Opinion

Aussie king of Thrones piracy

by
May 17, 2016

With a new Game of Thrones episode released on Sunday night in the US, tens of thousands of Australians are set to torrent or stream the episode illegally this week.

Australia is the largest pirating country in the world of the American fantasy television series, with an estimated 12.5 per cent of all torrent downloads originating from Australia, according to TorrentFreak.

In an impossible effort to stem piracy, producers of the HBO show are sending warning letters to alleged copyright infringers, urging them to take down files and links to the show.

But like Hydra, once a head is chopped off two more will inevitably grow back with hundreds of more links popping up around the web in minutes.

Australian fans are furious they are expected to fork out hundreds of dollars to watch season 6 and it is hard to see why fans wouldn’t download or stream the content illegally when it’s at their fingertips.

Nearly everyone I know who watches the show, does so illegally.

And the Dallas Buyers Club situation, in which the Hollywood studio behind the film attempted to extract huge sums of cash from alleged copyright infringers, has not seemed to deter fans.

As it stands, the cheapest way to watch Game of Thrones legally is on Foxtel Play, this ‘‘deal’’ costs $30 a month, but has been lambasted for delivering a terribly poor service.

Foxtel Play runs at an extremely low resolution and has been known to frequently stop to buffer and crash regularly.

Also, it only allows users to use three different devices at one time compared with Netflix which has a limit of six devices.

Unless Australia fixes this distribution problem the piracy will continue and even if it is fixed, unfortunately for the actors, directors and HBO’s sake, I believe people will continue to watch free of charge.

The reality is, unless there is a consequence for illegal action, people will continue to break the law and there is yet to be a case where the pirates have been punished.

Buying the show on DVD is another option, but who has the patience to wait for the duration of a television show season, roughly 10 months, a long time attempting to avoid spoilers from friends and social media.

The back-and-forth debate from both sides of the ‘‘to download or not to download?’’ moral quandary is set to continue.

Hayden Thomson is a journalist with The News.

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