Following the shocking leak of Game of Thrones Season 5 episodes, HBO is now going after illegal downloaders by urging ISPs to threaten offending subscribers.
HBO’s change of heart towards piracy
HBO and piracy have a long, complex relationship over the years, such as neighbors rigging TV cables to file sharing and torrents. Until recently, HBO has shown pride as Game of Thrones became the most pirated TV show in history, stating that it’s “better than an Emmy.” However, the pirated leak of four screener episodes has changed HBO’s tolerance. Regrettably, this has happened as they were launching HBO Now, their latest, biggest antipiracy tactic.
As a consequence, HBO has enjoined ISPs to send copyright infringement notices to their subscribers who have illegally shared the said files, stating in their letter:
- Contact the subscriber who has engaged in the conduct described above [file-sharing] and take steps to prevent the subscriber from further downloading or uploading HBO content without authorization.
- Take appropriate action against the account holder under your AbusePolicy/Terms of Service Agreement.
To simplify, ISPs are supposed to disconnect their customers’ services if they were found guilty of piracy.
No reason to pirate with HBO Now
HBO has made efforts to counter piracy by addressing their audience’s complaints. The cable channel has released the premiere of the fifth season of Game of Thrones in all regions simultaneously. Further, with the launching of HBO Now, it’s apparently very easy for fans to watch the series even without a cable subscription. Essentially, fans have no reason to say that they’re pirating Game of Thrones, because they can view it legally online via HBO Now.
HBO’s further anti-piracy attempts
HBO didn’t just stop with online piracy. It also has sent cease-and-desist letters to business establishments such as Videology, a Brooklyn bar that has hosted weekly Game of Thrones viewing parties for the past two years.
On the eve of the show’s return, Videology threw a screening party on Sunday and charged customers to pay for food and drink. HBO saw this as a way of profiting off their viral TV series, and stated in an email: