Quick Hits: Pirates, Merkins, and More
By Ours is the Fury on in Press.


  • Peter Dinklage graces the May 24, 2012 cover of Rolling Stone. Now available on newsstands everywhere!
  • Amrita Acharia spoke with SeattlePi about last week’s unexpected twist, Irri’s relationship with Daenerys and shares details about a filmed scene that we did not see- yet.
  • Carice van Houten talks to the L.A. Times about playing the red priestess Melisandre, her new fame, and the unusual hair piece needed for her eye-popping birthing scene:

I basically walked around making jokes,” she said. “Making fun of the merkin. This may sound weird, but we had great fun taking pictures of me and the merkin.

I think she’s totally bewildered by Jon. She hasn’t ever come across somebody like him before in her whole life. All the boys, all the men that she’s ever known have always tried to come on to her or tried to steal her, ‘cause she’s incredibly like, sexual as well. And she just cannot figure him out.

HBO co-president Eric Kessler said that cord-cutting has been “minimal” and largely the result of “macroeconomic” conditions in an interview at the VideoShmooze: NYC Online Video Leadership Forum.

Kessler did not refer this “cord-cutting” as a fad or a temporary phenomenon as has been misreported, following the initial blog postings.

  • In a follow-up post on Forbes.com, Kain amended his opinion to say that HBO did have itself to blame “but only because piracy isn’t actually a threat to their business model at this point.”
  • Blogger Dustin Curtis has a rebuttal examining Eric Kessler’s interview, which explains why in the premium network’s opinion, “moving to internet distribution would deal a fatal blow to HBO’s business.”

It’s a complicated issue, and one that’s caused a great deal of frustration for Game of Thrones fans with limited or no legal access to the show. Here’s hoping that a more flexible model can be developed that makes everyone happy in the near future.


107 Comments

  1. Xclusive
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    only itself to blame…

  2. JonSnow'sBastard
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Too bad product placement wouldn’t work very well in Westeros…

  3. LV
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Dustin Curtis was correct in his reaction to Kain’s article. But kudos to Kain for acknowledging and accepting it as the constructive criticism it is.

    Also, Peter Dinklage looks fantastic. :)

  4. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Seriously, I don’t get the whole thing with HBO and piracy. Don’t people realize that if HBO didn’t charge a premium for their services that GoT wouldn’t get the kind of production that it got? When people pirate the show, it’s kind of like shoplifting from a store. Sure, a person can’t afford the shirt they just stole, but he/she likes it so much, that he/she HAS to have it. One person may not make much of a dent, but when you add millions of people downloading and watching it for free, well, HBO and its subscribers suffer from that. Even indirectly, the illegal downloaders would eventually suffer from the activity (because it undercuts HBO and would consequently affect its shows, including GoT, like cheaper sets or paring a season down to 8 episodes).

    Bottom line: Piracy’s wrong and shame on you if you’re watching GoT and other shows/movies that way. Besides, the quality is infinitely better if you bought the subscription or DVD/Blu-Ray.

  5. stephanso!
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Alot of people don’t live in america though, and can’t access the show. They may download it, but chances are they will buy the DVD as well

  6. Spadey
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    I love GOT and I agree with you that piracy hurts it. But all this piracy numbers that get thrown around do not constitute a reality.

    I am positive that only a small percentage of those 2.5 million downloaders or whatever the real number of people is would actually get HBO if the download was not available. Because what everyone fails to take into consideration is that a huge amount of those downloads come from outside the US.

    I live in south america and pretty much everyone I know that watches game of thrones gets it via torrent downloads. I have HBO (which around here if you can afford it, it’s a great value because along with their original series they also carry Mad Men, House of Lies and several other big series from Showtime, AMC, etc).

    But I can tell you this, not one of those torrenting GoT around here would get HBO if they couldn’t pirate it. Not one. Basic Cable + HBO in here is around 10% to 15% of the minimum wage. Same with the DVDs. And this is the reality of a huge % of the people torrenting TV shows. They live in places where having HBO is so expensive that they would never be HBO customers.

    So, does piracy hurt the show? Yes. Should this people pirate GoT? No. Are they hurting HBO and GoT? Probably not.

  7. Scudder
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Piracy may hurt HBO by offering another way to watch GoT without subscribing, but most of those who download the show don’t live in the US. They live in countries where sometimes there is no HBO at all. I can tell you that because I am in that situation. Piracy can also be a way to see GoT in advance, a year before buying the DVDs. HBO doesn’t need to blame anyone on anything. Although GoT is the most pirated series of the year, it was sold very well in DVDs and Blu-ray. To me, it seems overall there is no reason for HBO to complain about that situation, especially with GoT…

  8. Mike Chair
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Spadey: I live in south america and pretty much everyone I know that watches game of thrones gets it via torrent downloads. I have HBO …

    Why don’t they watch it at your place? ;-)

    GoT party at Spadey’s house!

    BYOB.

  9. Alhafra
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    About the download issue, I must say that in Spain you can watch the episodes two weeks later but the dub really sucks, and here it’s not so normal to have cable at home, so a lot of people end up downloading it. Still, I bought the DVDs (the first time ever I did this) to try and help HBO and to show my love for the series, because even if I can’t afford Canal+ I want to help someway.

  10. Josephina
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I stream Game of Thrones online. I’m from Holland, and when they made HBO available I got the subscription. But now I’m living in London for three months and well, it is easier to stream it because I want to watch it straight away. I’m against piracy. Yes I stream, but I buy dvd’s and a lot off them are tv shows that I already watched online through streaming. I don’t download or stream movies because I find the enjoyment that going to the cinema gives me a lot more satisfying then a movie on my computer screen ever does. But I agree with some posters. Before HBO came to Holland, wich was in februari, there was no chance to watch GoT on dutch tv because no channel was broadcasting it. For somebody that loves tv shows sometimes the only thing you can do is stream because they don’t broadcast it at home…

  11. Herr.mullepulle
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I´m from Germany and there´s no HBO here, so I have no other chance to watch the season than in an illegal way. Otherwise I would have to wait til next year to buy the DVD (which I surely will, as I already bought season 1) but I´m really not able to wait THAT long.

  12. sbj2k1
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Not sure why people think HBO is losing anything by the pirating of the show.
    Those who pirate for lack of access aren’t HBO customers to begin with. HBO can’t lose what it doesn’t have. The spoilers all over the internet probably don’t help any, especially after an episode airs and they become ‘fair game’. These people don’t want to wait a year if/when HBO does reach them.

    Those who pirate for lack of money or just refuse to shell out any money at all due to whatever anti-capitalism feelings they may have, well, HBO wouldn’t get their money to begin with anyway. Again, HBO can’t lose what it doesn’t or wouldn’t have.

    HBO does have itself to blame, for making such an addicting show.
    I’m a subscriber, collector, obsessed with the show. I’m hoping the 4 extra Blueray sets I bought help offset the cost for a few pirates that lack legal access to the show.
    Turn a pirate into a fan, and he/she may just become obsessed enough to find a way to help out.

  13. Anvil
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Herr.mullepulle:
    I´m from Germany and there´s no HBO here, so I have no other chance to watch the season than in an illegal way. Otherwise I would have to wait til next year to buy the DVD (which I surely will, as I already bought season 1) but I´m really not able to wait THAT long.

    Well there is Sky Atlantic HD which airs the premiere of the 2nd season on 24th May.

    http://www.serienjunkies.de/news/sky-atlantic-mai-2012-39218.html

  14. Iker Gernika
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Aziraphale:
    [...]Besides, the quality is infinitely better if you bought the subscription or DVD/Blu-Ray.

    Yon know nothing Jon Snow

  15. Tolgeros
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Aziraphale:
    Seriously, I don’t get the whole thing with HBO and piracy. Don’t people realize that if HBO didn’t charge a premium for their services that GoT wouldn’t get the kind of production that it got? When people pirate the show, it’s kind of like shoplifting from a store. Sure, a person can’t afford the shirt they just stole, but he/she likes it so much, that he/she HAS to have it. One person may not make much of a dent, but when you add millions of people downloading and watching it for free, well, HBO and its subscribers suffer from that. Even indirectly, the illegal downloaders would eventually suffer from the activity (because it undercuts HBO and would consequently affect its shows, including GoT, like cheaper sets or paring a season down to 8 episodes).

    Bottom line: Piracy’s wrong and shame on you if you’re watching GoT and other shows/movies that way. Besides, the quality is infinitely better if you bought the subscription or DVD/Blu-Ray.

    Piracy is wrong, yes. Nobody is contesting that. However, it’s not really constructive to spout this fact as if it’s some kind of revelation that noone thought of. One needs to look at the causes of piracy if they’re serious about understanding it. There are reasons why GoT has a particularly large number of downloaders.

    One reason is of course its popularity. A popular show will inevitably be downloaded more. Among many others, fantasy nerds in particular like this show, and it’s easy to imagine that tech-savvy nerds would be more likely to make use of piracy services.

    But the other reason, the reason that HBO needs to address, is GoT’s lack of accessibility. Many think (and I agree) that the HBO GO model is not exactly what the doctor ordered. Lots of people in the USA don’t have or want cable, and to expect them to get all of that just to watch one show is a pipe dream. So many people watch shows from iTunes or Netflix or Hulu Plus or Amazon Watch Now instead; none of those offer GoT (at least not new episodes). And the idea that someone will patiently wait an entire year and get the DVD/Bluray boxset in order to watch one of the hottest new shows that everyone is buzzing about is not one that is shared by many. Outside the USA, the choices are even more limited. Practically nobody has SkyAtlantic.

    Bottom line: HBO’s model is dated and insufficient. Assuming that everyone will get a cable package and then upgrade that cable package with the entire HBO subscription in order to just watch one show is a pipe dream. I have no doubt that there are reasons why it is the way it is (probably to not screw over cable providers), but unfortunately that’s just the way it is. Reminding people that it’s illegal to pirate will not help.

    I think this comic sums it up nicely: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

  16. Imp
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Aziraphale:
    Bottom line: Piracy’s wrong and shame on you if you’re watching GoT and other shows/movies that way. Besides, the quality is infinitely better if you bought the subscription or DVD/Blu-Ray.

    You are infinitely misinformed if you believe that the quality is “infinitely better” watching it as it airs or on a low-quality DVD. A few hours after every episode (still in the middle of the night here in Europe), a 1080i torrent is posted. It is a 5 GB+ file with the exact same content that is broadcasted to those who watch it on television and it has the exact same quality. This is far better than watching a DVD. (Yes, the Bluray is better but that’s better than the original airings as well.)

    A lot of other people have covered the other stuff (such as the fact that for a lot of people, no legal alternatives exist without waiting weeks, months or even a year) but I just feel the need to point out that the shoplifting analogy is wrong. Shoplifting removes property from the store, an item that they cannot sell because someone stole it. Piracy is unauthorized copying, they don’t lose a physical item and can still sell it to someone else. I understand if people label piracy as theft, even though I disagree, but your analogies at least have to be logical. If I see a shirt that I “need” to have but can’t afford, then go home and make my own while breaching their copyright, that’s piracy.

  17. fuelpagan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you Rose for including the phrase “tried to steal her” in your comment. Just goes to show how important the chase scene and Jon tying her up are for the motivations of her character. And was not added to include more action as some are claiming.

    As to piracy, just like the abortion issue, I should care, I just don’t anymore. I am done talking about it and moving on.

  18. biliki
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    Sadly, I do pirate it as it is airing (but it’s not like I have any other way to watch it, we don’t have it in my country), but I DO buy the blu-rays afterwards, and that, for me, is the same thing.

  19. Cersei's Wig
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    You know what sucks about the internet? When you care and you feel like you can make good points about why people’s behavior is wrong (easier, but wrong), but you just get depressed thinking of how you don’t want to draw yourself into a giant headache of a debate. Sigh.

  20. DavosFTW!
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    smuggling for the win! You can’t steal entertainment. You can get it without paying but you’re not committing piracy. Pirates stole goods and ships by overcoming their owners with force of arms. Smugglers take goods for a price (uploaders are paying for what they record) and then distributing those goods to others minus all the taxes, tariffs, fees and duties.

    Davos smuggled. Han Solo smuggled. Smuggling is awesome. Art/entertainment should be easy to get to. Smuggling FTW!

    But yeah if I was American I’d probably have HBO because that would be easiest. I’m not American. In great historic company I’m smuggling something across borders before it gets distributed here. I once heard that my Kiwi cousins used to smuggle glad wrap back into NZ because it took ages for the stuff to be sold there.

    No one is getting physically hurt by this and if you think those 2.5million people would have paid before bittorrent you’re deluded. Its not revenue lost its popularity gained and buzz spread.

  21. Remaal
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Did HBO not send out screeners for episode 17? I can’t find any of the usual pre-ep spoilers online.

  22. wesolc
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    We pay the iron price

  23. Sword-O-Da-Mornin'
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Peter D, like a boss

  24. Ed
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “Well, I couldn’t afford HBO anyway, so it’s not like they’re losing anything…”

    ???!!! LOL!!!

    If they don’t have the money, they don’t get to watch it. That’s how it works. If my neighbor has a very nice Lamborghini, I still have to drive my Nissan. “But I want to drive the Lamborghini!!” Well, too bad.

    Using this as an argument FOR piracy is simply ludicrous to me. What a strange, strange, world we live in.

    (Mind you – I am NOT a Holier Than Thou kinda guy. I’ve got PLENTY of my own skeletons. Just amused when people justify it, instead of just acknowledging what it is: Stealing.)

    sbj2k1:

    Those who pirate for lack of money or just refuse to shell out any money at all due to whatever anti-capitalism feelings they may have, well, HBO wouldn’t get their money to begin with anyway. Again, HBO can’t lose what it doesn’t or wouldn’t have.

  25. MetalgoddessAMB
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    How awesome in that Rolling Stone cover :)

  26. NickS
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    JonSnow’sBastard:
    Too bad product placement wouldn’t work very well in Westeros…

    Little Daeby. Westeros’ #1 lemon cake.

  27. Ed
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    LOL!! Okay, that’s pretty good!

    wesolc:
    We pay the iron price

  28. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    HBO may be incurring a future opportunity cost due to international piracy, because networks there may not offer the same amount of money for broadcast rights in their neck of the woods. People who’ve watched a pirated copy of the show in its original version will be less interested in re-watching it a year or two year later, dubbed/subbed and in some cases, censored.

    That said, there are plenty of TV consumers all around the world who actually don’t speak English well enough to completely follow the complex show in its original format, especially the portions spoken in northern accents. The (almost) free buzz the show is getting from social media (blogs, forums, twitter) has certainly helped drive international sales of the books, which are already available in multiple languages. The combination has no doubt increased social media traffic regarding both ASOIAF and GoT in languages other than English.

    The net effect might be that internationally, legal broadcasts of previous seasons might attract more viewers than they would have without globalized piracy, even if those do not include all that many hardcore fans with ESL skills. In emerging economies, though, this effect may not materialize until HBO sells broadcast licenses of the show to TV stations supported by advertising or state subsidies – if ever.

  29. jkb
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Ed: If they don’t have the money, they don’t get to watch it.

    somebody needs a reality check.

  30. Ours is the Fury
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the smuggling analogy flies. Smugglers still charge people for the product they’re passing on, it isn’t being distributed for free.

    The gist I managed to get out of the various articles on the issue is that right now, HBO isn’t really complaining about piracy. They’re making loads of money and would lose tons if they tried the ‘Just get HBOGo’ model’ due to the effect it would have on their relationship with cable companies. So I guess everyone can keep pirating and eh, hopefully they’ll figure something out eventually.

    I don’t have a problem with people who can’t access the show pirating. It does bother me when I see people on tumblr asking for links to the first season, which is on DVD/BluRay, and they’re American adults who are blogging about their expensive cosplay costume pieces. Basically, if you can pay for it, I think you should.

    Another issue I see with the HBOGo-only model is that HBOGo…kinda sucks. It’s free for me since I’m a subscriber, so it’s a decent extra to have. But if I were paying specifically for only HBOGo, I would be seriously pissed about the quality. I think they’d have to improve that service noticeably if they ever decided to give it a go.

    Incidentally, Carice’s discussion about merkins made my week.

  31. Delta1212
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    It’s not my main method of viewing HBOGo as I have it set up at my girlfriend’s house rather than my own, but the few times we’ve watched it there, I’ve noticed that the quality on 360 seems to be noticeably better than when I usually view it on my iPad or laptop. Usually if I try to watch GoT on Go while it’s airing, there is a lot of freezing and buffering issues and I have to wait a couple of hours. That hasn’t happened either of the times we watched live on the Xbox.

    Of course, I suppose we could just have gotten lucky, though.

  32. RichMan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I live in Canada. I download the torrent and watch it. I will likely eventually buy blu-ray or whatever, but not at the current season one prices. I have both seasons of Rome.
    I don’t have cable, satelite or whathave you, so I can’t get HBO directly. If there was a low cost itunes like online option I would probably do that. It would have to be less than $5 per episode with long term accessibility or $2 or less for a limited time watching.

    I agree with others –
    >> Bottom line: HBO’s model is dated and insufficient. Assuming that everyone will get a cable package and then upgrade that cable package with the entire HBO subscription in order to just watch one show is a pipe dream.<<

  33. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    DavosFTW!,

    Yeah, smuggling is awesome. Just ask all those headless corpses down in Mexico… The real thing is a little different than make-believe. Trust me on that one.

    Piracy: The unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.: The record industry is beset with piracy.

    So, yeah. I’d say illegally downloading GoT constitutes piracy, whether you do it by force of arms or not.

    It’s called intellectual property. And you may think you have a right to it, but if the people who make it don’t get paid, they won’t make it anymore (they’d have to go out and get a job). It’s a very simple concept, and one that drives the entire economy. So, it always strikes me as odd when someone can reasonably conclude that stealing physical property is wrong, but stealing art is ok (because, of course, art is made by magic… which I really think plays a part into that thinking, because if you don’t understand the process, or how it works, you don’t see anything wrong with taking it). That’s why it’s stealing. You’re stealing part of their salary, which they need in order to continue making the TV show. In the entertainment industry, you don’t replace “product”, you replace “consumer”.

    So, to be clear, piracy is not a democratic thing. It’s not the equivalent of putting up a painting in a museum (someone paid for that), or putting a song on radio (advertisers paid for that). It’s a selfish thing, (i.e. I must have something I can’t afford, and I must have it now! Greed). Entertainment is a luxury, not a right. The reason for that? It hinges on the WORK of other people. And, they don’t work for free.

    The network stations have big budgets because advertisers pay for it (i.e. corporations that sell you physical products that most people wouldn’t dare steal). You may not realize that, but all of those “free” TV shows you can access on Hulu have been paid for by advertisers. All of those songs you hear for free on the radio were paid for by advertisers. But, that generally limits their content, and greatly restricts what they can and cannot do (not just because of the FCC, which plays a part, but because of the advertisers themselves, who might object to certain content… i.e., this joke might offend conservative Wal-Mart shoppers, so Wal-Mart wants it removed). HBO makes its money from people who want the luxury of movie-grade content without the advertisements, i.e. a “Home Box Office” (which was a novel concept before the age of digital streaming). There aren’t any advertisers to pay for it, so we have to. If we don’t, they won’t make it any more. It’s that simple.

    There is no abstract argument to be made. That’s that. You either “get it”, or you don’t. People need to work, just like you and me and everyone else. And work entails earning money. If you don’t pay someone for their work, they will not work for you anymore.

  34. Nick Larter
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s all realpolitik.

    I would be almost certain that in HBO’s case, piracy by those without timely access to HBO’s services helps its overall sales by growing the DVD market, but as an exec you can’t come out and say that when most of the industry of which you are a member is down on piracy. You have to toe the line.

  35. Ours is the Fury
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Rich Man-
    Actually, the interviews/blogs I linked above address in part why that sort of model would cost HBO tons of money, not earn them money. That’s the problem. They’re making more money by just ignoring the piracy than they would if they created a per episode/online only option.

  36. Ye Olde Wolfe
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale:
    Seriously, I don’t get the whole thing with HBO and piracy. Don’t people realize that if HBO didn’t charge a premium for their services that GoT wouldn’t get the kind of production that it got? When people pirate the show, it’s kind of like shoplifting from a store. Sure, a person can’t afford the shirt they just stole, but he/she likes it so much, that he/she HAS to have it. One person may not make much of a dent, but when you add millions of people downloading and watching it for free, well, HBO and its subscribers suffer from that. Even indirectly, the illegal downloaders would eventually suffer from the activity (because it undercuts HBO and would consequently affect its shows, including GoT, like cheaper sets or paring a season down to 8 episodes).

    Bottom line: Piracy’s wrong and shame on you if you’re watching GoT and other shows/movies that way. Besides, the quality is infinitely better if you bought the subscription or DVD/Blu-Ray.

    Oh, so I’m to be shamed because I can’t afford HBO? And everyone who lives somewhere that HBO isn’t available, they’re to be shamed too? Way to degrade anyone who isn’t as priveleged as you, Mr Almighty.

  37. Fog
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    DavosFTW!,

    I can’t tell if you are trying to make some short of joke. Is calling it smuggling any less harmful then calling it pirating. Those duties and fees you are not paying go to making the series.
    I wonder what percentage of people who down load the show actually get around to buying the DVD’s when they become available?
    My HBO-less friends come over to my home to watch every Sunday. GOT viewing parties really lend themselves to potlucks.

  38. The Kingshaver
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t feel in the least bit bad about pirating GoT. To watch it legally, I would have to subscribe to Sky TV, which I do not want. I don’t watch much television. I would not get any value out of Sky except for one programme per week for a measly ten weeks of year. I am just not interested in any of their other shows. That is terrible value. I am simply not going to pay out for that (or for the equipment I would need; I do not own a television or a TV card for my PC). the only other alternative would be to wait nearly an entire year for the DVD release – sod that!

    I pirate the show. Then I watch it multiple times. Then, after the long wait for the DVD is over, I BUY THE DVD. I really don’t feel that I have anything to answer for. HBO get their payout; I have purchased a DVD that I would not have bought if I had not got into the show via pirating. I was not a previous book-reader, I had never heard of the show before it was released. I only got interested because there was a lot of internet hype about it, so I checked it out by pirating. That got me hooked to the point where I simply had to own the DVD, even though I already had the episodes. If I had not pirated the show to start with, I would almost certainly never have watched it, definitely would not have bought the DVD and would never have bought the books ( I buy almost all of my books second hand; ASoIaF is one of only a handful of novels I have ever bought new and WoW is the only book I have ever bought by pre-ordering before it was released). HBO and GRRM have both gained by my having pirated their show. Frankly, it’s a win/win scenario.

  39. Kevin
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I have an HBO subscription and I pirate the show weekly. Since I don’t have DVR I don’t like being constrained to the time frame the show is aired. I always watch the show again later in the week and when I do, I use HBO GO.

  40. Coltaine777
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This is about the 1millionith piracy debate on this site…wonder how long till the next one …

  41. Ed
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    <strong><a href=”#comment-178567″>jkb:

    Ed wrote: “If they don’t have the money, they don’t get to watch it.

    somebody needs a reality check.

    Oh – no I fully understand that’s not the reality of the situation. Or is it? So – Just cause one CAN makes that the reality of it?

    So can I cheat on my wife as long as she doesn’t find out? And if she says, “You’re not supposed to do that!” I can just chuckle and say, “Somebody needs a reality check.”

  42. Remy
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    HBO should thank the internet for the huge buzz this show has gotten. Without the millions of downloaders, they would most likely have an expensive teetering on the edge of being cancelled. It was the internet that told people about the show, its sites like twitter, facebook, and tumblr that get other people into the show who would never have seen it or heard of it. This show might have been another Deadwood or Carnivale yet, it’s a Soprano’s, True Blood ratings giant for HBO

  43. jkb
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Ed: So can I cheat on my wife as long as she doesn’t find out? And if she says, “You’re not supposed to do that!” I can just chuckle and say, “Somebody needs a reality check.”

    Umm, sure go ahead ;p Worst analogy ever dude.

    Anyway, this ain’t goin’ nowehere.

  44. KG
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Ed,

    You drive a Nissan? I can’t believe I even talk to you sometimes!!! Sheesh :)

  45. Ed
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Heh – yeah, that was pretty bad… :(

    And no, this aint goin’ no where. I just wish those that did it would just call it what it is, and admit to stealing, instead of offering all their excuses to justify it.

    jkb: Umm, sure go ahead ;p Worst analogy ever dude.

    Anyway, this ain’t goin’ nowehere.

  46. Ed
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s a Maxima, at least. :-)

    KG:
    Ed,

    You drive a Nissan?I can’t believe I even talk to you sometimes!!!Sheesh :)

  47. KG
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    jkb,

    Actually it’s completely on-target. Just because you can do something wrong doesn’t mean you should go ahead, do it, then tell the people who caught you it’s their fault.

  48. Weirwood
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many people here would read the Dinklage Rolling Stone article WITHOUT subscribing to RS, if it was posted online?

    That to me is more analogous to watching GoT online without subscribing to HBO.

    BTW I have every premium channel- (but my cable cost -plus internet- are only a little over $100 a month with ATT Uverse bundle.)

  49. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    If I’m downloading instead of subscribing (given the opportunity, which I don’t have where I live), I’m hurting HBO.
    If I’m downloading and not able to subscribe to HBO, I’m not hurting HBO. I bought the S1 Blu-Ray set, so I paid HBO for watching the show. I will do the same for all the future seasons.
    Given the opportunity to watch it legally online, I would subscribe without thinking twice.

    My situation is somewhat similar to The Kingshaver’s. I don’t have a TV and I can’t physically subscribe to the local satellite channel which transmits GoT (it’s impossible in the university dorms where I currently live).

  50. jkb
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    KG: Actually it’s completely on-target.

    no it ain’t. you can’t compare downloading shit from internet to hurting your loved ones feelings. you just fucking can’t, sorry; p

  51. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    HBO don’t help matters by taking an eternity to release the DVD and Blu Rays, why wait half a year to purchase when you can download for free ?? Personally I don’t like pirating movies or shows but I can understand the appeal for some.

    The only show I’ve ever pirated was Breaking Bad and that’s because for whatever reason it’s unavailable in the UK.

  52. Breaklance
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I work in the entertainment industry. Many of us live as gypsies, traveling all over the place from work to work and living wherever is provided(I came from DC to Florida for 9 months and in 3 weeks am going to AZ as a reference). That said getting HBO is hard, and even though it’s taboo in our line of work many do pirate but then go on to pay in other ways – I bought season 1 even though I had it, and a few pieces of merch. Do what you can I guess is what I’m saying, we all love the show and $$$ makes it keep going

  53. Weirwood
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    You can read the Rolling Stone article by subscribing here:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/allaccess

    Or you can wait a few days and read it online for free when it is posted like this:

    http://tumblrofthrones.tumblr.com/post/6211727526/peter-dinklage-article-from-rolling-stone-click

  54. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    HBO could also tackle the pirating issue if they launched an international streaming service for countries that do not have HBO or broadcast the show.

  55. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Ours is the Fury, for posting all these great links and the RS cover of Dinklage. Smokin’ cover!

  56. The Kingshaver
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I think that the most important issue to arise from this discussion is this; who’s cooler? Pirates or smugglers? And what about pirates wearing merkins?

  57. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The Kingshaver:
    And what about pirates wearing merkins?

    Pirates wearing merkins are hilarious, I can see Salladhor Saan seducing Cersei with one already ;^)

  58. ace
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    People can’t download if nobody uploads it in the first place.

  59. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Many people here seem to be making the argument that because something is illegal, it is also (morally) wrong. That’s an argument that I don’t accept. Sometimes breaking the law is morally permissible, and sometimes breaking the law is the right thing to do. Laws are designed such that, if they are followed most of the time, we should expect “good” results – but there are always exceptions. If breaking the speed limit to drive someone to the hospital will save their life, then speeding – breaking the laws of traffic – is clearly the morally right choice.

    Copyright law is designed to foster business. By preventing someone from making copies of a piece of art, common wisdom dictates that the artist is more easily able to profit from their art. The end goal being sought, both by the artist and by the law, is for the artist to profit and their business to succeed. The significant question then, in my view, is whether or not the present copyright laws as they apply to downloading television shows actually inhibit business. The jury is still out on this “common wisdom” and the facts about internet piracy don’t necessarily add up to a loss of profits.

    HBO has decided that piracy does not affect their business. I’m inclined to agree with them. If anything, I think piracy has helped them in the long run. Many of the more business-savvy groups out there realize that piracy can serve as a way of advertising, and that if you are able to offer quality products you will still find a market for them. A musician might not mind someone sharing their album if it leads to more ticket sales when they play live, for example.

    For a personal example: Without piracy, I would never have seen Game of Thrones and I would never have read the books. I saw a few episodes of the show on a friend’s PVR (which is every bit as morally dubious as sharing a file online, but nobody seems to suggest that – or having a viewing party – is wrong). I decided to download the rest, and greatly enjoyed it. I downloaded the books and read through them voraciously. Since then, I have purchased the season 1 DVD set, have purchased a second copy of the DVD set as a gift, have purchased a set of the first four books as a gift, and have encouraged another family member (after showing them the first season of the show) to buy a set of the first four books. All of those sales would never have occurred if piracy hadn’t happened in the first place. The “good” we’re after here is business, and piracy has enabled that good to continue.

  60. The Kingshaver
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,

    Cersei’s merkin is cloth-of-gold.

  61. Jacob_M
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I bought season one on blu-ray when it was released. I also bought a blu-ray player. I had a DVD player before but it wasn’t even connected to my TV. I have only watched the Episodes with commentaries and I don’t really like DVD/Blu-ray. I hear comments that this set (GoT) is worse than usual but…it takes forEVER to load. I only (ONLY!) bought these blu-ray discs because I wanted to be able to pay HBO for me watching this show. I will continue to buy the blu-rays for future seasons because they give HBO the most of my money towards the show. I probably won’t watch those discs either.

    I use bit-torrent but I’d switch to paying for each download if HBO let me. There’s no way that I’d wait a month+ to get the show though. I get that through Canal+ here but…c’mon, what good is that?! Coming here to winteriscoming.net to read about episodes that won’t air for a month? I sometimes end up watching episodes when they’re on Canal+ (the HBO of Scandinavia I guess), but I damn well won’t wait that long to watch when the show is right there, only seconds away. I can’t really morally justify this. On the other hand, if HBO makes a show that makes fans this fanatic, I do think that it seems reasonable to get it at the same time globally through legal means…since it’s already available globally though less than legal means.

  62. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    The music industry faced the piracy issue years ago and failed. Why? Because they took too long to realize that the easiest path-to-purchase is the most profitable method of a sale in most cases in the digital age. Would you rather lose 1 million sales because people don’t want to spend $20 on an entire CD when they only want 1 song, or take the $1 each sales of the single via iTunes or another online download method. The music industry spent years arguing while Apple cleaned their clock by giving people what they wanted…a quick, easy, and cheap method of purchasing the ONE SONG THEY WANTED legally via iTunes. Many people, including yours truly, were downsized from the music industry while they diddled.

    If HBO wants to parlay the popularity of Game Of Thrones into sales in the countries where HBO is not available or financially feasible for many, they could make the episodes available on iTunes quicker than they are making the DVD/Blurays available. Most people would rather pay $5 NOW to have the episode available to watch legally and with a clear conscience rather than waiting a year for the DVD or pirating since they don’t WANT TO WAIT while everybody else is talking about the show TODAY. The instantaneous nature of the internet has made SPEED OF DELIVERY essential in the marketplace. If HBO does not want to deal with customers directly (which, as the CEO said, would require another infrastructure of customer service and billing that they lack), it makes perfect sense to modify existing contracts with cable suppliers to allow for simultaneously selling on iTunes with the air date of new episodes. Contracts can be modified, and it would be in the interest of HBO to widen their audience if they would be forward-thinking enough to realize that the “cord cutting” phenomena is a GROWING trend, and not just a temporary economic measure. In my opinion, once people realize they don’t NEED cable TV for their entertainment, more will cut the cord. Not everybody of course, but many people with busy schedules that don’t permit regular TV watching anyway…why pay when they don’t use it? The infrastructure for internet access appears to be growing quicker than the infrastructure for cable in the rural areas, so it makes sense for many. How many have access to the web through their iPhones alone? Millions. It is HBOs decision to stay with the status quo and thus tolerate piracy, but they would be wise to take a lesson from the music industry and move AHEAD of current trends rather than waiting until somebody else has stolen their business.

  63. The Instrumentalist
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Ed,

    I think the person was trying to say that the business is not at a loss if the sale was never going to take place anyway. I don’t pirate shows or movies, but I do pirate music. I do what a lot of people do, which is sample the album and then buy it if I enjoy it enough in order to support the artist. Or sometimes I don’t. I don’t because I never would have bought the album in the first place. I’ll be honest with you, I would have a lot less music if there was no such thing as piracy. But the number of CDs I bought would not have changed.

    I’m stealing intellectual property but the artist does not loose nor gain from either scenario. I also agree with MRR that piracy actually promotes more sales. I’d never heard of an artist like Fleet Foxes, but I downloaded their album on a whim and now I’m in love and own all their CDs. Any good person would support something they love, even if they had already watched it illegally.

    Maybe it’s a foolish hope, but I like to think most pirates are good-hearted. I know many who would shun someone if they had the means to buy something they loved and didn’t.

  64. funlight
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Jacob_M: I will continue to buy the blu-rays for future seasons because they give HBO the most of my money towards the show. I probably won’t watch those discs either.

    This is key. Inserting physical disks, cassettes or cartridges into a video playing device is old fashioned and inconvenient. I haven’t done that in years. Purchasing music and movies on disks feels like making a donation. Adapt or die.

  65. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Goddamn, this whole debate about piracy is enough to make my head spin.

    A quick note to Ye Olde Wolfe:
    I wasn’t shaming you because you can’t afford HBO or others because they are unable to view the show due to unavailability of some kind other than finances. No. I was shaming you and others for ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADING the show. I wasn’t implying that watching GoT is a privilege either (although some might argue it that way) or your lot in life. If you or others cannot watch it because of money or other reasons, then I say tough shit and, if you haven’t already, read the books. There were plenty of shows I wanted to watch back then but didn’t have the money for cable, so I just shrugged it off. My folks were kind enough to buy me a Netflix subscription for Christmas one year, and I spent the following year borrowing Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, and other shows I couldn’t see. Be patient and avoid spoilers online. Damn right I’m being holier than thou on this point! There’s lots of people less fortunate than us, do you think they give a shit about some show on TV? Get a grip.

    OK, so I’m probably wrong in regards to picture and sound quality of downloaded shows (but you’ll never convince me that anything outdoes Blu-Ray).

    Look, I’ll give you a historical analogy. Remember Napster and Metallica? Lars Ulrich was onto something there and made an excellent point about musical performers losing money hand over fist due to Napster’s free-sharing of music and that, who knew, MP3s was the future of music. The piracy of GoT, movies, and other shows is an exact repeat of the Napster situation.

  66. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    So, basically, you only care about the legality of things and don’t really care about the success of the show?

  67. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    MRR,

    Of course I care about the success of the show, but not at the expense of fleecing George RR Martin of his rightful royalties (I confess, I don’t really know any details about how Martin’s getting his due, but he’s gotta be getting something). If people really want to contribute to the success of the show, they should show it through legitimate means.

    Measuring the success of a show from piracy is like buying a big fish at the wharf and taking it home and claiming you caught it. It’s a lie. People have to remember, HBO is in the business of making money, and it will always follow the age-old law of supply and demand. The demand is obviously there, but what if one day the show is enormously popular but it’s mostly viewed via piracy? It’s like robbing a shop owner blind. It’s not likely that it would happen, but it could, and that’s the point I’m making. Are the higher-ups at HBO likely to be six-figure earners? Yes, of course, but the principle is still exactly the same, and that cannot be disputed.

    There’s a reason why we have these copyright and intellectual property laws. Without them, the show would likely have never even seen the light of day or even optioned.

  68. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    If people are interested in the piracy I would recommend checking out this fantastic book by Stephan Kinsella
    http://mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf

    I saw one ridiculous argument above that equated downloading or streaming HBO online to shoplifting. Nonsense on stilts. If I steal a shirt from a store then that store no longer has that shirt. If I watch Game of Thrones online (I have HBO but that is besides the point) what exactly did I steal? If your argument is profits then do you believe it should be illegal for somebody without HBO to watch it at a friends house? If not, why? What is the difference if a non-HBO subscriber goes to a friends house to watch Game of Thrones or streams it online at home? This is obviously a complex issue and I would recommend studying the issue more deeply before developing your opinion on the matter.

  69. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    You are way off on this issue. Here is a good article deconstructing your view on why we need copyright and other forms of intellectual property. http://mises.org/daily/2632

  70. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Bloody hell, I’m too lazy to read these articles, but this is where I’ll just stand up and say OK, you may be right and I may be wrong, or vice versa, but let’s just agree to disagree and refrain from calling each other uneducated. I’m aware that I could very well be wrong on the finer points of intellectual property and copyrights (and I’ll even say that I probably am, but like I said earlier, I’m too lazy and unmotivated to read those articles).

    I was just simply expressing my views is all.

    Dan, people offer uneducated opinions all the time, and you’re right, I’m sure I was just one of them, but you could be a little more tactful about it instead of writing it in such a condescending tone. Thanks.

  71. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    I’m sorry if I offended but I don’t believe I was as harsh as you when you equated downloading or streaming movies to theft. You might not realize that you were being offensive by calling people thieves but you were none the less. So apologize for not being more tactful but it came from being insulted by indirectly being called a thief.

  72. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    One other thing. I do commend you for acknowledging that you might not have the full story on this topic. It is rare you meet people who are willing to admit they might be wrong about something. I, for one, held similar views to you until I started studying the issue more deeply. If you do find the time I think you would enjoy reading up on this. You obviously have some kind of passion for the topic. Otherwise you wouldn’t have taken the time to comment about it here. It really is a fascinating subject and really an eye opening experience when you delve into it. Anyways, sorry again if I offended before.

  73. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    I appreciate that, and nor was I trying to insult anybody by calling people who download illegally thieves. I’m aware that I don’t know it all and just found it easier to talk off the cuff relatively uninformed on the many confusing factors of copyright and intellectual property. I even looked up what Thomas Jefferson said about intellectual property and my eyes just simply glazed over and my brain needed to be jump-started. I’ll leave this to the lawyers and politicians, let them bitch back and forth, they know more than I do.

  74. Jenny
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I have spent so much money on George RR…
    All the books several times, all the audiobooks (Affc twice now that Roy read it), the graphic novel… Bla bla bla. Got Season 1 on Itunes twice – for myself and for my mom.

    ASOIAF is like a religion to me, it would be a physical impossibility for me NOT to watch a new episode when out.
    But I live in Germany. No HBO!
    I will be able to Itunes it in about 6 months!
    So – I confess.

  75. Guybrush Threepwood
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    For the record I do not have an HBO subscription and watch the show live at a friend’s every week but often pirate it for a second viewing. I also own the season 1 DVDs and an HBO t-shirt.

    I would certainly prepay for Season 3 DVDs if I were given access as Season 3 as it aired to watch it on HBO GO. Such isn’t an option. I don’t have basic cable, let alone premium. If HBO let me donate directly to the show’s making I would do so. But I can’t, so if I want to watch an episode more than once, my options are limited.

  76. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    The reason I made my comment is because I, and a few other people here, have demonstrated that piracy has helped the success of the show in a number of ways. Though piracy gives people access to the show without paying for it, it also serves as a form of advertising for the show and gets a wider audience interested in the property. Many people who initially pirate the show will buy DVDs and/or the books and might even decide that HBO is worth paying for after what they’ve seen.

  77. Aziraphale
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    MRR,

    I’m going to argue that those people you mention make up a very tiny fraction of the vast majority who simply download the show illegally because they want to watch it, period. I fail to see how piracy can be considered as free advertising as it strikes me as nothing more than a futile and hollow rationalization of a criminal act, and it is a criminal act in the eyes of the law.

    If you called HBO or even GRRM himself and asked them if piracy has been a boon for them, what do you think they’d say?

    Exactly. Nothing, if not the opposite.

  78. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    The only thing I would add is to not leave these matters to politicians and lawyers.

    “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore, everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interest of everyone hangs on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.
    Ludwig Von Mises

  79. spacepope
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    DAMNNT.. no lesbian finger bang with irri and daenerys… i am sad

  80. spacepope
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    NOBODY is to blame except pirates. video game developers are laughing at this right now. they’ve been battling piracy and trying everything under the sun for decades. DRM and other disc protection, digital distribution, requiring the user to be ONLINE to play the game, having only a number of accounts allowed to acces the game.. there is no way to stop piracy. and the more popular your product is, the more it will be pirated. there’s no way to stop it that isn’t across the line of going too far and im surprised so many haven’t come to this conclusion, it’s just part of life.

  81. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Aziraphale,

    The article that spawned this whole debate was a proclamation from an HBO executive claiming that they didn’t think piracy was a problem for them, so I wouldn’t expect them to claim “the opposite” as you suggest. I can’t really speak to what GRRM would say, but I have seen a number of creators – mostly musicians and independent video game developers – suggest that piracy has been a help to them. I’ve seen others, frustrated with what they perceive as unfair practices in the industry (such as higher prices in Australia for no good reason), tell their fans to steal their products.

    I think in the vast majority of cases, the people who download GoT aren’t the target audience for HBO. The people who tend to download television shows also tend to be the types of people who wouldn’t ever consider getting cable TV in the first place, let alone an expensive premium package with HBO. My download of GoT doesn’t hurt HBO’s revenue any more than it does when I go over to my friend’s place tonight to watch the show there. Sure, there are some people who steal GoT who might otherwise consider buying it or who could afford it, but I think those are a definite minority.

    So, if HBO aren’t really losing profits from people downloading the show, since the majority of people who download wouldn’t be subscribers anyway, they only really stand to gain from it. Extra viewers means more of a market for merchandise, such as the Tshirts, DVDs, and video games.

    The question I’m asking is, what’s more important: That people who haven’t paid for an HBO subscription don’t get to see the show, no matter what, and that many potential buyers of related products are alienated; or that the show makes the most money it can, whether it’s through paying subscribers or non-subscribing fans who buy other products?

    And Dan, I suspect that you and I have very different views of how politics and the legal profession operate, but that’s another discussion entirely. :P

  82. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    MRR,

    I’m a Rothbardian libertarian. If you’ve never heard of Murray Rothbard then you are probably right.

  83. Blood
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t even own a tv, let alone have cable, and refuse to feel any guilt about torrenting GoT (in hi-res almost live). DVD sales are certainly boosted by all the people who watch the show without subscribing and a lot of those people would not or could not never ever get a HBO sub. The idea that piracy 1:1 equals theft is foolish and counterproductive to the companies and artists that produce content.

  84. Big Impin'
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Jenny:
    I have spent so much money on George RR…
    All the books several times, all the audiobooks (Affc twice now that Roy read it), the graphic novel… Bla bla bla. Got Season 1 on Itunes twice – for myself and for my mom.

    ASOIAF is like a religion to me, it would be a physical impossibility for me NOT to watch a new episode when out.
    But I live in Germany. No HBO!
    I will be able to Itunes it in about 6 months!
    So – I confess.

    You use the phrase “physical impossibility”. I do not think it means what you think it means. It may not be EASY, but sometimes your immediate satisfaction may not be met. That’s part of living in society.

  85. GerardPatten
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    I have not read all the posts, but if most people downloaded for free, we would not have a show!! HBO is not the enemy! I am sure they have agreements with cable companies. You just can’t start giving everyone who does not want cable HBO go for $10 a month. If they could, they would have done so by now!! And I know there are countries that you have to wait! There is no easy answer, but when you download for free, you cut into the ratings, you undermine the company that has brought this great epic to premium television!! And you can blame yourself if the show is cancelled! According to NY Times, 25,000,000 have downloaded episodes in season 2, and that is not every download site! Imagine what the ratings would be like if all those were actually counted as paying customers!

  86. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    GerardPatten,

    You should read the comments above. You simply restated what others have said and again that is not an accurate assessment.

  87. Gay for Cersei
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Ed: Just amused when people justify it, instead of just acknowledging what it is: Stealing.)

    True dat, good sir!

    The bright side is: one of the best (and free) advertisements known to man is word of mouth. The same people who can’t afford, or just don’t want to pay for, HBO service will likely tell others about a show or shows they watch, and so maybe others will subscribe. Also, these same people who don’t pay for HBO will quite likely buy a GoT (or w/e show) tee-shirt or DVDs or other memorabilia, or receive them as gifts. In short, all is not lost. Hopefully, HBO wins in the end so they can keep up the high quality work.

  88. Jeremy Sadler
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    The BBC offers an international subscription service via their iPlayer app (I have no idea if its accessible via their website). Some content for free, more if you pay. Leading the way in delivering content. If new episodes of Doctor Who appear on it within a day of broadcast in the UK, I may just subscribe.

    Living in Australia, our delay times have cut down over recent years from the heady days when we would get Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X Files six MONTHS after it was broadcast in the US. It occured with most television; many shows we would get Christmas episodes in July.

    In today’s globally connected world, as Apple has proven, deliver the content in a fast, convenient manner and you will attract customers – build it and they will come. I suspect HBO however views it like this: piracy is not hurting their business model enough to cause a problem. Foreign markets are still buying the show, which is their real foreign cash flow. DVDs still sell. It is only possible customers in areas that have access to HBO but choose NOT to get it (for whatever reason) that hurt their bottom line. And I’m very sure the bean counters have worked out just how much that damage is worth and, at this point anyway, HBO have decided not to pursue it beyond the usual industry actions.

  89. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    I have heard of Rothbard, but that knowledge has nothing to do with whether or not I am correct in this instance. :)

  90. MRR
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    GerardPatten:
    …when you download for free, you cut into the ratings…

    That’s only true if you’re part of a Nielsen sample group.

  91. Jeremy Sadler
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I just read Dustin Curtis’s excellent blog post. When I’m home I’ll definitely watch the entire interview with HBO boss Eric Kessler. I suspect I’ll be changing my opinion on what HBO thinks.

  92. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    MRR,

    ??? I didn’t realize we were in disagreement on this issue. I am not in favor of IP. I have no problem with people downloading or streaming videos online. Copying is not theft. I brought up Rothbard because you said that we likely had very different views on politics and law. IP is one of the few areas I have disagreed with Rothbard, in fact, so I definitely wasn’t using him as to bolster my position here. He was brought up to let you know my political philosophy so you could see if your hunch was right about our differences on politics and law.

  93. MRR
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Dan,

    I don’t think we are in (much) disagreement regarding IP. The issue I was “correct” about is that we have different views of the role of legal and political systems. You suggested that I was probably right if I hadn’t heard of Rothbard; I replied that I was probably right whether or not I had heard of Rothbard (and it so happens that I have).

    In short: I was kidding around a bit.

  94. Dan
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    MRR,

    Ah, I totally misread that then.

  95. MRR
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Dan,

    Haha, no worries, I was a bit vague with how tongue-in-cheek I was being.

  96. KG
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    I’m stealing intellectual property but the artist does not loose nor gain from either scenario

    How can you possibly say an artist doesn’t lose if you steal their work? You are taking their livelihood away as surely as if you stole a cabbie’s cab or a plumber’s toolbox. “Intellectual property” be damned. You are stealing their art and their saleable talent.

    Every sale that never takes place because someone swiped the music instead of buying it is money out of an artist’s pocket. You’re a filthy thief, and no rationale will ever cover that fact up.

  97. Juju Budkeson
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Anvil, The show 2 months late, no english subs, not available everywhere…

    I am a German in the lucky position to have access to HBO Go, but Sky Atlantic HD is really not worth the money. You can’t visit the fan site because they are so late and the missing english subs are really annoying.

  98. WinterComing
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    KG: How can you possibly say an artist doesn’t lose if you steal their work? You are taking their livelihood away as surely as if you stole a cabbie’s cab or a plumber’s toolbox. “Intellectual property” be damned. You are stealing their art and their saleable talent.

    Every sale that never takes place because someone swiped the music instead of buying it is money out of an artist’s pocket. You’re a filthy thief, and no rationale will ever cover that fact up.

    So you’ve never watched a music video on youtube?

  99. DutchDrunk
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    WinterComing

    WinterComing: So you’ve never watched a music video on youtube?

    When you watch a Music Video on Youtube, on the artist’s/company’s official page, they do get paid. Videos that are not on their own channels often get removed, or they simply don’t care to remove it.

    In my point of view, in this day and age it is simply unforgivable for western countries to have so much difference in release times for TV shows. The same goes for movies and videogames.

    When you have the means to get something sooner, people will use it. If you release a movie in the US 4 months before it gets released in Europe, then it will be pirated. If you have a TV show that airs a year before it gets aired in Europe (not taking HBO GO into account), then people will pirate it.

    For me, the biggest problem lies in the fact that in this day and age, the internet is everywhere and the distance in communication with other people is very limited. I’m from The Netherlands, yet I know many people in the US. These people I talk to regularly, and they’re on my Facebook. If I wouldn’t pirate anything, I would never be able to talk to them about these amazing shows/movies/videogames and I would probably have to dodge spoilers every single day.

    Back in the day, this wasn’t a problem. Movies were released in cinemas or aired on TV, but we didn’t know at all when it was aired in the US. The internet didn’t exist, and we didn’t have social media or related websites talking about all this good stuff. It came when it came, and that was that.

    In short, stop releasing stuff days/weeks/months apart from eachother and piracy will drop massively.

  100. Dan
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    WinterComing,

    Or borrowed a book, watched PPV at someone else’s house, borrowed a CD, borrowed a game, played a game at a friends house, listened to someone elses cd, etc. etc. etc.

  101. Dan
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    DutchDrunk,

    The fundamental argument should be whether IP should exist at all. Most people here are just saying downloading and streaming are theft therefore it’s wrong. Well, whether downloading and streaming are actually theft is the whole question, isn’t it? You can’t just assume the conclusion and think that’s a good argument. The reason I say it is not theft is because you can’t steal an infinite resource. Ideas are infinite. If I copy your CD then you still have your CD and I also have a copy of that CD. Nobody has less property by me copying your CD. Contrast that with actual theft of a finite resource. If I steal your shirt then you no longer have that shirt. We can’t both simultaneously have possession of the same shirt. Since we both can’t simultaneously have the shirt then property rights need to be assigned to it to address the conflict that can arise over determining ownership. This is the case for all finite resources. This is never the case for ideas which makes assigning intellectual property rights unnecessary.

    Now some people want to say it’s theft because you are taking profits from the producers. But if that is the argument then where do we stop? Can you borrow a CD from a friend? Can you watch a PPV event at a friends house? Can you borrow a Book? How far are we willing to go with this whole profits are property argument? If an idea taken to its logical conclusion leads to absurd results then the idea itself is defunct. Profits are not guaranteed, they are freely given. You can not lose a profit that wasn’t freely given to you first. You are not stealing when you watch a show online for the same reason you are not stealing if you watch that same show at a friends house. I’m just giving a vary surface case for why we don’t need IP rights but if you want to really understand the case against it then check out that book I linked above. It’s really a fascinating topic when you delve into that debate.

  102. DutchDrunk
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Dan,

    Very short reply, but I couldn’t agree more with you.

    The current system is simply rotten, and nothing has been learned over the past few decades. See for example the uproar from the same industries once the VCR was invented. Then again with the casette disk, the CD burner, and so on.

  103. Wedge
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    stephanso!,

    You are totally right! And the DVD/BR sales tend to prove it!

  104. hilda
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Also NCW is in the new issue of INSTYLE mag. just a very nice pic of him but still!

  105. Yellow Dog
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Ran out at lunch to get the Rolling Stone. Shirtless Dinklage on horseback – Gendry who?

    Article is way too short, but well worth $4.99. Bonus interview with GRRM.

  106. Weirwood
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    As far as piracy/illegal downloads of digital content, here is my take.

    I buy most of my music on used CDs. The Used CD stores make a profit selling these used CDs but the artist ONLY gets paid for the first initial sale.
    I also SELL CDs at Used CD stores (usually ones that I have bought used).
    And I burn all of my CDs onto my laptop, so I still own the music although I have sold the CD (Itunes allows you to make 5 copies of any purchased songs for your own personal use BTW).

    I have also purchased books from used booksellers. And I have read books borrowed from the library. And again the author ONLY makes money from the first initial sale of a book. Authors do not make money from every person who reads a book once it is purchased, if they did the Public Library system would be screwed. BTW my library also lends copies of TV shows and Movies. That to me is more analogous to people watching a show online.

  107. Jen@House Stark
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Alright Bannermen, I have a dish and know how to use it – yep have HBO. Come on over to House Stark and watch it with me every Sunday night. I will provide the popcorn and ale!


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