretty expensive package at that. The minimum here is $60/month before taxes to get the package needed to have HBO, which is then an additional fee. That's a lot of damn money.

            What if someone does not need or want (and maybe can't afford) cable TV, but would be willing to pay for an HBO subscription, or be willing to pay to get episodes of the show? Nope, sorry, they won't do that. You shell out a ton for cable or you go to hell.

            So it is very realistic to talk about that pushing people to pirate. Compare that to, say, South Park. Here when an episode launches on TV, you can view it free (with ads) online. You can also buy the episodes ala carte at Amazon, or get everything but the most current season as part of a Netflix subscription. They make it very easy to watch it, even if you do not wish to have a cable plan that includes Comedy Central.

            Some people pirate things just because they can, or because they won't pay for anything. However others pirate because getting it legit is very expensive, or perhaps flat out impossible legally.

            You also can't really argue any harm when someone pirates something that they could not buy otherwise. There isn't even any theoretical harm: They could not spend money on it, so there isn't even a theoretical loss.

        • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:16PM (#43325627)

          Their business model induces the piracy.

          No, people who want to have some entertainment on their own terms, without paying for it, "induce" the piracy. No, they don't even "induce," they simply "commit" it. They can't be troubled to wait for a DVD or to grab it through Amazon, etc. No... they have to have it RIGHT NOW, because they are entitled to being entertained by the work of other people who spend millions of dollars.

          Induce. Oh, please.

          Yeah, yeah. And people who wear overpriced basketball shoes in the wrong part of down are inducing other people to shoot them in the head to take them, too. Is this inductive reasoning you're using, here?

          HBO is asking for it, man! Did you see that short skirt that HBO was wearing?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Their business model induces the piracy.

            No, people who want to have some entertainment on their own terms, without paying for it, "induce" the piracy. No, they don't even "induce," they simply "commit" it. They can't be troubled to wait for a DVD or to grab it through Amazon, etc. No... they have to have it RIGHT NOW, because they are entitled to being entertained by the work of other people who spend millions of dollars.

            You completely miss the point... There is a demand with no legal supply. Thus piracy.

            However, since they aren't trying to compete with that market, it doesn't matter to them.

            When it eventually does come out on DVD or Blu-ray, many of those pirates end up buying it. The people who already subscribe to HBO generally do not buy it because their cable providers have on-demand viewing of most of the episodes around the same time as the DVD comes out.

            HBO is smart. This way they can sign 'exclusive' deals with

          • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:34PM (#43325759)

            I think you're mixing up observed cause and effect with morality. If you go walking through a bad neighbourhood displaying wealth you might well get attacked whereas if you had kept a lower profile, you wouldn't have. That doesn't make the attacker's actions morally defensible, but it is something that is likely to happen.

            If you take an attractive and seductively dressed woman and dump her into the yard in a male prison during exercise time, she's more likely to get raped than under other circumstances. That doesn't mean the rape is okay or that the prisoners aren't guilty, just that it's more likely to happen. I think the woman would be quite reasonable to put some blame on you for contributing to her rape in that case. Inducing it, if you will.

            Heavily advertising a TV show then not allowing people to watch it by legal means is very likely to increase the rate of piracy. You can argue about whether piracy is morally defensible under those circumstances but your moral arguments have nothing to do about whether or not it's likely to happen. If HBO is creating circumstances under which their show is more likely to be pirated then they are inducing it.

          • by Maritz (1829006)
            Lots of people pirate it as it comes out and buy the box set later. Big fucking deal. Comparing it to rape is asinine.
          • Re:No shit (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TrekkieGod (627867) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:30PM (#43326681) Homepage Journal

            No, people who want to have some entertainment on their own terms, without paying for it, "induce" the piracy. No, they don't even "induce," they simply "commit" it. They can't be troubled to wait for a DVD or to grab it through Amazon, etc. No... they have to have it RIGHT NOW, because they are entitled to being entertained by the work of other people who spend millions of dollars.

            That may be true, but if you're trying to have a successful business plan, do you really think it's a good idea to have one which depends on changing human nature?

            Maybe you don't think these people are "entitled to being entertained by the work of other people who spend millions of dollars." It doesn't really matter does it? They think they are, and they have the means to achieve their goals, whether you like it or not. So you have one of two choices...spend lots of money trying to make it more difficult for these guys to get what they want, or give them most of what they want, lowering the number of people who choose to go the pirating route. As long as you gain more by doing the latter than you spend by doing the former, that's the way you should go. Simple cost-benefit analysis.

            HBO is asking for it, man! Did you see that short skirt that HBO was wearing?

            Did you really just compare copyright infringement to rape?

            If you must use a human sexual behavior as an analogy, it's more like dealing with teenage sexual activity. You can argue they shouldn't be engaging in it, and you're probably correct in that they're not ready. That said, if you tell them that abstinence is the way to go, you're fighting against human nature, and you're going to fail. Instead, if you teach them the concepts behind safe sex, you let them have what you want and you minimize the dangers of pregnancy of STDs. There will still be those who will engage in unsafe sex, and there will always be those guys who will pirate no matter what because what they want is the free part. However, you haven't proposed an alternate solution that does a better job.

        • by houghi (78078)

          Some people do. Other people do it because they do not want to pay anything, not even cable. And other do it because they are paying for the cable, but are unwilling to buy the DVDs later.

          There is not one specific reason why people pirate. And even a single person can have multiple reasons, depending on what they pirate.

          I know people who pirate just so they have it. Not even to look or (in case of software) use it. Others use it as some sort of video recorder, because they are limited with the ones

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The moral answer is that if you like the show, pay for it. Buy the DVD or buy a subscription. Piracy is only wrong if you use it only to avoid paying a reasonable price for a product.

        • 'Piracy' is only wrong if you are of the opinion that it is wrong.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Yeah, HBO's revenue is mostly from (a very expensive) subscription and then DVD/BD sales of the show later. If the show is good enough (and several HBO shows have been) they actually have people paying twice to watch it same-day and then have the collection later...

        But there are definitely situations where piracy would hurt them - for example, widespread access to the show BEFORE it airs on HBO would hurt subscriptions, and professional pirates selling the whole season in perfect BD quality for a few bucks

        • Don't forget the extra $50 / month for access to download and with HBO it's another $50 / month for a subscription on top of the $50 / month for base cable.

          So to watch GOT on demand (rather than in a predefined timeslot) and on a device like a tablet it costs $150 / month both during the show season and before/after unless you jump through hoops to sub/unsub HBO (not actually sure if you can).

          Now of course you get additional content with that but it's like wanting to eat a salad and having to pay for the fu

      • by Weezul (52464)

        Just make a stink about low quality pirated copies and sell better quality copies online after a short while. Any serious fans will love the excuse to rewatch all the shows at higher quality.

      • by eggstasy (458692)

        You have to pay extra to watch Game of Thrones, in America? That's absurd.
        TV and Internet here come in the same package, you can't get one without the other, and it's pretty cheap, 100 mbit fiber, includes free calls from your landline and two cellphone to any network in the country + some other countries as well. Free DVR, too, included in your wifi router...
        I can't possibly imagine why it would be illegal for me to stream a TV series on the train instead of watching it at home.

    • [checks date]

      No, April Fools Day is tomorrow.

  • An ideea (Score:5, Funny)

    by tracius01 (2541214) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:05PM (#43325189)
    HBO should put top quality torrents on TPB
  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:05PM (#43325191)

    I'd sign up for HBO if there was a way to do so without paying my cable provider an obscene amount of money for Flip This Nanny and Douchebags Live Together 14 as well.

    Maybe I'll mail them a donation.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by war4peace (1628283) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:15PM (#43325263)

      I was thinking the same. Full digital subscription? Yes, sir. Subscription linked to some shitty cable TV one? Nope.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jetra (2622687) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:14PM (#43325619)
        Wouldn't HBO profit better as a standalone channel purchase than a 6 or 12 moth subscription? If we have to pay a few cents per channel, a lot more people would be willing to drop the sports channels which come standard so as to buy HBO and Showtime.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:32PM (#43325367)

      I'd sign up for HBO if there was a way to do so without paying my cable provider

      That's why I buy Game of Thrones on iTunes. HBO gets money, and morally I am justified in downloading shows before they are released on iTunes.

      It's a more direct form of donation as I don't really watch the other HBO content at this time. If they ever did unleash HBO GO to anyone that wanted to pay for it I might subscribe that way.

      • That's why I buy Game of Thrones on iTunes. HBO gets money, and morally I am justified in downloading shows before they are released on iTunes.

        I wish I had that option where I'm living - no TV shows on the store. With The Walking Dead I can either pay for Fox, wait for the DVDs to be released (currently awaiting season 3) or go torrent it right now to get it quickly and for free. I prefer to do this legally, and wish their business model was more geared to taking my money.

        I'm just not keen to pay for a channel when there's very little I'd want to watch on it, and TV is too intermittent a pastime to justify the monthly costs beyond basic cable.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Yes, iTunes works. HBO has enough good content that I'd actually subscribe if there was a reasonable way of doing so. Other producers occasionally have something good but the signal to noise ratio isn't high enough that I'd pay for any kind of subscription.

      • by thoth (7907)

        I'd buy Game of Thrones on iTunes - I buy a few other shows already - if it were current. But if I have to wait a year to buy it, the same time the DVDs come out, I might as well get it through Netflix since I'm already subscribing to that.

      • If they ever did unleash HBO GO to anyone that wanted to pay for it I might subscribe that way.

        I believe they mulled this over recently (Google "hbo go non subscribers") and made a bunch of the providers angry so they backed off doing it. iTunes seems to be the best route around having to get cable/satellite to watch HBO content. The delay is the killer.

  • HBO Gets it Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:05PM (#43325195)
    And we should reward them. This is EXACTLY what we want content producers to say. Let's buy the shit out of their DVD's, and publicize the series even more. Let's support companies that take the right stance.
    • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:09PM (#43325227)
      We should also, in a friendly way, urge them to have their content delivery more closely match the spirit of their PR. If they are OK with piracy that's great! Are they still issuing complaints? Fans would LOVE more ways to pay for their content. Are there viable means for them to make it more available? Fans want the series to make a ton of money, so it continues (and we get more tasty battle sequences). How much more revenue could they secure if they made it easier to purchase? (Relevant [theoatmeal.com]).
      • by dubbreak (623656) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:17PM (#43325269)

        How much more revenue could they secure if they made it easier to purchase? (Relevant [theoatmeal.com]).

        Exactly. If he's concerned about image quality, then why not offer downloads that are up to his standards at a price that's so good it's easier to pay it and get a guaranteed good DL.

        Heck, run their own private (pay for) torrent site and they can avoid some bandwidth costs. Or free official torrents with an advert or two at the begining (which they should get some revenue off or).

        There are ways to monetize free viewers. I stream a few shows from the comedy network (Workaholics mainly, since they have the latest episodes) an I don't mind the ad interruptions.

  • Funny that... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:05PM (#43325199)

    Funny that, someone I know got this...

    We have received a DMCA file sharing complaint and the date, time, and IP address provided matches the date, time, and IP address was in use. Illegal file sharing is against our terms of service and we cannot ignore DMCA take-down requests, as such we kindly ask you to stop sharing said files to comply with this request. Please note repeated offences may result in permanent suspension.

    ####
    Reference: xxx-xxxx
    Title: Game of Thrones
    Infringement Source: BitTorrent
    Infringement Timestamp: 2012-x-x x:x:x
    Infringing Filename: Game of Thrones S02E08 xxxx
    Infringing File size: 405105216
    Infringers IP Address: x.x.x.x

    ####

  • Word of Mouth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mystakaphoros (2664209) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:06PM (#43325205) Homepage
    Honestly, if it weren't for downloading, I don't think I would have even heard of the show.
    • by mooingyak (720677) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:28PM (#43325343)

      Honestly, if it weren't for downloading, I don't think I would have even heard of the show.

      Because you live in a cave and rarely interact with the other bipedal creatures?

      I'm not saying everyone should have seen it or even want to have seen it. But to not even hear of it takes a great deal of effort.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        I'm not saying everyone should have seen it or even want to have seen it. But to not even hear of it takes a great deal of effort.

        Especially since he's posting on a Slashdot article *about* the show...

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      Honestly, if it weren't for downloading, I don't think I would have even heard of the show.

      You are lying.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dear Michael Lombardo,

    I watch pirated copies of the show in 1080p, the quality is just fine.

    Thank you,

    AC

  • by Huntr (951770) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:15PM (#43325265)
    Wish I'd known they felt so charitable before I ordered HBO specifically for the GoT season. :/
  • You're welcome.

  • And he is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:22PM (#43325303)

    The difference is that some people actually look at the facts first, like this guy. He is not the first to notice that with a good product aimed at a target audience that can pay does not suffer from unauthorized noncommercial (!) copying, but profits.

    The typical attitude is the greed-inspired "This is ours! They are stealing!", reinforced by stupidity. The fact of the matter is that "copyright" is an artificial construct. The only thing that is an actual natural right is to be identified as the creator of a work. Copyright was introduced in England, because commercial piracy, perpetrated by printers and publishers lead to the actual creator of works not making money anymore. As to whether creators of works should be compensated at all, the time-honored answer is that if the audience liked it, some of them will give. And that has to be enough. It was for countless centuries. Turns out that in the Internet age, it is even easier to find people that are willing to pay for works of art when not forced to. And there are (by now pretty strong) indicators that not forcing people to pay actually increases total revenue for works of good quality. There are also indicators that works of bad quality suffer, and that is the real beef of the copyright fascists: They have gotten so used to be able to force bad quality on people and have them pay-before-consume (an entirely unnatural model for entertainment) that they want to keep that despicable model at all cost.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      The only thing that is an actual natural right is to be identified as the creator of a work.

      ,Br> Why is that a natural right, but not being ripped off isn't? Why do you have a natural right to someone knowing you created something? Specifically.

      And be careful of the logical minefield you're about to step into.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        You are not ripped off as no information you create belongs to you. You are simply its creator, but not its owner. You typically are also the holder of a copy. But that copy is in no way different than any other copy.

        I am not stepping into any minefield here, I am just pointing out facts. They are pretty obvious unless you are brainwashed. If you really have trouble to understand the nature of things, I recommend reading "What Color Are Your Bits": http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/entry/23 [sooke.bc.ca]

        Sure, the content-industry

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @01:23PM (#43325305)

    They are showing the full S2 on of the free trail of HBO today on HBO2.

    And you can DVR it and view it on your time even after the end of free trail.

  • Because it's blank; as in, I don't have cable TV nor will I ever have it again because streaming is what I prefer. Once HBO stops just putting feelers out to the public so the cable companies can realize the hold HBO has over them and they could move their catalog to streaming only, maybe I'd have a clue what Game of Thrones is even about.

    HBO: streaming++; current business model--

  • If quality is such a concern, they can always seed it themselves.
  • ... but I don't watch it. Not that I don't think it's good -- but I tend to watch these kinds of shows in a cluster. It's annoying to get into a story, and then wait 6 months for its resolution.

    So I pay for it, and Honey Boo Boo, and thousands of other things I don't watch to get the few things I do.

    So for me, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people; we already have a small portion of our budget set aside for "entertainment" -- and it's not going to go up, just because an exec somewhere wants 15% growth, or i

  • by hahn (101816) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:26PM (#43325709) Homepage
    I would pay to watch the show. I would pay for an HBO subscription to watch the show. I WON'T pay for a cable subscription just to get an HBO subscription just to watch the show.
  • by Brobock (226116) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:36PM (#43325779) Homepage

    Here in Sweden, I pay a TV tax. This tax goes to paying for state owned TV channels. They broadcast Game of Thrones without commercials. There are no advertisers being hurt, and my TV tax goes to paying HBO for the syndication rights. The issue is I do not like seeing the subtitles that are burned in. I also like my show at the highest resolution with surround sound.

    So is it piracy when I download it rather than watching it directly from syndication?

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:36PM (#43325785)
    If it wasn't for finding Game of Thrones on the internet, I would have never found the show.

    Being that its on HBO, a premium channel, I would never have never even know about it.
  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @02:40PM (#43325819)
    Umm... a threat I got from my cable company saying a report from HBO puts one strike on my account... leads me to believe the opposite. They almost certainly do have a team sniffing torrents and issuing complaints with internet service providers.
  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Sunday March 31, 2013 @03:00PM (#43325953) Journal
    I can't get HBO, for various reasons. So I download Game of Thrones. When the DVDs are available, I buy them. Actually. 95% of the things I download I buy... It may be interesting to see how much media I purchase that I haven;t downloded... I am thinking that most of it I've already downloaded.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @04:57PM (#43326537)

    I don't have a problem with paying for the DVDs or the subscription fee to the channel that gives me what I want. What I have a problem with is getting what I want.

    What I want should be easy to do, from a technical point of view: Watch the show in its original makeup. Sadly, it's near impossible to get that here. Because, you see, everything gets dubbed here. Everything. There's a whole industry built around dubbing foreign shows. And considering just how many movies are made domestically, I'd dare say it's bigger than the "real" movie industry. The big problem around it now is that they seem to lump every actor too bad for actual acting and every writer too stupid to actually come up with scripts into it. What this results in is ATROCIOUS dubbing. Scripts the butcher every joke or simply make no sense whatsoever. And wooden voice acting that can actually make you think Keanu Reeves isn't such a bad actor because EVERYONE is about as expressive as he is. Not to mention this unspeakable urge to translate EVERYTHING, which leads to some rather ... odd situations until you finally get to see the original and why something "works". You don't even want to know what they did to "Soft Kitty" from the Big Bang Theory...

    It's also a given that this dubbing takes time. To give you an idea, just recently the 11th Doctor reincarnated.

    So, long story short, I want to watch the shows undubbed. But that's apparently some kind of sacrilege. I must be the heretic for wanting to bypass the "local culture" or something like that. There is exactly NO channel whatsoever, not even one I could subscribe to for extra money, that would present those shows in their original making. So my best bet right now are DVDs, even though I'll have to order them abroad since it's surprisingly hard to find undubbed DVDs or at least some with an original track. Though for some bizarre reason, the sound quality of the original track is by default inferior to the dubbed one.

    So take a wild guess why torrents are so popular around this area.

    Just give people what they want! Most people I know would gladly pay good money for a simple, undubbed version of a show, just broadcast the same content you broadcast in the US and we're very happy.

  • by SnowDog74 (745848) on Monday April 01, 2013 @10:47AM (#43330717)

    HBO's CEO has hinted at the possibility of a standalone HBO GO subscription... It's probably coming. One of the challenges to this is the way that deals are structured, and this isn't a bunch of executives sitting around wringing their hands and twirling their mustaches. There are certain agreements that content providers have made with carriers because they didn't initially have as many options for distribution as the internet has made possible in today's world.

    The other challenge is... so you've got these existing revenue streams out there. How do you structure your content distribution in a way that doesn't cannibalize the sales that will piss off the carriers who depend on a cut of the monthly fees they charge?

    While Lombardo understands that "free" isn't an option, he's as shrewd as Steve Jobs in treating "free" as a competitor and trying to figure out what they need to do to make paid HBO as compelling. What the iTunes model did was treat "free" as a competitor and then go after a more convenient user experience and one-touch purchasing.

    The point that's often missed in a lot of the moaning about "users want free so it should be free"... no. Free is not the thing that the users want. If I gave you a pile of trash for free, would that satisfy your appetite for Game of Thrones? It's the content they want. But all of these defined revenue streams instead of an ad-based model (which is the "free" alternative in the pragmatic world of content production) are a large part of why HBO can produce the extremely expensive-budget shows with fewer episodes and better writing than the ad-based models that have to appeal to the broadest, dumbest audience possible.

    If those revenue streams are eliminated, there's no cushion for them to commit to shows that would never survive on network television. The only thing they need to do here is to research just how much their cable subscriptions would be affected by online, and perhaps make a deal with the cable companies to compensate their existing agreements the way Apple paid the content producers upwards of $150 million to secure unlimited cloud streaming.

    Something will get worked out because every party has an interest... HBO could very well serve up a pile of crap and not care as long as they got their fees. That's how subscription cable works, and through advertising it's how networks work. But they're not the Wal-Mart of television programming nor do they want to be. If they were, none of us would be here talking about wanting TV shows that some nonexistent premium channel doesn't produce that you've never heard of.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

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