U.S. Ambassador To Australia Takes On #1 Issue Of The Day: Game Of Thrones Piracy
from the yeah!-wait,-what? dept
Cultural hit that it is, I suppose it’s not surprising that we’ve talked several times about the HBO series Game Of Thrones, including its status as the most pirated show on television. I can’t speak to the merits of the show, having given it up after the first episode, but it was encouraging to hear HBO talk about how wider distribution options could be used to combat piracy, even if their implementation was somewhat lacking. To the shock of no one, of course, these changes haven’t immediately eradicated piracy of the show’s episodes. To no one that is except the American ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, who is apparently willing to throw his official weight around in favor of this one particular show.
See, it was on Bleich’s Facebook page, the one that identifies him as Ambassador Bleich, where he posted a rant entitled “Stopping the Game of Clones.”
“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,” wrote Ambassador Bleich. “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.”
Er, okay. Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but the post would have seemed ho-hum had he not decided to come out so strongly in favor of one particular show. This isn’t a screed against piracy in general, but against piracy of GoT in particular. Seems kind of strange, especially when he then explained how he understood why it was pirated in the first place.
“I realize that fans of Game of Thrones who have used illegal file-sharing sites have reasons,” continued Ambassador Bleich. “They will say it was much easier to access through these sites, or that they got frustrated by the delay in the first season, or their parents wouldn’t pay for a subscription, or they will complain about some other issue with copyright laws.” Continuing, he added, “But none of those reasons is an excuse—stealing is stealing.”
That’s true, stealing is stealing. And infringement is infringement, and strawberry yogurt is strawberry yogurt. Unfortunately, stealing isn’t infringement, and an American ambassador purporting to speak to Australians on our behalf should really know the difference. Add to that a misunderstanding, apparently, of how fans of the show who were initially spurned with delayed, inefficient, or non-existent legitimate ways to get the content aren’t going to give up the better methods they found for consumption now that HBO is kinda-sorta providing them with slightly less delayed, slightly more efficient, slightly more existing methods and we have the full-blown makings of a confused diatribe by a public official over a single cable network show. Kotaku sums things up nicely.
This is swell and all, but doesn’t he have more important things to worry about than Australians pirating Game of Thrones? He is a U.S. Ambassador. Like, a real one, nominated by the President of the United States. And he’s talking about Game of Thrones on the internet. Your tax dollars at work!
Or not at work, as the case may be.