US ambassador begs Australians:
Stop pirating Game of Thrones


news US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich has published an impassioned statement appealing to Australians to stop breaching the copyright of US cable giant HBO by illegally downloading its popular Game of Thrones television show in record numbers.

Analysis by file-sharing news site TorrentFreak published this month showed that Australia continues to be the world’s most enthusiastic nation globally in terms of illegally downloading Game of Thrones, despite the fact that the series was made available legally, cheaply and in high quality in Australia shortly after it was broadcast in the US, through platforms such as Apple’s iTunes and the Foxtel pay TV service.

According to an article published by TorrentFreak in early April, the first episode of the third season of the hit TV series had been downloaded over a million times illegally via the BitTorrent file-sharing platform at that point, with a record number of people sharing the episode.

Australia was the third most prevalent nation for Game of Thrones downloads, according to the site, with some 9.9 percent of those downloading the file residing in Australia. On a per capita basis, due to Australia’s small population, this means that Australia is the world’s most prolific nation when it comes to pirating Game of Thrones. “The number three spot for Australia is impressive and with a population of just over 22 million people it has the highest piracy rate,” wrote TorrentFreak. “Looking at other cities we see that most downloads come from London, before Paris and Sydney.”

Historically Australians have blamed the fact that the show was not available in a timely and cost-effective manner in Australia for the illegal downloading practice. However, there appears to be less justification for Australians to download Game of Thrones and shows like it illegally under current circumstances. Just days after it aired in the US, local pay TV giant Foxtel already started airing the new Games of Thrones episode in Australia. In addition, the episode is available through Apple’s iTunes platform locally in HD quality for just $3.49 hours after its US broadcast, meaning it is trivial for Australians to obtain the content legally, although many Delimiter readers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the iTunes platform in comments over the past several weeks.

In his statement, published on his Facebook page, Bleich noted that he and his family had just started watching the third season of Game of Thrones. “For those who aren’t already fans, it is a great epic chronicling the devious machinations of rival noble houses fighting for supremacy,” Bleich wrote. “Unfortunately, nearly as epic and devious as the drama, is its unprecedented theft by online viewers around the world.”

“The file-sharing news website TorrentFreak estimated that Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV series of 2012. One episode was illegally downloaded about 4,280,000 times through public BitTorrent trackers in 2012, which is about equal to the number of that episode’s broadcast viewers.  In other words, about half of that episode’s viewers stole the program from HBO.  As the Ambassador here in Australia, it was especially troubling to find out that Australian fans were some of the worst offenders with among the highest piracy rates of Game of Thrones in the world.  While some people here used to claim that they used pirate sites only because of a delay in getting new episodes here, the show is now available from legitimate sources within hours of its broadcast in the United States.”

On the day the ambassador posted his Facebook post, Bleich noted it was the UN’s World Book and Copyright Day, and alleged that copying Game of Thrones was “not a victimless crime”.

“A show like Game of Thrones takes a lot of work and talent by many artists to create,” he wrote. “These artists can do this work only if we ensure that they are rewarded for their labors.  Production companies are no different. Entire industries exist to locate artists, provide them a forum for their works, arrange contracts, record, promote, and sell their works, and free artists from doing other things – like waiting tables and parking cars in Hollywood — by paying them for their efforts. Here in Australia about 8% of the workforce works in the copyright industries and depends on people obeying the law – not to mention the artists in Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco, where the series is filmed, who depend on fans obeying the law.”

“And yet, it seems that fans often forget all of this. Anyone might be tempted to download pirated CDs and movies, and illegally share these materials; and there are big businesses that make money by encouraging consumers to illegally upload material as well. But artists’ livelihoods depend on us rejecting that urge; just as shopkeepers and small businesses depend on people not just stealing products from their shelves. If the 4 million people who watched Game of Throne legally had been illegal downloaders – the show would be off the air and there would never have been a Season 3. So to me, Copyright Day is not about government regulations, it is about celebrating and protecting the power of great writers, painters, singers, composers, actors, dancers and other artists to bring us together and enrich our lives.”

Bleich said he recognised that fans of Game of Thrones who used illegal file-sharing sites to download the show had reasons — such as the content being much easier to access through such avenues, or they had been frustrated by importation delays, or even the fact that their parents wouldn’t pay for a subscription to download the show or they had objections to aspects of copyright law.

“But none of those reasons is an excuse – stealing is stealing. Buying a book in a store costs more and takes longer than stealing it from your neighbor’s house, but we all know it is the right thing to do and it allows authors to make a living and write more books. So please celebrate UN World Book and Copyright Day by doing the right thing – Tyrion Lannister will thank you for it,” wrote Bleich.

The US Ambassador is not the only high-profile individual to severely criticise Australians recently for the nation’s high rates of Game of Thrones piracy.

For example, in early April local author and blogger John Birmingham satirically attacked those who pirate the show on his Brisbane Times blog, Blunt Instrument, writing: ““Is there some sort of internet freetard math I’m unaware of that lets the producers of GoT spend millions of actual dollars making the show while you suck it down off the intertubes for free because somehow the ‘exposure’ will put enough money in their bank accounts to pay for all the writers and actors and camera guys and set designers and costume makers and caterers and editors and special effects dudes and CGI mavens and musicians and lighting and sound techs and drivers and so on whatever and ever amen?”

Those opposed to accessing the show through Foxtel or iTunes have frequently pointed out the technical restrictions inherent to such platforms. To access Game of Thrones through Foxtel Australians are required to have a costly subscription to the pay TV player’s services — although they may not want to consume other content than Game of Thrones. In addition, many see Apple’s iTunes as an overly restrictive platform which only deploys content to PCs and Macs — but not to dedicated set-top boxes.

Additionally, IPTV player Quickflix has recently announced its intention to bring shows such as Game of Thrones to Australia more quickly.

Image credit: HBO (promotional shot from Game of Thrones TV show), US State Department


  1. Well, I tried.

    I bought the second series on iTunes. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could download in 1080p – I had thought that iTunes was 720p only – with full 5.1 surround sound.

    All very nice, but I still find the DRM to be too much of an imposition. I have plenty of Apple devices at the moment, but will that always be true? I bought a 3rd party tool to remove the DRM – legally, so they say! – but sadly, it doesn’t preserve the surround sound in your DRM-free backups; you only get stereo.

    That’s a deal-breaker for me. Far more convenient to buy the blu rays, which I can rip into any format that I want, and with 5.1 surround preserved if I want.

    • I have to agree, I for one won’t be buying any thing from iTunes again!

    • you can rent from other sites like, or buy it elsewhere — iTunes has a download for $34/season or $3.5/ep, but you can buy all three seasons 1+2+3 for $43 together on DVD if you search for it or Bluray for $48/season 1 or 2. iTunes is not good value and very restrictive, but some people just like the iPad/appleTV convenience.

      for those who don’t want to pay that much, you can rent or borrow it from a library or a friend — that way the artists and producers get something back for their creative toils.

      obviously, to most of us, the reason Australia is the most prolific a pirating this is a no-brainer — if Australia wasn’t last to get many of these hot programs released here, there would be close to zero incentive for people to download it as soon as it’s released in the USA — Americans all too often forget they live in a big World and they’re not the only ones on the planet.

  2. I personally question these stats. Where do they come from? I would imagine it is coming from the sites hosting pirated content and since when would you trust that source? It just seems like political or marketing propaganda.

    Would be great if they could make an offer to ABC which they could not refuse…

  3. “Just days after it aired in the US, local pay TV giant Foxtel already started airing the new Games of Thrones episode in Australia.”

    Game of Thrones airs at 9pm on HBO (east), which is 11am on the east coast of Australia. Foxtel’s Showcase HD channel airs Game of Thrones in 3:30pm (simulcast around Australia, so earlier in the western states). That is only 4.5 hours later.

    • For economical or/and possibility ethical reasons, not everyone has a foxtel subscription.
      For ethical reasons, not everyone uses iTunes.
      For ethical reasons, not everyone subscribes to heavily delayed streaming services.

      • “For ethicaltechnical (due to the last century copper lines) reasons, not everyone subscribes to heavily delayed streaming services.”

        There, fixed it… again.

  4. “In addition, many see Apple’s iTunes as an overly restrictive platform which only deploys content to PCs and Macs — but not to dedicated set-top boxes.”

    … er … except Apple’s dedicated set top box, the Apple TV. Which also happens to be one of the cheapest on the market at $109?

    • Yes and then if you want to watch it on the way to work because you don’t have time at home just spend another $600-$700 on an iPhone as that android phone you have over there can’t be used.

    • Also it doesn’t play on PCs and Macs; it plays in iTunes, Quicktime only on PCs and Macs (and iPhones and apple TVs).

      Why do I want yet another device when I have a perfectly capable PC setup connected to my TV?

      Sure; Game of Thrones is affordable with an iTunes pass; until you include the cost of the Apple TV which I only need to buy for Apple content. I guess I have to buy a Google-branded box when i want to buy google-exclusively DRMed-TVs and Movies on Google Play? And an Amazon branded box when they have their exclusive Amazon DRMed content?

      “just buy the 100 dollar box” is not a solution to: “I cant play it in the media player I have already”. Because there is a never ending stream of 100 dollar boxes, and price is a big deterrent to buying TV shows, spend more money is not a solution to it.

  5. Sigh well I have purchased GoT season pass on iTunes but will still be downloading it through other means.

    The reasons for this are numerous for one I want to watch it on my tv I do not have nor want an apple TV as I already have a device that can play media on my TV well 2 if you count that the smart tv can stream it too but neither will play iTunes content.
    So my only option is to plug in my laptop and play it through that which may seem fine but iTunes blacks out my second screen which means I can not use my laptop at the same time if I need or want to.
    the third reason is that when trying to download it on a number of occasions the iTunes server has been very busy causing what should be a 20 min download to take over 3 hours with bit torrent the opposite is true more people = faster download.

    So in conclusion I have paid for it but the pirates are much better at delivering the content.

    • Oh and one more thing the loophole that is being used this year so we can download it through iTunes and soon QuickFlix is being closed next year which means all this talk about paying for it is going to be moot next year as you will not be allowed to do it.

      So want to pay for it next year basic foxtel plus movies plus a 12 month contract = $840

      • This never got enough coverage when it came out – I wish more people would understand this.

        Next season – or any future seasons, or different shows – will NOT be on iTunes

        • Current sync download speed 3456 kbps.

          I should point out, I want to watch GoT, not own GoT.
          This is one of the biggest reasons I haven’t signed up for the iTunes release.
          I’ve gone through the collection phase, and realised I don’t re-watch 90% of the stuff I’ve bought. I’ve got enough DVDs on my shelves now, that I don’t need. I buy em at $24-30 each, and can only get $1 back on them at Cash Converters years later. Damn waste of money I can spend on things I really need.
          I need to rent GoT, but there is no rental option for just aired episodes, especially in HD.

          • But you are renting it when you get it from iTunes, you never own it, it’s all part of the Terms and Conditions!

          • iTunes only give me the “BUY EPISODE” or “BUY SEASON PASS”.

            There is no Rent option.

            If you see it differently, please link it here.

          • > There is no Rent option.

            You don’t get to own any content you download from iTunes. You pay your money to get the license to view / listen to that content. Now, the difference between being the owner and being liscensed to view is irrelevant to most people,and is seen as a technicality that has no effect on your usage.

            I can lend my DVDs to someone else. Can I (legally) do that with an iTunes copy ?
            I can sell my DVDs to someone else. Can I (legally) do that with an iTunes copy ?

            More importantly, content providers like Apple, Amazon etc are acting within their terms and conditions (which YOU agreed to !!) to revoke access to any content you have paid for. or even your entire account.
            “All the books on your Kindle are not yours. They belong to Amazon. All that cash you have paid was simply to access these books on your Kindle. You have not paid to own the books. If you want to own books, pay for physical printed books and get Amazon to send them to you by post.”

            BTW, I know the usgae patterns etc will differ, but read “what happens Pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy” for some (depressing) real world numbers that a game developer saw….


            PS I have illegally downloaded content (that I already have a legal copy of) to get it in a non DRM format. I have also broken the law by cracking DRM on content I am otherwise legally liscenced to use. In both cases, it has been for similar purposes to thsoe detailed further on in the comments section; i.e. to access content I have already paid for in a more convenient manner.

          • You kind of missed the point.
            I totally understand about the licensing conditions, and what that legally gives you access to, and the rights granted.

            I was actually looking for the difference between buying or renting, not owning or licensing.
            There is not rent option to the iTunes model with the GoT release.

            Paying $34 for a season pass to the whole season, which remains permanently mine to play as often as I want.
            Or paying say a half of that price, for the whole season to watch only once.

            I’d rather rent, as I have no need for watching a series again after having seen it once.

  6. the show’s creators aren’t worried, so I’ve no idea why the US ambassador has decided to comment……so long after the event.

    • Its obviously because the ambassador has an interest in HBO’s success.
      Maybe HBO are giving him a donation to help him make this statement… or the ambassador is looking to make friends. I guess the third likely possibility is that it helps the USA if we buy their shows.

  7. I agree with Ambassador Bleich on this one. I bought the show on iTunes ($34 for the whole series) and watch every Tuesday night with my kids. The fact that it is on on Sunday night in the USA doesn’t detract.
    There has always been this form of stealing – not paying on the bus or the train is similar, and I note they have a TV campaign against this on at the moment.

    If it’s just a few kids we can roll our eyes, but getting the reputation for being the worst in the World means it has gone too far. Unfortunately I can only see solutions like making it socially unacceptable working – just like smoking or drink driving.
    Prosecuting kids in high profile cases (destroying lives) is not the answer and only makes moderates like me oppose the industry that is trying to get us on side – for the right reasons!
    Great show by the way, and I for one am happy to pay for the value. Join me!

    • Are you sure its not against the Terms of Service to watch it with other people in the room…

  8. If there was an alternative to pirating Game of Thrones for me I would take it. For me, iTunes is not an alternative as we have no Apple devices in the house and now that my laptop has died, no way to connect a PC up to a TV. Foxtel is also out too, I’m not paying a huge amount a month for something I won’t watch 95% of. I sit happy in the knowledge that when the 3rd season is out on Blu-ray I will be buying that (like I did the two before), despite having a nice set of 720p TV rips I could watch any time.

    Be nice if there was a service that offered it that used DLNA, then I could just stream it directly to my TV, but not everyone has Smart TVs. Or better yet, without DRM but thats not going to happen.

      • Based on his comment I would say streamed to TV using DLNA from a PC, phone, Tablet, network drive or another device which uses DLNA.

      • It sounds like his computer, not his TV.

        His computer being one that doesn’t have an HDMI output I suspect.

      • Currently I watch it on my TV streamed using DLNA from Serviio on my PC, or streamed from my Android phone using DLNA.

        It doesn’t help that my internet at home is so stuffed and slow that to download one episode there takes an entire day of downloading which cripples the internet for everyone else. Thats another story (yay Telstra copper).

  9. Hey Jeffrey, I’d stop downloading if I could, except I aren’t. Downloading it that is.
    Nor could I download it at a reasonable rate with my crap internet connection.

    I’ll wait for the Blu-ray release thanks, meanwhile all of Australia has seen it before me, along with all the U.S.

    “One episode was illegally downloaded about 4,280,000 times ”
    And Jeffery, you forgot to take into account the amount of sharing that occurs between people with this sort of program off-line. The number of people who download it, and then share it at work can potentially quadruple this number.

    • It’s actually awesome having a whole season to watch on Blu-Ray at once. Not only do you get the very best picture quality (by a big margin thanks to Blu-Ray’s low compression) lossless 7.1 sound, and extra features, but given the immersive world and intense cliffhangers, GoT is a hard show to just watch one episode and be satisfied. Watching at least 4 episodes back to back p (or even the whole season if you have the stamina) is a real treat, as long as you can manage to avoid spoilers up until its available anyway!

      I’ll pick up the Blu-Ray of Season 3 as soon as it is released like I have the previous two seasons. For now I’ll continue to pirate the show though , as I can’t justify buying the series twice. Sure it’s a lame reason technically, but I can’t help myself as I’m a genuine GoT addict and need my weekly fix (and I know they’ll get my money in the end).

  10. It’s good to see the American government knows who their bosses are, protecting their vested interests and super-rich corporates. Not quite sure how this helps actual american citizens though? (Other than a minuscule part of a percent)

    Can someone remind me how the Free Trade Agreement with the USA is any advantage to Australian citizens?

    BTW – not pirating it, nor even watching. I bought the first series on release on Bluray but I find it too slow and often dull.

    • Yeah me too I’ve seen 1 ep of it and do have it on foxtel
      After seeing 1 ep put it in the don’t bother category.

  11. People pirate because the torrent sites provide a better service than the legal alternatives.

    I don’t want Foxtel. I’m not going to pay for a subscription just to watch GoT.

    I absolutely hate iTunes with a passion. It is bloated and has been known to have problems with libraries that are spread out over a home network. I have no Apple devices precisely because they force you to use iTunes. If I were to install iTunes just to buy GoT I would only be able to watch it at home.

    With torrents I can get whatever I want faster, DRM free, and typically at better quality. I can then watch/listen on my main PC at home, my Media Centre PC, my Laptop, my Android phone, or my Android tablet.

    And $3.50 per episode? At 12 episodes per season that’s $42 for the season. The DVD costs $56 and includes the following:

    **Special Features**
    12 Episode Commentaries with Cast & Crew
    Behind The Scenes Segment
    Game of Thrones Inner Circle: Get Acquainted With The Characters
    Episode Previews & Recaps
    The Religions of Westeros
    Character Profiles
    Season 1 Recap

    **Bonus Disc with exclusive content includes**
    George R.R Martin Explaining The War On Westeros
    The Visual Effects Behind Game of Thrones
    An Invitation To The Set
    Making Of: Weapons & Art Direction
    Arya Star’s New Look

    That’s a whole lot more additional content for $14. You could argue that the DVD price represents great value but you could also argue that the iTunes price is way overpriced.

    What I want is simple. DRM free, high quality, fast download, reasonable price (for me, that’s up to $2 per episode, but I accept that studios are free to set their own price). Until the studios/TV networks start offering what I and many other people want I will continue to use the superior services of torrents.

    Having said all that, I typically buy the DVD/BluRay versions of TV shows and movies I really enjoy when they become available. I would stop buying the DVD/BluRay version if I was paying per episode and I suspect many other’s would too.

    • Actually, iTunes does per season prices too. It’s about $33 for a whole season of GoT, I think.

      You’re right about the extras (lack thereof) though. For season 2 on iTunes, the only extra I got was a recap of Season 1!

  12. I have a foxtel sub, it’s an obscene amount each month; I do watch a few different series, so I justify it and for all the abuse hurled at foxtel, they have gotten a little better at timely release of the always vaunted “exclusive” content.

    But do understand they’re making a killing. It’s a captive market still (although FetchTV is coming along well) and as such it’s theirs to control.

    But not everyone is going to spend $80+ a month just for a couple TV shows. Renai, fundamentally, the issue isn’t even really the cost. It’s the distribution method.

    Sadly the ‘alternative’ methods available are often superior to the official channels. There are solutions to track TV shows, schedule content and so forth. It’s become laughably simple. Meanwhile, the legitimate channels are seldom known, complicated by DRM restrictions and often require investment in hardware.

    A smart person might look at why those offerings are working out so much better for people; you’re never going to see DRM die in content distribution; but you can make it as painless as possible. There are some lessons there to learn.

    And for the love of cthulhu, why aren’t content owners spruiking the Apple Store, HULU and any other alternative to PayTV that has legitimate, timely releases?

    So many people don’t know there are now a few different options. It’s ridiculous.

    AppleTV and iTunes is great. But someone who comes up with a box, that uses DLNA (something most TVs manufactured in the last 4-5 years can handle) has a single click interface to book entire shows and what not and you’re going to change the landscape.

    Again, Foxtel is starting to do some of this, but pricing is obnoxious, and it’s all on top of the existing subscription. It can get very very expensive. That isn’t going to win over people.

    You’ll never stop a section of the community whom feel everything should be free. But there are still a lot of hoops people often need to jump through. And given the tradition that Australian viewers often wait months before stuff become available isn’t helped when content owners refuse to recognise channels such as Apple, and others.

    There’s a bunch of stuff the content owners could learn, and maybe they would if they stopped yapping, and just started listening.

  13. Wouldn’t touch Foxtel or Apple services with a 40 ft pole & my crappy connection would take days to download an episode so GOT is safe from piracy here!

  14. I don’t watch TV, and I don’t want to give Apple 30% of whatever I’m spending on my content.

    Just to clarify something in this article, copying someone’s content is not stealing, no matter how often people claim it is. Theft involves removing the access to something from its owner, and copying something digital most definitely does not do that.

    More importantly, while I would be heartbroken if all those poor artists, actors, dolly grips and leading hands lost their jobs in reality the people who have most to lose are shareholders in large content-owning companies. I don’t see anyone losing a job if I happen to copy Mickey Mouse’s first movie, but it is still under copyright! This whole idea that IP laws are about protecting downtrodden creators is crap, and the fact that US ambassadors are spouting such rubbish on behest of their owners is proof – the US has never protected the underdog.

    Finally, how much does the US customer pay for their weekly Game of Thrones fix? If it’s less than the Australian customer is being bled, then I see yet another justification for copyright infringement (not theft). Companies that use price discrimination disgust me, and I am sure I have heard similar sentiments not too long ago from the author of this post. It may not justify copyright infringement, but it goes a long way to explaining it.

    • Some revolutionary thinking there. The old guard is still fighting very hard to maintain the status quo though.

    • Yawn.

      Semantic arguments and excuses about big government and the evils of shareholders aside, is it really that outrageous to pay $3.49 to the company who spends millions producing a show that you obviously enjoy?


      • Personally, its not a bad price for a show you enjoy. The alternative of $80+ to watch it on Foxtel isnt a satisfactory answer to plenty. Thats only part of the issue though. How do you get that $3.49 copy from iTunes to your main display?

        Not everybody has a smart TV. Not everybody has the option of connecting their PC to their TV. Its not necessarily easy to get that copy to the prefered display option.

        For me personally, I’d need to download the episode twice. Once on my main PC where I store all my media, and a second time on the computer hooked to my TV. Not necessarily a biggie to me personally (storage space issues on that 2nd PC aside), but annoying nonetheless.

        If someone disagrees with the morals of downloading, thats fine, its their choice. But to ignore that there ARE reasons it happens is delusional, and arrogant. For me, its a step in the right direction, but one step isnt going to undo a decade or more of distrust towards the studios.

        • “Not everybody has a smart TV.”
          Get an Apple TV. $109. Problem solved. We watch iview pretty much every night now as a family on the big screen. Best hungy you’ll ever spend.

          “But to ignore that there ARE reasons it happens is delusional, and arrogant. ”
          And infringing copyright when there ARE easy to use, cheap, timely, legal alternatives isn’t arrogant?

          I agree that for what should be a TINY minority of people who refuse to use itunes because they have some home brew linux setup that is made of spiderwebs and magic that will fall apart if the word itunes is even whispered in proximity then itunes isn’t an option (that is there choice).

          But I can guarantee you that of the hundreds of thousands of torrents in Australia, more than 90% of them would have itunes installed on a PC/Mac in their house, and would be able to pay the $3.49 if they could have been arsed.

          • “Get an Apple TV. $109. Problem solved.”

            Oh, God, don’t suggest that people spend money to solve their problems. I suggested this last time GoT was discussed on Delimiter and got shouted down.

          • Yeah I bought a Smart TV so I don’t have to spend more money on additional little boxes it plays iView streams from media servers bigpond movies quickflix so on and so forth I also bought a Roku for its large range of unique channels over 600 of streaming goodness and to test it out for $50 it is really good and now I need to buy another little box to play iTunes I am already out of HDMI ports.

          • Why do I need an apple TV? Seriously, why? I have a 55″ 3D plasma, networked to my PC, I shouldnt NEED to buy a freaking apple TV. It should be as simple as my TV recognising iTunes, same as it does with Windows Media Player, and I should be able to access my library directly.

            But you cant. You need to buy another device for the sole purpose of accessing what you should be able to already access. Why is that right? I have my TV connected to my network, two media TV boxes that I already dont use, and a playstation that I also dont use to stream.

            In the bedroom I have my TV hooked up as a duplicated screen, so can stream no problems, but its beyond a joke to expect yet another device that serves no more purpose than to give money to apple. Not in this day and age when we should be able to sync directly.

            For the record, my DVD and blu ray collection, while not the biggest one out there, is insured for $35,000. I’m not someone that downloads just to get something for free.

          • You seem to have an awesome setup, yet I suspect I can do many things with my ancient Win7 media centre box plugged into my TV (it sits under the TV cabinet) that you can’t do with your setup.

            What’s so hard about buying a cheap-ass low-power PC and hooking it up to your TV? I’ve had that for a decade now.

          • There’s nothing wrong at all with doing that Renai, but the point is that the setup shouldnt NEED anything more plugged in or bought.

            Apple has control of what I actually think is a great service with iTunes, but then goes out of their way to make the use annoying. Yes, you can sync other PC’s to your library, but you cant stream to your TV? Not right.

            For me, I dont want a PC taking up space in the lounge, and in this day and age it shouldnt be needed. We’ve gone so far towards making one PC the central hub to a home network, its alien and a step backwards to then have to rely on an extra device for really just one service.

          • Let’s be fair dinkum. The simple fact is, even if it was delivered to most copyright infringer’s front doors by a blonde with a bluray disk in her cleavage for $10, they would refuse to pay because they only like brunettes or ultra high def (or Betamax if they are fixie riding hipsters).

            Copyright infringers should be honest and say they would rather pirate it than pay $3.49 for it, because they are tight. Don’t spin stories about these highly complex systems with more computer power than a Mars Rover that they cant even hookup to their TV.

          • Bull crap
            In this country we pay $15 for a streaming service which has no good content and poor compression in the USA it is $7.99 and has far better content which is mostly in good quality HD and soon Super HD!
            To watch the movies which are $7.99 a month here we need to pay $3-$7 per movie and $2-$4 per episode for TV shows.
            So want to watch a few things we are paying ~$50 a month or more PLUS we need to upgrade our internet package to account for all the extra data and if you are stuck with Telstra wholesale you could have to fork out an extra $50 a month on that.

            So there we are $100 a month MORE for less content

            And for the record I have paid for all previous seasons when they came out on BluRay and have purchased it on iTunes but due to restrictive DRM and a very poor user experience that is iTunes will not download it from iTunes

          • Bullcrap yourself, sir.

            GOT (which this article is about!) is available on itunes in 1080p for $3.49.

            Have you paid the measly $3.49?

            Didn’t think so.

          • I have PAID I said I did WTF do you want a link to the email sent out last tuesday at ~2am saying it is ready for download or the receipt with appropriate details blanked out?

          • AJ – why are you obsfucating about low quality and high costs, if by your own admission and evidence you paid $3.49 (cheap) and got 1080p (highest quality)!!!!
            P.S. Nice work on paying.

          • If I download it on iTunes I can’t play it on my phone tablet TV and if I plug my laptop into the TV iTunes BLACKS OUT my laptop screen so I can not use my laptop if I need or want to use it.

            Also $13.96 a month is not cheap it is TWICE the cost of a streaming service in the USA if I want to watch more than one tv series or a movie then it adds up very very quickly.

            The reason I purchased it on this occasion is that I want to reward them for actually doing something this does not mean that I think this model is Good or workable long term when in the USA you can get content for Much much cheaper.

          • +1

            I don’t have a problem with people pirating per se, as I also believe the content owners could do more to make their content available in a better format (the Steam model). However, what I do have a problem with is people coming up with complex technical excuses for why they can’t hook up their PC to their TV to watch stuff from platforms like iTunes … something I have been doing personally for a decade now. Wanna be a cheapskate and pirate? Fine by me. Is there some technical reason why that’s justifiable? No.

          • Well said. So true. The vast majority of people justify piracy with bogus excuses, which is disappointing. They should look at the bigger picture and realise that quality content costs a lot to produce — and if they want more of the quality content, they should put money back into the production ecosystem.

          • So there is one point of view, and only one point of view? You’re spouting as big an absolute as anything else said in this thread.

            Go read my posts. Go on, off you go. Have a look at everything I’ve said I have. I have a $6000 setup, with a 55″ TV and a 7.2 surround sound. I have a disc collection insured for $30,000. I have Foxtel. I also subscribe to several other services for other shows I cant get here. Are those the sort of items someone who downloads just to get something for free has? Oh, and because everyone seems to have missed it, I also actually have a PC (actually a Mac Mini) plugged in to that setup.

            I’ve spent plenty of money building that up, and a considerable amount of time setting it up how I want. So, because of ONE company I have to upset that? Renai posts that there is no valid technical reason you cant set up a media PC. He’s right, there isnt. But there is also no valid reason I shouldnt be able to stream directly from my main PC to the loungeroom.

            Just out of curiosity, why do you think I actually pirate anyway? My issue isnt with piracy, its with the walled garden apple demands when there is no need. Its just as ridiculous as justifying piracy by claiming its not stealing.

          • Why does it matter how much you have spent on your l33t system?

            Pay the creators a few lousy dollars (I’m sure you have a device capable of running itunes since you sound very technical), and then torrent it to whatever you like in addition to that.

            You get what you want, and then creators get some cash for their effort.

            Is that so hard?

            Or do you simply REFUSE to essentially make a donation?

          • So I’m guessing you dont actually read the comments you reply to. Good to know for future reference.

            I mention my setup to try and get it through that I’m not a sponge that downloads shows because I’m too scabby to pay for something. I’m not, and it should be clear to even you that I’m not. I’ve built a good setup to access the great library of shows I own.

            As I’ve said more than once (try reading my first response to you), I think its great that iTunes offers GoT for $3.50, or $40 for a season, or whatever it is. Seriously, its a great move forwards.

            But that doesnt mean I think it should stop there. There is no techical reason I should need to add another device to my TV, its clearly possible for software to connect to the device and let me stream – Windows Media player does it, as does Vuze, both of which appear with a simple click of a button on the TV remote.

            So why cant iTunes? If I could do that without needing to add yet another device to whats already a busy setup, then I would use it far more. But instead I either need to go buy an apple TV box JUST TO USE ITUNES, or go through the process of setting up another PC and iTunes JUST TO USE ITUNES.

            Its having to do this JUST TO USE ITUNES that I disagree with. It shouldnt need to be done.

  15. “of just over 22 million people”

    HUH? We passed 23 million citizens mark as of two weeks ago I believe

    anyway… If FTA networks, stopped running 90 yo repeats or doubling shows on their secondary digital chans, and used it for extra content, piracy might reduce a bit.

    still most people today are waiting far far far longer than rest of the world to see popular US and EU hit shows, especially those not on subscription TV – WTF should Murdoch get richer just so we can see what the yanks see on FTA, hours later, and this hours later crap is on so few shows it is still a joke, fix it, piracy might reduce considerably more.

    Then as others have mentioned there’s the medium and fair cost access, where Australians are deliberately ripped off considerable more than the US or EU, fix that, piracy reduced to a trickle.

    • Whilst I agree, there are two problems.
      Our FTA networks probably couldn’t afford the series.
      And, it would be censored too much to make it worthwhile.

    • Wrong! So very wrong! We passed 23 million ONE week ago. Sheesh, get your facts right :)

  16. “Just days after it aired in the US, local pay TV giant Foxtel already started airing the new Games of Thrones episode in Australia.”

    When it only takes 150 ms to send a message, why does it take days for it to get here ?

    How about Fair, Resonable And Non-Descriminatory (FRAND) releases ?

    Dont discriminate on price.
    Dont discriminate on release date.
    Dont discriminate on quality

    If they have a reasonable price, but its still released after the pirate copies, and at the same quality then they are still arent really trying to win.

    The studios could end piracy overnight if they wanted to by giving consumers something they want to pay for, but they are trying to have their cake an eat it too, they want to do delayed releases to milk money from the broadcasting industry. They are choosing to give pirates a market.

  17. $3.50/episode is perhaps not ‘cheap’. For a full-length season, rather than a 10 episode one, that’s more expensive than Bluray, for (arguably) lesser quality.

    I personally know people who won’t be paying for the show until there’s a collector’s edition version available on bluray. Yeah, those thieving jerks, how dare they not pay for a show multiple times.

    • no itunes for me, it simply is not, and will not be in any forseeable future, available for my operating system
      I am winblows and apple trees free

      When itunes supports Linux I’ll be happy to sign up to buy episodes, and by the time apple support non win and non apples, the price just might even be right.

  18. I went out and brought The Hobbit the other day on Blu-Ray and it appears these content producers still don’t get it. With this disk which I physically walked into a shop and purchased they included an “Ultraviolet” code. Which was new… so I looked at the fine print. Seems that what they think I want as a purchaser of their $25 blu-ray is a DRM laden SD copy of my newly purchased movie which I can play on most devices.

    The much praised iTunes version? A 1080p copy would cost me $30 which would include DRM that is as restrictive as what people are saying above. And they wonder why people pirate their stuff…..

    • ……. compare that to what happens when I want to buy music from one of many smallish artists. I’ll find them on the internet somewhere, I’ll queue their stuff on spotify. If I like it I might google them to find out more and be directed to their label’s shop. A shop which will almost always be cheaper than iTunes. Many of these shops will not only ship your their CD/Vinyl if you want it but will also throw in a digital copy for nothing with that physical purchase. DRM free, almost always 320kbps, instantly.

      Why is it that an artist like Deerhoof has a better system worked out than video content owners? Why can’t HBO do something similar? Set up a lower quality ad supported streaming platform. Improve the quality with subscription. Let people buy directly from them a physical copy if they want but also give them a very high quality non-DRMed copy with it. Is that too much to want? Otherwise the closest option to that is to pirate it and then if you like it wait for the disk….

      • +1

        Its taken the music industry 10 years to get to this point though. They killed off Napster, only to gift the download industry to Apple. Its taken until Spotify to get a practical alternative in place.

        The video industry is basically at a similar point to when iTunes first started. There are some decent options, but its alien to whats happened before, and needing to break a few habits down before it will work.

        Then add in that the decent options are blocked in various places (Hulu, etc) and the prevailing attitude towards the consumer appears to be to bleed them as much as possible. A belief that needs to be shown to be false by giving real options, not half hearted ones that dont do the whole job.

        This step with GoT is a good one, but its far from the last one needed.

    • Thanks genius. I’m sure that really upset the one Delimiter reader here yet to see the show (whoever they are). Regardless, posting spoilers is a bit childish and thoughtless, no?

      • I did think of that .. after I hit post. No edit button unfortunately. :(

        In hindsight though, if you still haven’t watched Season 1 and are reading articles on Season 3 ..


      • I still havent gotten around to watching it…

        Will one day, just so many other discs to watch.

        • I was just joshing anyway. Florian Mueller ends up surviving and has up reeked more havoc on the world since.

    • Yeah, sorry — that comic strip is no longer relevant, given the current situation with iTunes. It was amusing at the time, of course, and I do love me some The Oatmeal.

      • Will be relevant again next season since Foxtel will have closed the loophole by then meaning the only way is with foxtel.

  19. This just shows how the US state department ruthlessly works for the interests of Big Business, whether US oil companies in Iraq or media conglomerates such as HBO. Perhaps the new US military base in Darwin will be used to thuggishly impose our subservience to their business interests. Given US persecution of wiki leaks and Jullian Assange and whistleblower Pvt Bradley Manning, I would worry about their potential actions.

  20. As Martin pointed out on Twitter at the time. It’s not illegal in Australia, and it’s certainly not stealing.

    I agree with Bleich, you should buy it, but he needs to get his story straight and stop with the hyperbole.

  21. I am getting a bit sick of the comments about buying Apple TV, many of us have setups we like already that we have spent money on already. Apple doesnt need another 100 mill! If the content industry wants my money then all they need to do is provide a device blind distribution method at a fair price.

    I will buy S3 on disc like I did with the pr previous two but I absolutely refuse to rearrange my entire media setup for, and lets not forget this, just one show that the benelovent media gods have blessed us with.

    This is like getting worked up over a kid who put their pinky in the pool and declared “look I’m swimming”.

      • I have two rasberry pi devices hooked up to the spare TVs served from a FreeNAS.. Well … NAS :), I also have the main tv hooked up to a media centre that I built myself that is running openelec.

      • I have two rasberry pi devices hooked up to the spare TVs served from a FreeNAS that I have setup to automatically download my shows off peak, I also have the main tv hooked up to a media centre that I built myself that is running openelec.

  22. F&%k them, i hate Apple and Foxtel, why would i line their pockets??

    Show me how to directly contribute to the makers of the series and any other series i enjoy and ill donate, but i refuse to be part of anything Apple or Foxtel has their greedy overcharging hands on.

    Ill be continuing to pirate, it will be part of my collection along with my 3000+ movie and + 3000 tv episodes.

  23. Unfortunately some of the fundamental assumptions made here are suspect.

    1) GoT isn’t just profitable, it is one of the most successful TV shows in history. Instead of proving an example where everyone pirates it instead of watching it ‘legitimately’ how about the opposite? If eveyone watches it legitimately and there’s no piracy, how many of those pirate viewers will translate into legitimate consumers? Let’s be unrealistically optimistic and say 4 million. How many of those were pirating and then buying legitimate copies as well, such as full season blue ray? Let’s say none – we’ve got 4 million new legitimate viewers we didn’t have previously.

    What is the impact on the show? Does it save it from being cancelled? No, it was in no danger of that anyway. Do the artists and crew get more money? No, they are paid a fixed amount. Only the rights holder and distributors make more monly as a result of increased sales.

    So the result of not only eliminating piracy but translating those people directly into paying customers will not really change anything – it will simply make a few rich companies and individuals richer than they are already. Potentially at the cost of reduced word of mouth and cultural discussion, which it enjoys as a direct result of this pirating behaviour.

    2) Of those 4+ million downloads, it disingenuous to suggest that all of those people have only watched GoT illegally. Many of them would have paid for the content in various ways and downloaded it illegally to watch it sooner / more conveniently / on more devices with greater flexibility.

    3) It is disingenuous to suggest that you could translate that 4+ million illegal downloads into legitimate purchases. The problem is the distribution model is flawed, which is a major reason for the pirating in the first place. If you could distribute it to all regions at the same time, at the same price, in the same quality, with no restrictive DRM limiting how people can watch it on what devices, then we’d be having quite a different discussion. But until you can provide this you have no chance of competing with the piracy distribution model.

    Here’s a couple of personal examples. I used to watch Dexter. We watched the entire first season on FTA TV. By season 2 the channel started screwing around with the timeslot by the third episode, even changing it without notice on several occasions. At that point I needed to download an episode so we could catch up, and discovered that the download was much higher quality than it was broadcast at here. The following week the timeslot was changed again and I was done – we downloaded the rest of season 2, then season 3 months before it was broadcast here.

    And here’s where these stats don’t add up – I downloaded season 4 of Dexter right after it was broadcast in the US, but I’ve never watched it. According to piracy statistics I would be considered to have illegally consumed content I would have otherwise ‘paid for’ (or at least watched via a legitimate distribution medium). But if I’d had to pay for it, I wouldn’t have bothered. If I’d had to watch it on FTA TV at the low quality it is broadcast at, I wouldn’t have bothered (once I’d seen it in HD). If I’d had to play last minute EPG lookup bingo just to figure out when it was on week to week, I wouldn’t have bothered. As it is, I ended up downloading a whole season I haven’t even watched, something I expect happens a fair bit when the content is ‘free’ via piracy.

    We also started watching the Good Wife on FTA TV, but started downloading it after program delays and realising that it’s broadcast in 1984 quality here. Again, it’s a good show, we enjoy watching it, but not so much that we would bother if we had to pay a subscription or were limited to the abysmal quality it is broadcast at here.

    Piracy numbers do not correlate to legitimate purchase numbers if the piracy option were removed. Drawing such a conclusion is flawed logic and no less than deliberately misleading, a tactic I have zero respect for.

    4) Yes, stealing is stealing. But copyright infringement isn’t stealing – you don’t deprive anyone of the use or ownership of something by copying it. In fact, there’s a very great deal to be said for the positive impact on technogical innovation of IP infringement – although that’s admittedly beyond the scope of this discussion, it is an important consideration to realise that IP infringement isn’t just not inherently ‘evil’, but in fact there are a number of very convincing arguments for the positive benefits to society as a whole resulting from it.

    But I digress – IP infringement isn’t theft, and such a comparison is (again) unhelpfully misleading (deliberately so).

    I will finish by saying I am not fundamentally opposed to the idea of people being remunerated for their creative endeavours – far from it. But this discussion often hides behind that accusation when in reality it is rarely in danger. Even small productions benefit from widescale piracy through word of mouth far greater than any advertising campaign they could have afforded, eventuating in demand for legitimate distribution and sometimes even being picked up and remade by a major production company.

    Until such time as those lambasting piracy start being honest about it, drop the dishonest hyperbole and start addressing the problem with compelling alternatives that actually come some way to meeting the piracy distribution and consumption models, I will have nothing but disdain for their flawed logic and transparently dishonest arguments.

    Here’s a parting thought – why not try telling the public that any increased sales resulting from lower piracy (maybe compared with previous seasons) will be divided directly between those who are working on the production, from actors to writers and crew – everyone gets an equal percentage share of the extra money. I think I would actually pay for a show I didn’t even watch if someone did that.

    • “4) Yes, stealing is stealing. But copyright infringement isn’t stealing – you don’t deprive anyone of the use or ownership of something by copying it.”

      Stop trying to obsfucate. Correct – copyright infringement isn’t stealing, but neither is murder, and both are illegal and subject to heavy penalties.

      If you infringe copyright, you are breaking the law. No two ways about it.

    • In fact, for every wanna be script kiddie who thinks he is sticking it to the man by pirating….

      You pay an ISP for your broadband, so you’ve got access to the content.
      You pay Apple or IBM or MS or nameless Chinese and US companies for the hardare and software you use to download and play the stuff you’re stealing.
      and you pay NOTHING to the people who create it ?

      from the link above:

      This is a bit of hyperbole to emphasize the point. But it’s as if:
      Networks: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!
      Hardware: Giant mega corporations.Cool! have some money!
      Artists: 99.9 % lower middle class.Screw you, you greedy bastards!

      Congratulations, your generation is the first generation in history to rebel by unsticking it to the man and instead sticking it to the weirdo freak musicians!

      • What disingenuous twaddle. Artists get SFA of record sales – if artists were remunerated more fairly I think you’d find a lot of people stop pirating because that has been a huge justification for music piracy over the years. The same for the movie and TV industries – while A-list actors, Directors and some writers get paid a lot, most staff and crew get a modest salary for their work and benefit not at all from increased sales beyond job security.

        As I (and many, many other commenters on the topic) have said, there are a host of arguments for the prevalence of piracy, and I would say the ‘free vs reasonable price’ is least among them for most people. Sure, there are those who would always pirate everything, but the majority of people who pirate content can afford to pay for it and even do so a lot of the time – it’s just a fact that piracy as a distribution model remains simpler and provides a better experience than most of the paid alternatives at this stage.

        When content publishers and distributors decide to provide compelling, unrestrictive alternatives to piracy, then you can start looking at piracy numbers and claiming that those are people dedicated to obtaining content for free no matter what. But that day remains a long way off, and you can’t blame the pirates for that.

        • If a vagrant who can’t read or write decides that it’s easier to break into your house and steal you telly rather than try and fill out 10 forms to get the dole from Centrelink, does that make the crime OK?

          By your logic it does. Centrelink have made it hard to get the money, and he doesn’t have a bank account, he just wants it in cash.

          Copyright Infringement, as much as you try to justify it by blaming everybody else under the sun, is illegal.

          In Australia we have this thing called rule of law. You don’t get to decide which laws apply to you.

          End. Of. Story.

          • Actually by “human law” none of their laws apply to us, it’s only under “maritime law” that their so called laws apply if you let them.. Personally i dont give a shit about their laws because they simply dont apply. But feel free to live by someone elses rules, and good luck with ti.

  24. These options are still not viable.

    Foxtel for me would cost $72 per month and with 4 episodes released a month, it would cost me $18 per episode. Not very cheap IMO. Consider Foxtel has a 12 month contract, and game of thrones releases a season (roughly) each year, the cost increases dramatically. it would cost me $864 per season, or $86.40 per episode.

    I can’t install iTunes since Apple doesn’t support my platform.

      • The platform is Ubuntu.

        If the USA/MediaMafia wants me to pay for a subscription to a professional TV/Movie service, I expect they make the service available to me, i.e. iTunes will need to be available as a native Linux application, made by Apple, before it becomes a viable option for me.

        This is what this whole (piracy & GoT) problem was started over. No viable availability in a reasonable time, price and format.

        • Double Post, sorry.

          I wanted to add that I think the price is very affordable and the time it is released is up to a digital age standard, but the format (i.e. the application needed) is not there yet.

  25. So is it still unethical for me to “pirate” Game of Thrones with a Foxtel subscription so I can have it in a timely convenient format that I can watch at my leisure? Yes I have IQ but IQ does not stream to my Xbox or play friendly with my NAS

    • Not unethical but illegal.

      It’s an intriguing age where we can copy each others DNA (what we are) and share that, we can track and aggregate peoples actions on the internet (what we do) and share that (without protection), but apparently sharing entertainment that someone else created is illegal. Oddly enough that in the middle ages this was quite okay. Think Shakespeare etc.

      The laws will change one day. Europe is making some attempts in this department with gaming content (which surpassed video entertainment 2 years ago I think).

  26. Dear US diplomats,

    Please explain US media company double and triple charging .

    Yours sincerely,

    Ripped off Australian public not caring about your complaining about being ripped off.

  27. Have you done the maths on this one BEFORE you published?

    In any “season” a show can have 20+episodes at $3.50 (supposedly a trivial amount) works out to be about $70 for the season WOW AWESOME VALUE Why didn’t you tell me I only had to pay double for getting the show early….

    The complete season on DVD would be what $40

    The cost of downloading it free, watching it when you want, where you want, and not having to wait “days” not to mention we get to avoid the regular advertising barrage every 3 mins

    We want to download movies, and music what ever we want we are sick of outdated company structures limiting our experiences.

    I am sick of media moguls here blocking internet movie sites like Netflix, and even if we could get netflix until the NBN is built most citizens cant stream movies because our speeds and pricing is based on your “speed” which you never “really” get anyway.

    You should take it as a compliment, people only ever steal the things they like, I would take it as a compliment, but then anything I create is shared under a share alike unlimited license I want to be famous not rich!

    P.S I never could get into this show, so no great loss if you cancel it my end.

    • if you wish to, you CAN get access to Netflix, legally and easily, in Australia, just by using unblock-us, or a multitude of similar sites (google netflixaustralianow for example).
      however, Game of Thrones may never be available on Netflix (or iTunes in future), because HBO Go is pushing their own Premium Cable subscription channels to maximise profits prior to wider release.

  28. tl;dr
    1) I disagree – circumventing the geotard rmodel as you suggest IS illegal, because different peopl have the distribution rights here and in the US (and Europe and different parts of Asia etc). Remember that either someone has paid the content owner (be that HBO, AMC, Comedy central..) cash money for the download rights for the show in Australia OR the content owner is waiting for someone to pay cash money for the download rights for the show in Australia. So when you circumvent their restrictions, you are breaking copyright law, because you are getting the content from the wrong place (or more importantly the wrong rights holder). Which leads to the STUPID situation where there’s no point (legally) in paying (via a US credit card) for premium content (like House of Cards) . Unfortunately, this is illegal as well, because while you ARE paying for the content you’re paying the WRONG PERSON !!!

    2) I agree – the business and distribution model is so FUBAR, it’s pointless talking about the ethics; Just don’t download stuff for free, OR play the odds and hope you’re not the 1 in 10,000 (wild arse guess) who gets prosecuted / busted. To give you an example of how easy it is to circumvent, download (FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY) the Media Hint extension for firefox or chrome and unpack and examine the code.

  29. Most people who download (or at least most people I know) download for simplicity. Downloading each episode to watch and then buying the blurays once it’s finished is how most people roll. I have seasons 1 + 2 blu rays and I will buy the third one once it’s out. Not everyone has foxtel nor does everyone want foxtel, not everyone has iTunes nor does everyone want iTunes.

    • Even some who wouldnt mind using itunes but cant, might, if they could. IOW, how about the U.S. ambassador pressure Apple to support Linux and other operating systems, also pressure them to release the stranglehold on formats, if ppl have choice at a fair price, IOW not charge aussies 50% more through itunes than the rest of teh world, then even more of problem gone

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