Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere sets new record for piracy


Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

A lot of people were watching the Game of Thrones premiere on Sunday. And a lot of them were doing it illegally.

While HBO reported that 4.4 million people tuned in to the Season 3 Game of Thrones premiere, an additional one million people downloaded the premiere — illegally — online, reports The Guardian. It looks like the show, which was the most pirated television program in 2012, may just continue its record into the 2013 season.

One million downloads is a lot, points out blog Torrentfreak. “These are mind boggling numbers that we’ve never seen before,” it writes.

So, why all the downloads? Besides the sword fights, fantasy, sex and dramatic plot twists that keep fans coming back for more, Torrentfreak suggests that the time delay could lead to more downloads. Currently, HBO airs Game of Thrones in the U.S. before it airs in other parts of the world, leaving fans no choice but to download the show if they want to see it as soon as possible.

Also, the show is only available to viewers with an HBO subscription — something that only comes as part of a pricey cable package. This could change eventually, as HBO CEO Richard Plepler told Reuters in March that the cable channel could consider a deal to partner with Internet providers to offer its programming for an additional fee. This would allow Internet users who don’t subscribe to cable packages to watch HBO programs legally.

And there’s a third point to consider: maybe HBO doesn’t really mind all the downloads. U.S. director  David Petrarca — who has directed episodes of cult favourites Game of Thrones and True Blood — told an audience at a Perth, Australia writer’s conference that illegal downloads didn’t really matter. In fact, they were important to help a show generate “cultural buzz,” he said.

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Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere sets new record for piracy

  1. My biggest worry about all the illegal downloading is what the loss of revenue might eventually do to the series. It is clearly an expensive show to produce, and a loss of revenue streams may eventually make the series unprofitable – which in turn would kill it. As a fan of both the books and the show, I’m in this for the long haul. Illegal downloaders who enjoy the series in the end may be shortchanging themselves.

    • And of course there are those who cant afford/would never pay to watch it anyways. Many of whom would spread the word to those who havent seen it and would now actually consider buying it on blu-ray. Next you might tell us that people who print a picture of the cast on their computer are going to hurt their income from posters, tshirts, and other merchandise???

      • Theft is theft. It’s no different from walking into a store and walking out with the DVD. The internet makes it easier and less risky, but it is still the same act.

        • Less risky? Your IP address is exposed as soon as you start downloading. That’s how RIAA fires out mass lawsuits. Based on the figures in this article and your train of thought, we should see a follow-up story of a million lawsuits instead of how the show suddenly got a jolt of cult followers? But forget the internet for a second… you should report people who invited friends over to watch it on their TV because the license is for private viewing to a single household and unless they live in that house, they are not part of the household. So, it’s no different than walking out with the DVD in your black and white world full of people as filthy rich as yourself?

        • It’s not theft. A downloader didn’t take the original copy the way a shoplifter would have. To have damage you have to prove that the downloader would have otherwise paid for the content were it not for the download. Is it theft if I lend my copy of a DVD to a friend?

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