Torrenting Game Of Thrones Doesn't Make You Entitled

I should have seen it coming.

I mean, to a certain extent I did see it coming.

I’m talking, of course, about the ‘entitlement’ argument. Because, in case you haven’t had it hammered into you via years of millennial ‘think’ pieces about everything from house prices to education, everyone born between 1980 and five minutes ago is ‘entitled’.

A quick rewind: last week we published this story. ‘I Refuse To Feel Guilty For Torrenting Game Of Thrones’. It struck a chord.

Context: as a result of licensing agreements, the only way Australian consumers are able to legally watch Game of Thrones is via Foxtel. Literally the cheapest way to do this is by subscribing to Foxtel Play for $30 a month. This is considered a ‘deal’ by Foxtel; a one-time only offer.

Foxtel Play, in my experience, was a sub-standard, sub-HD experience. I once watched a movie using Foxtel Play and gave up halfway through because the app had crashed five times. This, combined with the incredible difficulty I had actually paying for the service in the first place, had left me pretty bummed on the idea of paying Foxtel a meaty monthly fee to watch the one show they were holding hostage. The end result: I refuse to feel guilty for torrenting Game of Thrones.

The vast majority of feedback to the article was positive, but there was some resistance — probably best (and most fairly) exemplified by this Alex Kidman’s piece. Probably worst exemplified by random strangers on the internet tweeting me with the ‘you wouldn’t steal a car’ gambit.

But everyone, and I mean everyone, who disagreed with me used some form of the word ‘entitled’.

Entitlement: it’s such a loaded term. In the past five years it’s been used by old men telling young people they can’t buy houses, get an education without putting themselves into crippling debt or find a job after getting the degree they couldn’t afford.

This time they’re using it to defend draconian licensing systems that don’t make sense in the year 2016.

But there are a few key differences here.

Prime among them: unlike housing, education and jobs young people already have liquid access to Game of Thrones. This is just a reality of living in the present tense. We’re not ‘entitled’ to Game of Thrones, we already have it. If we want we can download it. Easily. For free. That is a reality. “You wouldn’t steal a car”. No probably not, but last time I checked it wasn’t possible to download a car, consequence free, on the internet. Last time I checked downloading a copy of a digital product didn’t involve stealing something directly from another human being.

The content is literally at our fingertips.

The genie is out of the bottle and, no matter how hard Foxtel tries, we can’t squash it back in and pretend it’s 1995.

It’s 2016. Netflix exists. We already have free and easy access to near limitless amounts of television, music, any type of media we decide to watch. This is the reality Foxtel is fighting against, we’re not difficult children sitting on the naughty step screaming for the toy we can’t have – we already have the toys. We have all of the toys. And we get them for $12 a month.

And here’s the incredible part: we want to pay. We don’t have to pay. We could keep quiet, continue torrenting Game of Thrones without consequence, but we want to pay.

The only thing we feel ‘entitled’ to is the ability to pay a fair, reasonable price for a service that works, without being tied to this broader service that, firstly, we don’t want and, secondly, doesn’t actually work that well — if at all. At its best Foxtel Play is not comparable to the pirated product. If we’re going to pay exorbitant, unrealistic amounts of money for a product that product, at the very least, should be the best possible version of that product. Surely.

We want to pay. We already pay. We subscribe to services, we buy merchandise, we attend conventions, we buy the Blu-rays, we buy the movie tickets. It’s been proven, time and time again, that people who torrent spend more on media than those who do not. We are not entitled. We’re the reason this content exists to begin with.

Draconian licensing agreements like the one currently in place for Game of Thrones affect everyone. They are simply not helpful.

They don’t support the creators. They actively deny us the ability to pay creators directly for the products they create.

And they don’t help consumers, who are being asked to pay unfair amounts for sub-standard quality content on a service we’re being forced to endure.

This is not about entitlement. This is about being given the ability to pay a fair price for content in a timely fashion. We are being denied that.


    Comments shit storm in 3, 2...

      You can always tell when Serrels is bored and needs an afternoon of entertaining comments, can't you? :P

        This is not about entitlement. This is about being given the ability to pay a fair price for content in a timely fashion.

        LOL, that's entitlement. I want 'fair'! I want 'timely'! I'm entitled to it, dammit :-)

        Last edited 02/05/16 12:45 pm

          Clearly this moron doesn't get it.


              Being entitled is assuming that you deserve either a special treatment or privilege.

              Simply asking or wanting a "fair price" for content that other countries can easily obtain is not entitlement but, a valid request that should be able to be met. Currently Australia is receiving special treatment unlike many other countries because we can't even obtain what they can in any fucking way.

              Having to torrent a show just to get it in both working condition and in a reasonable definition makes us more deprived than entitled.

                It is available, it's just not available when you (ie not specifically you) want it to be. Thus, entitled.

                No one is saying the current situation is ideal, quite the opposite. But the longer people continue to support Foxtel things will stay the way they are.

                Last edited 02/05/16 4:12 pm

                  Long before the internet was a thing, a range of middle men had control of distribution. VHS tapes, music CDs, TV shows. This is because Australia is remote from the producers of much of this content. It had to be shipped or sometimes physically reproduced locally. So they had full reign. They built their empires and distributed as they saw fit to best maximise their profits. The complaints in those days were about delaying series on TV or quietly slipping in repeats, about things that weren't available here or were much later. But there was no other option.

                  Now worldwide distribution is as easy as hell. They have lost control. So forgive me if I say: cry me a fucking river for the poor middle men who have been milking their pointless positions since forever. And I don't feel sorry for Foxtel (or their owners, News Corp and Telstra) who all worked together to hold back internet in this country to maintain their positions and extend the lives of their outdated networks. Foxtel doesn't want to compete in the IPTV space. They want to maintain a near monopoly utilising a private network. This is literally the entire point of monopolising GOT. They don't want competition, they want to set the price. Period.

                  Corporations do not give a single shit about you or me, and they will happily hold back the entire country if that means they get slightly ahead relative to the rest. I am about to watch Game Of Thrones to prove a god damn point. I own every available series of Game Of Thrones on blu-ray. I pay for Netflix and other services. I don't pirate games or movies or literally anything else that I actually have access to. But I will never support Foxtels bundling model (even though I literally couldnt get foxtel anyway last I checked) and I don't want a half-arsed Standard definition IPTV option as a substitute.

                  I've heard lots of pointless arguments pro piracy in general. But in this case, in this country we literally DO have a fight to wage. If you want to keep corporations more honest, then start by removing their cosy monopolies. Competition is good.

                With a request the other party can say no.

                We are saying that unless the other party says yes, we are going to take the law into our own hands.

                Yes, we are deprived, but I remember a time when the only chip flavours you could get in Austalia were plain, chicken, BBQ, salt & vinegar and cheese & onion. Just look at what we've got now!

                What's sort of interesting is that the dictionary definition of the verb "entitle" is to grant a right to do or have something. en=give/grant, title=right. To entitle is to grant a right.

                On the other hand, the adjectival form "entitled" indicates that you believe you have a right, even though you may not actually have that right. This makes it somewhat difficult to use the word correctly, as it is possible to entitle somebody and not have them be entitled, and it is possible have a person feel entitled without having had somebody entitle them,

                Who ever said English was a weird language?

            He gets it. He just believes he is stoking discussion/adding something to the discussion.

            I'm not entirely sure if he is playing Devil's Advocate or legitimately believes what he is saying.

              A bit of both. I like the law and I like arguing for the sake of it. I believe that it is possible to do so in a rational and inoffensive way to reach a synthesis of 'truth'. I quite often fall into the trap of debating (putting forward a set position) rather than finding an abstract negative in arguments, but hey, we're all human :-)

                The law as you put it once made it legal to own another human being. Morality on the other hand doesn't.

                The law is meant to be a constantly flawed concept that evolves as society does, just because it is does not mean it always should be.

                  Yet in this case morality and law says stealing is bad. Just because you buy DVD's doesn't mean it's okay to torrent the show before the DVD's are available.

                  I don't think the law is meant to be a constantly flawed concept, but I take your point about the separation of law and morals. By the by, it was morally acceptable to own a human being in a certain day and age, not just legally acceptable. Law and morals tend to go hand in hand for the most part, although morals tend be more progressive because they do not rely on a time-consuming system full of checks and balances to change.

                  @troublecat - it's not a stretch to say that piracy deprives rights holders of income. Technically copyright piracy is not stealing, but it may as well be.

              Whether or not he's playing Devil's Avocado I enjoy reading his posts because they are well thought out and overall thought-provoking.

              I also think he did well in the first thread on this topic by staying balanced and non-reactive while other posters called him a moron and whatnot for not going along with the majority opinion.

          Wanting something and expecting something are not the same form of entitlement in which you're implying. That's like saying slaves were entitled for wanting freedom. Entitlement actually is irrelevant in the context of that discussion. Much like it is irrelevant in this discussion.

          Right now, Australians can only access a product that others (of similar social status) can access for cheaper, from a variety of sources, simply because we should accept a vicious business model that is so two-dimensional in its goal of wringing money from consumers.

          Acceptance of this method ultimately leads towards a world in which an oligarchy control everyone, society breaks down due to a social class made by a rich elite and the planet screwed by the nonstop exploitation - because if people can exploit people, they will exploit resources too.

          Respecting yourself enough to not allow other people to take advantage of you is not entitlement. This applies to businesses as well.

          Last edited 02/05/16 4:02 pm

            Well argued.

            I'd be interested to hear your views on negative gearing.

              Negative gearing just renders me speechless.


              Last edited 02/05/16 6:02 pm

          Good to see for the second discussion on the topic that you miss the point.
          I torrent the show now, and buy the blu rays DIRECT from the content producers so that I don't need to use Foxtel and their pathetic service.
          Steam proved in Russia that you end piracy by making your product easy to obtain. Piracy was rife in Russia, Steam launched, and piracy dropped off dramatically.

          Foxtel overcharge for a service that simply doesn't work and doesn't offer what it should. But due to Murdoch's help in keeping Australia's internet service cripped, I am forced to torrent as streaming is not an option.

            You seem to misunderstand the meaning of the word 'forced'.

            Good on you for buying the blu rays though. I think you'd be in the minority there.

            Do you have a crippling disease that prevents you from getting a Foxtel box?

              I do, it's called F*ckMurdochitis.

              Last edited 05/05/16 1:39 pm

          Agree, and laughable, trying to blur the lines between demands and entitlement now?! I don't buy it, Marks OPTIONS don't give him the right to circumvent whats legal.

        You mean.. When he realizes his last article got a lot of attention so he rewrites it from a different angle.

      Maybe Mark should just stop buying cars and having that Latte every day and he could afford Foxtel.

      Also in my day we would have to go without food and drive an old car to be able to afford game of thrones, we certainly didn't have the newest iPhone.

      Also I had to work 2 jobs.

        I currently work 3 jobs and walk uphill through the snow both ways to pay for Foxtel.

          Oh yea? Well I work in Blacktown, NSW to afford foxtel.

            We used to live in shoebox in middle of road

              Still better than Adelaide... Where I must wait..
              . "sob" "sob" a whole! 2 hours for my sweet sweet game of thrones to download... :'( everyone's moment of silence is appreciated, also the roads here are terrible lol

              We got kicked out of OUR shoebox by a family of diseased rodents. We now huddle in the gutter, shivering miserably and mouthing 'Hodor' to passers-by.

                You had a shoebox? Luxury. I had to live on the sun, with a family of T-Rex's. We got kicked out and had to move to a black hole.

                Seriously though, I have a Foxtel subscription, it is my luxury, along with Internet. I save on other things to afford Foxtel. People obviously don't love GoT enough if they can't put aside $12 a week for Foxtel, despite earning higher wages than me (I am on DSP).

                  I know several people who subscribe to Foxtel and they don't have that much of a problem with it. I don't have it myself, but it seems to be a (convenient) scapegoat?

        The point is he doesnt want foxtel. It's outrageous to have to pay for a full service when you only want part of it. Let us pay for what we want rather that an outrageous fee for a service that we dont really want and costs too much to validate paying for only 1 show.

          Well since I don't really want to watch most of what is on the ABC, maybe I should be able to pay less tax.

            Tell you what, you pay for my Foxtel subscription so I can watch Game of Thrones in HD, and I'll refund you your 7c a day.

          Can I get a refund on my Netflix subscription for the 95% of content I don't watch then? :)

          How sad, it's as bad as paying approximately the same for the Internet when you only want to use a small part of it. If $12 a week is too much, then you must be terrible at doing a budget.

        The point is he doesnt want foxtel. It's outrageous to have to pay for a full service when you only want part of it. Let us pay for what we want rather that an outrageous fee for a service that we dont really want and costs too much to validate paying for only 1 show.

    I personally never torrent anything but I agree with you 100%.

    If anything I would say its more entitled to expect everyone to come and pay you an exorbitant fee for content after you have paid a ton of money to block all the competition.

    Last edited 02/05/16 12:17 pm

    whats game of thrones?

      Its the first book in a series called "A Song of Ice and Fire"

        cool thnx, Ill download the book

          Ha ha, I laughed so much at this comment... can't tell if tongue in cheek or not.

    As before couldn't agree any more with you Mark. I'd love to see HBO Go or even episodic release on the psn store. Foxtel is a dinosaur that needs a good spanking!!

      Yes, I would pay for each episode in crisp hd on the xbone too, no problems.

    Just sit back and await the further-rise of 3D printers..... THEN I'll download a car.

      You wouldnt...... Render a car in VR.....

      It's getting there - saw a recent Kickstarter for a futuristic racing game that looks like a mashup of ReVolt and WipeOut which, after customising your car, lets you export the relevant .stl files to make it a physical model.

      Also whilst you can't 3D print most vehicle parts due to the material limitations, there is precedent for 3D printing the molds which are used to fabricate the parts!

    I'm having a lot of trouble buying this argument. There is still a big gap of logic in between "I am having trouble accessing this content immediately" and "I will download this content illegally"

    As consumers, we do not dictate the terms by which content is published or released. We may not agree with Foxtel's business practices, or HBO's decision to sell them an exclusive licence, but that's the reality of this situation. They clearly decided that this is how they'll make the most money from the Australian market to fund the development of future seasons. You can support that decision or not, but you can't pretend like torrenting is any kind of contribution to supporting the creators of the show.

    And it's not like accessing GoT is particularly cheap anywhere else in the world. Cheaper than here, yes, but you still need either premium cable or (very recently) a subscription to HBO's streaming service. Complaining about the price as a justification for torrenting is not a valid argument.

    So if that gap isn't being filled by a sense of entitlement to the content, then I offer this CHALLENGE: Put your money where your mouth is. Send a cheque direct to HBO for every episode you torrent.

    Otherwise, you're just tilting at windmills.

    Last edited 02/05/16 12:17 pm

      I think the company would be more likely to change if they can point to a large chunk of money they are missing out on due to dodgy practices.

      If you just send them the money then why would they ever change?

        I'm sorry: isn't it a core tenet of the piracy code that piracy doesn't lead to lost sales? I'm therefore a little confused by your argument.

          Yes but from their perspective me downloading an episode of game of thrones has cost them anywhere from 200 thousand to 43 billion dollars.

          Last edited 02/05/16 12:31 pm

            So your argument is that content rights holders should view piracy as lost sales on the off-chance that your cheeky little act of civil disobedience might cause them to change their practices...?

            Why should the rights holders believe that your practices would change in return?

            Works out well for you in any event: you get GoT and didn't have to pay for it.

              I love the fact that it's always the publisher's or distributor's fault. 'I WANT to pay, if they'd only LET me...'

              That's entitlement, right there. Surely it's the publisher's or distributor's right to market and distribute a product however they want?

              Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and hack into someone's NBN internet, because I live somewhere where it hasn't rolled out yet. I WANT to pay for NBN, and I SHOULD be allowed to! I'm NOT entitled!


                That is the worst analogy I have ever seen.

                Hacking into someone else's NBN doesn't do you any good because you'd already have to be living in an NBN area!

                Can you make it into a car analogy so everyone can understand?

                Last edited 02/05/16 1:18 pm

                  Ha ha ha, yes but you could do a wi-fi squatting mission into NBN-rolled-out territory ;-)

                  I don't want to pay $200,000 for a luxury car with many features I will never use, so I will steal it from my moral high horse.

                Absolutely not. The distributor needs us, not the other way around. They are selling a product which is their distribution system. It is expensive and flaky and we don't want it. They should absolutely be doing everything they can to create a product we WANT. If a product is crap, people don't buy it.

                  Or rather, the distributor (Foxtel) is making a calculated bet that the amount it paid to HBO (or its licensing entity) is worth the amount that people will pay to sign up / re-subscribe to its service because GoT is on it.

                  You are right. They should absolutely be doing everything they can to create a product we WANT. If a product is crap, people don't buy it.

                  But at the end of the day, the Foxtel has the right to call the shots. You can say it's stupid (which I would agree with) but you can't say it is not acting within its rights.

                  @zambayoshi (couldn't reply) That is why we have to torrent it. We as consumers need to show them that we (whether legal, within their rights or not) find what they are doing is unacceptable. Think of downloading GoT as a means of protest.

                  (couldn't reply to your post about torrenting as protest)
                  Stealing as a form of protest against prices is not a good means of boycott. Just wait for the DVD's as a better form of boycotting, as torrenting it just lets Foxtel know they have fans over a barrel, and gives them the moral high point and the ammunition they want.
                  It seems torrenting plays into their hands.

                  @madadam81, I agree, I wait for it to go live on iTunes. But boycotting won't get a message through. The most effective form of protest is to SHOW them the sales they lost. They pay a flat fee, right? So if I boycott it, they don't notice. As soon as I download it, I add to the stats, they see it, they feel the poke of a "lost sale" (which is rubbish, it's a sale they never had, not a lost sale) That is how we get things to change.

                With that logic it's tiring to have the publisher complain that people pirate their content when they've vied for exclusivity with a monopolistic distributor. I mean, feel free to just sit there and take it - enduring a terrible service and pricing that is triple that of its' competition all for the sake of one show. Just don't be surprised when there are people who thoroughly enjoy the content and would prefer to give the creators their fair share without getting completely shafted. Exclusivity divides the market and forces people to stick with sub-par services because it's the only way they can enjoy the content they want. Whether you pirate content or not to make a point on either side of the coin, you can't ignore that there is a massive distribution problem working to Foxtel's benefit here. Until people stop just accepting this and paying up, it's not likely to change. And therein lies the problem: the only way to approach this situation legally is to pay. So we are quite literally stuck, and I openly invite people to speak up against this. Don't pirate game of thrones, or pirate it - but above all else don't pay Foxtel, because the moment there is a decent and at least moderately convenient option, people will flock to it.

                Last edited 02/05/16 3:24 pm

                  100% agree.

                  I'm not surprised people pirate. And if I were a competitor to Foxtel I would be falling over myself to pay HBO a lot of money to get the rights to GoT in Australia.

                  But maybe Foxtel doesn't care. Maybe if it gets just one subscriber for every 10 people that pirate the show, it is worth it for them.

                  Don't forget that Foxtel has to support a shitload of shows that nobody in his or her right mind WANTS to watch, so the only way to get people to watch them is to offer a carrot like GoT at an artificially high price.

                  I don't think that model will last too long in the current climate.

                And it's the customer's right to tell them that the service/product they are offering is shithouse. That's what every single person who is pirating or dodging geoblocking to use HBO Now is doing - telling Foxtel "the product(s) you are offering are shit."

                  That may be what some or most of them are doing, but it ain't right I tells ya. It's like telling your local swimming pool that it costs too much and the turnstiles are too difficult to turn, before jumping the gate and going swimming. Surely placards in the streets are a better way!

                I'm in the NBN area and it's still garbage, really.
                All this talk of Lightning Fast Internets™ that're still less than 1/3 the speed of most of the rest of the world's developed nations.
                Then they want you to pay a premium for the privilege, AND pay for a cable box separately for one specific show, but more than that they want you to appear GRATEFUL that they've allowed you so graciously to purchase their overpriced products while they don't pay any taxes as a company in Australia?
                No. Screw them.
                Don't guilt me for finding a better option and then tell me it's my fault we can't have nice things.

                NBN customer here, feel free to use my guest network any time - It's rate limited to 50Mbps, I hope that's OK.

              Firstly I have already established that I never pirate anything and I certainly wouldn't pirate game of thrones as I read the books which I own physical copies of.

              Secondly I think the rights holders one day will look at other industries where pirates practices have changed when a reasonably priced alternative has appeared such as the games industry.

                I'll freely admit I've pirated things; even GoT on TV and eBook.

                I wouldn't have watched or read GoT if I couldn't have acquired it freely either via pirating or borrowing. Because I did I've found I actually like the series which has caused me to:
                a) Spend all the money I saved on useless GoT merchandise.
                b) Invest my time and 'social influence' in spreading GoT.

                Digital content is a social medium now. Without me downloading and sharing GoT; my friends and relatives wouldn't be espousing the show to others; they wouldn't be buying GoT board games and mugs. In short they wouldn't be contributing at all.

                  You mean to say you know people who have GoT board games and mugs? I don't know anyone who has any GoT merchandise, and I have friends who torrent it. Doesn't make me want to watch it.

              Why should the rights holders believe that your practices would change in return?

              Because they're reliant on us end-users to get any money at all. They have to guess and guess what we'll do next no matter what we did last.

              You can spin it how you want but look at it this way.

              Previously people downloaded everything, bought blu rays of what they liked
              Now people pay for online streaming services, still buy blu rays of what they liked

              The difference is the companies are getting 'some' money.

              I'm not saying it's right or wrong, these are just the facts. In a world where attaining a 720/1080 copy of a show is FREE and 45-80 minutes away with about 0.000000001% chance of getting busted, you can tell what people are doing. It's not 1995, we are not waiting 6 months for AU releases of content. The world is a smaller place and we have worldly discussions on reddit and tech sites.

              Option 1 - Battle to pay $30/month to a company I hate for a crappy app which crashes
              Option 2 - Get it for free in 45 minutes in 1080 quality.

              Compared to Daredevil
              Option 1 - Pay $11/month to Netflix which also has a library of other original content and cool shit. App is slick, fast and works on PC, ipad and phone.
              Option 2 - Get it for free in 45 minutes
              .... nah I'll just go Netflix.

              Honestly, I'd pay upto $30/month for Netflix, possibly even more. To me it's less about the money and more about the practices. Foxtel is an all round shitty solution at a very high price point. Services like netflix are an amazing solution at a unheard of low price. There's no reason not to use netflix and there's every reason not to use foxtel.... this is why I download GoT and don't feel bad about it.

                This. You have to be realistic here. If I am going to pay 3x the price of Netflix, surely I will get an adequate service. Foxtel has not earnt my favour because it works well at all, it attempts to grab me at that high price point purely because it has locked out all other options for the content I would enjoy. If Netflix were $30 a month I wouldn't be fussed, I'd actually find it believable because they have pretty much topped the competition in a number of ways, and the service is excellent. Whereas I am not going to pay that much for a service that is abysmal in comparison, solely because the distributor has bought exclusivity rather than improving their service to stand out.

              The argument is that many people in this case are saying "yes, I *would* pay for a decent price for a decent product" that negates the usual "piracy != lost sales" argument.

              People have/are dodged/dodging geoblocking to use HBO Now that *still* gives a better service than Foxtel Play. Surely that should tell you something.

              How many times does it need to be pointed out that piracy is a distribution problem before the retards in charge take notice? Offer a fair service for a fair price, and people will sign up and not pirate. It worked for Steam with games. It worked for Netflix.

              Foxtel are trying to charge $30/month for a Foxtel Play or exorbitant prices for Foxtel. People have had enough of been asked to pay too much for a service that is simply not good enough.

          They are more like guidelines. Regardless, HBO get my money when I buy the Blu-ray set from the store.

          Last edited 02/05/16 12:57 pm

          The lost sale and piracy is pretty grey. Sure in some cases it's lost sales in others it's not - but it's very very hard to prove either way. In this case the creators (HBO) actually loose out on nothing by Australians pirating it. Foxtel do. HBO have already been payed by foxtel.

          I personally don't give two fucks about a middleman trying to onsell an inferior product at an inflated price. This is precisely what foxtel is doing. Doesn't matter if it's right or wrong legal illegal - i really have no sympathy for them, they come across as greedy dicks. Now if they had competitive prices (world market) and a high quality service, i'd be more inclined to care.

      In the last article, Mark specified the trouble he had trying to pay for it. The hot mess that is the Foxtel Play app made it impossible for him to get what he paid for. Foxtel ended up giving him a discount and access to another account (which still messed up) because he told it how it was.

      This isn't "I'm having trouble accessing this content immediately". This is "Foxtel is happy to take an unreasonable amount of money and there's a good chance I won't get what I'm paying for."

        I'm aware of this. I'm not trying to claim that Foxtel has a good online service, or that Australia has a good way of accessing live GoT via streaming.

        But there's nothing - other than individual judgement regarding product value (effectively making a personal decision that the price is too high) - preventing any of us from getting a Foxtel satellite installed and a proper HD subscription.

        Maybe - and this is an idea that people seem unwilling to accept - Game of Thrones is luxury content with a luxury price tag. Cars, food, clothes, all sorts of physical products, are priced differently based largely on an element of prestige that has nothing to do with the price of the individual components - why shouldn't creative content be the same?

        Last edited 02/05/16 12:26 pm

          The price IS too high, in comparison to buying the full dvd/Blu-ray set in a years time, and also compared to other streaming services that operate in the same way as foxtel.

          It's not the individual making that decision, it's the market.

            Going to the movies is also more expensive than waiting a year for the DVD/Blu-Ray to come out. Buying a game at release is more expensive than waiting a year.

            Content depreciates in value over time. That's how it works.

            Is Foxtel capitalising upon the desperation of people to watch more GoT as early as possible? Of course it is. THAT's the market in action. Some people are willing to pay that much, obviously. And if other people decide not to pay that price, that's the market in action too.

            Breaking the law to download torrents? The only part of that action that demonstrates the market in action is rights holders deciding whether or not to take legal action.

              It's not really a market if only one vendor is selling a specific product though, it's a monopoly. A monopoly which doesn't have consumers OR the creators best interests at hand, just a corporation.

              People don't have to put up with this situation in which both consumers and creators are cut out of their fair share of money/entertainment because of a backroom deal in a board room somewhere that benefits a bunch of executives. Downloading the show and refusing to give ANY money to a price gouging corporation is an act of defiance and choice that hopefully shows that the times have changed and this type of arrangement isn't going to fly any more.

              If you think HBO are happy about missing out on potential sales through streaming/etc you are wrong, they are losing out because of Murdoch and his monopoly.

                They CHOSE to sell the licence to Foxtel. Let's not pretend that HBO is a bystander in these business decisions.

                  That's true, but murdoch had them over a barrel. He was/is in control of the Australian market and is able to beat out pretty much any other media supplier similar to foxtel (back then at least), he fought tooth and nail to keep netflix out as well remember.

                  Actually the more I think about it murdoch probably told them it was go with foxtel or get nothing, as he would block any other service that tried to compete with him. And he did that for the most part for a few years. So I wouldn't call that much of a choice.

                  As I said, I guarantee HBO aren't happy about being locked into his deal and having their product available through only ONE media outlet in Australia that is a straight up rip off.

                  Last edited 02/05/16 1:28 pm

                  @roh - I cant agree with you on this one. HBO have had deals with iTunes in the past and iTunes has been selling TV shows in Australia for a longer period of time that GoT has been production - so I think HBO are very happy with the deal

                  Also I cant imagine, under any circumstance, that HBO executives pondering this deal ever thought "hmm, yes Foxtel really is THE ONLY WAY our show will ever be seen in Australia". They aren't dumb, they know about iTunes, Playstation/XBOX TV, Google Play, Netflix imminent launch in Australia, Quickflix, Free to Air TV etc

              Where do you live that going to the movies is more expensive than waiting for a Blu-Ray or DVD?
              It costs me $10 for a movie ticket ($11.50 for a Titan cinema ticket) :P

              Time to move away from the ACT, Shane!

                I'm seeing cap: civil war at VMAX tomorrow for $15.... second best cinema in Sydney for chump change, it can be done :)

                  Curious which one is deemed second best.

                  Also which is first best :P

                  @mrtaco Imax @ Entertainment quarter !!!! Best quality screen and sound but vmax is closer to work for a bunch of friends and is pretty negligible in the grand scheme of things.

                  ...I didn't know we had more than one Imax. Surely it couldn't be better than the biggest screen in the world :P

                  Though on the flipside there's a place down in Campbelltown my friends like to go to that does $6 tickets, so it's kinda hard to argue with that. Even if it is a bit of a trek.

                  @mrtaco That imax exists for the sheer size. Imagine the same quality film on a regular screen paired with hectic sound and some more thought out bolt ons.... this is from the site:

                  IMAX® powerful digital projection
                  IMAX® specifically designed screen
                  IMAX® digital surround sound system
                  IMAX® unique theatre geometry
                  IMAX® 3D

                  As a consumer who 80% gets all of the above, it just makes the experience amazing.... but like I said the practicality of getting there doesn't always work, so George St V-Max is a realistic and worthy second place contender.

                  Amen to that, I hate trying to get to that place. Almost always end up either lost or caught up in traffic and about to miss the start. Glad those couple of years of always ending up having to go there for whatever reason have died down.

              If their business is based on having people so desperate they'll pay whatever to get something now, they shouldn't be so surprised the same market will is so desperate to get it any other way.

              They don't want their content to depreciate, they don't want you to wait. Right now they want say, your $10 but later they'll get $5. Right now your $5 is as bad as nothing, they'll 'accept' it when it doesn't matter because all of their forecasts were based on how many $10 they can have now.

          But there isn't a monopoly on clothes, food, cars, etc. You can buy all those products from anywhere and at varying price points to suit your budget. Also, if someone tells you how a tee-shirt fits, it isn't going to spoil the whole thing for you.

          Entertainment is completely different.

          Foxtel have positioned themselves in a super anti-consumer position. You *must* use their service in one form or another (FMMV on quality of the product) at *this* pricepoint because it's not available legally anywhere else, (In Australia, anyway.)

          I used to pay for Netflix in the UK and route through a VPN because I still wanted to pay for the content I was watching, but I couldn't. I was illegally paying for it; a concept which is almost oxymoronic. Australians are willing to pay for the content we watch (the Netflix AU stats back that up) but:
          1) we want value for money. If I'm going to pay $30-$50 (based on the last article) for a single series; it had damn well better be streaming in full HD and not 480p.

          2) it needs to be easily accessible. Paying for a service and then not being able to use it because the app doesn't work or you literally can't it in your area isn't accessible and it's certainly not value for money.

            STRONGLY DISAGREE. Entertainment is not different.

            Sure, entertainment can be purchased anywhere. But sometimes, if you want a specific title, you go to a specific place. EB Games is all about exclusive content, as we know.

            If I want a burger, I can go anywhere. But if I wanted a BrodBurger (possible Canberra-centric reference), there's only one place I can go for it.

            If I want Game of Thrones, at the moment, until the Blu-Ray comes out, there's only one place I can go. That's just how it is.

              But you telling me about BrodBurger doesn't spoil the experience for me. If you wait the 11 months it takes for content to reach blu-ray status, you would have to live under a rock with no internet connection so that the experience isn't ruined for you. Entertainment is completely different because of the investment people make; not only financially, but emotionally. My love for burgers can be sated easily (because they are easily accessible and affordable), but my love for GoT/Arrow/The Flash/etc can't be because of how geo-blocking of entertainment works.

                I haven't had any issues avoiding spoilers for the last five years. But let's accept the premise that, for the moment, your feeds are somehow more pervasively GoT-spoilery than mine.

                Let's also put aside the argument that the surprise isn't the only thing (or indeed even the main thing) to appreciate in a good piece of fiction, because everyone's experience is different.

                If you want to avoid spoilers, you can pay for it. Get yourself a satellite connection and pay the money. If it's not worth that much to you to be ahead of the spoiler train, then that's your choice. Torrenting is not justified by your fear of being spoiled.

                  You and I clearly won't agree. My torrenting is justified because I believe in globalisation of media and don't think that paying Foxtel to continue it's painfully expensive monopoly is the right thing to do.

              What about medication? Should patients have to pay 5000% more because Shkreli now charges them that?

                Not sure if medication (for your health) is under the same umbrella as entertainment?

                Either way, the competition is already working to produce similar products to counter Mr Shkreli:


                So: if there is real injustice, a way to combat this would be to produce your own show? (maybe Game of Chairs? Throne of Games?)

                  Sport of Stools I think.
                  Anyway, I know it's hardly an apt comparison. My point was there are certain things we (nearly) all agree that people are entitled too. Not everyone though. There are people who are on Shkreli's side saying he can charge whatever he wants for the product he provides. It is after all his product.
                  In GoT 's case we have comparative products that are given to us at a reasonable price point (Netflix, Stan, iTunes), and then Foxtel p*ssing down our neck and telling us it's raining.
                  We all make our own choice on what we think is fair and reasonable.

                I'm sure we're not comparing an entertainment product to a matter of life-and-death in Africa...

                  Just trying to work out where it is we can feel entitled to a fair and reasonable price for a product that one company has a monoploy on and charges exorbitant prices for.

                  Why not you just tried to compare it to a fucking burger? Whats more retarded?

              you can buy just your burger though, you dont have to buy it in a family meal, with a monthly commitment of the entry price. if they had a bloke out the back making those burgers for free, paid for by advertising in the alleyway youd be questioning why they cant unbundle your burger for a fair price.

          I'm not trying to claim that Foxtel has a good online service,

          Foxtel's online service is probably the worst on the planet. Their whole service is designed to be so frustratingly maddening that they hope to push you onto their premium services. Eff that! They can kiss my hairy butt crack.

          Maybe - and this is an idea that people seem unwilling to accept - Game of Thrones is luxury content with a luxury price tag.

          I hate to disagree with you, but I do. Strongly. What exactly makes something a 'luxury' purchase? A high price tag? Exclusivity? The fact that the creator says it is?

          Let's be generous on the side of content creation/distribution and ignore the additional problem that for no difference beyond an IP address and corporate chicanery, we're supposed to swallow the idea that digital media instantly available via a global network is somehow 'more of a luxury' in Australia than it is in the US.

          The problem here is that Foxtel and HBO are treating this as premium, luxury, high-price entertainment... and their only justification for the 'luxury' label is because the demand is high, and they can set the price.

          You wanna know what else has high demand? McDonalds. Luxury? Premium? Hardly. So the really key factor here is the notion that they can set the price.

          Except they can't. That genie is out of the bottle. People have seen that there is content of equal or better quality at infinitely better value, and they want THIS content at the same value price. The market is dictating whether GoT is 'luxury' or not, and they're doing that by simply refusing to pay the asked price. It's not a 'traditional' market force, but the fact is that piracy exists, it isn't going anywhere, it's easy, it's an option, and it's an option that people are going to take if they don't agree with the distributor/creator's price. That's market forces at work. Except instead of 'not buying' and the seller lowering the price in the kind of 'supply and demand' you get told about in Year 10 Business Studies (which coincidentally breaks down into pieces the moment you realize that 'supply' of digital content is functionally infinite, meaning that any demand will never outstrip it, thus de-valuing the price infinitely), it's the REAL market. Piracy is just another market force.


          Additional point: As a creator yourself, you're possibly too close to the content, too. Another huge reality that influences all these discussions is that the content itself is only a part of the value. A large part, but not the part that determines piracy vs purchase. The method of distribution is a huge factor. Just look at people tied to their iOS ecosystem due to their cost in apps. Look at the fact that Steam is a multi-BILLION dollar enterprise in an industry which is widely-regarded to be the most susceptible to piracy.

          Piracy is cheap, piracy is easy. Is there a single reason I couldn't have taken my thousands-a-year entertainment budget and spent it on something else (like a house) and enjoyed 'free' illegal content? Why yes, there is, and it's not JUST a moral one. It's the fact that the content alone isn't all I'm buying when I pay for a game through Steam. I'm getting lightning-fast download servers, guaranteed availability no matter how old or obscure the game, I'm getting online support, patches for next-gen hardware and OSes, I'm getting a manageable library. I wouldn't get those things if the ONLY factor behind my decision was 'just the content'. I'd have a mortgage and a tonne of pirated shit on hard drives. Steam's accessibility and reliability is a huge factor in not pirating that software.

          With ads, dodgy resolution, unreliable start/finish times, enforced 'bundling' with other content you might not give a shit about driving up the price, and mandatory subscription contracts, Foxtel's other 'value' factors shoot them in the foot compared to the relative ease and simplicity of video piracy.

          Content is not king in the decision between piracy and purchase, and any idea of 'luxury' needs to be separated from the content itself, but by what it does that a pirate can't.

          Last edited 02/05/16 2:48 pm

            Why couldn't it be luxury content? It's certainly more expensive to make than most other programs. Higher production values, bigger cast, better effects, more exotic locations. It's gotta be paid for somehow, and only premium channels can afford it. There's a link there, I'm sure of it.

              The same reason we don't pay more at a cinema to see a high-expense blockbuster than to see a low-expense holiday comedy. They of course expect to offset high costs by appealing to a wide audience, but are keenly aware of what the average movie-goer is willing to pay. The more expensive production spends that money in order to be more appealing and compete for that same money, not more money.

              At the end of the day their value is subjective; they're not luxury inherently, it's completely the perspective of the user. They're all just TV shows to us, and we all have a rough idea how much we're willing to pay for TV shows. Food is a luxury to a poor family, and a holiday house is not a luxury to a billionaire. In common though, they can't indulge bad deals.

                Your analogy doesn't really work, since movies like that are inherently a luxury product. Comparing theatrical releases to made-for-television movies would be better - and you do pay a premium for theatrical movies.

                They're all just TV shows to us

                Not true. There are most definitely higher-quality TV shows - Compare House of Cards to something like Home and Away. People pay for Netflix not just for the distribution, but because they also put out high-quality original content, which is better than the TV shows on free-to-air.

                  Comparing theatrical releases to made-for-television movies would be better

                  Do I? I need to check the local JB! Your analogy is worse because you failed to account for the fact that a cinema movie costs more because it's shown at a cinema. Not because it was made for the cinema.

                  Compare House of Cards to something like Home and Away.

                  Easy. They're both just shows. Their value to the consumer is the same subjective value. The fact that House of Cards has a better production value than Home and Away is meaningless to the audience. I mean it helps the appeal, so maybe some people would pay more, but not all; I could easily walk down the street and find someone who'd pay more for Home and Away than House of Cards - they just need to like it more.

                  People pay for Netflix not just for the distribution, but because they also put out high-quality original content

                  Yes. In this debate however, Foxtel does none of this. GoT is a show they bought, a show with which we can comparatively tell we're being ripped off.

                  Last edited 03/05/16 3:15 am


                  They're both just shows

                  That's like saying a Bugatti Veyron and a Ford Falcon are the same because they are just cars. The fact that one is better in virtually every regard is meaningless to the customer; it helps the appeal, but someone is going to like their Falcon more than a Veyron.

                  At the end of the day, if at the end of the day all TV shows were the same, then services like Foxtel wouldn't exist because everyone would be perfectly happy watching the crap on free to air.

                  Your analogy is worse because you failed to account for the fact that a cinema movie costs more because it's shown at a cinema. Not because it was made for the cinema.

                  ... and the movies cost more to make because they can recoup more money because they're shown at a cinema. One doesn't happen without the other.

                  My point still stands - products that you have to pay a premium for (be it movies in a cinema or Netflix-original content) are generally better than free-to-air stuff like Home and Away. Inherently they would have to be, or else no one would pay for them!

                  @cffndncr They are just cars to the end user. It's the companies jobs to be convincing that one is worth more than the other, including convincing us that one literally cost more in materials and labour. That's easier for vehicles you can physically touch and usually have a price disparity of thousands of dollars. With TV shows it's completely different, the quality of the actors is meaningless if you don't like what they have to contribute, the quality of the sets and special effects are meaningless if you don't like the setting. Shows are shows just like games are games and we've spent countless as many hours arguing over how much a game is worth including the same very variables as running-time, quality, polish, market segment, features etc. and there's no actual agreement there either!

                  Let me put it this way: something I know people will pay the difference for is SD or HD. A blu-ray costs more than a DVD. People can easily understand the value being offered to themselves; and will shift their value judgements to match. That's common sense. Most people will never ever give a rats ass about how much the show on those discs cost to make, just like most will never ever care that GoT is at a production level worth pay-tv costs (in Australia at least, which brings me to what you said...)

                  At the end of the day, if at the end of the day all TV shows were the same, then services like Foxtel wouldn't exist because everyone would be perfectly happy watching the crap on free to air.

                  That's exactly how it is in Australia. Foxtel is an anachronism. The exist in a country that has widely snubbed pay-tv. In the USA, cable-tv was a big success: lots of options, original content, bundled with internet. Over here, Foxtel and Austar and Galaxy has failed to capture such a market because, "all they offer is the same stuff you get on free-to-air, but you pay!" Heh, how true was that? Doesn't matter as it became the prevailing attitude to that kind of product and the trend continued all the way till now where, why would anyone pay for a broadcast TV show like GoT, especially when it costs. that. much.

                  and the movies cost more to make because they can recoup more money because they're shown at a cinema. One doesn't happen without the other.

                  Oh sure. But it's still got nothing to do with the cost the end-user is willing to pay. They're paying more to see it at the cinema (big screen, big sound system, family/friends event), not because this is a cinema movie, made for cinemas and has big production values and therefore costs more. That same movie can be watched later on a little TV with no problems and with no additional value over any crappier made-for-tv movie. This is the angle I'm coming from because the seller literally relies on convincing the end-user on how much is reasonable and what they're getting. The death of the 'home-made' industry is a great example: customers went for cheaper, crappier, factory-made products and weren't convinced that home-made was better just because it cost more and had more effort put into it.

              What link qualifies it as premium? Pretty much what I said, I'd imagine. IP owners/distributors want to convince us that GoT is a premium luxury because it's popular and they decided it should be regarded as premium so they could make more money off that popularity.
              Because that would work out really well for them. (Or at least it would if reality were not reality, and piracy didn't exist.)

              More often than not, it seems that other 'premium luxuries' which actually manage to stick the label are regarded as premium/luxury as the result of a combination of exclusivity and branding.

              Ferraris are out of the reach of most, and are thus exclusive. It's difficult to get around this with piracy because unlike digital content, there is actually a limit on supply of Ferraris. Each one costs a lot to make and that cost is passed directly to the customer. This is different to branding.
              Branding is why Gucci can charge literally thousands for something of a level of quality that's easily (and more frequently than Gucci would like) reproduced by Chinese factory workers. Piracy IS actually a hard-fought problem there, but it's easier to catch and squash than digital piracy. And remains limited by the cost of production, all the same. But this is why luxury handbags are 'pirated' more than luxury cars.

              Digital content isn't that much different, I think. It's just way the hell further along the scale. You can't tie its exclusivity to production cost in any meaningful way. Once the film is in the can, it costs just as much to deliver to one user as it does to ten. As much to deliver to one million views as to ten million. Not much more to distribute to a billion. Or all 3.x billion connected people in the world, if you really wanted. They want to TRY and manufacture some artificial exclusivity through contracts and geo-blocking, but the fact is that this is pure artifice. That exclusivity is not necessary to pay for the costs. Plenty of distributors offered what I imagine were fairly lucrative distribution deals to contribute to those costs for GoT. The reason they didn't succeed (in Australia) is because Foxtel threw quite a bit of money at it for exclusivity. Artificial, manufactured exclusivity.
              (Which Foxtel is annoyed about because - predictably - piracy continues to be a thing. And rather than adapt to the reality of that, they're instead trying to lobby the government to stop it, so that the taxpayer - through enforcement - can help make their business decision to manufacture exclusivity into a more lucrative decision than it currently is.)

              The fact that that artificial cost can be circumvented means that an otherwise 'exclusive' product is out of the reach of no-one. Anyone with an internet connection can source it.

              Thrones has great brand power, but is attempting exclusivity and failing hard against the reality of the medium. Because it is so popular and so easy to distribute/copy, it's can't be exclusive. Without a dramatic overturning of literally everything we know about piracy and digital distribution, it just can't be.

              Making matters worse is that the pirated copies are actually better quality. They can be shifted across formats, devices, made portable in high resolution, subtitled, ad-free, stored or retrieved almost indefinitely, replayed whenever and however often the user likes...

              Distributors can feel free to CALL it premium, luxury content relative to all other content (of varying budgets, quality, and popularity), but that doesn't make it so. They're up against a reality which is especially harsh on the very concept of a digitally-distributed, consumable premium luxury.

              Note: This isn't to say that TV shows can't be lucrative. Just that they're probably not going to have much luck at that if they rely on the crutch of trying to pretend that they're exclusive premium luxuries. This just isn't a medium in which you can do that.

              (For what it's worth, on the point of cost: GoT eps are estimated to cost around $6M each to make. Episodes of Friends cost about $10M each. Miniseries 'Rome' - also by HBO - ran at about $9M per episode. Breaking Bad eps cost about $3M. Most well-regarded Netflix originals run $3-4M - House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire, Orange is the new Black, Daredevil, etc. ER got up to $13M. Starz' Camelot was a mistake at $9M each. The real contributor to the 'premium' tag here appears to be popularity.)

              Last edited 02/05/16 5:11 pm

              With that argument housing in Australia should be considered a luxury product only meant for the highest earners.

                That... is actually the argument being used by proponents of negative gearing who would strongly prefer that property remain the domain of wealthy investors (who don't actually consider themselves wealthy because they've never heard what the median Australian income is, or if they have, don't believe it) looking for tax breaks, instead of a widely available alternative to renting.

          The luxury product analogy doesn't really work - It'd be more like 'Hey, you can buy this brand new Bentley, but you're going to pay 3x what it's worth since you can only buy it in a package with these 20 other cars that don't have motors and randomly explode every now and again.'

          I mean, don't get me wrong. I feel 0 guilt about torrenting GoT since I already have a Foxtel subscription, I'd just like the freedom to watch it on my PC or laptop in a decent resolution.

        Fair Trading will look after that kind of thing in NSW, or the NCAT tribunal, or the Courts. Take your pick. Unfortunately, spitting the dummy and illegally downloading isn't a lawful option ;-)

      You've missed the point of the article. It's not all about price being the justification to torrent something. The facts are that we literally have access to a better quality version, can get that version faster and can get it for free. Price is one part of it, the quality and how you can access the content is the other.

        I'm not denying that the industry needs a shake-up. But the argument that we're justified in turning to illegal activity because of a little inconvenience is a massive jump in logic that makes no sense in any other context.

          This was precisely my argument. Entitlement here means 'The rest of the world (which isn't the case but let's use hyperbole) gets to pay for GoT, so I should be able to, but I can't without massive inconvenience, so I will 'steal' (not actually steal, but close enough) it because I should be able to watch it at the same time as anyone else in the world!'

            Rather than using the loaded "steal" you could have simply used the less-loaded "copy".
            Me, awaaaaay!

              That's the point :-)

              Copying is a victimless crime (because it doesn't imply depriving someone). Perpetrators like to feel blameless, right Mark?

                Its just odd because the rest of the time you are all about being legally correct.

                Strange that you would stray away from that to use loaded terms.

                  We all like to be persuasive. Emotive language and loaded terms are part and parcel of that.

            It's less about entitlement and more about human nature at this point. If you offer an outdated, poor quality service for a product and someone can get it somewhere else that is better quality and cheaper then they're gonna go somewhere else.

            In this case it's illegal to go to that other option but that's not exactly stopping anyone.

              I think Mark saying he refuses to feel guilty is actually a cry for help because he DOES feel guilty and somewhere deep in his core he wants someone to reprimand him.

                Zambayoshi I would be interested in how many hours you have spent sitting on these last two Game of Thrones torrent threads replying to people you don't know, sitting on your imaginary high horse speaking down on everyone as if you are the high and mighty lord of moral reason with a degree in law and trollism about how they are criminals for downloading a show that by all accounts you don't even watch! All the while spamming deliberately troll like emoticons at the end of your yawnworthy jousts, just to ensure a reply.

                  My high horse isn't imaginary. Isn't that right, Butt Stallion?



                  (come on dude, lighten up)

                  Last edited 02/05/16 4:33 pm

          I think the main issue is that not only is there no equitable and convenient way for us to legitimately consume the product, the distribution agreement here seems to actually punish legitimate consumers by shackling them to an unfair pricing model, sub-standard service and inferior product.

          Taking your car analogy, that's like me saying you must drive a jalopy and pay $50 a month to so, when sitting there is a brand new car with the keys in the ignition. When you ask, can I drive the brand new car, I'm happy to pay for it, they say fuck you, you're stuck with the jalopy.

          And then they turn around and wonder why no one wants to buy the jalopy.

            There is actually a way to consume the content now. Get a Foxtel satellite connection. If that's too rich for your blood (and it is for mine), you're stuck with the jalopy, and good luck to you.

              Foxtel is the jalopy. He's stuck with the brand new car.

      In Mark's situation though he mentioned he does buy the Blu-Ray's once they are released. In effect he is paying for the product. With a show like GoT that is as much a social experience as TV can be, you kinda need to watch in real-time to avoid spoilers.
      I do the same. Except I just stream it rather than downloading.

        I buy the Blu-Rays too. But I wait for them to come out.

        If I want GoT NOW, I need to get Foxtel or break the law. I'm not really keen to do either.

          Yeah, I think a lot of people are overlooking this part of the discussion. There's actually no necessity to have it right now. If you're speaking out about wanting to support the creators and how you buy it, I'm not sure it's completely wise to endorse ways that hurt the production as well for reasons which essentially boil down to "I want it now, not later". I think this is more or less why people bring up the entitled part of it really.

            How is the production help by us not buying Foxtel then?

          That's fine. We all have our moral compasses. Personally I don't have an issue with streaming. As far as I'm aware it's not even illegal if you aren't downloading.

            (It is still Illegal because streaming is just downloading while you watch)

              Is it though? I know in Europe a couple of years ago they declared that streaming illegal content online was legal. If you aren't wilfully making a copy and just viewing through a web browser you aren't doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law.
              I'm fairly sure the same applies here in Australia currently..

                The problem is to reach the web browser it creates a local copy of the media on your pc in your browsers cache.

                I know what you mean about in some areas it is only distribution that is Illegal but i'm pretty sure in Australia we aren't in that position.

                I would be happy to be wrong though!

                  There's an amazing lack of information about the legality of it. I've never been able to find a clear answer either way.
                  If a content provider offers a product for viewing (free or something you've paid for) but stipulates that no copy shall be created, are you then also in breach because of the cache?

                  Does the cache count?

                  Some years ago I read about a guy that was found with child porn in his cache. He was let off as unless you take measures to save it, stuff in your cache disappears. It was so long ago that I couldn't tell you if it was an Australian case or not though.

          You can subscribe to HBO with a VPN or whatever. Cheaper and legal.

            So torrenting is further invalidated as the right option. I can accept this.

              Just research your VPN very carefully. Or you could subscribe and then just torrent it.

                On the plus side when they block the VPN you are using to stream HBO you still have a usable VPN to torrent through.

        When I sneak into a movie I justify it by watching the ads when that movie is on free-to-air television two years down the track.

          Cool I'll remember this next time I sneak into a Game of Throne theatre or watch it on free-to-air tv.

            This argument is the best! XD

            (also a Game of Throne theatre would be amazing)

        Admittedly, I don't actually watch GoT, but I don't actually hear or read any spoilers for it either. Are people in different circles literally getting spoilers shoved in their face, or are they unable to refrain from clicking on articles and links to forum threads about each episode?

          I literally had spoilers come up in my feed from people I know and generally trust to avoid such things. The public expectation these days is that everyone is watching it as it airs so spoilers aren't an issue.

          I don't even have the internet at home but one daily refresh of twitter ruined it for me.

      Mark should be a lawyer: I don't feel entitled to Game of Thrones, but I feel entitled to PAY for Game of Thrones...

      I don't think anyone saying you were entitled thought you were saying you should get the show for free Mark.


      It's not just the price. It's the fact that Foxtel are charging several times more than equivalent streaming services for a defective product, which nearly everyone responding to Mark is missing or ignoring.

      Netflix - $15 a month for HD content, with a stable app that works, and handles buffering.
      Foxtel streaming - $30 for SD content, with a buggy app that crashes and doesn't buffer properly.

      If Foxtel's streaming service WORKED Mark would suck up the $30 a month and use the service. But it doesn't. Mark's already said he's happy to buy the bluray boxset when it's released too. It's not about the money, and Mark wants HBO to get paid for it.

      It harks back to the SecureROM copy protection on games (notably Dreamfall...) where legitimate purchasers of the product had all sorts of hassles running it. It just didn't work properly. Meanwhile there were cracked versions doing the rounds that worked perfectly on first install. So I wound up downloading a cracked version and left the boxed copy on the shelf. This is clearly not the desirable outcome.

        GoT is not on Netflix anywhere in the world. This is an insane comparison that makes zero sense.

        GoT is premium content. Premium content comes with a premium price tag. I'm not disagreeing that Foxtel Play should be better - it absolutely should - but there's still a HD option there for those willing to pay for it.

        If you've been priced out of the market, then just accept it and wait for the Blu Rays, or go ahead and break the law. But don't pretend that you've got any justification for it other than your outrage at being economically disadvantaged.

          Could you not just replace Netflix in the example above with HBO Go?

            If HBO Go was available in Oz we wouldn't be having this discussion at all (assuming it works properly...).

              I am aware, I'm just saying for arguments sake given Shane's objection to the example presented above.

          I wonder, if Netflix had GoT, would the extra traffic cause it to perform as badly as Foxtel Play? Maybe FP performs poorly because of all the people wanting to stream GoT.

          I don't think it's an insane comparison, because the point is to access GoT you have to pay a Premium price for substandard service. While the content may be good, it's not the only factor that influences the purchase decision- if I pay a premium price, I expect a functional service (hell, I expect a premium service, but I'd settle for functional), and this isn't even "oh there's a hiccup or two but it's OK," it's "it plain doesn't work." The decision there is easy then- I can throw money at a service that isn't fit for purpose, or, despite it being illegal, I can torrent it and get a version that works every time.

          If Foxtel Play worked as well as Netflix (Or even as well as Stan, which I've found pretty good but still less reliable) this would be a non issue. That's the comparison- the quality of the Play service is sub-par when compared to its closest competitors in the market, even if it has the show you want. As a consumer who would be paying that premium price, it is my right to demand better, and ultimately vote with my wallet by not paying for Foxtel Play.

            But at no point in that argument does piracy become a legitimate option.

            And I don't think Foxtel Play is the abomination Mark says it is. I paid for it last year, purely for GoT, and yes, it's subpar, and it crashed a few times, but I did see the entire season.

              I'm not saying it's legitimate, but I am saying it's markedly better quality than the official option, and that's what's going to sway the decision. Years and years of access to torrents has altered our consumer expectations (again, you can argue the ethics of it) but in an age of a la carte or low all you can eat pricing, an offering that is bundled together with a bunch of stuff you don't want AND highly priced AND with less function is at the very least out of step with how consumers want to pay, and that that causes rancour is unsurprising.

          If netflix had a premium "option" I'd buy it.

          If HBO was more competitive they would get a whole lot more sales which would be significantly more profit overall.

          But hey I'm all for pricing content out of everyone's reach. That way we all stop watching TV and do something productive. This excludes paying gatekeepers for generating content monopolies.

          Last edited 02/05/16 1:15 pm

            You should tell HBO that. I'm sure they never considered the idea of becoming more profitable.

              Of course not, they can kick their peasant customers instead. That is a whole lot easier.

              There are lots of ways of becoming more profitable that businesses don't take advantage of. There is apparently a wage gap. Fire all the men and hire women and you can pay lower wages.

            So you want Netflix to fragment their content for their audience?

            Isnt this one of our biggest gripes about Foxtel right now, and you are suggesting that Netflix do it? (because I am sure if they had a premium option, you'd be forced to subscribe to the basic option first)

            PS - I realise this has nothing to do with GoT

              They won't do this.
              Netflix thrives because there are almost no options. They recently took away the actor and director names from underneath the synopsis's. Keep it simple.

              Well they are never going to get other studios content, it's that simple. SO never expect to see a whole lot of "premium" content on Netflix.

          Netflix is a streaming service. Foxtel Play is a streaming service. Both have exclusive premium content - GoT for Foxtel, House of Cards for Netflix. The comparison is entirely valid. House of Cards in 4k vs Game of Thrones in SD.

          You're still making it all about the price when it's not all about the price.

          It's about the premium content at premium price which Mark wanted to pay but the service doesn't work and the premium content is not served at premium quality.

            ...and just to head off any accusations of entitlement, I have a full Foxtel satellite subscription because I watch sports, so the difference for me is "adding the drama pack", which I did when my girlfriend (now wife) moved in a couple of years ago.

          but there's still a HD option there for those willing to pay for it.
          What HD option?? If you mean calling Foxtel, wating 1-2weeks for a rep to come out and paying around $200 for him to drill some holes THEN paying around $100 per month for that single show - No, that really isn't an option unless you're the kind of person that considers bricks a good option for the evening meal.

      They clearly decided that this is how they'll make the most money from the Australian market to fund the development of future seasons.

      However, rampant piracy has proven that this is a mistaken decision and people are voting with their wallets (or lack thereof). Any product or service giver has the right to charge /whatever/ they want, yes. But if they use that right to try to obtain unwarranted sums for a subpar product, they and they alone are to blame for their inevitable ruin. The only difference with a physical product is that, yeah, no one would get it, so it would sit forever in store until the company finally has to find a way to get rid of it (often by reducing the price to one more fitting of the product in question). A virtual product like TV series can be obtained illegally and with little consequence by would-be-customers, but the end result for the company is exactly the same: they're not seeing any money.

      If you had the power to click your fingers and make piracy stop for good, I assure you that the "legal"viewership of the series in Foxtel would go up, yes, but not significantly. Most people would just shrug and refuse to purchase the overpriced, low-quality product and move on. Piracy, in this case, at the very least is allowing the product to find an audience that will purchase related products and generate lots of word-of-mouth, which I'm positive produces more revenue that the handful of additional subscriptions to Foxtel would.

        It's not up to us to determine whether their business decisions are good or not.

        But it's good we have the noble practice of piracy to benefit society when big business finally comes crashing down.

          It actually is, open source has proven this. So you can eat your hat.

          Last edited 02/05/16 1:28 pm

            I'm sure the next generation of content creators will love flipping burgers full-time because they're not able to claim royalties for their work.

              1995 Microsoft wants to hire you. Oh wait, its 2016, you're fired. Google made a multi-billion dollar industry out of open source.

              The thing to remember here is: ITS FUCKING LEGAL TO IMPORT A CAR...Geoblocking should most certainly be made illegal. The moment this occurs, goodbye piracy like what happened to the music industry. The writting is on the wall.

              Last edited 02/05/16 1:34 pm

          How it is not up to us? Are you saying that companies speak and our only available answer must be "yes master, hearing is obeying" no matter how ridiculously overpriced and low quality their product is?

      As consumers, we do not dictate the terms by which content is published or released.

      But we do dictate when and how we will consume it.

      You can support that decision or not, but you can't pretend like torrenting is any kind of contribution to supporting the creators of the show.

      You can actually. Maybe not with 1-1 financial support, but it's pretty clear to me that the amount of piracy of Game of Thrones directly correlates with the fervour for its product and the inherent value it provides. It's really rare for an unsuccessful thing to be pirated heavily.
      Basically a feedback loop of: people like it > people buy it > people pirate it > people like it >

      Complaining about the price as a justification for torrenting is not a valid argument.
      Yes it is. It's been used countless times. You just don't agree.

      Put your money where your mouth is. Send a cheque direct to HBO for every episode you torrent. Otherwise, you're just tilting at windmills.

      Or y'know, buy it on DVD later or something. Those windmills won't be blowing us away.

        "But we do dictate when and how we will consume it."
        That's right. You can choose to obtain it legally or illegally. Pirating it falls into the latter category.

          Mmm yes. But your point was about what we were not allowed to control, the publishing et. al. It sounded like you wanted to show that the rights-holders are correct by being the ones in power. My point was that our decisions to consume or not (no matter how) would be the true dictator of the outcome.

        As consumers, we do not dictate the terms by which content is published or released.
        Keyword being "terms" - including distribution method and quality. So, yea, as consumers, it's not our right to dictate how we obtain it, even if the distributor for our region sucks.

        And price is not a valid argument against piracy when a blu-ray release is inevitable - why do you need to watch it now? I've seen only a couple of comments on here that actually acknowledge "don't watch it" or "wait for the BDs" as an option. Everyone seems to be so caught up in the "Foxtel is overpriced rubbish so I'll torrent it instead" that they seem to gloss over the logical leap required to get from "Foxtel are rubbish" to "I'll torrent it instead." That is the sense of entitlement that confuses me: Game of Thrones isn't health insurance, minimum wage or annual leave - it's just a TV show.

        Again, I haven't seen a single comment on here denying Foxtel are rubbish, but why are people so freaking ravenous for this show that they'd not take the opportunity to get the ACCC to tear Foxtel a new one over their clearly non-functional service? Anyone'd think HBO were dealing in digital meth.

          So, yea, as consumers, it's not our right to dictate how we obtain it

          Not our right, no, but we do... I'm not just talking about piracy here, whatever choice we make about consuming media will have some kind of effect.

          And price is not a valid argument against piracy when a blu-ray release is inevitable

          It is. The price is a comparison of the same product or service. The blu-ray may have the same show on it, but it's not the same thing you paid for when you get it on Foxtel. In the context of this article, the blu-ray is irrelevant; the beef is over the availability and price of a TV show at broadcast. Everyone can buy the blu-ray whether they saw the show on Foxtel, or pirated, or just straight up didn't watch. In fact, somebody could have completely different perceptions of value for both Foxtel and the blu-rays, and a pirate's justification that both are too expensive. Not morally right, but their truth nonetheless. At least by the time the blu-ray comes around, there'd hopefully be some market choice.

          they seem to gloss over the logical leap required to get from "Foxtel are rubbish" to "I'll torrent it instead."

          Not hard to believe when living in an isolated country where our track record of getting foreign programmes has been unreliable. So many times there has been shows that appear to be almost impossible to find, if you're not pirating it. Combine that with the general flexible morals of the typical computer nerd that knows how to torrent, spread it to the rest of the rapidly growing computer/internet savvy populace and then have stuff like this that just reminds everyone how unsatisfactorily publishers treat Aussies and bam - gots your entitles!.

          Game of Thrones isn't health insurance, minimum wage or annual leave - it's just a TV show.

          Yeah that's been said a lot in this thread it's almost just noise now. Anyone well off enough in this country probably has nothing but trivial problems, so they're real enough in our otherwise boring lives. Not only that but it's such an irrelevant argument, I mean, I'll fight all day over minimum wage and still be mad about Foxtel.

          Again, I haven't seen a single comment on here denying Foxtel are rubbish, but why are people so freaking ravenous for this show that they'd not take the opportunity to get the ACCC to tear Foxtel a new one over their clearly non-functional service? Anyone'd think HBO were dealing in digital meth.

          Effort in, effort out. Call everyone lazy if you want but it's that simple. Why fight the guy in the doorway when you can jump through the window?

      He kinda says that he buys the dvds. If I paid for the service I'd not buy the dvd. But because I don't have the money to waste on TV especially when it's filled with ads (why would I pay for something to tell me to pay for other things) I pay for it how I can. By buying merch I otherwise wouldn't and spreading the good word that is the existence of this series Game of Thrones.

        But if you buy merch, you get merch. And I don't think GoT really needs word of mouth at the moment...

      ??? Did you read the original post?

      Gap in logic? Nothing in the original post was the writer complaining about the shoddy business practices of Foxtel or HBO's decision to sell exclusively. Yes, these two companies are trying to make the most money and fine, as 'struggling' megacorporations are wont to do, they need to make as much money as possible. *insert dramatic music* However, the gripe here is that for the cost of such products, the return on that product is below average and not equal to the amount of money subscribing to it costs. The main crux of the argument is not "HBO and Foxtel are bad, evil companies so I am gonna pirate GoT." It's "the quality of the GoT releases by Foxtel are so bad for the price they're asking, therefore I am going to pirate it."

      The writer has already said they'd be happy to pay for it. But if it's of shite quality, why do so?

      Would you overpay for something that is crap? I would hope not.

      Just because a company wants to "make the most money from the Australian market" that it can doesn't mean that the ways it goes about making that money are fair, or to use a better term, reasonable to the consumer.

        "The town's lone bakery only has stale week-old loaves on the shelves for $20 apiece, so I'ma pop round back and grab a fresh loaf from the oven; I offered to pay $3 for it but they just wanted their loaf back, so screw 'em - I'm gonna make a sandwich."

        How do shite business practices justify illegal actions? I realise Foxtel make it so that there might as well be no local distributor, but there's a huge difference between "no local distributor" and "one crap local distributor with exclusive rights."

      As consumers, we do not dictate the terms by which content is published or released

      Actually we do.

      By refusing to pay them for holding content hostage and still supporting companies like Netflix and Stan consumers will eventually overcome companies like Foxtel who have long held us back.

    It’s been proven, time and time again, that people who torrent spend more on media than those who do not.

    Has it? I've never seen a definitive argument to support this. Do you have any sources?

    I'm skeptical because it's hard to track down the people who are torrenting anything in the first place and then relating that to what they actually spend...?

      There have been a heap of studies done on this, it's pretty much common knowledge at this point. The best one was when an anti piracy group funded one and it showed the pirates spent the most on the products.

      Personally I used to torrent heavily. I also spend almost 100% of my "buy whatever the fuck I want" budget on entertainment products. Cinema, games, Blu Rays (TV and movies).

      Last edited 02/05/16 12:25 pm

        I think correlation = causation is a pretty easy trap to fall into there.

        Now if there were reliable studies showing that illegal torrenting meant increased spend on the illegally torrented product itself, I'd say the entertainment industry needs to stop fighting the pirates altogether.

          From the studies I saw it wasn't that pirating increased spending, it was that the people who spend the most were most likely to also pirate.

            That's what I would have thought.

              That's exactly it. I wasn't aware I was inadvertently advocating a different thought.

                This is the internet, where someone always thinks you are doing the exact opposite of what YOU think you are doing :-)

        I can only speak for *myself* here, but I really do have to say my torrenting has gone down like this over the last 18 months (?) since netflix came out:

        Movies: Probably down 99.5%. I have a Cineplex near me now with $6.50 adult tickets. Couple that with Netflix and Stan (10.00 per month each) and I just really have no need personally).

        Music: I use Spotify *shrug*. Moral quandries about streaming payments etc, Spotify is a legal service and I'm better off using that than risking getting in trouble for torrenting in the long run.

        TV: Heh... this is where I come completely undone. I don't torrent ANY tv anymore. At all. I stream it. Which is getting pedantic I know, and still the same sort of thing. STAN has some shows each week legitimately, but for the most part, I still stream shows which I can't get legit. But WOULD I pay for those shows on a service if I could? Yes, by all means I would, I'm already doing it by and large.

        Games: I don't pirate any at all any more, haven't for....years and years. Steam is too cheap. is way too cheap again. Greenmangaming etc. Too many cheap options.

        So I'm one of those pirate statistics myself, where if I CAN pay for something legit, I will absolutely, but I won't be beholden to stupidly overpriced ridiculous amounts but in the end, they will get my money some way or other. We've bought the GoT bluray seasons, I've bought The Flash, Arrow etc. Hell, I've even paid for a season of GOT through iTunes before... I don't believe in stealing as per se, I just don't believe in giving up front unreasonably. It's petty, it's arguable, but it's what it is.

        Last edited 02/05/16 12:46 pm

          $6.50 adult tickets? Oh man. I would go to the movies so much more if they had decent prices where I live. All we have is $13 tickets on Tuesdays. I go occasionally but I would spend more overall if tickets were cheaper.

            Yeah I avoided cinemas until Cineplex opened up near me. For my son and I to go it's this:

            6.50 for me
            4.50 for him.

            Large drinks 2 x 4.50
            Large popcorn: 2 x 5.00
            Total: 30 roughly for 2 of us.

            See if there's any near you at all?


            They own all the actual land they occupy afaik, they bought out the old iMax at Southbank when it was super-cheap and reopened it with budget prices. Even better, the Redbank Plains cinema? No shit... Cinemas 1 and 2 are *Gold Class Seats*, at 6.50.

            It's like Field of Dreams said, if you build it they will come. Well, if you build a quality cinema, charge low prices and present a quality product, they will come and Cineplex do just that.

              I live in Tasmania. There is Village which is OK as far as the cinema goes but the prices are shitty and the food is expensive.

              There is also the State Cinema. It mainly shows a bunch of arty foreign films but the cinemas are super small so there aren't many people in them. I quite like it and have seen a few films there lately.