TV

The US Ambassador To Australia Is Embarrassed By Your Pirating Of Game Of Thrones

Please stop it, Australia, before you spark a new Cold War.

Game Of Thrones, nerds love it. Nerds also love computers, and are naturally impatient. When you blend together such variables, you end up with facts like this: Game Of Thrones was the most pirated TV series of 2012. As a result, the world’s top brass have a message for you:

Stop it, Australia.

Stop it, Australia. (Image: Alan Porritt/AAP, via ABC)

As reported by Kotaku earlier today, Jeffrey Bleitch — the US Ambassador to Australia — posted an epic missive on his Facebook page the other night to help celebrate the ’17th Annual UN World Book And Copyright Day’ (can’t believe such an incredible occasion didn’t get more attention). It starts off with a cuddly picture of familial bliss and the communal benefits of good television… but then he quickly rips you a new one, Australia.

Earlier this month, my family and I joined millions of others in watching the premiere of the third season of Game of Thrones. For those who aren’t already fans, it is a great epic chronicling the devious machinations of rival noble houses fighting for supremacy. Unfortunately, nearly as epic and devious as the drama, is its unprecedented theft by online viewers around the world…

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.  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.

So because today is the 17th annual UN World Book and Copyright Day, it is worth reflecting on why piracy is not some victimless crime.  A show like Game of Thrones takes a lot of work and talent by many artists to create.  These artists can do this work only if we ensure that they are rewarded for their labors.  Production companies are no different.  Entire industries exist to locate artists, provide them a forum for their works, arrange contracts, record, promote, and sell their works, and free artists from doing other things – like waiting tables and parking cars in Hollywood — by paying them for their efforts.  Here in Australia about 8% of the workforce works in the copyright industries and depends on people obeying the law – not to mention the artists in Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco, where the series is filmed, who depend on fans obeying the law.

Sure, good points (I mean, I’d never even thought of those poor Moroccans before!). But shouldn’t the US Ambassador be a little busier? Shouldn’t he be trying to figure out a way to get a Mati Hari-esque informant into Kim Jong-Un’s private quarters to help divulge secret military information rather than, you know, just sitting around with his family watching Tyrion score a blowjob?

Ah, Game Of Thrones. It’s allure is extensive. Much like its boobs and dragon songs.

GamesAshamed

Oh, the shame.