Season Seven of Game of Thrones premiered last week, followed closely by a horde of illegal downloaders pirating the first episode.
In fact, HBO’s wildly successful television series holds the record as the most illegally downloaded show.
But why is this?
The answer could lie in the fact that it costs real money. The only access Australians have to it is through Foxtel streaming; a service that costs a lot more than Stan and Netflix combined. This makes illegal downloads a more attractive option.
Much like the season six release in 2016, HBO has continued to work alongside their anti-piracy partner IP Echelon to attempt to hold pirates accountable for their downloading.
The Game of Thrones franchise is booming. What the public spend on figurines and posters, they save on illegal downloads. (Photo: Elena Webster)
The successful six years of illegal downloads have desensitised pirates to the possible dangers of the online illicit activity.
The Dallas Buyer’s Club debacle has also added to Australians and their confidence in a lack of repercussions. Australians who illegally downloaded that film were targeted by authorities and were then sued by DBC LLC, the company that owns the rights to Dallas Buyer’s Club. The targeted pirates had a reprieve when prosecutors eventually dropped the case.
A local Melburnian, pop-culture enthusiast who did not want to be named, says “It’s funny because things like manga and stuff like that isn’t affected at all…it’s available for free. So I think they’ve just got a really outdated mentality towards how it works, and if they’d offer a proper service then they wouldn’t have a problem with piracy.” He says that streaming is cheaper in other countries than in Australia, referring to our country as a “trapped bird in a cage”.
“They need to get their head around that and start offering a real service at a real price that’s comparable to America and the rest of the world.”
Those who have downloaded the recent episodes of Game of Thrones, in particular, the first episode of season seven, may soon find a letter in their mailbox from HBO’S anti-piracy partner.
HBO makes no mention of legal action against pirates. The correspondence to Australians will merely contain a warning and highlight the legal alternative to watching the show.