A game of pirates

AS with almost everyone else on the planet, I’m a little addicted to Game of Thrones.

I have my favourite characters and spend almost every episode on the edge of the couch hoping they don’t die.

But it seems that Aussies don’t just love watching Game of Thrones, they love downloading it; more Aussies have downloaded the popular show than anywhere else in the world.


The government’s answer? Stricter laws on downloading, harsher punishments, blocking torrent websites and basically more repercussions!

Which is the equivalent of putting a bandaid on a broken leg and hoping it’ll stop hurting, don’t you think?

The reality is, if you want to watch the fifth season of Game of Thrones you have three options:
1. Watch it on Foxtel, at an outlay of at least $50 a month.
2. Wait until the DVD box-set comes out later in the year.
3. Download it, illegally.

Unless you can afford the $50-a-month-plus-installation-fee service of pay television, it’s unlikely you’re going to sign up to Foxtel for just one show.

So you could wait… which would mean becoming a recluse and avoiding colleagues, friends, family and the entire internet for fear of hearing an accidental spoiler.

Or, you could download it and risk the possibility of legal repercussions.

None of these are particularly attractive options, and so people choose to download.

Australia is starting to step into the consumer-driven age of entertainment, with TV streaming services like Stan, Presto and Netflix launching in Australia, but these have tiny little libraries compared to overseas. For instance, Australian Netflix has a fraction of the content its American big brother can offer.

If the government really wants to see fewer online pirates, the new laws on piracy and the threats of repercussions are not going to achieve that goal, in my view.

After all, they’re ignoring the actual problem: availability. Not all Aussies want to download. But they don’t have access to quality content at affordable prices, so they’re backed into a corner.

Would you – or have you – downloaded your favourite TV show illegally, and are you worried about the legal consequences?

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