‘Game of Thrones’ piracy comment rejected by HBO

Feb. 27, 2013 | 1:26 p.m.
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Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, who embraced her role as the "Mother of Dragons" at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Lena Headey returns as Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, attempting to maintain control of the Seven Kingdoms with her psychotic son, Joffrey, and her controlling father. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister, last seen being escorted to King's Landing by Brienne of Tarth to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa Stark. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) managed to repel Stannis Baratheon's invading forces from King's Landing at the end of last season, but he was rewarded with the loss of his title (King's Hand) and a scar on his face. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the Lannister family, who returned to King's Landing to relieve his son, Tyrion, from his role as the King's Hand. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Michelle Fairley plays Catelyn Stark, who is attempting to keep her children safe. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Robb Stark (Richard Madden) ended last season by breaking his engagement to Lord Walder Frey's daughter and marrying Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) instead. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, who was promised to the psychotic King Joffrey, but managed to avoid marriage. However, so long as she remains in King's Landing, she's in danger. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow, the Night's Watch soldier who has been captured by the Wildlings north of the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark, who learned of a secret organization known as the Faceless Men at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Isaac Hempstead-Wright plays Bran Stark, who has begun a trek north to the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Jojen Reed, brother of Meera Reed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Ellie Kendrick plays Meera Reed, who will assist Bran Stark on his journey. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Rose Leslie plays the Wildling warrior Ygritte, who has her eye on Jon Snow. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Stephen Dillane plays Stannis Baratheon, who still lusts after the Iron Throne, even though his assault on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Carice van Houten plays the red priestess Melisandre, who continues to advise Stannis Baratheon, even though his attack on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Natalie Dormer plays Lady Margaery Tyrell, the new lady love of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Ciaran Hinds joins the cast as Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall" and leader of the Wildlings. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Diana Rigg joins the cast as Lady Olenna Redwyne, also known as the Queen of Thorns. She's the grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell and a scheming force to be reckoned with. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Richard Dormer plays Beric Dondarrion, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood Without Banners, which is introduced in the third season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Paul Kaye joins the cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest who worships the same deity as Melisandre, who also serves as an adviser to Beric Dondarrion. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, the female knight tasked with escorting Jaime Lannister to King's Landing. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Clive Russell joins the cast as Brynden Tully, also known as the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark's uncle. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

“Game of Thrones” fans, HBO has a message for you: Don’t take your downloading tips from director David Petrarca.

The premium pay channel issued a terse statement Wednesday morning countering Petrarca’s comments suggesting that “Game of Thrones'” distinction as the most pirated show on TV is actually a good thing.

“’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.”

QUIZ: Test your “Game of Thrones” knowledge

Petrarca comments were pinging around the blogosphere this week after he suggested that piracy can contribute to a show’s “cultural buzz” and added: “That’s how they survive.” The comments were documented by the Sydney Morning Herald as Petrarca, the director of several episodes of “Game of Thrones,” was speaking at the Perth’s Writers Festival.

Although his comment was likely off the cuff and stopped far short of actually encouraging piracy, it also flies in the face of the unified anti-piracy front long presented by Hollywood.

What’s your take on this controversy? Is there an upside to piracy?

Can’t wait for Season 3 of “Game of Thrones” to begin March 31? Check out our photo gallery sneak peek above.

— Rene Lynch


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22 Responses to ‘Game of Thrones’ piracy comment rejected by HBO

  1. @Kartos says:

    You know what you can't pirate? Merchandise. If American companies stopped being so crappy about merch, then they would be raking it in. I was unaware they even sold House Stark shirts until I just googled it. That is a major marketing fail. I watch it from HBO directly, not pirated. If they got in with a company such as WeLoveFine, they would have many designs and I would see them everywhere, especially at conventions, like I do everything else from that site.

  2. Shaya Collins says:

    *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!

    • aboyd says:

      I see the show on Amazon Instant Watch. I pay $2.99 an episode, or $29 for a season. I can view it immediately, as a streaming video. So I think there *are* more ways to watch it than "just" through cable TV. However, that does not change the fact that it is not available on Hulu, Netflix, or other places. Still, Amazon is a fairly large operation, and should not be diminished when considering it as a legal way to view the series.

      • Rob says:

        True, but Amazon Instant is possibly the worst major streaming platform out there…I've started watching countless movies on there through my Prime account only to instead opt to pirate it after a few minutes of unwatchable pixelation… I'll start paying for it when there's a version worth paying for.

      • Mohammad says:

        True, however, amazon instant video does not provide new episodes from season 3. Not until the season is over. yes best way … is piratebay :)

  3. Atomic Kommie Comics says:

    GoT is available on exactly four platforms…
    and, ONLY if you have an HBO subscription…
    HBO itself, through your cable/satellite provider
    and, online, HBO-GO
    Nowhere else.
    That's "available legally on a large variety of viewing platforms"?
    Interesting definition of "large variety"…four platforms.

  4. Nacy says:

    The upside to piracy is I get to watch this show…

  5. mikeyb says:

    Also not throughout the world. In Australia we get blu-ray/dvd much later, it's shown on cable only which is out of most people's range of affordability especially if we want internet which is expensive in Australia. We can't view on hulu, hbo-go and the only way to get it when it comes out is to download. Sorry but I don't like being treated like a second-class citizen. When Hulu or Netflix is available in my country I'll stop downloading and pay the subscription fee.

  6. Oranges says:

    HBO Go needs to be available as a stand-alone service. I would pay for it. But I'm not paying over 100 dollars a month to have access to it. Streaming is the way of the future, HBO, and you should fire any idiots who are telling you otherwise.

    • SoundsLikeBrian says:

      This is spot on. I’d gladly pay HBO 15 dollars a month directly instead of to my cable company. Cut the ties HBO. Plus, aren’t there a very limited number of cable companies that support HBOGO? I don’t understand how more networks haven’t jumped onto this bandwagon.

  7. @ethicalfan says:

    US Home video sales (DVD, BluRay, PayTV, VOD, Streaming) are down 25% to $18.5B in 2011 from $25B in 2006.

    The first BitTorrent search engines debuted in 2004. Recorded music is down worldwide from $27B in 1999 (Napster) to $15B in 2011. Video Game revenue (consoles & PC) is down 13% from 2007. In the meantime US broadband revenues grew from zero to $40B a year in the US with p2p as the killer app that drove broadband adoption. Those are real jobs lost that are not coming back until the public realizes that these are your friends and neighbors whose careers are being destroyed by lack of copyright enforcement. Who is destroying these industries? ISPs who ignore the law 17 USC 512 (i) and do not terminate repeat infringers. US Telecom makes >$400B a year, US creative industries less than <$80B a year. Verizon $120B a year, Electronic Arts $4B, Viacom (CBS, MTV & Paramount Pictures) $14B a year, Warner Music Group $2.4B a year.

    • arashinogarou says:

      Cry me a river, shill. When it comes down to a marketing suit vs the director himself, I'll believe the director every time. And for the record, I own the first season DVD of GoT, I didn't pirate it. I believe in supporting the people who work hard to produce the stuff we watch and listen to. But I don't buy mainstream albums on major record labels; for the tiny bit of that music I actually like, I listen via legal streaming services. The only music I buy (and I buy a lot of it) is indie, or else very small labels who actually pay their artists instead of ripping them off. Better, more unique music, and I feel my purchase has lasting value.

      For another perspective, I only have broadcast TV at my house; cable is just too expensive for the handful of shows we watch. I'll stream the first ep of a new show to see if I like it, but if I can't find it streaming I'll download it. If I like the show I'll make every effort to watch it via streaming or some other way that gives the creators their well deserved revenue. But if it comes down to it and they simply don't want to release it in an easily consumed manner, I am forced to choose between downloading or waiting for a DVD that may never come out. For the more popular shows I'm content to wait, but for a show that isn't popular but is good despite that, I have to download if I want to watch.

      If the industry would wake up and take advantage of the technology available to them, they would make a killing on serving legal episodes via p2p to their customers. I'd certainly pay a reasonable monthly or even per episode fee for downloadable, portable (i.e. transferable to tablets and phones) episodes.

      But they have declared war with no hope of a compromise. Until they wake up and realize the potential, there will always be illegal downloading of some sort.

  8. Guest says:

    The upside to the piracy is that if I didn't pirate the show, I wouldn't watch it. Because I pirate it, I've loved it enough to buy both seasons on DVD so far. So, HBO has gotten $100 from me rather than $0, directly as a result of my piracy. I'm sure there are others in that do the same.

  9. Zach says:

    Port it to Netflix and Hulu and then we'll talk. Until then, I have no access to the show and will continue downloading it.

    • Rob says:

      While I'd love it as much as the next guy if they did this, it's a pretty unreasonable request to expect them to bring such a costly show to cheap pre-paid platforms such as Netflix and Hulu. There are plenty of people who are willing to pay for a much pricier subscription to HBO so they'd be completely missing out on that potential revenue. That said, they clearly don't seem to care about missing revenue streams enough to offer this as a quality paid download or stream on iTunes etc. so perhaps there's hope after all…

  10. David says:

    Maybe they shouldn't wait nearly a full year after a season ends to release the DVD/Bluray. Tons of people download it specifically because they CAN'T buy it anywhere.

  11. andy says:

    Sorry HBO. I hail from a country where everything down to the Fword is censored on tv. & Hbo has not been kind enough to commence its services here. So piracy is the only way out for folks like myself.

  12. me2 says:

    Piracy is free advertising. Ironically, they're just too greedy to understand that.

  13. Sam says:

    Provide me with the merchandise, and i'll stop with the illegal downloads. but I'm not waiting a whole year to watch the show.

  14. David K Sweet says:

    I think "piracy helps buzz" is a dimwitted view because good buzz from a pirate comes with a major caveat. "Great show if you don't have to pay for it" is not the kind of buzz any rational producer would want. Nor would they want to say "our fans are great except they're thieves and cheapskates."

  15. fdg says:

    My only problem with HBO's POV on all of this is that I have to subscribe to a stupid channel where half of their shows suck to watch shows I love for only part of the year. Give me sub access to HBOGO though and you would have a deal, as long as it is no where near the cost of the channel itself on cable. And second of all, I dont even use cable anymore just my internet. One medium gives me a stream of what Im asking for and the other medium gives me a stream of what other people "think" I like based on what another group of people like. Broadcast tv began to die as soon as we had online video, now you guys should just get ahead of the curve and get your crap together.

  16. No Way says:

    HBO as a company HAS to do this, to save face. I mean, who's FOR getting their stuff pirated?

    That being said, all academic studies on the phenomenon indicate that pirating actually increases sales (you can easily find those studies with a even a simple Google search)

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