US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, has celebrated the 17th annual UN World Book and Copyright Day by telling Australians to stop pirating Game of Thrones.
It's common knowledge that Australians love to torrent hit HBO drama Game of Thrones. Australia has been named and shamed by George R. R. Martin himself, despite the most pirated program of all 2012 getting a much better launch window in Australia.
For it's part, HBO doesn't see the harm in the high levels of piracy. In fact, some at HBO see the illegal downloads as a "compliment", a testament to how popular the show.
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Ambassador Bleich doesn't think that flattery, or any other excuse, should justify the distribution of the show.
"Stealing is stealing," writes Bleich on Facebook. "Buying a book in a store costs more and takes longer than stealing it from your neighbor's house, but we all know it is the right thing to do and it allows authors to make a living and write more books."
"Artists' livelihoods depend on us rejecting [the urge to pirate content]; just as shopkeepers and small businesses depend on people not just stealing products from their shelves."
Happily, people aren't stealing physical copies of the show from stores in the same numbers, in fact, Game of Thrones is selling well on DVD and Blu-Ray. Box office analyst site The Numbers has the first season of GoT as the 14th highest selling DVD for 2012 overall, and the highest selling TV show box set. This equates to just under US$34 million in sales revenue.
The second season of the show has earned just over US$9 million in revenue in the first two months of sales.