During May, TorrentFreak gathered statistics on who is downloading the massive hit series Game of Thrones.
We found that more people are downloading the show compared to last year and that the number of weekly worldwide downloads is roughly the same as the number of viewers HBO has for the show in the U.S.
Since the Internet is worldwide by nature, just like their US counterparts Australians were exposed to plenty of buzz about the show and were well aware of when the new series would premiere stateside.
But unfortunately and for reasons best known to the entertainment industry, Aussies have to wait an additional week to view episodes of the show. Little surprise then that they turned to BitTorrent in droves, eventually topping the list with 10.1% of all Game of Thrones downloads.
However, according to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, the impatience being shown by fans of the show is “unreasonable.”
Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar last evening, AFACT boss Neil Gane conceded that TV and movie fans might be driven to piracy by delays, but when the same question was framed slightly differently, it proved problematic.
Linking to TorrentFreak’s statistics, ITNews reports that they asked Gane if piracy rates were lower on shows that were fast-tracked to Australia. He was unable to answer.
AFACT’s members have spent huge sums of money suing local ISP iiNet, yet appear to have a problem answering a fundamental question such as this. The answer, of course, (particularly given Gane’s earlier concession over delays) is that they do recognize that bringing shows more quickly to market in areas such as Australia will reduce piracy, but internal politics restrict them from doing so.
But instead, Gane told the seminar that members of AFACT believe that fans of Game of Thrones are behaving unreasonably when they don’t want to wait an additional week to see the show.
Predictably, Gane said that reductions in piracy need to be forced through tougher legislation, because he has research that says that no matter what the studios do, people will still pirate.
That research, which is yet to be published, comes from the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, the outfit that pops up whenever the entertainment industry wants to prove a point, but doesn’t want anyone to know how that point was reached.
When the research is published it will apparently show that 86% of ‘persistent’ downloaders and 74% of ‘casual’ downloaders turn to piracy due to cost. As highlighted in our earlier article, the exclusive nature of Game of Thrones will indeed be a factor in pushing people towards piracy.
An article published in March titled “Help! I’m Being Forced To Pirate Game Of Thrones Against My Will!” illustrates one such scenario perfectly, with a fan wanting to buy the show but being forced to jump through hoops and pay for stuff he doesn’t want just to gain access.
As we’ve said dozens of times before, making content easily accessible is about many things, not just release dates. Once that’s achieved that same content has to be made available at a fair price too, a concept that rarely matches the policies of ‘exclusive’ content providers.