Game of Thrones director says illegal downloads don’t matter
By Winter Is Coming on in Press.

David PetrarcaAt a Q&A in Australia, Game of Thrones director David Petraca answered a few questions about the show. Of particular interest is his response to the high rate of piracy for Thrones. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Panel mediator Rosemary Neill noted Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012 and that 10 per cent of the downloads came from Australia.

But Petrarca shrugged and said the illegal downloads did not matter because such shows thrived on “cultural buzz” and capitalised on the social commentary they generated.

“That’s how they survive,” he told the crowd gathered at the University of Western Australia.

Winter Is Coming: Many fans have used this exact same argument, but it is interesting to see someone connected with the show make the same case. Does this change your opinion on the pirating of Game of Thrones?

UPDATE: Petrarca goes in to more detail about his views on piracy in this radio interview. The piracy discussion begins at 9:15. To summarize his comments, he does not condone piracy but mentions that more people having access to material is great. He hopes that a legal method of distribution can be instituted and worries that if it doesn’t happen TV may end up like the music industry.

UPDATE: HBO has issued a statement regarding Petrarca’s comments. Via the LA Times:

“’Game of Thrones’ is sold worldwide, available legally on a large variety of viewing platforms and is one of HBO’s most popular series,” the statement said. “With that kind of success comes a great amount of social media chatter so can’t say we see an upside to illegal downloads.”


240 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    First!

  2. Kevin
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    sorry, I just never got to do that before, lol. I’ve never illegally pirated a show before, and I have HBO at home, but I never had a problem with other people who do it

  3. Morgan King
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Everybody I know watches GoT, nobody I know has HBO – but, he’s right, more viewers means more people are talking about it, and the more people that know about it, the more people who will buy stuff. Maybe it’s an HBO subscription, maybe it’s a Blu-Ray set, maybe it’s an iPhone case sticker, maybe it’s a set of House pint glasses, but a larger audience ultimately leads to more potential buyers of something, even if they didn’t pay for the original viewing.

  4. D'Arcy
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    If a show is being heavily pirated online, it also PROBABLY has a very high online following. This translates to very good buzz for the show through social online media, which is where a lot of us now get our media and entertainment-related news. This brings in a ton of new fans who decide to catch up. How? Some will torrent, but HBO doesn’t care because a significant amount of new fans catch up via more traditional means: subscribing to HBO or buying DVDs.

    It’s true, the downloading doesn’t matter for THIS show, because it belongs in it’s own league of television shows. A smash hit that generates amazing DVD sales for HBO and I can only guess tons of subscriptions for their service.

  5. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    As long as the show is successful, and is in no danger of cancellation due to the ratings, then it’s not really a problem, I’d say. Still, if you’re given the option to have HBO, there’s reason enough to support what they do by paying for their content. I keep HBO year-round, simply because they’re airing some of the best shows on television.

  6. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Americans have no excuse … Quit being a cheap ass and buy it … CGI dragons don’t pay for themselves. If you don’t buy HBO, at the very minimum you need to buy the DVD/Bluray sets … If you are a true fan. But yea the rest of the world has to wait several days even months in some cases to view the episodes, so I am far more sympathetic to their piracy … Because I don’t think I could wait either.

  7. GeekFurious
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Been saying this for years (and in our more recent little discussion on this site).

    Being the #1 illegally downloaded show rarely affects ratings much. Especially when you consider that those people tend to be those who wouldn’t have watched it live anyway. They are either people who have no means to watch it legally, or people who watched it legally and want their own copy, or people who are just curious and decide to download the most popular thing.

    In the end, and the industry is wise to this already, being popular only helps you, even if someone is “stealing” your work. That’s how Metallica originally became the biggest metal band in the world. Through tape-trading that they themselves participated in (something lost on a lot of people due to the Napster fiasco).

    The more people see or hear your work, the more people spread the word which results in more people who decide to absorb it through legal means doing so.

  8. AdrianAegon
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I have HBO, and I watch GoT every Monday nights at 10 p.m. (since I’m in Europe).
    But Monday mornings in GoT season is like coffee to me, because I can’t do anything in that day if I don’t see it. I still watch it again on tv at night… I guess it’s a win-win situation.

  9. .shocker
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    It would be nice to know how many of the people that pirating the show buy the dvds/bluray after they release them… =)

  10. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, many of you are just making excuses for stealing. You demand trailers and beg for more CGI Direwolves and Dragons, but aren’t willing to give HBO $15 for three months. I don’t think you can justify giving the show zero money, because you told your Mom and two friends that Game of Thrones is awesome.

  11. JonathanL
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    As long as people support the show, it’s a net gain. I watch the show at my in-laws because I have no cable sub (though I would GLADLY pay for HBO access alone), but I have both seasons on Blu-Ray, my own House Stark mug, and plenty more on the horizon.

  12. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Ned:
    Americans have no excuse … Quit being a cheap ass and buy it … CGI dragons don’t pay for themselves.If you don’t buy HBO, at the very minimum you need to buy the DVD/Bluray sets … If you are a true fan. But yea the rest of the world has to wait several days even months in some cases to view the episodes, so I am far more sympathetic to their piracy … Because I don’t think I could wait either.

    You can’t speak for all Americans when you say “quit being a cheap ass and buy it” because in a lot of cases it could be “why pay to watch it when you can watch it for free?”

  13. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    If you want the show to continue. If you want the budget to get bigger. Please please please make your fandom known with your wallet. Sadly, a lot of people these days have grown accustomed to getting things for free. HBO is providing a service. We want that service, so they have to be compensated. They cannot afford to make this show out of the goodness of the hearts. If you’re a true fan who pirates the show, head over to the HBO store and spend some money on t-shirts or posters or something. TV is so much more cost prohibitive than mediums like music where someone can step into a studio and produce a quality album for a few thousand bucks. HBO has given D&D the creative freedom and massive budget to make the show that we all dreamed of the first time we read the books. It comes at a price.

  14. Winter Is Coming
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Updated the post with a link to a radio interview where Petrarca goes into more detail on his stance on piracy.

  15. Dana
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    What if some of us can’t afford HBO? Don’t have such a narrow-minded and ignorant perspective.

  16. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Saying that, I didn’t pirate GoT and also /not an American

  17. Sean B
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank the gods somebody gets it. I stream the show online when it airs because I want to see it the day it comes out, but I don’t own HBO. I will never pay for HBO so long as the cable companies insist on bundling it with a dozen other channels for $80 that I will never watch. I want to watch Game of Thrones and Game of Thrones only. Hell I would even pay for HBO if it was JUST HBO. I don’t want the bundle of other channels. I would definitely pay $15 a month to get access to HBO GO online without having to get HBO through my cable company.

    That being said, I always pre-order the bluray boxset the day it becomes available because I know my money is going to better use than if I had paid for a years worth of channel bundles that I’d never watch.

  18. Quowala
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Being in the UK and not having Sky Atlantic, my friend downloads it for me. But I always buy the blu rays when they come out and have bought other official HBO merchandise as well. Is that too bad?

  19. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    What if someone can’t afford a nice steak dinner? They don’t get it. Just because it’s easier to steal doesn’t make it right.

  20. Patchy Face
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know if the HBO Execs would agree with Mr. Petrarca.

  21. Jon
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Studies show that a significant portion of people (50%>) who torrent shows/music end up financially contributing at some point.

  22. Silverstormm
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I pirate the show as here in the UK you can only see it legally if you have Sky (or want to wait and watch it nearly 2years from 1st broadcast in the US) and as I’m already subscribed to Virgin media (Tivo is fab), obviously I’m not going to subscribe to Sky also. However, I have and will continue to buy the blu-ray sets which is something I never normally do. Therefore, GOT is making £ from me so it’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned!

  23. Geoff Collins
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I subscribe to HBO to watch it and cancel when the season ends. After I cancel HBO I download the episodes so I can watch them when I please. I then buy the Blu-Ray set when it comes out.

  24. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Villane:
    Dana,

    What if someone can’t afford a nice steak dinner? They don’t get it. Just because it’s easier to steal doesn’t make it right.

    Well I guess we’re sorry for being poor.

    I couldn’t afford the DVD’s and I don’t have Sky, I had just about enough money set aside for food+transport for each week, so I walked to a friend’s house to watch it, something not everyone can do.

  25. Jon
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    A steak if a physical object that can be possessed. I can’t go out and possess Jon Snow or Ned Stark.

    Villane: Dana, What if someone can’t afford a nice steak dinner? They don’t get it. Just because it’s easier to steal doesn’t make it right.

  26. Azazel
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I downloaded every episode of the entire first season each night after the show actually aired. I bought the season 1 Blu-Ray. I subscribed to HBO during season 2′s live run. I bought the season 2 Blu-Ray. I plan on resubscribing to HBO for season 3′s live run.

    So yes, piracy can lead to good, legitimate business.

    I find that, in fact, it keeps movie/show makers honest and motivated just like it does musicians. If they put out a good overall product, I’ll buy the legal hard copy every time.

  27. lipt0nov
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    We live in wonderful times. Access to culture is free and worldwide.
    I still laught at people who say piracy=theft. Logic of 7 years old kids.

  28. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Jon,

    You can certainly possess a Blu-Ray or any of the merchandise available.

  29. Khath@GameofThrones
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    For french people (and lot of europeens too) it’s really hard to get a legal distribution for the american series.

    Actually, it’s not unusual to wait 2 years to get the same thing on a french TV channel.
    And not a free one.

    For exemple, Game of Thrones first season 1 just finish on french TV, and they have passed 2 episode each week.

    Hard to wait.

    In France, DVDs/blurays comes out before the tv shows …

    In fact David Petrarca is right, illegal download is totally a part of the show promotion.
    Some invesgations claims “pirates” buy more products than other people, i think it’s true, in most of the case, people are ready to pay to have a good quality product.

    90% of people i know ( including my ) who watched GoT get the first season dvd.blu-ray, and hbo “Inside Game of Thrones”, and/or George Martin’s books.

    Publishers must give an easy access for everybody, with a fair price, and people must support products they really love.

    In all case, for GoT, show must go on, and with the success of the third season trailer, nice days are waiting the serie :)

  30. Juego de tronos
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    For the international viewers is the only way to watch the show at the same time of USA.

  31. Lisa
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have a TV (and I don’t live in america) so downloading is pretty much the only option for me until the dvds are released, but that takes months.

  32. Nukagrenade
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Ultimately want really matters is that the show is making more than enough money to support its self and HBO. Piracy is a big problem if most people are doing that instead of somehow support the show through buying something like say the Blu rays /dvd’s.

    Also I don’t know if it’s still a problem but I remember hearing about many parts of the world where GOT does air it doesn’t even go out at close to the same time as it does in North America, so hardcore fans have to wait while others have already seen the episodes somethings for several days.

    Not to mention that not every broadcaster that has GOT has a good On Demand system set up. I my self have a HBO Canada subscription and have bought the Blu rays of several HBO shows, but for season 1 I downloaded some of the episodes so I could watch them on my laptop while away from home.

  33. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points Villane, I think you phrased it a little more eloquently as well. Quowala or Sean B, I have no problems with those scenarios. Stream or Download the show all you want, as long as you are financially supporting the show in SOME way. Think of it as a GoT Membership … Spend $50 a year on the show HOWEVER you want … HBO subscription, DVD/Bluray sets, HBO merchandise, GoT soundtrack, HBO tie in book (out march 26th this year), Boardgame, Videogame, Posters, you could even buy $50 worth of Iron Throne Ale coming out soon … I don’t really care, I just think its naive to say “I don’t personally pay for the show … But don’t worry, I tell other people about it”.

  34. Cary Storm
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Since my lack of having cable TV means that downloading illegally would be my only option to watch it at a moment’s notice; unless perhaps I had friends with HBO; then it would be more than made up by the money I spend on merchandise and DVDs. Maybe it’s not true for everyone but it would be true for me should I be going that route.

  35. umuckurlife
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    You have to think, “What would Stannis do?”.
    Stealing is stealing. But if your stealing benefits the realm by way of increased buzz, does it make it all wrong? That’s a tough one to answer.
    For the record, I am an HBO subscriber. I’ve bought the blu rays. I purchased the physical books (for me and for others). I purchased the e-books. BUT, I obtained the Roy Dotrice audiobooks from a friend (who I know did not purchase them).
    Do all my rights make up for my wrongs? Probably not. Just as GRRM conveys in ASOIF, we are all flawed.

  36. Nikoleo
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m unemployed and don’t have HBO at my place so I download every episode and will do it again and again until they jail me for it :D

  37. Cary Storm
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Ned:
    Americans have no excuse … Quit being a cheap ass and buy it … CGI dragons don’t pay for themselves.If you don’t buy HBO, at the very minimum you need to buy the DVD/Bluray sets … If you are a true fan. But yea the rest of the world has to wait several days even months in some cases to view the episodes, so I am far more sympathetic to their piracy … Because I don’t think I could wait either.

    I can’t afford cable or satellite in my area. I could afford HBO if it meant $15 a month, but I have no options that allow me to have HBO without cable or satellite.

  38. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    umuckurlife,

    Stannis would knight people stealing the show for spreading its greatness by word of mouth. But hack off the ends of fingers for the whole theft part.

  39. Skipjack
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It is more complicated than the piracy affecting just Game of Thrones. HBO is a package deal, the money coming in from a show like Game of Thrones or True Blood doesn’t just go to that show but to the other content. The channel has to go through cable subscriptions which while it makes considerable money from that for now, if people just take an a la carte approach to the shows on the channel then it won’t have the ability to attract the broad base of subscribers it needs to make the economics work. Lets not forget that HBO had to build up a considerable bank before taking on a project with as much financial risk as this one.

    So while there’s a real marketing gain from having such a buzzed about show that people want it the world over, and likewise there isn’t much harm from piracy from people who are in different countries and so couldn’t really be HBO subscribers, the secondary effects are what makes it problematic. For example, overseas piracy would harm a middleman company who wants to show HBO product in their own country- but everyone has already seen the episodes they want. And so that middleman can’t tailor programming, and can’t minimize risk by taking what has proven popular and showing it some months later after localizing it. More likely it just doesn’t happen even where there could be a market to give people something they want and would pay for. And so everyone misses out and even the people who were getting a free ride by downloading episodes don’t know what might have been. Middlemen might have built up a bank to make the kind of production that has been popular as an import.

  40. Seven Hells Bells
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Should be on BBC 2 like Rome was.

    Damn you, Sky.

  41. Zeus
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I basically subscribe to HBO for 3 months and then cancel. I like being able to watch Sunday nights when it premiers. I agree with other posters, I would happily pay for the channels I watch. Unfortunately I pay $120 for internet and HD cable and I watch maybe 50 of the 100s of channels offered. There was a bill proposed a few years back that would have forced the cable companies to let customers choose their channels, it didnt go through.

    I have not problem with the people who download. I have been poor in my life and know what it is like.

  42. Nick
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    It would be really nice if GoT episodes could be available for immediate purchase on Amazon after airing like a lot of TV shows.

  43. Juju
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Well, I know many, many people who pirate the show because it doesn’t air in Germany forever (and if they do it it’s dubbed and there is no english version available and no english subs either).

    I always buy the Blu Rays but I realized that I use the pirated episodes as well, just because it’s way more comfortable to work with files instead of physical discs that you have to put in the player and just 3 episodes fit on one disc…

    If you have a MKV file and you need a subtitle you just put it in the same folder and thats it. On Blu Ray/DVD you have to go back to the menu to do that quite often.
    Sometimes there aren’t even subtitles in the language you’re looking for. With a file it’s easier to fast forward or jump in episodes… etc.

  44. Skipjack
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    One more thing, the money is really not much in the US. If you are posting here I’ll bet you know some other people who really like the show and maybe one of them already has a cable tv package. Go ahead and offer some money to come over and watch it and bring others so you aren’t a mooch and annoying. If you and two others go in on the channel it’s $5 a month from you for four TV parties. You’d spend more money just bringing something to your friend’s house like beer or just popcorn. Contributing even a bit helps everyone.

  45. G_Lee
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    As long as there is no legal way to watch GoT within a reasonable timespan of the premier in my country I will download it. I would probably pay up to 5$ or so to watch each episode legally but like I said, there isnt even that option.
    I don’t think I’m harming anyone with that though, I buy the bluray boxes, I buy merchandise…. I even bought the limited edition of Cogmans book so what.
    Can’t wait to download episode 3×01 :P

  46. beef623
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    If HBO provided a standalone online subscription for HBO GO I would be more than happy to give them the money for the months the show aired. For me though, it wouldn’t be giving HBO $15 a month for 3 months, it would be more like giving the cable company $100 a month for 3 months plus whatever the connect/disconnect fees added up to. I buy the DVD sets when they come out so they get still get their money eventually.

  47. Delta1212
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Grijnwaald: You can’t speak for all Americans when you say “quit being a cheap ass and buy it” because in a lot of cases it could be “why pay to watch it when you can watch it for free?”

    That’s literally the definition of being cheap.

  48. Hollyoak
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Ned:
    Americans have no excuse … Quit being a cheap ass and buy it … CGI dragons don’t pay for themselves.If you don’t buy HBO, at the very minimum you need to buy the DVD/Bluray sets … If you are a true fan. But yea the rest of the world has to wait several days even months in some cases to view the episodes, so I am far more sympathetic to their piracy … Because I don’t think I could wait either.

    This: I have had HBO for several years because of their content. If I lived somewhere where HBO wasn’t available, I have to admit, I’d Bit Torrent it. If our budget could not afford HBO, again, I’d Bit Torrent it.

    BUT, I’d also buy the Blu Rays when available.

  49. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Grijnwaald: Well I guess we’re sorry for being poor.

    I couldn’t afford the DVD’s and I don’t have Sky, I had just about enough money set aside for food+transport for each week, so I walked to a friend’s house to watch it, something not everyone can do.

    You are not alone in your stance, however many others given the alternative, of
    sharing the experience with a mate or group of friends would simply pass on that
    experience for simple greed. We live in a global society of self absorbed people
    that insist on their satisfaction alone. Chipping in for costs, or responding to a
    mate’s free invite is simply not on their radar for principled decisions. For all
    of GoT fans, such as you, that find a reasonable alternative, as you’ve done, I
    salute you. Keep calm and carry on *>*

    I haven’t listened to the Radio interview yet, but it seems the execs are quite
    aware of the Pirating Issue, perhaps before the American FCC decision on
    the matter. I’ll never understand directly how they determine their decisions
    or rules, but I’m acutely aware of my Cable bill and HBO costs continuing to rise.

  50. yobiku
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  51. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212,

    There you have it, it’s essentially a matter of principle ( for those whom have
    the choice ).

  52. jonson
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    yobiku,
    seems like a decent game indeed
    J

  53. john
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    This year, and if you live in the Nordic countries you can stream GoT online at http://hbonordic.com . Subscription is about $15 a month, or less if you get a years worth of subscription.

    I have been pirating the show before but this season I can finally follow the show legally immediately when it airs.

    I suppose anyone could get a “legal” subscription from hbonordic by using a VPN.

  54. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Skipjack,

    Good point.

  55. Alex Grey
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ll admit to downloading them from unauthorized sources. I just can’t afford HBO. It’s not even that HBO is too expensive; like beef623 said, it’s that you have to have a cable subscription to even get HBO, and frak that. I’m more than happy to give >HBO< my money, and I would be happy to pay them year round, but I can’t afford to pay over 100/m for a service I will never use, just so I can pay more for the service I want.

    That said, I do support the show anyway that I can. I buy the blu-rays day of release, and I get extra copies as gifts for people, I recommended that other people buy them, and I've bought other merchandise as well. And I’ll keep buying their products as long as the show sticks around, and if HBO ever lets me just pay them directly, then I’ll do it instantly without question, and i'll still buy them on disk.

    It’s not about “wanting it for free”, it’s about not having a reasonable option for paying.

  56. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Lisa:
    I don’t have a TV (and I don’t live in america) so downloading is pretty much the only option for me until the dvds are released, but that takes months.

    Have you checked out WiC’s list of Countries and networks that carry GoT, it’s
    quite extensive and thorough. Wikipedia has a great list also. If there’s a will,
    there’s a way.

  57. Bob
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I understand the argument that bits and bytes aren’t the same as a physical theft … I would be lying if I said I’d never done it myself. There have been a few instances where I’ve resorted to a download when the original product was indefinitely out of print …

    … but the dumbest argument I keep hearing re:GoT is that people don’t want to pay for cable, so they have no access to HBO, and they shouldn’t be deprived of a show they have the whim to watch. It’s all part of the HBO business model and how they make money. Sometimes HBO gets a per subscriber fee from the television provider, sometimes they offer the provider a flat rate, so they’re getting the same amount of money in a given year even if the subscriptions drop or rise (although obviously this will affect negotiating rates for future contracts).

    If HBO were to offer the episodes in some of the suggested ways, it would ruin their contracts with television providers, and the amount of money they could get through them would be substantially lessened. Even if they offered the episodes on iTunes the day after, piracy would be every bit as rampant, AND they’d have less subscribers.

    I had to wait for the DVDs to catch the season finale of S1, because I had to drop my cable temporarily. Grow some balls, act like a man, and use some self-control people.

  58. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming:
    Updated the post with a link to a radio interview where Petrarca goes into more detail on his stance on piracy.

    Interesting interview, thanks for posting the link.

  59. sCor
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a fan of subscription based anything.
    I rather pay one price and watch it then as much as I want to.
    As a result I will continue to buy the Blurays twice, to even things out.

  60. Jen@House Stark
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I have converted my family and friends to bannermen. We all watch legally, however, if I were outside of the U.S., I would beg to watch it somehow, in real time. Not a day later.

  61. Ceegh
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Dana:
    Ned,

    What if some of us can’t afford HBO? Don’t have such a narrow-minded and ignorant perspective.

    There’s lots of things people can’t afford. Should we steal everything we can’t afford?

  62. Baramos
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Nah, I already had the same opinion.

    I think the record-setting sales of the season 2 discs only hammers home this opinion of his.

  63. Baramos
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Ceegh,

    Yes, of course. That’s why I have a yacht.

  64. George
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    This guy has watch every episode in HBO. This guy has downloaded every episode. This Guy has bought both Blu-Ray Sets. There is absolutely no problem with piracy, it is simply a means to get the show to a wider audience.

  65. Al Swearengen
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Hmm I still feel piracy hurts an expensive show like Game of Thrones.

    I don’t condone piracy unless there is no way for you to watch that show in your country, for a while downloading was the only way I could catch Breaking Bad because for some bizarre reason not one network in the UK showed it, godbless Netflix for picking it up.

  66. Markos
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I live outside US and GOT comes late in my country, so piracy is my only option. However, when the DVDs are out I buy them.

  67. JamesL
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, it seems like a very small percentage of this fan base watches this show legally.

  68. Al Swearengen
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Seven Hells Bells,

    No it shouldn’t Sky Atlantic is the right place for GOT, because of Sky we get each episode hours after it airs in America, the BBC would never do that. Sky also aired the last ever episodes of Lost and Fringe at the same time as they were airing in America.

    I am so sick and tired of these snobby idiots who refuse to subscribe to Sky because they are tight arses.

  69. Nezzer
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed: Have you checked out WiC’s list of Countries and networks that carry GoT, it’s
    quite extensive and thorough. Wikipedia has a great list also. If there’s a will,
    there’s a way.

    It’s not that simple, though. Most of those countries get GoT only a week later at least, and some only a year later. I’ve subscribed to HBO for years and I pirated the first season because I couldn’t wait an entire week to see an episode, as HBO Brazil used to broadcast a new episode only a week later. Fortunately, they broadcast season 2 in real time, so I watched all its episodes on HBO. I still pirate the show though, only to rewatch it, as the episodes are available in the On Demand functionality here only months after they air.

  70. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had this debate multiple times on this site, and I don’t want to spend the next two days arguing with strangers, but IP is an area that I’ve studied extensively for years so I’ll at least provide some reading material for anybody who is interested.

    Stephan Kinsella is probably the leading expert when it comes to IP issues. If you are interested in understanding why IP should be abolished then start with him. Here is a link to his podcast, but there are also links on there to almost all the work he has done on the topic. http://www.stephankinsella.com/kinsella-on-liberty-podcast/

    Also, here is my email address. [email protected]

    If you have any specific questions that you can’t find answers to, then feel free to send me an email. I’m sure I would be able to find you a link that would answer any IP related questions you might have. Also, if you go here you can get the basic gist of why I am against intellectual property. http://winteriscoming.net/2012/12/game-of-thrones-most-pirated-show-of-2012/#comments

  71. cabbo
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m from Northern Ireland, and technically I watch it legally (recording it via sky plus). But also, because it’s handy, and in such high quality too…

    I like to watch the show with friends (almost all of us have finished DwD, so it’s good to pick it apart and obsess over the minuate of it all). It’s more practical to DL for us, even though we all (or at least most of us) watch it legally later on.

  72. Zack
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I download my share of television shows, but my household pays for cable on a monthly basis. I just don’t have my personal television hooked into the cable, and use a Roku box and PS3 to get content on it. Anything that I can’t get on the Roku I’ll download the day after it airs and stream it to my PS3.

    But I don’t even need to download GoT because of HBO Go. Bless you, HBO, for that.

    I don’t have a moral problem with illegal downloads either. I think people who can pay will do so, and people who can’t pay aren’t causing the corporations any lost sales by pirating, because they wouldn’t have bought it anyway, and since it’s all bits and bytes and not actual things, it’s not analogous to actual theft where stealing some item means somebody else can’t buy it because it’s gone…

  73. Ser Lemon Cakes
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Thankfully, this season episodes will be shown on cable in Australia only hours after the US after the last two were weeks and months behind, but on a super premium channel in a country where cable uptake is low due to the expense and the many free digital channels. It is great for people like my Charles Dance/ Iain Glenn fan girl Mum who does not have the Internet but has cable, but the dent on that 10% will be low I imagine. They have done the same for the Walking Dead here this season, so I wonder how that affected the piracy?

  74. Burg0s
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    JamesL:
    Sadly, it seems like a very small percentage of this fan base watches this show legally.

    Thats why GoT has record twice set for DVD/Blueray sales? There is a very simple reason why GoT disc sales are so high. Those of us who pirate for our viewing pleasure since there is no solo HBO subscription package buy discs 10 months after the show ends for the year. I will proudly pirate for a copy to watch when I want, where I want, and with who I want, until the dvd/br release then I buy.

  75. darrylzero
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I pay for HBO (though I don’t think I could afford it if I lived alone), and I engage in very little downloading of copyrighted material (though in the case of music, it gets a little confusing because I download so many individual tracks from blogs and such that I’m not always entirely sure what is legitimate and what’s not, particularly vis-a-vis remixes). Basically, I don’t have super strong feelings about piracy, but I believe in supporting things that I like.

    However you feel about piracy, though, calling it stealing is inaccurate and threatens to dilute the concept. Really. If you steal something from someone else, that person doesn’t have it anymore. Stealing $500 from your neighbor makes that neighbor $500 poorer. And there’s trauma associated with being robbed, too. If it’s a store you’re shiplifting from, someone who works there could be implicated or otherwise blamed and lose their job. None of this is true with regard to media piracy.

    Some people might say you’re stealing the money you would have spent by holding onto it. There is a case to be made there, if the person in question would have definitely have paid for it otherwise. In my experience, this is not generally the case. The times that I’ve been movie hopping (long past now), I see movies I would not otherwise see. Most of the music I download (mostly if not entirely legally, I think) is not music I would pay for. I’m downloading it to find out if I like it. What about the people I have over to my house on Sunday nights? Should I only allow people who subscribe to HBO, or who promise to buy the DVDs later?

    You might think that’s a lot of splitting hairs, but there is rarely if ever such confusion about actual stealing. You take something that doesn’t belong to you, and then that person doesn’t have it anymore. That’s what stealing means. However awful you think piracy is, it’s not that.

  76. Sandsnake
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I watch the series on Sky TV when it first airs and also own both seasons on Blu Ray but I also have the full set of episodes on my laptop. The main reason for this is that once the seasons have finished airing there is no way I ever want to have to wait close to a year to watch them again when the Blu Ray release comes out.

    As a fan I will always purchase the Blu Ray sets each year and watch the first run on TV but I like to watch the episodes when I feel like it rather than have to wait so long for DVD.

  77. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I think everyone that downloads the show illegally, and doesn’t wind up paying on the back end with DVDs (etc.), owes all of us that do spend our hard earned money on HBO a big fat f-ing THANK YOU! That epic Battle of the Blackwater, we paid for that so you could enjoy it for free. So, you’re welcome!

  78. Laurentius
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I know we all like the show, but I don’t really get the “poor HBO, my best friends, we’re all in this together, it’s theft from hard working ordinary folks”. They are, after all, part of a conglomerate making obscene amounts of money which are then quite unevenly distributed. I’m kind of disturbed by this image put forward of the showrunners and cast as some troupe of struggling near destitute artists. I don’t feel I have an obligation to feed them extra by buying board games or special edition DVD’s. I can understand the logic of such loyalty, but I honestly feel none of it.

    I download Game of thrones, a years later it appears on Swedish SVT (sort of like the BBC for Britain) which I pay an annual fee for. In my view I’m only getting a little ahead of my payment.

  79. Lin Beifunk
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Ratings are fine. Blu-Rays are breaking records. No indication from HBO that the show is putting them in the red. Effects got better between S1 and S2 and may get better again. Popularity only skyrocketing. Director comes out and says piracy isn’t a big deal.

    Not sure what the debate is here. This crime — if you want to call it that — is essentially victimless.

  80. saark
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I dont think piracy should matter much to GoT, especially considering how friggin awesome the blu-ray sets are.

    people might pirate the show during the first run, if they dont have HBO or what have you, but many many fans eventually buy a hard copy….

    this is the best way to combat or mitigate piracy IMO: super value-added physical editions of the media. everyone can see the basic stuff (by subscription or piracy) but you gotta cough up for the gorgeous extras.

  81. Juju
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I just realized that the Blu Ray dics are probably twice as expensive in Europe because most Europeans can’t watch the show on TV and have to pirate it. ;)

  82. Lin Beifunk
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Villane,

    Er, I’m…not sure that’s how this works. I don’t think GoT money goes strictly to a GoT pool, except to dump a percentage on George’s front lawn. I could be wrong, though. Just from a business perspective it seems easier to spend all the money everywhere, and the shows that aren’t pulling their weight get cut off or canceled. But again: dunno.

  83. Joh
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm. Well, in my own case, I live in one of the few US households that has no access to cable. I literally can’t buy an HBO hookup. So I go to friend’s house instead to watch the new episodes. He does have an HBO hookup, and invites a dozen or so of us over to see the show. Is this the same as piracy? I’m not sure. I do buy the DVDs and BluRays. It is a testament to the show that when I move, I plan on getting an HBO subscription solely to watch Game of Thrones. Basically, if I can support the artists who make something I enjoy – a book, a movie, an album – I try to buy a physical copy and support their effort financially.

    On the other hand, I will admit to engaging in piracy. I am multilingual and enjoy media from other countries that is often not optioned or distributed in the United States. So that awesome new rock album or indie film I’ve been waiting to check out for months will never be available to buy in America. But you can bet it will eventually be available on Pirate Bay.

    Recently, I went on a torrent site to find one of these films, and the director had posted thanking people for the international interest in his film. He also mentioned how much time and labor and money had been invested in completing the project, and politely asked that fans wait a few more months while he tried to get the film distributed in the United States. It worked. I didn’t download it, and a few months later, I was able to pre-order a copy from Amazon. Felt good, man.

    Anyway, I hope that those who don’t have access to HBO or Sky yet are able to see the show soon.

    It would be really nice if HBO could improve HBOgo and find some way of selling access to the individual episodes online without a cable subscription. With everybody using tablets and whatnot now, it doesn’t make sense to leave a show totally bound to television.

  84. Mac Ridge
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Morgan King,

    Kakow! I’d gladly pay $10 an episode if HBO made the show available in 1080p within 30 minutes of airing….

  85. Joh
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Mac Ridge,

    Ditto.

  86. Dana
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Villane,

    First of all, that analogy doesn’t translate well to this situation. Like, at all. Secondly, on your point about how it’s not ‘not right’, what do you think the whole point of this article is? Many are probably more willing now than ever to pirate GOT seeing as how they’ve essentially gotten the production crew’s consent.

  87. Dana
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Villane,

    And what if, again, current family budget constraints refrain us from buying those? Honestly, I don’t think you’re quite ‘getting’ the situation here. From what it sounds like, you yourself are most likely in a situation where you can easily afford all of these things and have it be no big deal to your finances.

  88. Crys
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Hey,

    this comment has nothing in common with the post but just a video we got in France for the Bluray/DVD. In audio you could hear a powerful and orchestral version of the Rains of Castamere. I think it’s just an arrangement made by WB France but maybe it’s official after all ;)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBELCQ4xPJU

    And I should mention I did not see it in english (I searched) but maybe it exists :)

  89. Bubba
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    My season 2 blu-ray torrent just finished. Huzzah!

  90. Jamie B
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Crys,

    It’s The National’s version, from the S2 soundtrack.

  91. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    The point is that Game of Thrones is a product. If that product doesn’t make money then it will cease to exist. I’d be very thankful that there are people out there who do spend their money on it so you can watch it for free.

  92. Crys
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Jamie B,

    I know, I’m talking of the end of the track, the way they made it. It’s not as the album version ;)

  93. Vince
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I can see it being ok for a show as big as Game of Thrones which keeps getting bigger as more people ‘discover’ it legitimately or otherwise. I think piracy should be viewed on an individual basis on a per show basis. I don’t agree with it in principle, but there is definite benefit to it as well. I doubt HBO are complaining about the latest Blu Ray stats….

  94. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    Villane’s also question-begging. He/she keeps saying that it is stealing to download GoT, but that is one of the central things up for debate. My claim, and the claim of others, is that it is perfectly fine to download GoT or watch it online for free because it shouldn’t be illegal in the first place.

  95. Winter Is Coming
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Dan:
    Dana,

    Villane’s also question-begging. He/she keeps saying that it is stealing to download GoT, but that is one of the central things up for debate. My claim, and the claim of others, is that it is perfectly fine to download GoT or watch it online for free because it shouldn’t be illegal in the first place.

    I know you posted a bunch of links earlier, but I don’t have time to sift through all that info (as interesting as it is) right now.

    So I just have one quick question for you: under your proposal, if HBO were to distribute GoT for free, how would they make money on it?

  96. The hounds pup
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I cannot stand people trying to justify downloading movies and tv shows.

    If you can afford the Internet, you can afford to go out and buy the blu ray or dvd box set.

    Support the show, support the actors, support the crew!

  97. john
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    And he’s not saying that “piracy doesn’t matter”. He’s saying that the show can sustain itself EVEN THOUGH the piracy is at the level it is at right now. If everyone pirated the show he obviously wouldn’t be saying the same thing. Of course, if that were the case, there would be no show.

  98. Pirate
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Pirate first and then buy the dvd one year later – that’s the only option I have in Germany. Guess that applies to many other countries.

  99. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    It is tough to say how things would operate without the IP laws that we have in place. It is through competition that companies would determine what is the most profitable way to deliver entertainment to us. For example, I would have never imagined the way that PSY was able to make $8.1 million by ignoring copyright infringement. http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20121209/07431921317/psy-makes-81-million-ignoring-copyright-infringements-gangnam-style.shtml

    But I don’t want to just sound like I’m copping out, so I’ll offer a few ideas off the top of my head. Just be aware that I’m not saying this is what will happen, is the best way, or is what they should do. I believe the people who get paid to produce entertainment will come up with much better solutions than I can. Anyways, I think one option for networks would be to do something similar to Kickstarter. They might need to rely on businesses and individuals paying for the show up front before they release it to the public. It might be the case that shows would need to air the pilot for free to entice people to pay for more episodes.

    I don’t have a clear answer for you on how television shows will make their money without IP protection, but I do know there are tons of entertainers who are doing that right now.

    You also want to consider the costs that HBO has put on them because of IP laws. How many lawyers, lawsuits, patents, etc. do they have to pay for because of the current system, when that could be going into R&D, making new shows, spending more on production, etc. If you look at the costs that companies have to put up with in order to operate with the onerous IP system, then you start to realize there are billions of dollars that could be going into finding ways to deliver entertainment in the most profitable way.

    If that answer isn’t satisfying enough, then just let me know. There is work that has been done in this regard to answer these questions. If you want I can look it up and link to it. Most of it isn’t too time consuming to read, so I could link you to some short articles or essays on this kind of stuff.

  100. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    http://www.stephankinsella.com/2010/07/examples-of-ways-content-creators-can-profit-without-intellectual-property/

    That link will give you a good idea on some of the ways entertainers are figuring out on how to make money without IP.

  101. FanfromGermany
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Yep, in Germany GoT Season 2 will be aired next month on TV… the whole season on one weekend. So as a fan from Germany you have to watch it illegal on the internet if you dont want to wait a whole year. But I bought the DVDs as soon as they were available.

    If I could buy HBO at Home here in Germany, I guess I would do it.

  102. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Here is some more stuff along the same lines.

    some mor similar links at http://c4sif.org/2012/03/selected-supplementary-material-for-against-intellectual-property/

    e.g. “Innovations that Thrive without IP,” StephanKinsella.com (Aug. 9, 2010)
    “Leveraging IP,” Mises Economics Blog (Aug. 1, 2010)
    “Examples of Ways Content Creators Can Profit Without Intellectual Property,” StephanKinsella.com (July 28, 2010)
    “The Creator-Endorsed Mark as an Alternative to Copyright,”

    If you have any further questions then just let me know. Feel free to email me too in case you ask a question that I don’t see on here. I don’t see myself as an expert on the IP issue, although I know more than most, but I am keyed in enough with the actual experts that I can always get an answer to a question for you from them if I’m not able to give you a response that satisfies.

  103. Leuf
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    Yes, I think something like kickstarter is the future. You would essentially be subscribing to individual shows rather than networks. It would take a lot of the risk out of it for them. Make the pilot and if people are willing to fund it you make it, otherwise you don’t. If you reward the people that get in early by giving them free stuff later they’ll do your marketing for you.

  104. Matt
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I have HBO, I pirate GOT and I buy the Blu-Rays…

  105. Stannis Baratheon
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Matt,
    A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good. You are a hero and a smuggler.

  106. Jonathan Loesche
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    In economic terms, intellectual property is non-rival, whereas tangible property is rival. As a result, the “piracy” of intellectual property is simply not the same sort of zero-sum game that car theft — or theft of any tangible property — is.

    The IP is the show and the characters themselves. Real property would be a Blu-Ray set of the show.

    As for a free example, look at Southparkstudios.com. I can watch almost any episode of South Park I want for free and it hasn’t stopped that show from making money hand over fist.

  107. Dark Star
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Grijnwaald: You can’t speak for all Americans when you say “quit being a cheap ass and buy it” because in a lot of cases it could be “why pay to watch it when you can watch it for free?”

    And if every American thought that way, there probably wouldn’t be enough funding to make the show. It is stealing, no matter how you spin it or feebly try to justify your actions.

  108. Mike
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I started reading the books many years ago. When I heard about HBO optioning the series, I geeked out to all of my friends about how great this series will be. Now we all watch it. My issue is that I do not have cable and HBO has made no other avenue available to me to pay for the shows before the BDs come out almost a year later.

    So I download the episodes but buy the BD when they come out to show my support for the show. I would like to believe the large Season 2 BD sales are due to a lot of other people like me. HBO knows it is happening, but if they don’t add other methods for buying their content, they must be OK with this financial model.

  109. HolyOak
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Living in the UK, I pirate and then get the boxset.

    My justification: A SKY subscription (39% owned by News Corp, btw.) is £25 a month, the minimum subscription is 12 months, therefore: £275 or $410 a year. I really don’t watch anything else on TV apart from this and a couple of shows on regular UK channels. There is no way in hell that amount of money is fair just to access one show!

    What am I supposed to do? My mother has a sky subscription, but she lives 200 miles away. Sky do have a way of viewing remotely via an xbox, but the quality is awful and I sold it anyway.

    So, I download in glorious 1080p and get the boxset when it comes out!

    TV companies (not specifically, but including, HBO) should stop being so damn inflexible and give us more than one way to access their work, or as Petreca pointed out, TV will start going the way of the music industry – which went from a $38 billion industry in the ’90s to a $16.3 one now.

    Edit: If any HBO guys are reading this, or anyone related to the show, I would happily pay a small sum, say £3 – 4 to stream/download a high quality episode on a weekly basis.

  110. Dark Star
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan Loesche,

    The difference is that Southpark is shown with advertising. Apples and oranges.

  111. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan Loesche,

    South Park also costs a hell of a lot less to make per episode. They have a production schedule of one week per episode. Game of Thrones takes months to make per episode. A show with the production values we want cannot be streamed for free. Someone has to pay!

  112. Shaya Collins
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Game of Thrones’ is sold worldwide, available legally on a large variety of viewing platforms

    Say what? That is new to me and total BS. The only legal way I know of watching GoT is through cable TV, which I won’t subscribe to no matter how much I love the show. HBO really sucks for not allowing immediate access to new episodes via popular and affordable internet platforms like Netflix and iTunes. After all, it’s us fans who support the TV show!

  113. Abyss
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    FanfromGermany,

    You can’t have HBO, but can have Sky and that will make you able to watch GoT season 3 on April 1.
    :-)

  114. Matt93
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I pirated all of Season 1 at first. I then pirated half of Season 2 (the episodes I couldn’t watch because I was away from a place that had HBO). And yet regardless of this, I still bought both boxsets.

    So….no harm, no foul. I very well will CONTINUE to pirate episodes, and feel absolutely no remorse in doing so.

  115. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Alright Dan, well before you change the entire global landscape for IP distribution, you should answer WiC very basic question … If everyone downloads GoT for free, how would the show get paid for? Plain and simple. It really makes me sick. This is costing GoT a million viewers in ratings (US), millions of dollars in revenue streams from subscriptions. The show is does very well, but is still short of its potential because of people who don’t support it. Again if you live outside of the US, I understand, HBO should get the content to you faster, download away. If you live in the US and buy the DVD/Blurays, download away. Also, Dana and Grignwaald, have you considered additional employment versus blogging all day about not having enough money to consume things like GoT?

  116. HolyOak
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Al Swearengen,

    Look at my other post. Refusing to shell out £275 for one show isn’t being a tight arse. I’m a student, I can barely afford to heat my house in winter, why should I pay £25 pounds a month to have the vacuous crap that passes for TV piped into my house for the privilege of watching 10 hours of decent television a year?

  117. Dana
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Villane,

    There are more than enough people (such as yourself I imagine). who have more than a suitable amount of cash to pay for a monthly HBO subscription, and or to buy the GOT boxsets. They’ll be fine.

    If you were trying to get at something else, take the chance now to elaborate.

  118. HolyOak
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    The hounds pup: If you can afford the Internet, you can afford to go out and buy the blu ray or dvd box set.

    Are you serious? Yeah……. wait a year, don’t go on WiC and other blogs, stop talking to friends who watch the show, in other words cut yourself off from the GoT world for several months! Get real!

  119. ChristineMarie
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Reading through all this, the thing that popped into my head was, “I wonder how many people, in the US and worldwide, actually watch this show?” The official ratings say a first run episode in the second season was just shy of 5 million, right? But if we counted illegal downloads, would we be kicking TWD’s ass?

    And for the record, HBO subscriber and BluRay buyer here.

  120. mooni
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Abyss,

    They apparently show ep 1 on April 1, but then there’s a break until May 19.

    :(

    I’ll stream it now and buy the DVD next year.

  121. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    Go get a job.

    You have all this free time to blog all day about not having any money.

    If the show were ever to fail it would partially be your fault.

    You should never, ever, under any circumstances, complain about anything related to the show. You didn’t pay. It’s not your right.

  122. HolyOak
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about this.

    I think HBO’s justification for subscription rather than a pay-as-you-watch option or whatever, is that popular shows can then subsidise others that aren’t as popular. I mean, look at The Wire – from what I’ve read, that got pretty average or even poor ratings all the way through, yet its widely regarded as one of the best shows ever. Plus, it gives them financial stability through a guaranteed revenue stream.

    Out of interest, how much is a HBO subscription in the US? I’d love to subscribe to HBO, I don’t know why they can’t roll out their own channels in the UK and other countries. Its not as if we’re on another planet! I’m sure there is just as much a demand for quality, adult TV in Europe as there is in the US.

  123. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Dark Star: And if every American thought that way, there probably wouldn’t be enough funding to make the show. It is stealing, no matter how you spin it or feebly try to justify your actions.

    Not my actions buddy. I’m not American and I don’t pirate GoT.

  124. Turri
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bit weird for me to see the same kind of discussions still going on that raged around 1995-2005. From my perspective the debate has moved on much since then with the web exploding, the Pirate Parties emerging and the content industry applying its full political lobby power. Pretending nothing has changed through the internet and the old rules still all applying (copying is theft!) is something even the most hawkish copyright defenders don’t do anymore, at least not the one’s I talk to. And the old cyberanarchist movement to purposefully destroy the old order to free art, culture and information from the gatekeepers and “weary giants of flesh and steel” has become much more constructive.

    The war is over, these battles don’t need to be fought like this anymore, everybody has already moved on, even if the war propaganda machines are still trotting out the old lines. GoT is a major example for a show that is really only still attached to a classic network for convenience, but could never produce profit without the web.

    Anyway, no real interest to debate this stuff here, knock yourselves out.

  125. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212: That’s literally the definition of being cheap.

    Hahaha! Yeah I supose it is! Cheap, but economicaly viable according to personal financial situations.

  126. Ser Osis of Liver
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I can thank the Torrents for getting me hooked. After attending the 2011 Worldcon in Reno, where GRRM was the GoH, I decided to check out the show that had garnered so much attention but had managed to slip under my radar. I found all 10 episodes that fall, which were not airing at that time and no DVDs had yet been released and watched them in a 2-day marathon. I was hooked completely and absolutely. I bought every book in hardcover, both seasons on Blu-Ray, numerous items of merchandise in the HBO store and subscribed to HBO for the 3 months that S2 ran — and will re-up before 3/31.

    I can say confidently that if not for those 10 hours I watched when my curiousity was piqued, I probably would have forgotten about the series completely and not paid any attention to the S2 media blitz since only a couple of my friends are die-hard fans of the entire oeuvre.

    Is it right to steal outright, just because you don’t like the content originator’s distribution model or you think the price is too high? Hell no. Pay up or do without. I snarfed it and I paid for it a few months later. In my case it was “please, HBO, take my money,” but there was no mechanism to do so at the time. Also, if the network had been running the show in repeats when I was interested I would have subscribed on the spot.

  127. Richard
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    .shocker,

    I pirate them (live in the UK and don’t have SKY) and have bought the bluray and the DVD box set collection (for my Mum) When season 2 is released in the UK on March 4th, I’ll buy both sets again. I have also bought a few items of merchandise as well including the board game and a few hoodies.
    Still annoying why the box set releases take so long to get released though.

  128. runeghost
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    I would love to give HBO $15 for three months. I’d love to give them $60 a year. Give me a way to stream them, add them to my Hulu or Netflix services and I will. What I will not do is give my useless, POS cable company $500 a year so I can watch one bloody show! Instead I just have to wait and buy the DVDs when they come out :-(

  129. Abyss
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    mooni,

    Well, I am not pleased about that, to say it politely…

  130. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed: Interesting interview, thanks for posting the link.

    My further comments did not post beyond what I wrote below the upper line there..
    I must have timed out or got distracted……..oh well, I’ll try again to make a point.

    Thanks for the link WiC, to the interview.

    When I was an undergrad in the States, I briefly worked in retail and priced
    items for sale, and in addition, in an University’s accountants office handling
    the bookkeeping. Understanding the realities demonstrated there, and concepts
    taught in my Economics courses framed my understanding of for profit analysis.
    Theft and Loss is always built into the cost of the item, thus the paying customer
    always picks up the tab. The business may not suffer greatly, or complain loudly,
    but someone makes up for the loss revenue……..that always mean the unsuspecting
    customer. Forget about the Insurance triangle, that’s another story. This is basically
    how the capitalist model works.

    I realise that what remains is a legal debate regarding free access and copyright
    laws, and I’d lend support to any bonafide effort that negotiates for a compromise.
    As these grey issues are argued in boardrooms and courts, many of us comply with
    stated laws and protocol. The Cable Networks and affiliates, which include
    middlemen, are certainly making a profit nonetheless, and further exacerbate
    the issue.

    The Cinematic Artists and production people may echo some of our concerns,
    and speak as individuals, but most collectively turn a blind eye to the political
    issues concerning certain facts. They are getting paid so no worries to them.

    There’s a strong contingent of people that stream via legal means with
    subscription services like Apple TV or similar. If there’s a will then there
    is a way. In the meantime, some of us comply, paying a higher price and
    cover the cost of piracy, and lurking Greyjoys around every harbour.

  131. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Al Swearengen:
    Seven Hells Bells,

    No it shouldn’t Sky Atlantic is the right place for GOT, because of Sky we get each episode hours after it airs in America, the BBC would never do that. Sky also aired the last ever episodes of Lost and Fringe at the same time as they were airing in America.

    I am so sick and tired of these snobby idiots who refuse to subscribe to Sky because they are tight arses.

    I’m happy to subscribe to Sky, you can pay for it. Not everyone has lots of money to spare on TV services, that doesn’t make them ‘snoby idiots’. If anything, the ‘snoby’ ones are the guys that have all the money, have all the channels, then has the cheek to call those less fortunate/economicaly well off ‘snoby idiots’

  132. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Nezzer,

    really ? MOST or some ? I understand the frustration and limits to various
    networks out there because I have family members using the HBO
    Caribbean network . I utilise HBO in the States, and also pay for
    premium channels . In spite the cost factor, I still wait for some
    European Only broadcasts to air later on BBC.

    The argument for better access for those with no cable affiliate or
    established way of receiving a signal to remote areas is a larger issue.
    The ongoing legal debate and compromise with established access
    providers needs to be addressed as well, but since it involves $$$$$,
    that decision may take a while. At least we have options in this case.

  133. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Grijnwaald,

    In the States, many of us gather at a friend’s home home to watch a Pay
    Per View program , like a sports game or something, chipping in for
    cost. There is always a struggling Grad student among us, that deserves
    an accommodation….and we do so gladly………that’s what mates are for.
    In the future, we hope to reciprocate the kindness.

  134. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    I provided Winter is Coming with an answer to his question. I also provided a bunch of additional literature that further delves into how entertainers can make money without IP laws to protect them. You might not find my answer satisfactory, and if you would like I could try to answer any specific concerns you feel I didn’t address, but to act like I just ignored his questions seems strange.

  135. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming: I know you posted a bunch of links earlier, but I don’t have time to sift through all that info (as interesting as it is) right now.

    So I just have one quick question for you: under your proposal, if HBO were to distribute GoT for free, how would they make money on it?

    Wow *>* , a fundamental question……

  136. Hounded
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I pay the Iron price for Thrones.

  137. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    You wanna send me your electrical bill so I can take care of that for you as well? Every person that doesn’t put money in to the show but watches it anyway is taking money away from the production. Essentially what you’re saying is that because I budget so that I can afford HBO and DVDs (and trust me, I do not make a ton of money) that you and your ilk should reap the benefits and be able to watch it for free. Whether you have a guilty conscience or not, what you’re doing is still illegal.

    And, as epic as the production value of the show is, I want more. I want a full on crazy, epic Peleanor Fields style assualt on the wall in season IV with giants and mastadons. I want Drogon to swoop down and go bat-shit crazy in the fighting pit before carrying Dany off on his back. I want D&D to not have an issue with cost because of the massive financial success of the show. I would assume that everyone ripping the show off illegally probably wants the same, they just feel like they’re owed it for free.

    Again, I’m not directing this at people who torrent and then buy the Blu-Rays later. I’d prefer everyone subscribe to HBO, but at least you’re contributing. I’m angered at the people who think it’s somehow they’re birthright to be able to watch the show for free.

  138. coronaking
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Pirate: Pirate first and then buy the dvd one year later – that’s the only option I have in Germany. Guess that applies to many other countries.

    I totally agree! And I know lots of german fans doing this.

  139. WildSeed
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Lin Beifunk:
    Ratings are fine. Blu-Rays are breaking records. No indication from HBO that the show is putting them in the red. Effects got better between S1 and S2 and may get better again. Popularity only skyrocketing. Director comes out and says piracy isn’t a big deal.

    Not sure what the debate is here. This crime — if you want to call it that — is essentially victimless.

    Hmmmmm………similar logic : business is fine at a retailer located within
    San Francisco. A few shoplifters and breakins have occurred , but no worries,
    the insurance company paid up, and it was a legitimate excuse to raise the
    prices on the garments……….someone will pay.

    Actually this puts some of out of bargaining rights for merchandise as costs
    escalate. Stealing is the new fad , like colors …….leave your values at the door.

  140. darrylzero
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Dark Star,

    No, it’s not stealing. See my post above, or the one by Jonathan Loesche that you responded to. If you steal from someone, you take something that they no longer have.

    That doesn’t tell you anything about how you should feel about piracy. You can hate it all you want. But to call it stealing dilutes the concept of stealing substantially, and I think you’ll find if you really think about it that they can’t really be equivalent.

    I have an HBO subscription, but I really hate their business model, and I feel a bit like they’re asking for it.

  141. darrylzero
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Hounded,

    Thread over! Comment of the week.

  142. Tereeza777
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    We have an HBO subscription (it came with Showtime) and loads of other channels. The problem is that it takes FOREVER to load everything. We get a message which says: “Please wait” and have to wait several minutes for all the channels to load. During the summer months, we get bad lightning storms (Florida) and we lose cable all together. We then have to disconnect the HD box from the power source, wait a couple of minutes, and then re-boot. The re-boot process takes DOUBLE FOREVER – around 15 – 20 minutes. We asked our cable provider to come out and have a look, and he asked us why we didn’t just stream content direct to our TV? He said that cable was a thing of the past and that most people were direct streaming nowadays – much less expensive and much less wait time. It was funny to hear that from our cable guy.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tv/4313545

  143. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    They have the largest cast on television. They require a good amount of CGI. They don’t have commercials. So thank you to everyone who supports the show! If you purchase HBO, thank you. If you help make S2 the hottest selling DVD/BluRay sets on the planet, thank you. If you spend 50 bucks a year on merchandise, thank you.

    And quite frankly, I optimistically think that 80% of us are in that boat … who do atleast one of those three things.

    The only two people I saw that don’t do anything at all were “Dana” and “Grijnwaald”. They are just the worst. I hope I never see them post any negative comments on the quality of the show. They make the rest of you look bad … those of you that are Downloading/Streaming, but still supporting the show financially in other ways.

    Dan, what does GoT have to do with “a bunch of additional literature that further delves into how entertainers can make money without IP laws to protect them” …. what does that have to do with GoT right now??? Fact: There are IP laws. Fact: Changing this would take a massive legislative overhaul. Fact: D&D and GRRM are not legistlators … they have to create a show right now, in the present, and they need to pay for it. Whatever your “ideal scenario” for consuming media is irrelevant. You are abusing the current system, simply because you believe it’s wrong.

  144. the waif
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    hey off the topic, even season 3 chaos trailer also got the 3 million views. and actual trailer is past the 15million mark.

    and for the piracy torrent thing. i live in india and we gets every season 3 or 4 months after the actual release and even tht with highly edited version with stictly no nudity. and in india we ppl (around 95%) still do arrange mrgs. so this no boob thing is nt gonna change in around 20 or 30 yrs. so wht do we gonna do to watch our favourite show. we torrent stuff(in my frnds laptop). we will surely buy dvds. but as for the current financeal condition thts will nt gonna happen soon. i cant even pay my rent sometime. surely once i get settle down surely my home will be full of GoT merchandizes and bleurays. but wht can i do for now? do we just sit hear crying reading all ur happy discussion abt how arya was badass in this episode and how drogon scratched his scale after he landed on dany’s shoulder in tht episode? come on ppl piracy is for desperate ppl. we r diehard fan too. and we will pay our dues in time. OK I SAID THT

  145. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I’ve noticed you’ve mentioned a couple of times that companies raise their prices because of theft. That isn’t correct. I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of economic discussion, so I’ll just make a quick point. Prices are set by supply and demand. HBO doesn’t determine how much lost revenue they will see because of piracy, and then raise prices to compensate for that. They automatically attempt to sell for the highest price possible. In fact, if the demand for their product dropped because people were getting it for free somewhere else that would cause them to have to sell for a cheaper price, or reduce supply. If they were to raise their price because of lower demand then they would lose even more revenue.

    Here is an article that covers similar misconceptions like this with regards to oil prices. https://mises.org/daily/1936

  146. Onion Knight
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Dana
    And what if, again, current family budget constraints refrain us from buying those?Honestly, I don’t think you’re quite ‘getting’ the situation here. From what it sounds like, you yourself are most likely in a situation where you can easily afford all of these things and have it be no big deal to your finances.

    Respectfully, I do not think you are quite getting it either. Your point pretty much seems to be, “I can’t afford Game of Thrones DVDs or HBO. What do you expect me to do, not watch it?”

    Um, yeah.

    While I regret to hear your family is having financial difficulties and understand how many people there are in a similar position as you in the current economy, that still is not really a justification. Game of Thrones is not a necessity. You are not stealing bread to feed your starving family, you are watching a TV show. It can wait until you are in a better financial situation.

    Or just go ahead and pirate it. Honestly, I do not care. Just don’t try to act as if you deserve it.

  147. Dana
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    The sheer ignorance in this post is just…..unbelievable.

  148. Tereeza777
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    i live in india and we gets every season 3 or 4 months after the actual release and even tht with highly edited version with stictly no nudity. and in india we ppl (around 95%) still do arrange mrgs. so this no boob thing is nt gonna change in around 20 or 30 yrs. so wht do we gonna do to watch our favourite show. we torrent stuff(in my frnds laptop). we will surely buy dvds. but as for the current financeal condition thts will nt gonna happen soon. i cant even pay my rent sometime. surely once i get settle down surely my home will be full of GoT merchandizes and bleurays. but wht can i do for now?

    Hi Waif (from India) –
    I think it’s perfectly OK if you torrent and please enjoy all the “puppies” (another word for “boobs”) on the lovely ladies of House Littlefinger!

  149. Ned
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    The sheer audacity that we should pay for your GoT without you lifting a finger (besides the enter button) is unbelievable.

    Get a job.

  150. Alex Grey
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen multiple people, here and elsewhere make the argument that HBO can’t make a streaming version because the cable companies are effectively paying them not too, and that HBO would somehow go bankrupt and or lose a massive amount of funding of they did. But I’m calling bullshit on that being a legit reason.

    They can easily offset that “loss” by charging more for their service, and we all know they would get it if they asked. I would be more than happy to pay 15 month rather then 15 a quarter, and I’d even go up to 30+ a month if that’s what it took. It would still be cheaper than buying crap cable I will never use. Hell, they could charge me by the year and get 360 up front, because that’s STILL hundreds a year less than being forced to buy cable just to access A channel.

    HBO is eventually going to cave, and they will give us what we want, because they’ll have no choice. The number of people who refuse to pay cable companies for horrible service will continue to grow until a point where they’ll just have to admit they’re ignoring tens, if not hundreds of millions of potential, paying customers worldwide. There will be a point where cable companies won’t be able “offset” HBO’s cost enough to make up for that many people, and their deals will crumble. I just hope it happens sooner rather then later.

  151. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    What ignorance? If you’re gonna call Ned an idiot, you can at least explain yourself.

  152. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    Dan, what does GoT have to do with “a bunch of additional literature that further delves into how entertainers can make money without IP laws to protect them” …. what does that have to do with GoT right now??? Fact: There are IP laws. Fact: Changing this would take a massive legislative overhaul. Fact: D&D and GRRM are not legistlators … they have to create a show right now, in the present, and they need to pay for it. Whatever your “ideal scenario” for consuming media is irrelevant. You are abusing the current system, simply because you believe it’s wrong.

    Settle down, Ned. Winter is Coming asked me “So I just have one quick question for you: under your proposal, if HBO were to distribute GoT for free, how would they make money on it?”

    That is the question I responded to, and that is what the literature I linked to responds to. That’s why I said it was strange to tell me to respond to his question when I clearly did that. Not only that, I think I was pretty polite and open to further elaborating on my position if he wasn’t satisfied with my response. Plus, I’ve put over a thousand dollars into ASOIAF. I have also paid for HBO for 13 or 14 years straight. My position has nothing to do with wanting to get something for free. My position has to do with me viewing IP to be immoral, counterproductive, and unjust.

    Also, Dana, not all of us feel the way Ned does, obviously. I hope if you watch GoT for free, and never put a dime into it, that your life is better for the extra money in your pocket. I hope you use that savings to better your lot in life. I also hope that people like Ned don’t make you feel guilty because the IP system is unjust and should be abolished. People who pirate have nothing to feel guilty about.

  153. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Dana,

    What’s on me is the cost of supporting the show so you can enjoy it for free. You’re welcome!

  154. Govnor
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I think HBO is leaving literally Millions of dollars on the table here. Make them $3 an episode direct from the HBO site and you would have a significant number of those pirating paying you direct. No one likes dealing with Cable/Sat companies.

  155. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Onion Knight,

    You guys keep asserting that pirating is stealing. You do realize that is question-begging, right? Nobody is saying that stealing is just. We are saying that piracy is not stealing at all, or at least I am. In my first comment I linked to a bunch of literature that makes the case that IP is unjust, and should be abolished. When you just keep saying it’s wrong because it is theft, you are simply begging the question.

  156. Ryan E
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Alex Grey: I’ve seen multiple people, here and elsewhere make the argument that HBO can’t make a streaming version because the cable companies are effectively paying them not too, and that HBO would somehow go bankrupt and or lose a massive amount of funding of they did. But I’m calling bullshit on that being a legit reason.They can easily offset that “loss” by charging more for their service, and we all know they would get it if they asked. I would be more than happy to pay 15 month rather then 15 a quarter, and I’d even go up to 30+ a month if that’s what it took. It would still be cheaper than buying crap cable I will never use. Hell, they could charge me by the year and get 360 up front, because that’s STILL hundreds a year less than being forced to buy cable just to access A channel. HBO is eventually going to cave, and they will give us what we want, because they’ll have no choice. The number of people who refuse to pay cable companies for horrible service will continue to grow until a point where they’ll just have to admit they’re ignoring tens, if not hundreds of millions of potential, paying customers worldwide. There will be a point where cable companies won’t be able “offset” HBO’s cost enough to make up for that many people, and their deals will crumble. I just hope it happens sooner rather then later.

    I think if HBO could make more money by using a different model, they probably would. There is a reason they are sticking by their current model… they know what they are doing. Judging by the quality of shows they have put out, its working for us as fans too. Maybe (probably, really) at some point in the future your method would be more profitable for HBO but if it was now why wouldn’t they (or Showtime) do it?

  157. Lex
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    In short, “Pirates gonna pirate.” -David Petraca

  158. Remy
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Alex Grey,

    The problem is said right here. There is too much junk on television. To have cable. I have to buy channels in a package with channels I have no use for. HSN, Sports, telemundo, univision… etc If I could buy a cable package with premium channels like Showtime and HBO with Logo and the main networks I would.

  159. Camuska
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I do not own HBO, no one close to me neither.
    I dont want to watch GOT in my native language nor waiting months to buy Blu ray boxes.
    I download the show, like all my friends.
    And it’s so good, my downloaded episodes are just a way for us to wait until the Blu ray. Then I use Blu ray at home and my downloaded episodes on my computer if I suddenly feel like watching a very quick bit of GOT without using a complex interface. I want to navigate fast and efficiently in my episode.

    I bought the books (all the books available) after finishing episode ONE… I pre ordered the two blu rays… Did I ever felt guilty of stealing something? Hell no ! I think I deserve a MEDAL for being such a fanboy… :D They will win more money from me and the friends I converted on the show than they can imagine ! :D

  160. Alex Grey
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Ryan E,

    I assume it’s because this is still fairly “new” in a way. There has not been much in the way of demand for such a service until quite recently. HBO and Showtime have been making plenty of money under their current/old business model and never really had to look at other options, because no one, or at least, a statistically insignificant number of people, were asking for other options.

    But that seems to be changing very rapidly. It’s somewhat analogous of video games and digital distribution. The concept has been around for over a decade, but it’s only really in the last couple years that it made it from PC to consoles, and it only made it to consoles because enough people wanted it. It’s not an exact parallel of course, but it’s similar in that it was a (mostly) consumer demanded service that either cuts out or replaces a third party. In the case of games, it cuts out the physical retailer; in the case of television, it would cut out the cable provider.

    It’s very obvious HBO knows all of this. If anyone filled out the survey that came with the Season 2 box set, you’ll note that an answer to one of the questions was that you’d be willing to pay for a direct/internet subscription. They know people want it, they may even be working on it now, and then again, they may not. But at the very least they’re open enough to the idea to be looking at what people want, and when the demand is high enough, they’ll jump on that money train as fast as they can.

  161. Nezzer
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Yes, I can say very few countries have the luxury of watching the episode in less than a week after it airs in the States. Almost every European country has to wait at least a week to watch it and some have to wait a year for it. I think only the Americas, the UK and now Australia can watch it either simultaneously (Americas) or a couple of days later (UK and Australia). That is why I condemn piracy only in those countries, whilst the same practice in other countries is very justifiable IMHO.

  162. Onion Knight
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Dan

    Not to be all Stannis about it, but it is stealing in the eyes of the law. Whether you think the law is a good one based on your personal sense of morality is something else entirely.

    Anyways, Dana never argued it was not stealing, she was saying it was justified because she could not afford it. Again, if she was at the point of desperation where she was stealing food or clothing for her family, I might be able to buy this line of thought. But I disagree with this principle for something like watching a television series, which is clearly a luxury and not a right.

    It is not as if I even care that strongly about the piracy issue, anyone who looked at the contents of my iPod would realize that. Just don’t act like you are owed something you have never paid for. You’re not.

  163. From the North
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Hey, first time poster here. This is off topic, but still Game of Thrones so I though it appropriate to post. I came across two videos on HBO Canada’s website that I believe were mistakenly uploaded, or they may have been released already and I’m just an idiot. There’s one on the making and involvement of the props and one on art direction.
    http://www.hbocanada.com/gameofthrones/video.php

  164. Nezzer
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    From the North:
    Hey, first time poster here.This is off topic, but still Game of Thrones so I though it appropriate to post.I came across two videos on HBO Canada’s website that I believe were mistakenly uploaded, or they may have been released already and I’m just an idiot.There’s one on the making and involvement of the props and one on art direction.
    http://www.hbocanada.com/gameofthrones/video.php

    Not accessible from my location >:(

  165. Stacia
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I will buy the DVD, but there is no way I will subscribe to HBO when I do not have cable and barely watch tv. I’m not spending $100 a month to watch one show. But I would love to give HBO 10-20 bucks a month to watch GoT when new episodes are airing.

    More and more people are dropping cable and illegal downloads are going to keep increasing unless HBO gives viewers the option to view episodes or subscribe via HBO Go.

    Cable companies know what’s going to happen and they are fighting tooth and nail to keep HBO and Showtime from abandoning the cable model and going online and streaming. Once that happens, the cable companies are goners.

    It also mean fundamental restructuring to HBO. There is also a built-in stability with the model HBO is using. If people can drop and add HBO during certain months or only buy specific episodes, then programming completely changes. HBO won’t risk that, until they absolutely have to.

  166. Dan
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Onion Knight,

    “An unjust law is no law at all.” St. Augustine

    Beyond my argument that IP laws are unjust, immoral, and couterproductive, it is also not stealing in the eyes of the law. Lots of people like to say that it is, but that is usually because they have never actually studied the issue before. See Dowling v. US. The case went to the Supreme Court and determined that copyright infringement is not the same as theft or fraud.

    Also, it doesn’t surprise me that you think pirating GoT is wrong considering you associate it with stealing, but it shouldn’t surprise you that a lot of us find that to be a weak argument considering we don’t view the law just in the first place. I would imagine you wouldn’t use the “the law is the law” argument to defend a law that you found to be unjust. For example, I can’t imagine a scenario where you would support the US rounding up Japanese-Americans, and throwing them in concentration camps like they did during WWII. I am nearly positive every person on this site would condemn that law as being unjust, even though the Supreme Court ruled it to be constitutional, and would celebrate anyone who defied that awful law. Obviously, not all IP laws are nearly as severe as that scenario, although numerous people die because of onerous IP laws every year, but I use that example to demonstrate the principle that it is perfectly fine to disobey an unjust law.

    I don’t recommend people disobey unjust laws because the penalties for doing so can be absurdly draconian, but I applaud anyone who does so. I don’t expect you to agree with my case against IP just from a couple comments on this blog, but I think we all can agree that disobeying unjust laws is perfectly moral in principle, if not necessarily the smartest thing to do considering the possible ramifications.

  167. qwerty
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    like most tv directors, this guy is a hired gun with minimal input on anything that matters. not sure why anyone thinks his opinion about piracy is of any import.

    and frankly he has no idea what he is talking about. it’s easy to casually shrug off the very real costs of privacy when its not your $$$ on the line. it’s also asinine to his employers. i am not at all surprised at to see update, when i read his quote i immediately thought “he is gonna be hearing from hbo on this one.”

  168. the waif
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Ned,

    first of all calm down man.

    sencond : you r nt paying for anybody. u r only paying 4 u nd u only.

    here is d story: thr is a village in westeros smwhr in middle of war. its walled village & ppl dont trust outsiders(come on its westeros). so they hv two sentries posted outside gate who dont let in outsiders. village hv enough salted beaf 4 a yr or two. once thr comes tinker(from four corners) with his pack. he hs sm new kind of food & goods(frm unive

  169. Matthew Jam
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Put me in the camp who torrents and the then gets the blu-rays later. Still waiting on my season 2, Amazon…

    I’m living in South Korea and there’s no chance of me getting to see the show within a year of its release. Perhaps if HBO embraced iTunes, Amazon video or just let anyone worldwide get an HBO Go account, then I wouldn’t go down this route. There really is no legal option for me to watch the show within 24 hours of its release, and I want to do that (first world problems, I know).

  170. the waif
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    …(frm university) sentries wont let him in. i hate salted beef nd wants to eat new food nd wants to see gadgets frm university made by kvothe. so i go outside chat with kind tinker who gives me free apple pie. i go in publicize him but only 2 3 ppl dares to cm outside and buy stuff. they go in and anothr 2 3 ppl for each of them cms outside. lastly whole village buys frm tinker. happy tinker gives me job to freely publicize him in exchange of free awesomeness. so get it?

  171. Black Bumblebee
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’ll throw my 2 cents in. During the 2006 Writer’s Strike, a guy by the name of Joss Whedon was bored, and couldn’t be paid to write… so he took his own money, wrote an online musical called Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, and gave it away for free.

    It still made well over three million dollars through DVD sales and a number 1 soundtrack on iTunes. It continues to make money to this day through t-shirts, comic books, and other media.

    Oh, and that guy who was bored and wrote that thing for free? After seeing what he could do with absolutely no budget, he went on to write the Avengers, the biggest blockbuster of last year.

    The fact of the matter is, if people like something, they will pay for it IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

    Let’s take another example of popular media: the Transformers. Yes, I know the movies are cheesy. But even if the movies were given away for free, they’d still make money… as they are basically 3 hour long advertisements for various car manufacturers, food items, and (naturally) a line of toys. And then you have other merchandise that goes along with that: lunch boxes, t-shirts, posters, comic books, video games, keychains, cell phone ringtones… you name it.

    In the not-so-distant future, the same thing that is happening with movies, music, and video games (non-tangible objects) will begin happening with physical objects due to the rise of 3D printers. Already they have 3D printers at a decent price that can “print” solid objects out of plastic, various types of food, and (very recently) have begun experimenting printing organic objects out of stem cells. Just as non-tangible objects will be “downloaded” physical objects (or rather, their blueprints) will be available to download to be “printed” in the home.

    When that begins to happen, just wait and see what changes will occur in the economy… downloading a TV show will pale in comparison to downloading the blue prints to create your own prescription drugs…

  172. jediluc
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    This page has way too many comments and no one will probably read this, but as an Aussie I feel the need to chip in my 2 cents. The only reason why I pirate this show is because I can’t afford the cost of cable (Foxtel) plus the added cost of the channel which is licensed to broadcast HBO shows. Which here, isn’t even called HBO. So we don’t get HBO plus or any of that nifty stuff that American viewers can opt in to.

    Secondly, Game of Thrones doesn’t even air here for months after its run is complete in the US. Even if I could afford the cost of cable, why should I wait so long to get a show that I want to watch? This is not uncommon for many shows, that it takes a long time to make it to TV channels here, free to air or otherwise. I’m sick of it.

    I do make up for it by buying the Blu-ray. I have gotten the collector’s edition for season 1 and am waiting for the same for season 2 to come in the mail. The GoT season 2 Blu-ray doesn’t come out in Australia for another week or so, no surprises there…

  173. Winter Is Coming
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    Thanks for the reply. But I have to say, your suggestions for how content creators could make money without IP protection are not too convincing. Kickstarter is way too hit or miss. Even when it hits, it’s low-budget fare. A show with the quality of Thrones could never be made using that model.

    The Psy example is not a good one either. The money he made by ignoring copyright was made back in two ways, legitimate purchases of his material and endorsements. In an IP free society, the first of those would be off the table, so he would be reduced to making money on endorsements. And, you know, he may be able to make a good living that way, but how would that work in a collaborative medium such as film or television?

    (As a sidenote to this, it could be argued that HBO is already using the current “Psy model”. Take a look on Youtube and you will find hundreds of Thrones clips which HBO would be well within their rights to have removed ((a lot of other media companies do it)). But they smartly leave them on there, and I’m willing to bet the extra exposure has led to more revenue for them in the form of subscribers, merchandise and DVD/Blu-ray sales.)

    We live in a golden age of media. The last 60 years has seen more media being created than at any time in history. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can make a LOT of money working in the entertainment industry. Take away the IP laws and the money dries up and the high-quality entertainment disappears.

  174. Villane
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Well said, ser

  175. dubq
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Just to preface this.. I subscribe to HBO on demand, so I have no reason to pirate this show as I can watch it whenever. But, like with Walking Dead, I would have no aversion to downloading copies of episodes because I know that I am going to “pay them back” by purchasing the blu ray season sets, since I love the shows so much. For me it’s about being able to watch it whenever I want before the inevitable blu ray set comes out.. Which can be a long wait.

  176. Ser Osis of Liver
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could say I was shocked by the postings of people here who pirate just cuz they want it and have no intention whatsoever of paying the gold price for it; just the iron. But I’m not. And it reaffirms my own personal business decision. I publish a very specialized railway-themed book that I make available to railfans worldwide. It’s available dead-tree only. I’ve been asked to release it in digital format by many people, but the risk of it showing up on a pirate site is just too great and no DRM is secure enough to thwart the “I want it all for free” set. Yes, it could be photocopied and uploaded that way but so far it hasn’t been (at least that I’ve seen) and after reading these comments, it absolutely reaffirms my decision.

    Just as HBO has the occasional free weekend to tease potential viewers into subscribing, I put out a few sample map pages as well…but if you want all the goods ya gotta fork over the bucks or do without. I’m not OK with the MPAA/RIAA suing joe downloader for $25,000 for a pirated song, but I’m equally not OK with joe downloader for his actions either. Perhaps we’d feel differently if taking something without paying for it resulted in four less — er — fewer fingernails to clean or a life’s supply of black furry clothing and digging for buried treasure.

  177. jessie_snow
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of people in my situation when the show started airing – no cable subscription; just netflix and hulu for any TV content I wanted to see. I got basic for $35/mo and tried to add HBO for $20/mo just to watch GoT. Unfortunately, I was told that a new policy said that you had to upgrade to the $65/mo package in order to add HBO at $20/mo. Sorry, but $85/mo from one person for one show is too steep. There are a lot of us non-standard viewers, and a lot of us that are willing to pay a reasonable amount for quality content.

    I’m pretty sure HBO’s hands are tied because of distribution contracts. It’s the only reason why HBO Go makes any sense at all – you can stream their content only if you already have a cable subscription? Why can’t they just let people have an HBO streaming subscription for less than $85/mo?

    Whether or not you complain about it or hate it, torrents are there for the reasons that everyone has been stating on this thread and more – you don’t have to wait for months for your provider to have broadcast rights; you don’t have to pay ridiculous prices to get it; you can watch it whenever you want after the show airs. Like it or not, unless the old models address those issues, the problem isn’t going to go away.

  178. Winter Is Coming
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I do think that HBO needs to seriously consider offering up HBO Go a la carte. More and more people are cutting cable and just using Netflix/Hulu+/Amazon/iTunes to watch their TV shows. And now with Netflix offering up high-quality original programming plus a huge back catalog of old shows and movies, all for only $7.99 a month, HBO can’t really hide behind the “high-quality programming requires a high-price tag” excuse.

    I think HBO realizes this and is maneuvering to position HBO Go as a standalone service and a primary competitor to Netflix. You’ll notice that on the trailer HBO Go gets a prominent call-out. They’ve also been busy adding HBO Go to more and more platforms (Apple TV was the latest and is significant since it switches HBO Go from being a mobile and PC only application to now being available on the big screen). At this point, it’s not a matter of if HBO becomes available sans a cable subscription, but when.

  179. Onion Knight
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Dan

    I get the impression I am speaking with a fellow political science guy, what with the quoting of Augustine of Hippo and a Supreme Court decision in the same post :).

    I took a look at Dowling v. United States. The case was looking at whether a man who mailed bootleg materials was guilty of transporting stolen goods across state lines. The Court ruled no, stating that copyright infringement is different from theft because theft assumes that something was physically taken, and once taken it prevented the owner from further use of it. This is clearly not the case with selling bootlegs of copyrighted materials. However, the decisions goes on to say that while not the same thing as petty theft, copyright infringement does still violate property rights. So while I may have been technically wrong in saying it is stealing by law, we are now just splitting hairs.

    Anyway, this is mostly irrelevant. Unlike what you suggest, I never said I consider piracy wrong because its the same thing as stealing. Nor am I some legalist who would consider it wrong simply for being against the law. I think your lumping my argument in with some of the other commenters; I said I don’t have a strong opinion on piracy and have admittedly pirated materials in the past. However, my interpretation of Dana’s posts was that she acknowledged it WAS stealing but that it was justified in her situation because she cannot afford it otherwise. And I do not agree with that line of thought, and consider it a slippery slope.

  180. Ned
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    “War is Coming” between HBO and Netflix. Reed Hastings, the Nexflix CEO, recently stated in GQ that “We have to become HBO, before HBO becomes us” referring to Netflix new strategy to incorporate premium original programing … And the rise of the HBOGo platform. Not to mention I have noticed HBO increasing their movie library recently. Eventually I think HBO will provide this new service, independent of the cable companies for a monthly flat rate just like Netflix. If they want to win the war. Competition is good. The market will solve this eventually. I could see the usual price tag of $15 for cable subscribers, and $25 for the standalone streaming product. Maximizing their potential in both market segments. I have been an HBO subscriber for about a decade and they always seem to be one step ahead of the curve. I find it kind of ironic that some of the biggest GoT fans support HBOs biggest rival, Netflix. But alas, Netflix is a great service to. Can’t wait to see HBOs version of Netflix. In the meantime, please financially support GoT, the show we all love, in any way you can.

  181. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Thanks for the reply. But I have to say, your suggestions for how content creators could make money without IP protection are not too convincing. Kickstarter is way too hit or miss. Even when it hits, it’s low-budget fare. A show with the quality of Thrones could never be made using that model.

    First, I would just like to say that the argument over whether a show could make money without IP is a secondary concern to me. My primary concern is whether a law is just or not. It will never convince me to say that X can’t make money without Y unjust law. I don’t feel sympathy for business models that only succeed on the back of unjust laws.

    That said, I also don’t agree with your assessment over the viability of big name shows without IP. We already live in a world where virtually every single person who pays for access to Game of Thrones through HBO, DVDs, etc. have the opportunity to watch it without paying a dime. Anybody around the world can watch pretty much any show they want by downloading it or streaming it online with the current draconian IP laws on the books. Yet, television shows are making an enormous amount of money in an environment where it has never been easier for their customers to get around every single cost.

    Television networks have been adapting to this digital reality as it has become easier and easier to watch shows for free. You see this in things like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, AppleTV, etc. The more people pirate, the more the entertainment industry has shifted their strategy. There is absolutely no reason to expect that if you “take away the IP laws and the money dries up and the high-quality entertainment disappears.” All the evidence points to the industry adapting to the new reality.

    Now when you say things like Kickstarter won’t work with a show like GoT you are solely basing that on our experience with current IP laws in place. This is why I cautioned at the beginning that it is not possible to know exactly what the most profitable way to deliver entertainment will be. We can just see that this is a multi-billion dollar industry that will have a very high incentive to figure out how to solve the problem. There is no chance that people would just throw their hands up and say “well without IP laws, I guess we are not going to make high-quality entertainment anymore.” No, they will say, “there are billions of dollars that are waiting to be spent on high-quality entertainment. Let’s figure out the best way to put that money in our pocket.” Companies will compete and come up with many different ways to attract that money, and the most successful will thrive and the others will die off.

    Still, I’m not convinced that a Kickstarter approach wouldn’t be successful. Keep in mind that without IP, every single person on here that is complaining that they would gladly pay for the show if they didn’t have to pay for cable would have a solution to this problem. Nobody would have to pay for television programs they have no interest in. Nobody would be paying $100-$150/month for cable or satellite. People would be able to direct their entertainment dollars where ever they wanted. The first season of Game of Thrones cost $50-$60 million. If we didn’t have IP laws then I see no reason that D&D couldn’t have started a kickstarter type event to raise that money. Maybe they would have to entice people to donate by offering memorabilia or having events where people could hang out with the cast. They could give people producer credits for donating a certain amount. Heck, I would have paid good money to have a dinner with Sean Bean. There are a ton of different things they could do to get people to donate. I mean, Ron Paul, who had less than a million people donate to him, racked in over $40 million between 2011-2012.

    It’s true that people would not have donated $50-$60 million and then also paid for HBO subscriptions, but I am confident that absent IP laws people like D&D and GRRM could have come up with ways to raise money for their show. It is only because we have a current system that extracts so much money from us for things that we don’t even want or need that makes it hard to see how things could work absent IP.

    Regardless of how television shows would raise their money to put out their product, we already know that people are willing to spend billion upon billions of dollars to be entertained. Televisions shows would be able to raise money from people across the entire globe. I’m not sure the exact way GoT would be able to raise the money they would need, but I’m confident they could find the millions they need out of the billions that are out there.

  182. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Onion Knight,

    I get the impression I am speaking with a fellow political science guy, what with the quoting of Augustine of Hippo and a Supreme Court decision in the same post :).

    Yeah, you could say that I have an interest in the study of the State. My passions are for philosophy, ethics, economics, history, and logic. What is strange is that none of those things really has a lot of bearing on what I do professionally. I just really like those kind of things for whatever reason.

    However, my interpretation of Dana’s posts was that she acknowledged it WAS stealing but that it was justified in her situation because she cannot afford it otherwise. And I do not agree with that line of thought, and consider it a slippery slope.

    Ahh, if that is her argument then I would also disagree with that line of thought, but I don’t remember her acknowledging that it was stealing. I just thought she kept explaining why she pirated without getting into what she thought of IP laws. I could be wrong though, and I don’t have a desire to read through her comments again.

  183. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    One other point. The entertainment industry will have to figure out a way to exist without the protection of IP laws no matter what because it is getting to be nearly unenforceable. If you are right about the death of high-quality entertainment without IP laws, and I don’t think you are, then we are at the beginning stages of that happening. I mean we live in a world where I can go online and order any drug imaginable using a TOR browser, a certain black market online site, and bit coins. The transaction is untraceable and the package will be delivered to your house. This is being utilized all around the world and is only becoming more and more popular. This is with a physical product being mailed to you where you can face major jail time if you get caught. Downloading movies or streaming them online is kids play compared to this stuff. With every new generation we are getting a group of kids that all realize that they can watch whatever they want for free online. If the entertainment industry needs IP laws to survive then their days are numbered.

  184. Anne
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    The best argument I know (for non-US residents) for downloading GOT is that one could not read/join in the discussions on WiC if one has to wait for the BR/DVDs to come out so I d/l and buy the DVDs when they come out.

  185. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Winter,

    You might find this article interesting. It shows that the money being poured into kickstarter to produce movies has been growing exponentially. http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20130104/03282921581/100-million-pledged-to-indie-film-kickstarter-8000-films-made.shtml

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to believe we’ll see a situation where cable and satellite disappear because of the Internet. And then big name people start going directly to the people for funds. At that point something like kickstarter could explode. The days of needing to go to billionaire tv executives with your hand out are numbered. It is a system that can’t survive with the technology that is out, and that is coming down the line.

  186. Grijnwaald
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    WildSeed:
    Grijnwaald,

    In the States, many of us gather at a friend’s home home to watch a Pay
    Per View program , like a sports game or something, chipping in for
    cost. There is always a struggling Grad student among us, that deserves
    an accommodation….and we do so gladly………that’s what mates are for.
    In the future, we hope to reciprocate the kindness.

    This is good, if you can offer to accomodate someone so that they too can enjoy GoT, there will be no need to pirate it! And if you are in bad financial situation, you should try to find a way to watch it legaly before you even think about pirating it.

  187. ATG
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Here in the UK the new episode comes out on Monday on Sky Atlantic(a day after it has premiered in the USA). However me being a Thrones junkie I download it in the morning watch it some time during the day and then in the night I usually watch it a second time on Sky Atlantic. When the blu ray/DVD comes out I buy it and I also buy other GoT merchandise. Pirating is not a big deal as long as you support the show as well.

  188. Morgan King
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Mac Ridge,

    And/Or Boosh.

  189. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Winter, why don’t you put up a poll asking how people watch GoT:

    1) by paying in a country where it is officially available within 1 day of 1st airing
    2) by pirating in a country where it is officially available within 1 day of 1st airing, but I buy the box sets later on
    3) by pirating in a country where it is officially available within 1 day of 1st airing and without bying the box sets later on
    4) by paying in a country where it is officially available only days to months after 1st airing
    5) by pirating in a country where it isn’t available within 1 day of 1st airing, but I buy the box sets later on
    6) by pirating in a country where it isn’t available within 1 day of 1st airing and without bying the box sets later on

    I think it would be interesting to have a more factual view on this “problem”, and by now WiC.net is probably large enough with a wide-enough demographic to have statistically meaningfull results. (which is something Marko can scientifically interpret?) To have enough votes, maybe it would need a new thread, but I think this is merrited since this is a topic that seems to return time and time again. Also, it might get more awareness from HBO that way. And to make it more interesting for them, I also propose the following ‘yes-no’ question: “Would you be willing to pay 5-10$ for a high-quality download that is globally available?”.

  190. Alex
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I’m living in Israel and we do get GoT on one of the satellite channels 4 days after it premiers in the US. However, I don’t want to pay ~70$ per month (plus buying a TV and plus one-time installation fee) for the satellite TV, so I download and buy Blu-Ray set when it comes out (got it yesterday, the set is even better than the S1 one).

    HBO and other channels should just think of a way to make their stuff available online for a fee. I think that the fact that DVD sales of GoT are breaking records despite it being the most pirated show of 2012 shows that people will still buy their favorite shows even if it’s available for free on any torrent site 2 hours after its shown on HBO. The success of Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and such also shows that people will pay for TV shows, music and films despite the widespread piracy.

  191. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    My proposition-that-will-maximize-their-profits to companies like HBO would be to offer the possibility for viewers to sign in on a deal that costs about (or a bit more than) the price of a box set and that lets you:

    1) download the show in high quality upon 1st airing, wherever you find yourself on Planet Earth
    2) gives you a voucher for the box set as soon as it is available.

    All they need is to partner with a company like Amazon (or whatever is available in countries where Amazon doesn’t operate). I’m sure this formula would be highly welcomed by people who practice the “pirating-box set buying” tactics, which based on the box set sales worldwide must be a HUGE amount of people. I would DEFINITELY take advantage of this possibility were it offered, because I don’t like pirating, even when bying the DVD sets later on. Also, for HBO this means higher official views, and a better idea of how many people want to invest money in the box set sales, thus making it easier for them to decide whether a show remains profitable or not.

  192. beewulf
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    Absolutely! I agree with Tar Kidho and was just talking to my partner about this tonight. HBO needs to understand that everyone doesn’t want to subscribe to their network just to watch one show. I would love to pay to watch Game of Thrones and have to depend on clips and the books until the dvds are released. It’s a stupid business model.

  193. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    beewulf: It’s a stupid business model.

    Amen to that!

    Up to five years ago, it was a good business model that allowed HBO to become the big player they are today, but then the internet caught up with them. It’s very reminiscent of how it went in the music industry: all was well untill mp3′s became very easy to download and youtube made music clips freely accessible. At first the industry tried to fight a war to stop the digital distribution of music files, but then luckily they understood that this would never work and they started to offer official ways to sell their music digitally through iTunes, Amazon, services like Spotify, etc. As a result, for the first time since the digital revolution, music sales are on the up again!

    I just hope that companies like HBO will soon understand that digital downloads are not their enemy. If they embrace the medium fully (meaning pay-per-download from wherever you are on the planet, maybe connected to a physical box set as I proposed earlier), their profits can only become bigger. I’m sure that’s the way it will eventually go, but am astonished it’s taking them and the rest of the movie/tv series industry so long to adjust to the new technologies available. As with the music industry, it seems that they need the burning example of the popularity of illegal downloads before they understand the potantial of the new technologies!

  194. GotGotGot
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Tar Kidho:
    My proposition-that-will-maximize-their-profits to companies like HBO would be to offer the possibility for viewers to sign in on a deal that costs about (or a bit more than) the price of a box set and that lets you:

    1) download the show in high quality upon 1st airing, wherever you find yourself on Planet Earth
    2) gives you a voucher for the box set as soon as it is available.

    All they need is to partner with a company like Amazon (or whatever is available in countries where Amazon doesn’t operate). I’m sure this formula would be highly welcomed by people who practice the “pirating-box set buying” tactics, which based on the box set sales worldwide must be a HUGE amount of people. I would DEFINITELY take advantage of this possibility were it offered, because I don’t like pirating, even when bying the DVD sets later on. Also, for HBO this means higher official views, and a better idea of how many people want to invest money in the box set sales, thus making it easier for them to decide whether a show remains profitable or not.

    I agree. Amazon already has some instant watch movies when you buy the physical blu ray. Which is great. Just allow Amazon to provide the same service with GoT. Pre-order the blu and get instant access to the episodes as they air.

    On the “pirating” issue.
    The online sharing of legal copies doesnt equal “pirating” to me. When I loan my GoT blu rays to my friend, no one is crying about losing sales to my friend and calling me a pirate or say my friend is illegally viewing GoT. But for somereason If I want to digitally share my legal media to my friend(s) then all hell is let loose of lost sales and pirating going crazy.

    The free digital Sharing of personally owned media is not pirating.

  195. Liam williams
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Silverstormm,

    I’m in the exact same situation as you (tho I prefered v+ to TiVo) and also buy blue ray along with mugs, patches (my hightops are awesome with them) and other – I would willingly pay for the largest tv package if it had HBO as I already do it for ESPN so I can watch UFC- Virgin need to sort it out and get Sky Atlantic

  196. AryaUnderfoot
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Same as Alex for me: I am from France, so no HBO there…I just download the episodes when they are out, and then buy the Blu-Rays pack when it is available, and that is it.
    I don’t feel guilty at all: if I wanted to watch the show ‘legally’, I would have to wait until the DVDs and Blu-Rays are released, and I don’t have a strong enough will to do so, especially since this show is sooo amazing!

  197. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    GotGotGot: Amazon already has some instant watch movies when you buy the physical blu ray. Which is great. Just allow Amazon to provide the same service with GoT. Pre-order the blu and get instant access to the episodes as they air.

    I had never heard of Amazon Instant Video up to now, and here is why (copied from Amazon.com):

    Due to restrictions placed on us by our content providers, we are currently only able to make the Service available to customers located in the United States. We regret that you may not use the Service if you are outside of the United States.

    Again an example of how old-fashioned the film/tv series industry is. It’s almost like they don’t WANT to use new technologies even though this would mean higher earnings…

    GotGotGot: The online sharing of legal copies doesnt equal “pirating” to me. When I loan my GoT blu rays to my friend, no one is crying about losing sales to my friend and calling me a pirate or say my friend is illegally viewing GoT. But for somereason If I want to digitally share my legal media to my friend(s) then all hell is let loose of lost sales and pirating going crazy. The free digital Sharing of personally owned media is not pirating.

    I follow you up to some degree, but I think two questions are important:
    1) what is the scale upon which one person distributes the files (a bit of a grey area in any case, but “friends” does not equal “the rest of the world”)
    2) does anybody make money by distributing these files?

    The second question is the most important I think, and you only have to look once at shady characters like Kim Dotcom to realize that some people do illegally earn money like this…

  198. Rickon Greyjoy
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Sorry folks.. luv ya. . but let`s pay respedct to the habsÉ fack u mike millberry lol

  199. Rickon Greyjoy
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    wake up, it¸s cool, wake up

  200. Winterispassed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    HBO has only been available in the Netherlands for 6 months. Needless to say all of the people I know were forced to see the show through ‘alternative’ means before that. I doubt many of the fans will sign up for 20 euro’s a month for an extra TV channel when the show is available online in HD the morning after it airs in the U.S.

    It may not be right but it’s the decision many people make. I do agree with the comment made by Pretraca, although people downloading the show don’t pay for it at the moment, some of them do become fans. They spread the word and end up buying the DVD. In the end though, HBO wouldn’t have agreed to two more seasons if the show wasn’t making a profit ;).

  201. Icebird
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I go to a friend’s house once a week to hang out and watch some of our favorite shows… Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Walking Dead. (I do own Seasons 1 & 2 of Game of Thrones on blu ray though)

    I don’t have cable. It’s overpriced and I can’t afford it. My wife & I have Netflix & Hulu Plus off & on throughout the year though. I’d GLADLY subsribe to HBO if I could use HBO Go without a ridiculously expensive cable or satellite plan.

  202. Teproc
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    As someone who does pirat Game of Thrones, but also does buy the DvDs once they come out (I’m in France, so watching live is obviously not an option), I’m not sure I completely agree with this.

    It certainly has positive effects (I probably wouldn’t be buying GoT DvDs if I didn’t have the option to watch it first), but the moment they decide they want to open HBOGo to non-subscribers, including foreigners, it becomes actively bad for them to have people torrenting/streaming illegally.

    Also, Americans who are watching GoT illegally : I understand you don’t want to pay for cable or whatever, but don’t hide behind righteous justifications like this. It’s stealing, plain and simple. I’m not saying that it’s okay when non-Americans do it, but don’t try to pretend it’s anything else than what it is.

  203. Pepi
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Well … I bet some shows would kill to be the most pirated show of the year.

  204. SansaSnark
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I would likely pay for HBO if I lived in the US. However in the UK getting GOT ‘legally’ would require us getting a satellite dish installed, subscribing to Sky, and paying for a bundle of multiple channels from them. Which to me seems excessive lengths to have to go to, just to watch one show, especially as it’s only 10 episodes a year!

    I agree it’s a silly business model. No that doesn’t make piracy right, but I imagine we’d see a lot less of it if, for example, there was an option for international viewers to legally download the show and pay per episode.

    As an analogy I would never bother trying to illegally obtain music these days, as it’s so easy just to buy the mp3 of the song or album I want on Amazon for a reasonable price. If there was an equivalent for broadcast television, I’d happily use it, and I doubt I’d be alone.

    I do buy the blu-rays of each series, for what it’s worth. But that in itself isn’t a substitute as they come out so long after the television show. We’re still waiting for them here!

  205. Jacarb
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    [Sincere apologies in advance for writing a treatise. This is what happens when I can't sleep because of the flu. If you don't have patience, you have been warned.]

    First of all, I don’t condone piracy. A lot of what I’m about to say will sound like I do. I don’t. I think it is fundamentally wrong, but the causes and possible solutions require a much larger look at far more endemic set of issues. It’s easy, which you should very much read as “lazy,” to just tell pirates to stop.

    I could not right now afford cable, and I use my dads’ HBOGo account. HBO allows families to share like this. I’ve never bothered to check if they still allow it while I live 3000 miles from home, but I’m also just satisfied on a moral level that my family is paying.

    My paying job has almost nothing to do with my two degrees, and I spend a huge majority of my free time writing and planning a start-up with old classmates. Almost half of my income goes straight to student loans. If I go to a party at a bar instead of an apartment, it literally means rice and beans and V8 for the next few days (thanks, Sriracha!).

    (Ned; the phrase “get a job” is offensive, used generally as you did. I realize you do not mean me, but you might as well tell me to have had rich parents so as not to have incurred loans . Or perhaps that I should have chosen to be gifted in a more profitable skill than writing. There are countless scenarios in which people face hardship considerably worse than mine and either can’t get a job, or have their hard-earned money sapped by expenses beyond their control. So, yeah, it is ignorant to say all they gotta do is slap on a tie and start earning a wage if they wanna watch Game of Thrones. Being poor is not an excuse to steal, but when your tactic in a debate on if something is stealing is to insult the poor, you lose the argument through irrelevant ad hominem penalties.)

    Anyways…

    While what I do is legal, there is absolutely nothing in terms of financial impact that separates it from flat out, never-buy-the-blu-ray-or-merch piracy. I watch the show and do not add a cent of revenue to HBO’s coffers. HBO is losing potential revenue from me and pirates. They are not losing actual revenue. From the perspective of all paying customers ultimately funding the show by a wee fraction, everyone who does pay is paying for me, too. But what I do is technically legal. If it were illegal and my only viable, legal option was to go whole-hog on a cable contract, I’d be furious.

    Now, what if I wanted to download copies because HBO Go gets a weird green tint when it drops resolution? I don’t because I do kinda feel I’m stretching the rules already. What if I lived at home? Would this be different from loading up the DVR?

    These grey areas exist because the cable model is woefully outdated, and the alternatives have been relegated to hamstrung secondary services. The cable companies have zero incentive to allow fees for shows or networks to become a la carte when they make a slaughter off of packages. It’s only “HBO’s decision” to not offer standalone HBO Go because the cable companies hold hostage the access to a vast majority of viewers. They technically aren’t monopolies because of ostensibly competitive markets of two or three giants. Viewers can’t choose outside their region, get stuck in bizarre contracts where it’s cheaper to use more services, and are constantly fighting piecemeal legal battles over whether or not it’s okay to indefinitely rent out a $30 piece of equipment at $5 a month.

    Anyone here going to argue that the telcomms don’t shit on their customers and wipe with left-over 100 dollar bills?

    When you put up with a company being two hours late for an installation after giving you a four hour window on a Tuesday morning, and you do so because you don’t have a choice, you’re dealing with a monopoly. You know who pirates pay for the internet access they need to torrent a show? The same companies they’d sign the checks to for the show. The difference is which fee the cable company decides to cut the network in on.

    Again, I’m not saying piracy is justified. I do, however, find it incredibly unfair and one-sided to call out one side of ne’er-do-wells for unfair gain when there’s a middleman exacting extortionary fees that are only still “legal” because legislation has moved glacially concerning digital communication rights. If the right to fair access isn’t what happened when telecommunication snuck in bed with the rights of free speech and assembly, I’ll eat my tricorn hat.

    Piracy would decrease if consumers had broader and more direct access to reasonably priced content. Look at the book publishing industry. Insanely easy to pirate, paper or electronic. Yet we don’t see it on a scale even approaching television because you don’t need a contract, you can choose from a wide range of distributors (for now…sigh), and you don’t have to buy Welty and Evans to pick up a Faulkner. One could make the argument that book publishing deals more with intellectual consumers who understand what they are supporting. But let’s remember that this is also an industry that made Danielle Steel worth the better part of a billion and gave The Situation a six-figure advance for a ghost-written book[-like thing].

    Taking things you don’t pay for is wrong. When we start to discuss the philosophy of “taking” an intangible and infinitely replicable thing, it gets grey. When that grey area is lumped in the middle of an archaic, crazy, and downright suspect financial model, I can’t help but see it as the excess and useless waste of an inefficient system.

    Game of Thrones is shattering DVD/Blu-ray sales. The people responsible for that marketing told me that this is due to a wildly different and dedicated fanbase. They were ecstatic to have hundreds of people tweet about free honeyed-chicken pie when only a small fraction of that number bought anything at the event. No doubt they would disapprove of piracy, but they acknowledged that the popularity of the show goes past simple sales and into the phenomenon range.

    DVD sales have reversed network decisions before. Game of Thrones has that kind of sway and then some despite piracy, and as a phenomenon, part of its hugeness IS piracy. I don’t think piracy is good. Simply and stand-alone, it is a loss of potential revenue, and there are hundreds of working folk who deserve to earn what they can for their amazing work. But if the phenomenon grows so large as to break the model’s back (or, more likely, finally force cable companies to face the fact that they have to change and appeal to customers who want to watch in certain ways), I would hesitate to say piracy is strictly bad in the case of Game of Thrones.

    I might say that Game of Thrones is the only show that can afford to flaunt piracy in the face of telcomm monopolies. And that could be good for fixing a dilapidated system.

  206. Isabelle
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Jacarb,

    Beautifully written and save a few of the specifics, my situation as well (hurray for HBO-loving dads, right?). I hope you feel better!

  207. Pau Soriano
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Here’s another point of view, to make it more interesting…In Spain we have something called “the piracy canon”, whereas they charge you some extra money everytime you buy a HD, a mp3, a blank DVD etc, JUST IN CASE you gona use it to pirate some stuff, and after they (supposedly) give it to the creators (through something called the SGAE, and I guess through other channels..)

    So if they already charge us BEFOREHAND, we might as well pirate don’t you think?

    Having said that, I pirate the show, and I buy the Bluray (but tbh is the only show I do that for…all the others I just pirate)

    Peace

  208. Fabian Schneider
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Ned:
    Americans have no excuse … Quit being a cheap ass and buy it … CGI dragons don’t pay for themselves.If you don’t buy HBO, at the very minimum you need to buy the DVD/Bluray sets … If you are a true fan. But yea the rest of the world has to wait several days even months in some cases to view the episodes, so I am far more sympathetic to their piracy … Because I don’t think I could wait either.

    And even then, many get awfully dubbed/translated versions. I buy all the DVDs, but I absolutely despise translations.

  209. Anonymous
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  210. meluenne
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I live in Slovakia.
    I use torrents extensively and I’ve been downloading copyrighted material for years and years; hundreds of gigas all in all.
    I just started earning some money recently and I am using itunes to legalize my music collection, one song or album at a time – and I would gladly pay for episodes of GOT and other TV shows, if they were available for legal download in my country. They are not. For me to legally obtain them would be to wait for DVD/Bluray release and order them from abroad, paying extra for the delivery. Also, I just do not want the DVD – I have little space for books and stuff as it is.
    I don’t know – I’m not saying my conscience is absolutely clear in this issue… Still – I think that me illegaly downloading stuff that I would not be able to get legally and for a reasonable price in my country actually does some revenue for the people involved (at least some of them; for example when I buy related merchandise or books) – contrasting with me not being able to get the stuff at all and therefore happily living out the rest of my days without ever paying for any of those things.

  211. Aegon the Conqueror
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Ned,

    Making someone wait six months for a single episode is ludicrous. We are Iron Born, we’re not subects, we don’t wait in lines, nor simply sit at home. We take what we want!

  212. Wildling
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Quick question. Do you really think most of the people who illegally download stuff would actually pay for everything they download?

  213. Abyss
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Off-Topic:
    The last part of the Q&A with Rory McCann from the Glasgow Film Festival 2013 is finally up. Very funny and almost spoiler free, except for the last part where he talks a bit about season 3 at on point. – I myself woudn’t say it’s really a spoiler, but it is (very vague) information about next season. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

  214. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Jacarb,

    That was very nicely written, definitely not boring at all! As I noted before, I hope we’ll see happening soon what happened with the music industry: the ‘illegal’ digital downloads leading the way to improved distribution models for tv&films.

  215. sunspear
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. I’m a college kid still living at home, and my parents have HBO, so I don’t pirate it. Guess I’ll be getting a 3 month HBO subscription soon.

    Dan,

    $100,000,000 over 8,000 films is about $12,500 per movie. That isn’t enough to film any of the greatest films made over the last decade. Plus, it’s taken them more than three year to raise that. You can’t keep actors under contract that long.

    And you seem to have completely ignored Winters point that people spend that much money being entertained because they have to. People don’t download because they are afraid of getting arrested.

  216. Markuskein
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Really glad to hear this by the director, and the comparation with music industry is obvius, dont let the greed for money ruin a show or company, SHARING is the future, I have no intentions to pay a cent to any super company, that like somebody said makes insane amounts of money only to be unevenly distributed.

    Piracy is the future of art and culture.

  217. BlackTalon
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I recently did my bit and bought the DVD set of the first season – the set of the second season is STILL not available in Germany. It wouldn’t play on my laptop – some copy protection I presume – and DVD quality is horrible on both of the large TVs I have. I would have bought the BluRays to support HBO even more but I do not have a player. When you have gotten unsed to watching in 720p a DVD just doesn’t cut it anymore. I love the series but that bit sucks big time. The most practical thing would probably be to send some money directly to HBO via PayPal …

  218. Tar Kidho
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Markuskein: I have no intentions to pay a cent to any super company, that like somebody said makes insane amounts of money only to be unevenly distributed.

    Series like GoT demand huge investments as they are made by hundreds of people over long times. In your imaginary world, the production values would have to be so low that none of us would be satisfied with the result. You are just kidding yourself, and to pirate and “share” the show of a super company making huge amounts of money is rather hypocritic as well when saying THAT is the future of art and culture.

  219. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Dan:
    WildSeed,

    I’ve noticed you’ve mentioned a couple of times that companies raise their prices because of theft. That isn’t correct. I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of economic discussion, so I’ll just make a quick point. Prices are set by supply and demand. HBO doesn’t determine how much lost revenue they will see because of piracy, and then raise prices to compensate for that. They automatically attempt to sell for the highest price possible. In fact, if the demand for their product dropped because people were getting it for free somewhere else that would cause them to have to sell for a cheaper price, or reduce supply. If they were to raise their price because of lower demand then they would lose even more revenue.

    Here is an article that covers similar misconceptions like this with regards to oil prices. https://mises.org/daily/1936

    What you say is true, but not accurate. Supply and Demand is a basic premise,
    then adjusted, based on the best interest of the company……..you know, the
    Profit Principle. There are rare Artisan shops that squeak by financially,
    hoping to build a loyal clientele of local patrons, San Francisco encourages
    this ( there are very few chain stores or chain restaurants ) through incentives.
    For corporations like Cable companies and Affiliates, customer driven incentives
    are never factored in, it defeats the purpose of their profit and growth. There
    maybe clever marketing to influence new customers to join, but most are
    aware those are time limited or don’t exist. The primary objective is to expand.
    Where there exists theft and loss, the costs are passed on to paying customers,
    period. Wish it weren’t so, wish Gandalf was alive, and Ned Stark too. This
    is reality mate. Steal, Pirate, whatever you call it, someone else pays your tab *>*.

    There are always opposing opinions in any trade, as a trained scientist, you would
    be amazed at the abstracts put forth. The point manly is to pose the question,
    then prove it’s application. Stick to proven arguments, with reputable sources,
    not arbitrary choices for insight. Rather, read for awareness on the issue, but
    don’t close your mind there. Read what the established opinions are also. Sometime
    being neutral on an issue saves face later. I like some of Kinsella’s opinion, he
    is also not alone in it. However, basic questions remain unanswered or proven.

  220. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Nezzer:
    WildSeed,

    Yes, I can say very few countries have the luxury of watching the episode in less than a week after it airs in the States. Almost every European country has to wait at least a week to watch it and some have to wait a year for it. I think only the Americas, the UK and now Australia can watch it either simultaneously (Americas) or a couple of days later (UK and Australia). That is why I condemn piracy only in those countries, whilst the same practice in other countries is very justifiable IMHO.

    I hear you, but don’t fool yourself mate, one has choices……… there are remote
    areas of the world where choice is less or non existent. For those folk, there
    remains a dilemma. However, as Cable markets hope to expand, demand
    and regional incentives may sway developing a plan. Once in place, affiliates
    make content decisions which may be impacted because of religious or
    conservative guidelines. Luckily you have an available means within your sector.

  221. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Icebird:
    I go to a friend’s house once a week to hang out and watch some of our favorite shows… Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Walking Dead.(I do own Seasons 1 & 2 of Game of Thrones on blu ray though)

    I don’t have cable.It’s overpriced and I can’t afford it.My wife & I have Netflix & Hulu Plus off & on throughout the year though.I’d GLADLY subsribe to HBO if I could use HBO Go without a ridiculously expensive cable or satellite plan.

    So true. I’m considering scaling down my Comcast Cable provider services, simply
    because of ever rising costs. It hits the budget hard. It’s tiresome being on a
    financial treadmill, and paying raised fees and rising cost for premium channels.
    Pirates and Corporate Greed are making it difficult for any reasonable person
    with any sense of value. Stealing has become a fad, and indifference to those
    who make up the cost is enough to be similarly pissed about it. Every day, people
    are being placed out of the market, in time that may become me.

  222. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,
    Supply and Demand is a basic premise, then adjusted, based on the best interest of the company……..you know, the Profit Principle.

    I’m sorry, but you are simply wrong. Whether you read progressive Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman, conservative Keynesian economists like Greg Mankiw, Chicago school economists like Milton Friedman, or Austrian economists like Murray Rothbard, they will all tell you the same thing about supply and demand. Pick any school of thought you want and read their economic textbooks. They all will disagree with you on that issue.

    You will find this same explanation of supply and demand in every economic textbook you read regardless of which school of thought the book is coming from.

    The four basic laws of supply and demand are:
    If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
    If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
    If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
    If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.

    Prices always are moving towards equilibrium unless government laws prevent this from occurring with something like price controls, for example. If prices don’t move towards equilibrium then you will have shortages or surpluses. This is basic economics 101 stuff. Businesses can’t just raise and lower prices without dealing with these economic laws.

    For example, let’s say that there are 100 GoT dvd box sets, and that at $100/each we will see demand equal supply. That means that all 100 sets are sold and not another is demanded. That would mean that if those box sets were sold for a higher price, then they would not sell all their supply. They would have a surplus in that example. If they sold them for a lower price, then the would sell all their copies, but there would be demand for more than 100 and people who wanted to buy one would not be able to. There would be a shortage in that example. Now, that said, in the real world economy we don’t have perfect knowledge, so we don’t see prices all lined up at equilibrium on the supply and demand chart. But all prices are moving towards that equilibrium. If a business is running into a surplus problem then they know their prices are too high or they are making too many of that product at that price, and they need either reduce prices or reduce quantity supplied. If a business is running into a shortage problem, then they need to either raise prices or increase supply.

    It is because of the law of supply and demand that a company that sells shoes knows how many different type of shoes to make, and what sizes to make them in. This is also why socialism was shown to be an impossible system by Ludwig von Mises in Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. Without an economic system being determined by supply and demand, and profit and loss then it is impossible to know whether a business should make more or less of something, or just go out of business.

  223. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming:
    I do think that HBO needs to seriously consider offering up HBO Go a la carte. More and more people are cutting cable and just using Netflix/Hulu+/Amazon/iTunes to watch their TV shows. And now with Netflix offering up high-quality original programming plus a huge back catalog of old shows and movies, all for only $7.99 a month, HBO can’t really hide behind the “high-quality programming requires a high-price tag” excuse.

    I think HBO realizes this and is maneuvering to position HBO Go as a standalone service and a primary competitor to Netflix. You’ll notice that on the trailer HBO Go gets a prominent call-out. They’ve also been busy adding HBO Go to more and more platforms (Apple TV was the latest and is significant since it switches HBO Go from being a mobile and PC only application to now being available on the big screen). At this point, it’s not a matter of if HBO becomes available sans a cable subscription, but when.

    Another choice and likely alternative that fairly allows the medium to become
    available to all. As my Cable Bill continues to escalate, these alternatives are
    thought provoking and promising.

  224. Georgina
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The moment the HBO shop ships to my country, I’ll gladly spend half my salary on merchandising.

  225. ScottsdaleSam
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    All shows get pirated. The most downloaded shows are the ones most popular with people who pirate(generally younger and more geeky).

    It’s not surprising that GoT is the top downloaded show. In fact, it would be very disappointing if GoT wasn’t one of the most downloaded shows of the last 2 years.

    If we ever get to the point where GoT is only the #12 most downloaded show of that year, I would be very sad for the show. It will mean that nobody cares enough for it to download it anymore.

  226. John
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    “What Is Shared May Never Die “!… LOL

    This pretty much sums up why GoT is pirated so much –

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

  227. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Jacarb,

    Well made points Jacarb. Get well soon *>*

  228. WildSeed
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    Oh boy……. it’s come to this…………

    Regretfully, I became outspoken on an issue that affects me directly, but continued
    the banter once the conversation veered out of bounds. I mean you no disrespect,
    I do not know you. I am not an Attorney nor Economic Theorist. We both share
    opposing views based on insights obtained from related discussions led by
    others whom have raised thought provoking questions. Where we differ is, in
    spite of my limited knowledge, I represent the consumer willing to comply with
    existing laws, and support those spearheading reasonable changes or revisions
    to the law. I am also subjected to an inflationary cost for service, in order to
    cover business loss and deliver services that others deliberately pirate .

    I’m remaining open minded to appreciate new insights and ongoing discussion
    regarding this issue ( that’s been going on for nearly a decade, btw ).

    I have great admiration for the Economists you’ve mentioned; Paul Krugman,
    Milton Friedman, Maynard Keynes. As any would witness, there are opinions
    which one is willing to go on the record with, to the press, to a peer, to a personal
    contact. Economic Theory, etc, are guidelines , much that contain or are wholly
    based on established laws. There are always loopholes and grey areas that serve
    market capitalist to their own greed and/or interest . We are not talking science here,
    only academic theory. A direction that is woefully off track of the subject post.
    And for my participation in that, I apologize to anyone suffering these exchanges.

    WiC summed it up in a succinct post above. I concur.

  229. Delta1212
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I realize that everyone here uses the Internet, which can very easily skew our perspective on certain things Internet-related, but watching television online (through legal distribution channels) is not nearly as prevalent as many people seem to think it is.

    It’s a practice that has seen huge growth in the last five years, but the percentage of people watching online in comparison to on TV is still very small. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: There will come a point where online distribution is more profitable than cable distribution, and we’re nearing that point, but we haven’t reached it yet. It will be at least a couple of years yet before that particular balance shifts in the other direction.

    I know Netflix has moved into original content, but it’s important to remember that their shows are fewer in number with a much, much lower budget than what HBO puts out. There is no way Netflix would currently be capable of producing HBO’s stable of shows.

    Any attempt by HBO to introduce a business model that allows subscriptions independent of the cable providers will see retaliation by those providers and a sharp drop in revenue as they are either dropped from cable packages, lose serious leverage in pricing negotiations and otherwise get hurt by the cable companies. The amount of money they’d get from online subscriptions is currently very unlikely to match what they’d lose from traditional avenues of distribution being closed to them.

    As long as that’s the case, it makes very little business sense to offer individual subscriptions because they’d lose more money to the consequences than they’d make off of it.

    That said, again, we are approaching a point where online distribution is becoming more profitable, and HBO introducing Go is, I think, a step toward positioning HBO to take that step once it becomes economically viable. We’re likely going to have to resign ourselves to the fact that it will be years before that happens, however, because HBO will either need to wait for a point where the cable companies realize that retaliating against HBO will hurt themselves more than it hurts HBO (because HBO can make as much or close to it without them) or else when the cost of losing cable distribution has fallen so low that HBO is absolutely positive it won’t backfire.

    Because as much as we’d all prefer to be able to just subscribe directly to HBO without cable fees, if they jump too soon without being properly prepared and wind up failing, they could do irreparable damage to their business such that, even if they survive, they won’t be in a position to reopen those online means of distribution again for a long time.

  230. Dan
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I only have commented because you keep saying things about how businesses set their prices in a way that is incorrect, and that is leading you to say people who pirate cause you to pay higher prices. It is fine if you don’t want to discuss the matter, this is why I said in the beginning that I didn’t want to bore you with a bunch of economic discussions, but the fact remains that you keep saying something that completely flips the entire theory of supply and demand on its head. When you say that HBO raises their prices because they have lower demand as a result of the people who pirate their show instead of paying for their product, you are saying something that no economist from any school would agree with. I’m not trying to be rude, or get into a big debate about this, but the fact is you are saying something that is demonstrably false. If demand for something goes down, for whatever reason, and supply stays the same then the price must come down. If you do not lower the price then you will have a surplus of product. If you make the horrendous mistake of raising your price in this scenario then you will see demand fall even lower and the surplus of product expand. Any business that kept raising prices in the face of falling demand would quickly find themselves out of business.

    There are no loopholes around the law of supply and demand, unless the government is intervening in the market. For example, the government could step in and purchase the surplus product with taxes, and prices would not come down in that scenario. But outside of government interference the laws of supply and demand apply to all businesses. To say that people pirating the show causes HBO to rise their price to combat the lower demand is like saying 1+1=1. It’s just incorrect. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Think of it this way. If HBO expected to sell 1 million box sets of a show this year for $60, but then ended up only selling 500,000 box sets because a bunch of people pirated it instead of buying it, do you think HBO would come out and double their price the next year to make up the revenue they had expected to make the previous year? Of course they would not double their price. That would be a disastrous decision if they raised prices at all in this scenario, but that is exactly what you are suggesting they already do.

    Now, if we were talking about physical products being stolen off the shelves, then that would be a different matter, and this might be where you are getting mixed up. When someone steals physical product then they are reducing the supply available. This is totally different than pirating which doesn’t reduce physical supply because you are simply making a copy from the existing supply. So in the case where someone steals something and reduces the supply available, then you would see higher prices. This is also demonstrated through the law of supply and demand. If supply goes down while demand stays the same, then a shortage will occur and prices will have to rise. Again, this is totally different than pirating.

    That will be the last thing I will say about supply and demand, but it needed to be said because you were saying that people were causing you to pay a higher price because of pirating, and that is simply not true. People get enough grief for pirating and I didn’t want them to think they were causing me to pay higher prices because of what they are doing. And sorry to anybody who doesn’t like to read a discussion like this on this site, but you can’t talk about economic matters intelligently without talking about economics. Plus I skip tons of comments when I read through a post, and I’m sure anyone wanting to avoid this discussion had no problem do the same.

  231. Eduardo Hernandez So
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    It’s plainly obvious that just because we pirate doesn’t mean we don’t care about the show or watch it. In the case of game of thrones I personally pirate because I absolutely love it and sometimes want to watch it on the go and the Dvds are annoying to use, I also don’t like waiting for the DVD’s to watch it. I also can’t afford to pay for HBO monthly. I instead buy just about everything game of thrones when I can because I love the show. That is all.

  232. Delta1212
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Supply and demand has a slightly looser applicability when it comes to determining the price of digital content, however. There are no shortages or surpluses of such material. The “supply” such as it is, is effectively determined by the number of people willing to pay for the product.

    In this scenario, the supply (of customers) rises and falls with the price, so it is always effectively at equilibrium. The trick here isn’t setting the price to sell the exact quantity of goods available, but to set it to find the point where the most potential customers are being charged the most money, because that is how to maximize profit.

    That means undercharging some customers (based on what they can afford) in order to keep more people priced in to the market, since it’s obviously more profitable to charge three people $70 dollars than to charge one person $150 dollars.

    However, the people most likely to replace their cable service in its entirety with online distribution channels, be they legal or free, are the ones least able to afford the cable service. By dropping out of the market, they are essentially decreasing the supply and doing so in the lower price range. This means raising the price will eliminate fewer customers and therefore be more likely to increase profits, which may be lower than originally but will still be higher than if the price was left static after the loss of customers. Continuing to charge two people the $70 price after losing one of the original three customers no longer makes sense if you can have one of them paying $150 instead.

  233. Dan
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212,

    Supply and demand has a slightly looser applicability when it comes to determining the price of digital content, however. There are no shortages or surpluses of such material. The “supply” such as it is, is effectively determined by the number of people willing to pay for the product.

    You are correct when we are talking about things like an HBO subscription that the issue of shortages and surpluses disappears because it is something without a physical supply.

    In this scenario, the supply (of customers) rises and falls with the price, so it is always effectively at equilibrium.

    Not quite right. The supply is still the HBO subscription and the demand is still the customers. Still, it is true that the amount of customers (demand) for their product will rise and fall with their price. At a higher price they will have fewer customers and at a lower price they will have more customers. The law of supply and demand is still not turned upside down just because it is a supply of a digital product. It just means that the ultimate cost will be lower than its physical counterpart because the cost of production is lower. For example, it is cheaper to buy a digital book than it is to buy a physical book, but we also see that with books with higher demand we get a higher price on both physical and digital copies.

    However, the people most likely to replace their cable service in its entirety with online distribution channels, be they legal or free, are the ones least able to afford the cable service. By dropping out of the market, they are essentially decreasing the supply and doing so in the lower price range. This means raising the price will eliminate fewer customers and therefore be more likely to increase profits, which may be lower than originally but will still be higher than if the price was left static after the loss of customers. Continuing to charge two people the $70 price after losing one of the original three customers no longer makes sense if you can have one of them paying $150 instead.

    This is wrong. Losing customers does not cause a reduction in supply. We have already agreed that the supply of something like HBO subscriptions is pretty much infinite. Losing customers does not reduce the number of HBO subscriptions available for sale. If HBO were losing subscribers then they would be losing demand, and not supply. And just like every other company in the world that loses customers, if they try to raise prices in the face of falling demand for their product they are on the path to going out of business. Find me an example where a company saw the demand for their product falling, and decided that was the time to raise their prices. No, companies raise their prices because of higher demand for their product, not lower.

    All right, now I’m done with talking about supply and demand issues. For realz this time.

  234. Delta1212
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes and no. I agree that labeling the customer as the supply was a mistake. I was trying to illustrate a point, but mixing terms like that is a poor way to go about it and I shouldn’t have done it.

    That said, consumers don’t behavior with nearly the level of rational self-interest as Homo economicus, and that can, especially in the short term, lead to some wonkiness in the real world results of applied economic theories, especially in the relatively short term.

    Largely because the traditional conception of supply largely goes out the window with digital content, and because demand is the one of the two that is, obviously, most susceptible to the quirks of human behavior, I happen to think this is an area that is less easily mapped to the laws of supply and demand.

    This isn’t to say that I actually think that the entire system reverses itself with digital content, though I understand how I gave that impression. I rather think we’re dealing with a situation where demand here is more easily conceptualizer as demand for avenues of distribution rather than demand for specific content.

    People are going can consume the content they want to consume, one way or another. It’s a matter of how they want to consume it. Right now, there are two major concerns: Legality and convenience. Different people prioritize them differently, but I think everyone’s ideal means of consumption would be both legal and convenient. So let’s consider these to be features of the product.

    As with most things, maximizing both features in a single product can be expensive. The less money someone has, the more likely they are to sacrifice on levels of one or both of these features. So go with less convenient but entirely legal “products” while others go with less legal but more convenient “products.”

    Now, the typical response to customers switching to alternative products would be to either improve your product or lower the price to draw them back. In this case however, you might draw back people who switched to paying for a less convenient product, but the aversion to illegal means of distribution is largely psychological. The vast majority of people never have any legal trouble over it. This means that, for a lot of people, overcoming that initial psychological hurdle eliminates or severely diminishes their personal demand for legality as a feature of their desired product. Lowering the price of a cable subscription will not entice them back because they’ve already found a way to maximize their convenience at a lower price (free) and aren’t demanding anything (legality) that cable can provide.

    On the other hand, the people most likely to turn away from their capable subscriptions are the ones with fewer resource to spend on them, which means the customers that are retained have more resources and can likely afford higher prices, making it possible to increase revenue by raising the price.

    Of course, this will price out some people who will turn to alternative means of consumption and further shrink the pool of customers in the long term. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry in general and the major cable companies and television networks in particular have shown very little inclination towards adapting truly long term strategies for dealing with an obviously changing market, and in the short term I do think it is very likely that raising prices will increase revenue to offset losses from people no longer subscribing to cable. It’s an unsustainable, short-term issue, certainly, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue.

    Incidentally, I don’t think HBO is as guilty of these things as most people are inclined to believe. They seem to be doing a better job than most of positioning themselves to survive the shift in the marketplace. Others aren’t, however, and that’s causing some behavior that is not necessarily the best idea from a long term business perspective.

  235. Katana
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Villane,

    It’s not stealing, it’s copying. The difference between stealing & copying should be obvious: you still have use of your property if it’s copied. More to the point, if I got HBO and had a viewing party every weekend with 15 friends how is that different than if I had HBO and digitally copied it and gave that copy to 15 friends? The difference is scale, because they’d spread it on the Internet.

    I’m not saying piracy is right. People need to be compensated for their work. That having been said, HBO waits 11 months to release episodes to people without an HBO subscription. My family has HBO so I watch GoT on HBO Go, but I don’t personally own a tv. I can understand someone not wanting to buy a tv, a cabel subscription, and an HBO subscription just to watch GoT. As long as you buy the DVDs when they come out, I think it’s a moral wash.

  236. Patchface
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m a really bad person. I can’t afford HBO so I go to a bar to watch it. There are usually about 12-15 people there, most of whom don’t have HBO. I feel like this is just as immoral as pirating. People watching the show in large groups are hurting the ratings even more than pirates. Who is to blame the most, the individuals or the bar?

  237. Vince
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The hounds pup,

    Because most people who pirate and enjoy the show go out and buy the Blu Ray set…

  238. Patchface
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the sarcastic tone. What I feel is that people who are strongly anti-piracy tend to make it a black-and-white issue when it’s actually a whole lot more complex than that. The truth is, with access to media being what it is today, piracy is a reality that won’t go away. Ultimately I feel like the business model of media distribution is going to have to adapt.

  239. Kim
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t seen the show yet.
    But a friend is watching for free. From the library.
    Which is perfectly legal.

    If one were to buy library passes, they’d be at least one tenth the price of the DVD set (watch once, then give back to HBO).

    Which I’d cheerfully pay for.

  240. moussa
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    i pay for HBO just so this show will continue so thank you


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