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Game of Thrones Pirates Being Monitored By HBO, Warnings On The Way (torrentfreak.com) 282

HBO is leaving no stones unturned in keeping Game of Thrones' piracy under control. The company is monitoring various popular torrent swarms and sending thousands of warnings targeted at internet subscribers whose connections are used to share the season 7 premiere of the popular TV series, reports TorrentFreak: Soon after the first episode of the new season appeared online Sunday evening, the company's anti-piracy partner IP Echelon started sending warnings targeted at torrenting pirates. The warnings in question include the IP-addresses of alleged BitTorrent users and ask the associated ISPs to alert their subscribers, in order to prevent further infringements. "We have information leading us to believe that the IP address xx.xxx.xxx.xx was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization," the notification begins. "HBO owns the copyright or exclusive rights to Game of Thrones, and the unauthorized download or distribution constitutes copyright infringement. Downloading unauthorized or unknown content is also a security risk for computers, devices, and networks." Under US copyright law, ISPs are not obligated to forward these emails, which are sent as a DMCA notification. However, many do as a courtesy to the affected rightsholders. The warnings are not targeted at a single swarm but cover a wide variety of torrents. TorrentFreak has already seen takedown notices for the following files, but it's likely that many more are being tracked.
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Game of Thrones Pirates Being Monitored By HBO, Warnings On The Way

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  • HBO GO is only like $15/month, which in most of the first world is less than the value of the time you'd spend trying to find a pirated copy of every new episode before your co-workers spoil it for you.

    • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @09:36PM (#54843449)

      Not available outside of the US, so there's that.
      If I want HBO's content, I need to pay an expensive cable subscription, I ain't doing that.
      After I got a warning email from HBO by my ISP, I just decided to Stream instead of Downloading. I'd like to see them monitor that.

      • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @10:09PM (#54843579)

        After I got a warning email from HBO by my ISP, I just decided to Stream instead of Downloading. I'd like to see them monitor that.

        I'd like to get this straightened out: when you torrent, the file divided up into pieces and sent to your computer in more-or-less random order, where it's reassembled and stored. when you stream, the file is divided up into pieces and sent to your computer sequentially, and the pieces are deleted after you see them. Aside from not having the pieces afterwards, how is this different in terms of their tracking you? In both cases the files are sent to you. Do you mean "use a proxy"? Or is the difference that a streaming viewer isn't sending pieces to other viewers and you believe that watching it illegally is less criminal than watching it and distributing it?

        As an Australian, I have no alternative but to torrent GOT. If I was burning the episodes to disc and selling them at the Caribbean Gardens Market on the weekends, that would be piracy. I consider what I'm doing to be "previewing" - if I think the content is worth it, I'll buy it on DVD, if and when they get around to actually SELLING the discs down here, to show my support for good content.

        • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @10:37PM (#54843703)

          Streams are (usually) hosted by a single pirate site, which (presumably) isn't inclined to share their IP logs with the media companies. Torrents, however, are hosted by users, which can (and do) include monitoring companies hired by the media companies, which allows them to track the IP of pretty much everyone torrenting that file.. The only way the media companies can track streams is to either have direct access to the ISPs or hosting sites logs, both of which are possible, but considerably more work than tracking a torrent.

          • I think more legally important is that torrenting relies on user "sharing" i.e. uploading and downloading the content, while streaming is a typically one way process.

            Has anyone ever actually been charged for "downloading" content? I know we have hundreds of stories of people being done for uploading or making available.

            • I don't think so, I think most of those people just get a cease and desist and a threat to cut off internet service, and since there isn't another provider, people stop downloading.
        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          Foxtel not available where you live?

          Not that I would recommend Foxtel to anyone, but it is the legitimate GoT channel in Australia.

          • I had Foxtel for about six months. I was fast-talked into it by a door-to-door salesman, of all people, who claimed that a certain channel I was interested in (can't remember the name, but it had a vaguely Gothic theme) would be available very soon. It wasn't. It never came about, and I was left with - as TISM sang in their song "Big Fucking Whoopee" -

            Pay T.V: Gilligan's Island.

            Rugby.

            Gilligan's Island again.

            BFW.

            I would be interested in seeing what the most recent episode of GOT Foxtel has. I doubt somehow it's season 7.

            • by jezwel ( 2451108 )
              It is season 7. Unfortunately the service was so popular that the ID authentication system couldn't handle the load so a big chunk of their userbase - including 10's of thousands of new subscribers - couldn't actually watch it when it was aired...
        • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Informative)

          by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @10:56PM (#54843777)

          As an Australian, you can pay $15/mo for Foxtel Now "Pop pack", which includes Game of Thrones and a bunch of other TV shows.
          That's cheaper than Americans who pay for HBO GO who have to pay $15USD

          https://www.foxtel.com.au/now/... [foxtel.com.au]

          • and you hit your cap how fast?

          • by quenda ( 644621 )

            As an Australian, you can pay $15/mo for Foxtel Now "Pop pack", which includes Game of Thrones

            That's a huge improvement over past seasons, which required a very expensive Foxtel package.
            However, limited platforms, and the "Foxtel Now" Android app is a steaming pile of excrement. e.g. it works with chromecast, but no FF/RWD ability, just pause. Mostly 1-star ratings in the Play Store. If you have a "Telstra TV" device, it might be better?

            A good, funny, explanation of Foxtel Now here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

            I'll stick with Netflix, iView and SBS, and torrent the dragons.

          • you left out the part that with Foxtel Now it will be a gamble as to whether the service works, you have limited device types you can view it on and it won't be streamed in HD on the day. seems fucking expensive for such a poor offering.
          • by mjwx ( 966435 )

            As an Australian, you can pay $15/mo for Foxtel Now "Pop pack", which includes Game of Thrones and a bunch of other TV shows.
            That's cheaper than Americans who pay for HBO GO who have to pay $15USD

            https://www.foxtel.com.au/now/... [foxtel.com.au]

            But that involves giving money to the most evil man on the planet. Given the fact that they cant actually do anything but send warnings to Australians, it's a no brainier.

            If you want my money, you need to give me the video forever, which I can watch on my schedule, in a format I find acceptable and from a source I dont find evil. Right now, torrents beats the legitimate option on 3 or more of those criteria.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          After I got a warning email from HBO by my ISP, I just decided to Stream instead of Downloading. I'd like to see them monitor that.

          I'd like to get this straightened out: when you torrent, the file divided up into pieces and sent to your computer in more-or-less random order, where it's reassembled and stored. when you stream, the file is divided up into pieces and sent to your computer sequentially, and the pieces are deleted after you see them. Aside from not having the pieces afterwards, how is this different in terms of their tracking you? In both cases the files are sent to you. Do you mean "use a proxy"? Or is the difference that a streaming viewer isn't sending pieces to other viewers and you believe that watching it illegally is less criminal than watching it and distributing it?

          >

          You are a pirate if you have a hand in making the a pirated content available online. When you leech a torrent content, you are also sending the part that are stored in your local storage to other downloader, which more or less is the same as burning the episode to a disc and sell them. Streaming on the other hand only make you a consumer of pirated contents, which is not a target of DMCA take down

          • You are a pirate if you have a hand in making the a pirated content available online. When you leech a torrent content, you are also sending the part that are stored in your local storage to other downloader, which more or less is the same as burning the episode to a disc and sell them.

            What if I choke my upload rate down to zero, and don't seed? I'd be a leeching asshole by torrent community standards, but I'd be - well, not a good citizen, but slightly less of a bad one, to HBO.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Game of Thrones, regardless of all the hype and bullshit, just is not that great, simply dragged on and on, too much. The only reason is seem so great is because relative to the other stuff out there at the moment it is far better, some real crap out there. Besides, binge watching is the only way to go. I only watch a season when it is complete and sometimes I will stream the first episode if there is a cliff hanger, rather than wait. My real preference is to wait until a series is fully completed and watch

        • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rastos1 ( 601318 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:40AM (#54844363) Homepage

          As an Australian, I have no alternative but to torrent GOT.

          What about "not giving a flying fuck" option?

          • There are already a huge number of shows I don't give a flying fuck about, most of them about celebrity cooks, real estate and non-entities trapped in film sets that look like a house.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Or is the difference that a streaming viewer isn't sending pieces to other viewers and you believe that watching it illegally is less criminal than watching it and distributing it?

          From what I've understood of US law, yes. The exclusive rights of a copyright holder [cornell.edu] include reproduction (that is, storage to a medium) and distribution (sending it to someone else), but streaming doesn't use any of those rights. Copies that are purely transitory like buffers and caches do not count as storage. Note that it's more about the nature of the use than the actual technology, if you start a hundred copies of a piece of software from one shared network drive they may consider that as a hundred fix

        • by Subm ( 79417 )

          > As an Australian, I have no alternative but to torrent GOT

          You can not watch.

      • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Informative)

        by ma1wrbu5tr ( 1066262 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @12:10AM (#54844075) Journal
        Get a VPN. You can get a year for about the price of 2 months of HBO.
      • Just torrent from behind a decent VPN. Many VPNs support torrenting and provide settings guides for major torrent clients. It's usually significantly slower than connecting to the swarm directly, but that's the price of privacy.

      • by dfm3 ( 830843 )

        If I want HBO's content, I need to pay an expensive cable subscription, I ain't doing that.

        Not if you live in the US. We don't have a cable subscription, and sprung for the free trial of HBO Go last year (I think you get 30 days before you're charged?) so that we could catch up on the whole series without having to mess with torrents. Our original plan was to cancel the trial before we had to pay, but in the end we decided to pay for one month out of principal - $15 to binge watch six seasons was well worth it to us.

    • Clearly you haven't used piratebay.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Is it available without a $150 cable subscription? Not in my area.

    • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @10:11PM (#54843585)

      Good luck getting Game of Thrones in Australia legally without paying $46/month to Foxtel for the privileged (and another $10/month if you want HD)

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Well, that means that you won't get it, unless you pay. If that is their price, that is their price. Availability does not mea you have a right to it.

        I do agree that it is stupid and copyright laws in general are stupid, but that is how it is.

      • $15/mo. Link. [foxtel.com.au]

        At $3.75/episode, I think that pretty convincingly sinks the argument of "I have NO CHOICE but to pirate Game of Thrones because no one will offer it at a reasonable price!"

    • Hogwash! It takes about 30 seconds to find a torrent. This site is for nerds. Perhaps you should think about wandering back on over to Facebook.
    • by bug1 ( 96678 )

      We all know copyright is a government granted monopoly, so there is no legal competition for any specific work, there is only competition for categories of works.

      So "piracy" has emerged as price driver for content, its $15 because if they put the price up more people will pirating it.

      In a productive environment more (legal) participants should lead to a lower price. But if they use the courts and social pressure to stop people pirating they can put the price up and sell it to more people.

      Its a corruption of

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Powercntrl ( 458442 )

        Its a corruption of the market.

        No, if you don't want to pay: don't watch it. We're not talking about some movie Disney made a million years ago and everyone who worked on it is retired or dead - this is a show which is in current production. They have every right to earn money on something they've just invested money in bringing to the screen.

        Perhaps in 20 years [reddit.com] you'd be right to bitch if they're still being copyright nazis about something they've long since abandoned, ya know?

    • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

      "...which in most of the first world is less than the value of the time you'd spend trying to find a pirated copy of every new episode before your co-workers spoil it for you."

      How much time do you think it takes to find 4 episodes a month? You seriously think the value of that time is greater than $15 in "most of the first world"? Delusional thinking.

      I would expect anyone of average ability to be able to accomplish this in only a few minutes.

      Then there's the matter of HBO's delays in making content availa

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I got two DMCA warnings a little over a year ago accusing me of pirating Game of Thrones, and I'm paying for HBO mainly just for that one show. I use BitTorrent, but I did not torrent Game of Thrones.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @09:48PM (#54843483)

      I think they pick IP addresses at random. I work for a tiny cable ISP, and we've gotten DMCA notices for addresses that have never been used.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's also the possibility that the torrent swarm list has false endpoints in it deliberately to poison any data gathered from monitoring the swarm. Personally, I would _expect_ all public trackers to add false peers into the mix as doing so increases plausible deniability for the real peers. Whether they actually do, I don't know, since I don't use them, but I've heard rumours of this activity in the past.

        Anyone wanting to monitor would then have to actively connect to advertised peers to ensure they exi

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSPAM.world3.net> on Thursday July 20, 2017 @07:43AM (#54844995) Homepage Journal

        In fact they do pick at random. The trackers throw in a few random IP addresses and the tracking services don't bother to check if they can actually connect and download the data in question from them.

        You have to remember that the trackers are not motivated to do a good job. They don't bother with forensic quality evidence, they just spam as many people as possible and rely on some percentage of them panicking and paying up. If it gets as far as court and the defendant actually shows up, they almost always lose.

        • by PigleT ( 28894 )

          I'm not at all surprised. Years ago (around 2002-3, I guess) I wrote a little honeypot website - it would emit random words and phrases from the titles of songs, actors/actresses, movies etc, appended with various file extensions. The kicker: all the "links" were handled by the same script that only ever emitted text/html with yet more links...

          That garnered an officious legalistic DMCA screed back in its day; my colo ISP was suitably amused when he heard the nature of the site.

          Goes to show they just ran bru

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @09:36PM (#54843445)

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

    I have no problems paying for something when it's easy to pay for that thing and reasonably priced. HBO and the cable companies are all off their rockers where I live, so pirating content is often the only solution available if I want to know what the hell my online friends are yammering about the next day.

    • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @11:05PM (#54843805)

      Since then HBO has a $15 streaming service that doesn't require a cable subscription.
      There's a $15 Foxtel service for Australians
      There's a $15 NeonTV service for New Zealanders...

      There's probably a $15 streaming service for most countries.

      • Sadly the Australian option sucks balls. very limited device support and streams in Standard Def. basically Foxtel now at the moment is a piece of shit. Personally I don't want to watch a low definition artifacting stream which I have to PAY for when I can torrent a high definition version. If Foxtel moves into the current decade with their encoding and streaming technology without increasing the price further then I would happily subscribe, as it is I refuse to pay for lesser quality.
      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        No, there's not...
        Not to mention all the people who are on internet connections too slow or unreliable to stream. It's easy enough to download a torrent overnight and watch it the following day, but streaming requires a connection fast enough to download the show in realtime.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's $10/month in the UK for streaming (Now TV), but the quality is shit so I subscribe and then torrent a high quality copy to watch. VPN prevents tracking.

    • I cannot even get HBO (the complete package) here unless I physically move to a location where the only ISP who offers HBO provides their service. Last year HBO pulled the plug to provide service to the rest of the country.

  • that be where we 'ang 'em.
  • In a random twist, I am actually watching this season of GoT via DVR with the wife in the living room, on a real television.

    I posted a survey on my favorite torrent site to see if anyone there has received ISP notices. So far, no response.

    How about you folks out there in /. land? Anybody received any notices for torrenting GoT?

  • by ZippyTheChicken ( 3134311 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @11:05PM (#54843807)
    Just did a quick google because I cant really use torrent freak as a source.. seems that HBO has been sending out DMCA Notices every year since 2012 for the Premier of Game of Thrones .. Seems like Clickbait Advertising to get people riled up and to get word out about the new season.. they probably get billions in advertising by every site talking about it.
  • by sarbonn ( 1796548 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @11:46PM (#54843991) Homepage Journal
    I have been paying for HBO Now through Apple TV for about as long as it's been around. I know it's possible to get it for free by doing it the nefarious way, but I tend to support things I believe in, and $15 a month for a service I believe in is quite fine. I tried the CBS streaming service when it first came out and I quickly discovered it was not worth it, so I don't pay for that (but I don't watch any of their stuff either), so like I said: As long as I think it's worth it, I'll pay for it. If it's not worth it, I don't pay for it, and I don't watch it.
  • I just stream most of my shows these days.
  • "We have information leading us to believe that the IP address xx.xxx.xxx.xx was used

    Really? That happens to be the IP address of my VPN provider.

    Seriously, if you torrent anything, get a decent VPN provider. Makes things so much simpler. Be sure to pick one that offers a SOCKS proxy. If the VPN fails, then your bittorrent client is still covering your ass using the proxy.

    Oh, and don't use Deluge. It ignored proxy settings for many, many years, exposing its users to law enforcement:
    http://dev.deluge-torrent.org/... [deluge-torrent.org]

    • by Tukz ( 664339 )

      Or setup your firewall.

      I don't have any issues with Deluge, though I use OpenVPN as a service for the VPN connection and SOCKS is just backup.
      At last test, SOCKS worked fine through the proxy.

      I periodically test my proxy and it haven't failed me yet.

  • by Tukz ( 664339 )

    *laughs in VPN*

  • More spam for the spamkiller to learn about.

    What's for dinner?

  • Here, in the Netherlands, HBO has withdrawn its service, but you can stream Game of Thrones, a day later, IF you get triple play with the Ziggo ISP for at least 1 year AND a mobile phone subscription with Vodaphone. But wait, you're not done... you have to pay another â11.95 just for the privilege of their buying their "Movies and Series XL" package. So, you're in for at least â60 a month, just to watch GoT.

    So, there you go, waiting for the stream to start, and what happens? Nothing. Misconfigured

  • It doesn't matter how you justify it, you're pirating/copying content without paying. There's this huge love of free market so why don't you exercise it by not seeing said content.
  • I get the shows mixed up sometimes, but Daenerys Targaryen was a Jedi, right?

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