Piracy Good For Television Shows Says GAME OF THRONES Director

Piracy or illegal downloads if you will, have been a bit of a hot topic in the last few years and have prompted the U.S. government to take a more active and severe stance on the practice. But what does the director of the most pirated show on television think about it?

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By Mark Julian - 3/1/2013





Game of Thrones is the most pirated show on television with a staggering 3.9 million illegal downloads per episode. And while various governments dish out strict penalties for the practice to those they repeatedly catch, Game of Thrones director David Petrarca thinks the social media impact that results from illegal downloads outweigh the negatives of losing official viewers. Check out what Petrarca had to say at a recent Q&A panel, courtesy of WinterIsComing.net.

Panel mediator Rosemary Neill noted Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012 and that 10 per cent of the downloads came from Australia.

But Petrarca shrugged and said the illegal downloads did not matter because such shows thrived on “cultural buzz” and capitalised on the social commentary they generated.

“That’s how they survive,” he told the crowd gathered at the University of Western Australia.


Do you think that's true? Petrarca has recently backtracked on that initial statement now that it's become a hot topic and HBO has since issued an official statement declaring that they don't share the same views. A lot of fans have argued Petrarca's initial point over the years, citing that there are some places in the world where it's impossible to see certain television shows without the internet. In other areas, the television show may lag behind the U.S. season which means trips to social media run the risk of having a particular plot point spoiled. Illegal downloads probably aren't the answer and new technology is currently being developed to deter the practice but the previously mentioned issues must also be addressed if the practice is to be completely stamped out. Game of Thrones season 3 premieres March 31st on HBO.

Running Time: 60 minutes
Release Date: March 31, 2013 (Season 3)
TV Rating: TV-MA for sex & nudity, violence & gore, profanity, alchohol/drugs/smoking and frightening/intense scenes
Starring: Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen, Aidan Gillen, Harry Lloyd, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jack Gleeson, Rory McCann, Peter Dinklage.
Creators: David Benioff (series), D. B. Weiss (series), George R. R. Martin (novels)
Written by: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R. R. Martin

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26 Comments
DudeGuyMan - 3/1/2013, 5:29 AM
Nice to see someone in the biz who actually does it more for the fans than the money.
marvel72 - 3/1/2013, 5:31 AM
its the only way i get to see all the american shows,i've got virgin media but i haven't got sky atlantic to watch game of thrones but i've got fx channel but you have to wait a week longer to see the walking dead & true blood you have to wait a few months after the original us air date.

so i download all the shows i'm interested in.
TheKeywork - 3/1/2013, 5:37 AM
Im from the other side of the world and I always get them all at piratebay :p
ParisSun - 3/1/2013, 5:58 AM
Criminal scum
Zordan - 3/1/2013, 6:00 AM
here in serbia we cant get anything... so...
diabolik - 3/1/2013, 6:05 AM
success in not money, is popularity, distribution. But we all know what the big Tv stations think about this as many really cool shows get cancelled while some pitiful stuff go on forever. its always about money anyway we turn
rebellion - 3/1/2013, 6:06 AM
in croatia it's too expensive and i'm only interested in GoT. so i use torrents. and it's actually legal here, as long as you don't sell it. i still buy the bluray so i don't feel like a thief.
LFANCH - 3/1/2013, 6:12 AM
I think all tv shows should just work through a netflix type system anyways. Another big reason people watch the pirated shows is because they can watch at any time, not just on whatever day the show is on. An official online system would be great for this. Especially if a person hears about Game of Thrones when the second season is going to start up. They would either have to try to catch reruns in the correct order, buy the season for probably about $50 (tv seasons are so damn expensive!), or watch them online. Most people who know how to will just watch them online.
Christuffer - 3/1/2013, 6:19 AM
Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong.
SkullFace616 - 3/1/2013, 6:27 AM
I pay for the channels that air (most) of the shows I like in the UK but they often come out way after the US so I d/load them when they come out. So they're still getting my money. Also d/loads often have the adverts removed and as I hate having to watch adverts on tv that I pay for already I prefer the downloaded version, otherwise I have to record and then constantly forward the ads. Also I can just watch the d/load version on my laptop while my g/f watches tv. Also, with TV shows that I like once the show has ended I normally go out and buy the box set, so I don't see any problems with d/loading it when it's newly aired in the US.
nordberg - 3/1/2013, 6:31 AM
Considering what I pay for cable every month, HBO and their ilk can kiss my ass. I'd dump my tv service completely and get Hulu plus but then my phone and Internet fees double because I'd no longer get the "triple play" discount.

Bottom line: f*ck them
SpiderParker - 3/1/2013, 6:34 AM
I only do it for the shows that doesn't air here or air too late. And lets face it, if its a good show you would want to see it right when it airs so it doesn't really make much difference. And as for movies, no one wants to bother going to theater to watch boring movies, they either wait for DVDs or download them or download it to watch it 2nd time. I never download a movie that just released in theaters and despair myself to watch it in low quality.
Fabs - 3/1/2013, 6:50 AM
Piracy is good for the actual show as they generate revenue from the dvd's and the merchandise (hence the cultural buzz) but it's not good for the TV stations/networks because they loose out on subscriptions and advertising... That's why it makes sense for a director to see it as a benefit but the station/network to say it's a bad thing.
TheAbomination - 3/1/2013, 6:53 AM
If piracy is really killing the industry, then tell me how Hollywood made a record $10.8 billion at the box office last year.

Props to you, David Petrarca. You're not full of bullshit like most of Hollywood.
BackwardGalaxy - 3/1/2013, 7:04 AM
There's a certain amount of truth to what he says in that there are several shows I would pay no attention to whatsoever if not for the ability to watch them in "non-traditional" ways. There are also shows that I own on DVD, but because of the limitations of DVD viewing, I view them in other places as well and as a result, I watch them much more often. Overall, maybe it hurts the industry, I don't have those numbers, but it is what keeps me a fan of a lot of shows.
fadersdream - 3/1/2013, 7:10 AM
I downloaded it, then bought the DVD's and the books.
I would like some action figures too...
cole33 - 3/1/2013, 7:12 AM
What piracy is really good for, is forcing the industry to change, to move to the future of how entertainment is distributed.

As well, if I've purchased, Blade runner, or a Led Zeppelin album or whatever 2,3, or 4 times since it's release because of a lost CD/DVD or a damaged one, they've already gotten triple to quadruple it's market worth in that time....I'm not going to feel bed about downloading it if I've already spent 50-100 bucks on ONE movie or album from repurchases.

AC1 - 3/1/2013, 7:31 AM
I'm not entirely sure how TV shows make money. I guess it's from advertising, and then home media sales. All I can say is, if it weren't for piracy, I'd never have been able to watch Breaking Bad. Now that I've watched the first season, I'm hooked, but I've decided to wait until the entire series is released as a box set so I can buy it and pay fairly to watch it all in one go. So, I guess piracy is another form of advertising. Try before you buy, if you will.

With regards to movies, I despise the idea of piracy as it means the movie industry loses money and suffers, and the place the movie industry gets its money from is ticket sales and home media releases. However, I think if you've bought a copy of a movie, for example a DVD, and you've lost it, then you should be able to watch it for free or download it for free online, because you did pay for it. The same goes for when studios double-dip by rereleasing new versions of a movie, I guess. I own all the Star Wars films on blu-ray, but they're not the theatrical versions - they're George Lucas' most recently edited ones. If I want to watch Star Wars as it was originally released, then I'm not going to buy it again - I'm going to try and watch it online.

The main negative of piracy is when people copy films or TV shows en mass, and then sell them, making their own profits and seriously harming the industries. If it's for private use only, and is only done in fair circumstances (like the ones I described above), then I think it should be allowed.

Also, I think piracy is also OK if the movies are in the public domain. There's a list of films released between the 1920s and 1940s or something which haven't been copyrighted. If nobody owns the right to that property (and since they're so old, it's not like we're stealing money from the people who made the movies), then I think they're fair game.

I think maybe there's also a grey area when a film just finishes it's theatrical run and hasn't yet been released on home media, and the only way to watch it in that time would be through piracy. But if there's a payable option, then I think it should be payed for, because it is technically stealing. It's not the fact that letting one person here or there do it "won't hurt the industry", it's the fact that others will then demand the right to that thing for free as well, and then the people who made it can't get money for their work.

Films are a luxury item - they're not necessities like food, clothing or shelter, you know? Everyone is entitled to the necessities as basic human rights, and really should be given the basics for free. But luxury items are things that aren't needed to survive, and so they should really be payed for most of the time.
AC1 - 3/1/2013, 7:31 AM
Whoa... that comment was longer than I thought it'd be...
Danbojohnj - 3/1/2013, 7:32 AM
I'm OK,I've got Emmerdale Farm to keep me going.
m0th3r - 3/1/2013, 7:35 AM
Makes sense..i seem to remember when the BSG miniseries ran it did meh,but was pirated so heavy it caused DVD sales and helped propel the show.
m0th3r - 3/1/2013, 7:36 AM
So.....as far as piracy goes (i work in infosec so im curious)...i would love to know...Is its wrong in your opinion? or are their grades? Dubbing and selling vs Seeding Torrents vs Download for personal use..all the same 'crime' in everyone's eyes?
BlueHawaiiSurfer - 3/1/2013, 8:18 AM
Normally when you DL for personal use (I say NORMALLY, not always the case obviously) you seed while doing so. At some point you need to support the people who make GREAT shows with your $$$. Shows of this quality don't just get made for free. If you want to see more shows like it, and see your favorite show go on...buy the discs. If you have a PC you can order it. If you can't afford it...do what you gotta do lol.
NorrinRaddical - 3/1/2013, 9:39 AM
It's always a fascinating moral quandary for me. I work in both music and comics and I go out of my way to support the things that I enjoy, urging that fans do the same. The excuses of "they're rich enough" or "oh well I buy SOME things from that company" or "I'll just go see them in concert" do very little to support the creators morally or financially.

On the other hand, cable television is NOT in my budget currently, but a Netlfix subscription IS. Some things I can be patient for a year for them to be released. Other shows I lose my mind and go out of my way to avoid things like, say, Walking Dead spoilers (impossible here, ha!). Once in a blue moon I will spring for a "season pass" to Breaking Bad or something else. No commercials, next to no wait, and it shows the network that I want them to please keep producing great quality stuff.

There have been a lot of shows on HBO that were cancelled because there wasn't enough support (Carnivale, Deadwood). That was NOT due to pirating, but how else am I to let HBO know, without being able to afford premium cable, that I want them to keep making these great programs? I don't want to live in a world where Mad Men gets contracts for 8 seasons but Breaking Bad almost had to find a new home on another channel.

People I know all too well how easy it is to STEAL, but there's NO justification. Like the things you like, and SUPPORT the things you like, HELP the creators you love. Own and Own Up.
JoshAsAMarvelfan - 3/1/2013, 11:30 AM
lol, Good. Cause I have Both seasons on my computer.
ratthawks - 3/1/2013, 5:15 PM
Telstra is the money makers here in Australia, they love pirates! They should shell out cause they make billions every year......greed mongrels.

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