THE KINDA PRO-PIRACY, but mostly anti-piracy, HBO has rather unfortunately overseen the leaking of prized possession Game of Thrones to a hungry eye patch-wearing internet fan club.
Game of Thrones, in case you missed it, includes bastards, dragons, boobs, beheadings, geldings, flayings and people living in trees. It is a popular property which, in its early days, confusingly enjoyed the extra exposure from pirates, but now sends letters to try to prevent it, while being mysteriously unable to actually stop itself doing what it so desperately wants to stop.
Last time it was clear that the Nordic arm of the company released an episode early to the masses. The year before, when four episodes leaked like Reek, we weren't sure what happened.
Clearing things up for this latest episode leak is an HBO watermark in the corner of the screen, suggesting that it was an inside job.
Previously in our Game of Thrones coverage, we have seen the company promise not to release early copies of the show. It is all a bit confusing, like what happened to Arya's friend Gendry, never mind her direwolf.
Back in the days when we could tell a Khaleesi from our elbow, Time Warner and HBO, like Theon Greyjoy, had adopted a different stance.
Time Warner CEO Alan Bewkes claimed in 2010 that the buzz on the download sites was better than an award.
"I have to admit it, I think you're right. The much discussed fantasy series is HBO's most popular TV show, and if you go to people who are watching it without subs it's a tremendous word of mouth thing," he said.
"We've been dealing with this for 20, 30 years - people sharing subscriptions, running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs. I think you're right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world and that's better than an Emmy."
He is not alone. HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo once said that piracy should be taken as a compliment. "I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn't negatively impact the DVD sales," he said, during perhaps better times.
"[Piracy is] something that comes with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network."
We thought the show was confusing. µ
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