The TV and movie piracy issue seems to be causing many to take sides, but according to Jonathan D. Rose, intellectual property litigator with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, a law firm in Nashville, the issue may not be entirely as cut and dry as some think.
On the one hand, there are real dollars being lost to piracy with an Independent U.S. film distributor, Wolfe, has had its profits halved due to piracy and costs to mitigate damages from piracy, according to The Wall Street Journal. But, according to Rose, in the larger picture, a free stream of a show or movie does not necessarily mean the viewer would have paid for the show had it not been available for free. The rise of streaming video content hubs like Netflix, Amazon and iTunes has, to a certain extent, recaptured some users that may have resorted to piracy because in previous years there was no other way to find an instant feed of a movie or show without resorting to piracy.
However, for Australians there are many reasons we resort to watching TV shows, most notably, Game of Thrones, online. First and foremost, the time difference. Australians often have to wait months for an American or British TV show to be broadcast on our networks and with the Internet creating a global village, we feel ripped off and so seek other methods of keeping up to date on recent episodes. Platforms like Netflicks (which is not available in Australia), Amazon and iTunes do not make the episode available for purchase until it has been broadcast on Australian networks and the cost is another major reason for illegal online viewing. The technology juggernaut often charges different prices for content on its digital media store in Australia, compared to the pricing on the same content in the US. At times, Australian consumers have had to pay more than double the prices for the same content that is available in the US.
As for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the most popular free-streamed show of 2012, director David Petrarcam claims It’s a not a big deal. In the 24 hour after the Game of Thrones season three finale aired on Sunday, one million people illegally downloaded it and at one point 170,000 people were sharing the episode simultaneously on BitTorrent, breaking the show’s own piracy record set after last season’s premiere, TorrentFreak reported. Shortly after season two’s DVD set a record high for the network, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly piracy wasn’t hurting revenue. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” he said. “The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”