Heavy Hangs The Bandwidth That Torrents The Crown

The latest Oatmeal cartoon has been making the rounds of Twitter (largely thanks to John Gruber’s link). It makes two points about the problems of piracy exceptionally well.

The intentional point is that the content distributors often make it crazy-stupid hard for us to give them our money. Most of these industries have been frustratingly slow to adopt to the patterns of the modern consumer. News flash: we’re not heading to Blockbuster Video any more. Well, actually, yes, we are. But only because the Blockbuster went out of business and a Panera Bread is now leasing that space. We’ll probably get a Bacon Turkey Bravo for lunch and then watch some Netflix via the restaurant’s free WiFi while we eat.

Consumers couldn’t make their desires any more clear. We’ve got money to spend on TV and movies, but now we’re looking for it on iTunes and Netflix and through all other kinds of network-connected devices. If a distributor shows up in any of those places with a product we want, we’ll buy it.

[Added to clarify: and if they don’t show up in those places, they’re making torrenting that much more attractive. They’re just feeding the monster they’re trying to fight. That’s crystal-clear.

Remember the mistakes that the comic book industry made. Digital distribution made no sense to Marvel and DC, so they never really committed to it. Fine, but reading a comic book on a phone or a laptop made perfect sense to their audience, and they’re the people with the money. In the absence of a legal means of digital comics distribution, an illegal infrastructure of file standards, consumption tools, and distribution systems developed and flourished.]

The Oatmeal made an unintentional point that was just as important as the first, however:

The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement.

Here’s my conversation with a hypothetical person who wants to check out “Game Of Thrones.” Not with Matthew Inman, author of The Oatmeal, I hasten to say. Just a conglomeration of the species of torrenters as a whole.

You want to see what the hubbub around “Game Of Thrones” is about? Cool. The show is produced by HBO and it’s available exclusively on that channel. It’s a premium channel and any cable provider can sell you a monthly subscription.

HBO’s awesome. They have a streaming app that will allow you to watch pretty much any original series or movie that they still have the rights to (including “Thrones”) and it works with almost everything that can play streaming video. HBO doesn’t even charge for the app or for the extra access.

You say you don’t want to subscribe to HBO, or even cable?

Ah. Well, no worries. The show will be released on DVD and Blu-ray later in the year.

You’re not into physical media? I’m with you. It’ll be on iTunes soon. See? The store page lists the release date. March 6. You can circle it on the calendar and everything.

You’re still frowning. What’s wrong, Scrumpkin?

Oh. You want it right now.

But — umm — the release date is only, like, two or three weeks away. Just hang on a bit. You’ll be fine.

Yes, I heard you (please, sir, there’s really no need to shout). I understand that you want it (and I hope I’m not misquoting you) right the ****ity-**** NOWWWWWWWW. But you can’t have it now. You can have it on March 6. It isn’t even as far away as you think. Remember? February is the super-short month?


You’re already torrenting it, aren’t you?

Annnnd now you’re also calling me a d*** because I expected you to wait two weeks, and you’re claiming that you’re “forced” to torrent it because the video industry is bunch of turds. How charming.

Here’s the terms of use for commercial content: you have to pay for this stuff. This means either you need to wait for it to become commercially available, or if you torrent it today you need to buy it when it gets released. So long as you buy it as soon as it’s possible to do so, I can confidently reach for my “No Harm Done” rubber stamp. Some content is commercially unavailable because the publisher or distributor has no desire to ever release it. I’ll even go so far as to say that downloading it illegally is a positive thing; you’re helping to keep this creative work alive.

If you avoid purchasing the media in some form, however…you’re just Johnny No Wanna Pay. Simple as that. Get off your high horse and don’t even try that “I’m making a stand and sending a message to content producers” stuff. It’s bunkum.

I’m reminded of a Louis CK joke. I’m going to clean up a little because I’m not Louis CK and this isn’t a live comedy stage. It really wouldn’t come across the same way otherwise.

“I’m totally opposed to stealing an Xbox. Unless Microsoft sets a price for them that I don’t want to pay, or there’s a new model in a warehouse somewhere and it won’t ship to stores for another few weeks. Because what else am I going to do? Not have that Xbox? That’s no solution!”

The world does not OWE you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it’s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

I sometimes wonder if this simple, grown-up fact gets ignored during all of these discussions about digital distribution.

It was still a funny strip, though.

315 thoughts on “Heavy Hangs The Bandwidth That Torrents The Crown

  1. JakePT

    I totally agree that the distribution model for most content is completely messed up, but I don’t have much sympathy when he says “But I don’t want or need cable”. Well guess what, you want to watch these shows, you want cable! They’re cable TV shows and you want to watch them, what do you expect?

  2. Church

    The single least-attractive attribute of the people who download content illegally is their sense of entitlement.

    It doesn’t come close to the industry folks’ sense of entitlement. Copyright for your great-grandkids? The frak?

  3. scott

    I’m with you, Andy. But what about the BBCs Sherlock series? UK viewers watched season 2 in, what, January? We Americans–including those like myself who were would gladly have paid for it–were asked to wait until, I think, May. C’mon. There’s really a problem with the current system when I can’t buy what’s obviously for sale.

  4. martymankins

    The point that hit home the hardest from The Oatmeal strip was the fact that you have to be a cable TV subscriber to HBO in order to get HBO On The Go.

    As the strip mentions, I think there is a long line of people willing to pay for just the HBO streaming access without having the need to subscribe to the cable channel. I know I would pay up to $20 a month for all HBO on my iPad.

    Yes, we can wait. And years ago, we all waited for the movie to come out on VHS to either own it or watch it multiple times without paying $5.50 for each viewing at the first run theater. But as you so well said above, today’s world is digital. And people are used to getting their content. Some media outlets know this and give people a reason to spend money. Others still hide behind the dinosaur wall of “not yet”

  5. STrRedWolf

    So it’s ether wait much longer to give them money specifically for something I want to get in a short time (itunes/netflix/hulu), buy something so I can get it day-and-date it airs but also get a ton of other stuff that I don’t care about or think it’s crap (HBO/cable/DVD/most music on CD now), or say screw it and get it from someone who captured and transcoded it.

    Morals? It’s rather hard to be moral about it when an immoral creature forces you into immoral choices. But that’s getting away from my point.

    You see, some companies (Discovery Communications) will sell you that show and have it delivered the day after it aired — in one case, I bought an iTunes season pass of the Mythbusters because I kept missing shows. I got the next show I missed the next day, and showed it on my Apple TV.

    I can understand an overnight delay to give the broadcast channel and the advertisers there some air time. I can’t understand waiting until the next TV season to release a previous season, and only promotes the above behavior. It’s a hard lesson that BBC America learned with the latest episodes of Dr. Who.

    Gabe Newell of Valve Software is right in saying that piracy is not a copyright problem. Piracy is a service problem. Get the stuff out for as many people on the day; don’t delay for various regions. The longer the delay, the more money you loose. Get data back on what people want; if you have a few gems in a CD full of crud, and people are only buying those gems in iTunes and Amazon, then stop producing the crud and devote more time on the hits.

    A service problem.

    How moral is excellent customer service?

  6. Tom Chwojko-Frank

    Gaah! I subscribe to HBO, but they won’t let me stream anything of theirs that I happen to miss, or forget to DVR, because they don’t happen to have a deal with my ISP (which is the fastest in the area, perfect for streaming video!)


    No, I won’t get it illegally, but it’s still incredibly frustrating. The silly thing is that I’d pay more now than a year or two from now. They’d get a bird in the hand now instead of a 1/10th three years from now when it’s on Netflix or Hulu or whatever.

  7. Greg

    Question. Let’s say I just moved into a new apartment but haven’t set up the internet yet. Can I, in clear conscience, torrent (at another location, let’s say at work) a season of a show that is on Netflix to watch at home later? I don’t plan on buying the season of the show, but I do pay the monthly Netflix fee and could easily watch the episodes that I downloaded in a week once I get an internet connection.

  8. Aleksandr Sidorenko

    Of course we want it NOW. It’s already available, it has already been released elsewhere, hence it IS available!

    There is not valid reason today to delay a digital release to as wide a market as possible. What could they possibly have to lose?

    Our patience. That’s what. The money is on the table. Take it!

  9. Alrescha

    A sense of *entitlement*? Wow Andy, I’ve never been more disappointed with you. The content providers are simply stupid, ignoring people who want to throw money at them for the sake of preserving their old and outdated way of doing business. It’s a wonder they haven’t gone bankrupt by now.

    An apropos image:



  10. cavalierex

    It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately. People have no ability to delay gratification.

    I agree with what you’ve said, but I would go further to say that people shouldn’t download (steal or “borrow”) protected content via torrents even if they intend to buy it eventually. If the publisher has decided not to release it yet, that’s their prerogative.

    With a near infinite amount of entertainment at our fingertips (literally, with touch computing), is it so hard to find something else with which to occupy our time?

    Take a deep breath, people. Go outdoors. Enjoy life a little bit. Stop being cry-babies. You’re worse than my toddlers — they’re 2 and 3 1/2… and although they still throw a tantrum or two, they’re already learning that they aren’t entitled to everything they want, right when they want it.

  11. Jens

    a) Digital content is not a box in a ware house. You can ship the next day after it aired if you like.

    b) You compete with what’s out there. Not with what you wish would be out there.

    90 day delay windows etc are no longer relevant. DVD’s with extra features are no longer relevant (At least for the main stream user). Adopt or die.

  12. Anonymous

    DVD on pre-order through Amazon, but I …erm, have watched it before.

    A few years ago, I was teaching English in Japan, and might have found a perfectly legal way to watch The Amazing Race. I really should pick that up on DVD, now I think of it.

  13. John Bell

    “A sense of *entitlement*? Wow Andy, I’ve never been more disappointed with you. The content providers are simply stupid, ignoring people who want to throw money at them for the sake of preserving their old and outdated way of doing business. It’s a wonder they haven’t gone bankrupt by now.”

    ^^ = Sense of Entitlement

    As for GoT coming out months after – they want the digital downloads to be available the same day as the DVDs. Lots of people still buy DVDs.

    It comes out when it comes out. Wait to buy, pay to watch it now, or steal it. You have options, but one of them is unethical. It’s your choice what you do.

  14. AndyB

    Simple question for those people torrenting…

    You torrent today, but do you still buy the series when it comes out on iTunes/DVD/whatever?

    Leaving out the ‘entitlement’ argument, this would seem to be the question that separates those who legitimately ‘have money to spend now’ from those who are just using release delays to justify their piracy.

  15. Eric

    I am constantly amazed at the number of people that think “but I want it” is a good enough reason to steal. They may try to convince themselves and others that it is about delays and poor business practices and other nonsense but Andy hit it on the head. It is entitlement. You dont get to have everything you want. Grow up.

  16. Teryl

    Andy, in everything that has been written about this today, I think the whole point has been missed. Six months ago I was chomping at the bit to see this, now with the first season up for preorder, I can’t bring myself to click the buy it now button. I figure it’ll make it to a streaming service at some point…

  17. Paul Turnbull

    The difficulty I have here is that, unlike property rights, copyright is not a product of natural law. Copyright is a tradeoff where people agree to limit their ability to copy content to encourage the creation of content. It’s a construct whose primary aim is to benefit the general population. That means comparing it to property rights makes no sense, it’s not property, it’s a contract.

    It’s a contract between people who want content and people who make it. The people who want it agree not to just take it as long as those who make it provide reasonable means of getting it.

    The imbalance that’s happening now is that what defines ‘reasonable’ is mediated by technology. When copying is expensive it’s reasonable to expect limited access to content. When copying is inexpensive it’s reasonable to expect far easier and affordable access to content. If people feel entitled to the content it’s because they are. They have, through the state, given concessions to the people who make the content.

    I think copyright really needs to be rethought as most of the assumptions it was conceived under don’t exist anymore. Continually trying to shoehorn the current situation into old assumptions is not going to work or accomplish what copyright is supposed to do.

  18. Rafa

    @jakePT, Andy: I’d amend that to say, he may want that cable *channel*, and *no others*.

    Take me: I’m a sports fiend. But there’s no cable package that allows me to get *just* sports channels, and no others. If I get cable, I have to pay for stuff like AMC and HGTV, which I have no interest in.

    So, for now, I make do with online subscriptions for FOX Soccer & MLB Premium, and use (no joke) a PS3, an Apple TV, and an Xbox360 to watch – at best! – 60% to 75% of what I’d want to watch.

    I’d absolutely love to bin most of what I’ve got and exchange it for a wee box which would serve up only what I’d want to see. I’d even pay a premium for it!

    But, *sigh*, it’s not to be.

  19. twangisKhan

    You are in danger of losing your digerati street cred by not standing with the thiefs.

    You HAVE to side with Napster, no DRM, and be anti-SOPA or be hopelessly labeled “Herbert”. Groupthink to the extreme.

    Truth is, I want content to make enough money so it can continually be created. And if they creator doesn’t want to distribute it on someone else’s timetable, that is their right. They own it. period.

    Bravo to you sir. It takes courage to stand-up against the hyperbole.

  20. CooperO

    It doesn’t matter though if it’s “entitlement” or anything else this is the World we live in now, and to stay in business they must adapt. If they think piracy is really eating their lunch they’d change the distribution models, they don’t seem to be doing that, so obviously downloading isn’t hurting the bottom line that much.

    The producers are in the business of hyping this stuff to high hell and then they get mad when people want it? Technology and the inter have changed the World, it doesn’t matter how much they want the olden days to come back it’s not going to happen.

    There is no excuse now for delays and today’s consumer just won’t put up with it, they will find ways around it, and then when the producers finally do release it, what’s the incentive then for consumers to pay them, they’ve already consumed and moved on? But all is not lost, people WILL pay when stuff is available easily and when they want it, as evidenced by the huge successes of Netflix, Hulu+, iTunes, Amazon, so why don’t they get it?

  21. Mark

    It’s not easy being a consumer these days. We live in a society where we expect instant gratification — a trait that is encouraged by a constant stream of advertising and marketing. So of course we’re frustrated when we can’t have something right away. Having it right away releases the tension of desire.

  22. Dave Ramsey

    “…or if you torrent it today you need to buy it when it gets released. So long as you buy it as soon as it’s possible to do so, I can confidently reach for my “No Harm Done” rubber stamp.”

    Sorry, Andy, but this is pure sophistry. You’re violating the copyright (and stealing just as much as any other downloader). Even if you’re willing and able to pay, you get to wait… or subscribe.

    “Some content is commercially unavailable because the publisher or distributor has no desire to ever release it. I’ll even go so far as to say that downloading it illegally is a positive thing; you’re helping to keep this creative work alive.”

    Again, Andy, this doesn’t *belong* to you. You don’t have a right to it. They own it, and it’s their right to do with it as they please. If that means that you never, ever, *ever* get to see it, that’s their choice. You’re exhibiting the same sense of entitlement you’re chastising your hypothetical “other” for demonstrating. You’ve merely come up with your own specious argument that allows you to violate the copyright of others when you deem it appropriate.

    I am *not* a fan of the current state of copyright law. My issue is with your logic… unless your “unintentional point” was to demonstrate that every rationalisation of violating copyright is equivalently flawed.

  23. Chris W.

    I look at the music industry as a slightly successful version of what the world could be like. You have multiple competing services (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Music, etc.) offering content, and it doesn’t matter “who” you buy the content from because the files are uploadable and/or syncable between all those services. Buy a song from Amazon, and it’s in your iTunes Match catalogue and Google Music in moments. That’s why I’m more than happy to buy individual songs that I could just as easily see a YouTube video for or stream on Spotify. The content providers are giving me what I want and making it fairly easy to access it however I want.

    The movie and TV industry still seems reluctant to move in a similar direction. An 11-month window between premiere and DVD-release for “Game of Thrones” is a few different shades of bogus. I can remember getting VHS tapes from Disney in a similar time-frame. And yes, HBO as the owner of the “Game of Thrones” TV show can decide to release their DVD whenever they damn-well please. But it goes back to supply and demand. If there is a demand for the show in a digital medium, and no legitimate supply, someone illegitimate will step up to fill the demand.

    Yes, the world doesn’t owe me “Game of Thrones” on my time schedule, but I think that most reasonable people will be agreeable to a modest embargo for DVD and/or iTunes so that their subscribers (which I am one of) can get the first crack at it, but what is frustrating about HBO and other big content providers is that they seem unwilling to even consider bringing streamers and cord-cutters to the table. We want to work with them and find a solution that works for both parties, but we get dismissed as pirates or “unimportant,” at which point Mr. TorrentFreak lets us know that he understands our pain and he we can talk about it more at his place…

  24. Matthew

    There’s also the problem of shows and movies that never, for whatever reason, become available. Then the options are 1) give no money to the artists and never get the movie or 2) give no money to the artists and get the movie. (Or, as happened to me, pay money to who you thought were the legitimate distributors and get what appears to be an Indonesian bootleg.) Whatever the morals of the situation are, the legitimate distributors are leaving substantial amounts of money on the table.

  25. TJ

    “The world does not OWE you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it.”

    As long as we’re issuing one-sided ultimatums: I don’t owe content creators money, either. They’ll get it when service meets requirement at the right price, at the desired time of purchase.

  26. Steve Ballantyne

    HBO On The Go? I dream of HBO On The Go, but alas we don’t get HBO where I live, in New Zealand. If we’re lucky, some HBO shows eventually turn up on our TV, like The Sopranos did, and only a year or two late. On the other hand, we get some stuff early – we’ve had every available bit of Downton Abbey already, so nyah nyah.

    But really this whole international distribution system is stupid and encourages misbehavior, both from consumers (yep, I’ve already watched Game of Thrones) and from copyright holders (as MegaUpload’s Kim Dotcom could testify from the jail cell we’re holding him in at the behest of US authorities.)

    What I’d really like to be able to do is buy my entertainment direct from the people who produce it, and completely cut out the greedy parasites who currently mediate entertainment distribution. Let’s face it – they’ve failed, big time.

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  28. johno

    As a Brit living in Japan, my only digital option is iTunes. The Japanese iTunes store’s library is incredibly limited. Many movies and TV shows produced outside of Japan never make it on to DVD, let alone the iTunes store. So, I guess I could buy the DVDs in, say, the US — sorry, we can’t/won’t ship to your address. They just don’t want my money.

  29. Thomas Beagle

    “Here’s the terms of use for commercial content: you have to pay for this stuff.”

    Actually, that’s not true and it’s not how people think about it. We *can* get the stuff, and we can easily get it without paying.

    Most people don’t see copyright infringement as a crime or evil. They see it as being “a bit rude” or “a tad selfish”, roughly on the level of taking the last biscuit or the biggest slice of cake Many would kind of rather pay if it’s possible – but none of them are going to lie awake at night feeling guilty if they don’t.

    I believe that the copyright “bargain” (granting an exclusive monopoly to encourage creators to create more) falls down when the creators don’t make their works available.

    Looking at it from a national perspective – what’s the economic advantage to my country honouring foreign copyright when the owners don’t even bother making it available for sale?

  30. Drew

    The “stealing” argument is currently a one way discussion, the content owners are adamant that digital consumers are thieves, pure and simple, but no-one is allowed to question their demands that we buy each format of their product for every location I want to interact with it.

    It’s not enough that I buy the iTunes season pass to The Sopranos, they want me to buy the DVDs as well.

    Yes I can have Neil Sedaka’s greatest hits on my iPhone, but they want me to buy it on CD for my car, and another copy for my living room hi-fi, and a third for the bedroom.

    Content owners are completely out of touch with the demands of their customers. Thats completely true, but what planet are content producers on?

    Take Transformers: I’m expected to pay £12 to see a slow mo fly by of a girls ass, with a 12 year old chav masturbating in a seat next to me whilst simultaneously texting his “friends” and spewing popcorn in a tourettian cascade?

    Fot, the, wuck?

    Torrenting for me is simply a device that allows me to tell content producers to up their game.

    Make better content, and demand a better experience for your users and people will pay.

    Apple has categorically proven that with computers, music players, buying content, phones, heck they’ll do it with TVs soon too.

    People will pay for a quality product.
    People will attack you if you try rip them off: It’s that simple.

  31. David K.

    Drew et al.
    It’s simple, if you don’t like the terms or the way content providers do stuff the answer is simple.
    Don’t buy their stuff.
    That doesnt mean you can steal it.
    Your moral option, your LEGAL option is to *gasp* live without it. Life goes on.
    If you torrent it you are a thief, plain and simple. You can argue all you want but you are wrong, you ARE a thief and you aren’t justified by the other guy being an idiot or a jerk.

  32. Jonathan

    @Scott – poor USA having to wait a few months for Sherlock! Over here in the UK we generally have to wait over a year for US seasons to show, and then they’re either moved all over the schedules (Babylon 5 went from 6pm to 11pm to Sunday lunchtimes; West Wing went from 8pm to god knows where)

    Or worse, a public service broadcaster like the BBC shows a programme like, say, Mad Men, builds up a following for it, and then watches it go to satellite broadcaster Sky (Murdoch!) which charges a premium for it. The network that made Mad Men doesn’t care about the audience, it cares about the bottom line. It is unsurprising that people torrent things – ignore the legal issues here for a minute. Andy was right in the first half of the post: the policies and practices of the programme makers encourage piracy.

    There’s no smug sense of entitlement here – it quickly becomes necessary to pirate some things in order to see them because you appreciate the work of the artists, not because you want to stick one to The Man.
    The simple answer to the Game of Thrones example is: distribute faster! People want it!
    Imagine if Apple or whoever thought the best way to distribute their products was to hold off, hold off, tease, promise, not deliver, tease, tease… They’d finally get the product out and wonder where all the customers went.
    Content creators need to change their business model because to a large extent it’s that business model that is creating pirates of people who otherwise would GLADLY hand over the cash.

  33. Michael

    One of the problems with content providers in general is that they stimulate demand: advertising media tours, buzz, etc., and then they are surprised that when they start selectively meeting that demand, some people don’t want to wait.

    The most recent series of Doctor Who was available one day after I aired as part of my iTunes season pass. Halfway through the season, it got delayed by several weeks. This led us to torrent content we’d already paid for.

    The audiences are global and so are the online communities. I can keep myself from being spoiled on Doctor Who for a day, but not a week.

    I sorta wondered if BBCA was running a “how much will torrenting increase with the delay?” experiment. I’d be fascinated to find out what hey learned.

  34. Mark

    Although the Oatmeal comic came out recently, the actual wait time for Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray will be more than ten months from when the finale happened in June, not the 2-3 weeks used to criticize the “sense of entitlement”.

    Also, HBO Go is not available everywhere HBO is. One commenter pointed out that they have HBO, but their ISP is not supported, so Go does not work for them. Also, it appears that Game of Thrones is currently unavailable to stream from HBO (at least with my cable provider, although I pay for HBO), probably because they want you to buy the Blu-ray next month to catch up. This is what pisses people off and this is why some people have zero moral issues with torrenting.

  35. Robert

    Waiting two weeks would be nice.
    As a German, make that waiting for half a year.
    And in case of, for example, The Big Bang Theory, you will still only get it in SD instead of the HD it was originally aired in.

    Now you might understand why torrenting a day after airing, in perfect HD quality, is becoming very attractive. Even when I do have and am willing to spend the money to buy it.

  36. Jedmond

    “There’s no smug sense of entitlement here – it quickly becomes necessary to pirate some things in order to see them because you appreciate the work of the artists, not because you want to stick one to The Man.”

    Ahh, this must be some strange new definition of necessary that I wasn’t previously aware of. Grade A entitlement.

    People seem to be unaware why ancillary markets exist.

  37. Dave Morris

    I’d like to watch the new TV show Awake right now. I might have to wait a year, though, as it’s a US show and I’m in the UK. So I’ll wait. Because it’s their show, they went to the trouble of expense of making it, and they have the right to expect me to pay to acquire it legally.

  38. James

    For those Americans bewailing the delay with Doctor Who – it was caused by the BBC’s decision to split the season in half here in the UK – so it showed from (I think?) March to April, then had a hiatus until August to October. It was apparently going to give us a ‘mind-blowing’ cliff hanger in mid-season, but instead just undercut the story arc and development of the first half of the season.

    Presumably the BBC wouldn’t allow BBC America to show the programme until it had finished airing in the UK?

  39. Ray Radlein

    If it’s any consolation, Dave, Awake hasn’t aired here in America yet, either. It’s not set to premiere on TV until early next month sometime (although the first episode is allegedly available online somewhere as a legitimate preview via its network).

  40. Andreas Neustifter

    Oh you folks from the US and UK! Your are well off compared to a small European country like Austria where NOBODY even tries to sell their content (altough I’m willing to spend the money).

  41. Simon Hillier

    No-one likes to be knowingly screwed over (eg release windows & DVD regions) so its no surprise when consumers screw over the studios in return.

  42. James Cash

    Thanks for writing this, this exactly sums up my thoughts when I read that comic – one may want to watch Game of Thrones, but the content creator is under no obligation to give it to you exactly when and how you want.

  43. Ryan

    you fail to mention that season 1 of game of thrones ended almost A YEAR AGO…

    a year is NOT a reasonable turnaround IMHO.

  44. Bell

    Wow, Andy. Hypocritical much? You talk about infringing copyright (note: _not_ theft, infringement. If you want a moral argument that requires precision, then be frickin’ precise) with Leo and Alex on MBW almost weekly. Like the worst preachers, you make your “sermon” while actively engaging in the denounced behavior.

  45. Grover

    Well said. I had that exact reaction to the comic. The entitled whining around this subject makes me sympathize with the large media corporations. DO YOU SEE HOW AWFUL THIS IS?

    When you download something for which its creator expects payment and you don’t pay them, you are stealing. There’s really no way around that. You can argue it’s justified, but you can’t argue that you’re not taking something for which you did not pay.

  46. David

    Yes, thank you, Andy. When I read the comic, I also wondered if anyone would pick up on the entitlement issue. Yes it sucks that there’s currently just one way to legally watch Game of Thrones (be an HBO subscriber) but its creator has the priority to set those rules, at least for the duration of its copyright (which I agree is too long a period).

    Just because someone made something does not mean everyone is entitled to see it on whatever terms they want. If someone makes something cool, and they can profit from it by controlling its distribution, let them! Your choices are: be patient, pay for it now, or don’t watch it. If you think it’s worth watching, surely you think the creator deserves some income from his work.

  47. David

    The main attraction of wanting [fill in the blank] NOW NOW NOW NOWWWW!!!!! is so I can participate in the current popular obsession over [said blank]. If I wait 3 weeks, watch [blank], become thrilled over [blank], well, maybe my circle of friends has already moved on from [blank].

    I have missed the window of joining in the fun.

  48. Scott

    Wow you still can’t buy episodes of season 1, that was almost a year ago. Creating scarcity in digital media only shifts people onto piracy

  49. Bill Mill

    I agree with you in general, and I am a person who waits patiently for the show to get on iTunes before purchasing it.

    But, a point you should consider is the problems with saying “you should buy HBO”. I also do not have cable, so if I wanted HBO, I would have to buy *all* of the following 230 channels: https://gist.github.com/1877021 at a cost of >$100 per month.

    On top of *just HBO* costing me >$100 per month and getting me lots of things I don’t want (which IS a cost!), I would be required to buy many things I don’t want from a cable company that has famously terrible customer service, has an evil relationship with federal regulators, tries to squash internet freedom, hires mostly contractors to avoid paying employees’ health care, etc, etc.

    So, all I’m saying is, keep in mind that it’s not as simple as just purchasing HBO. If it was, I would do so.

    I choose to wait for the shows to become available, but I’m sympathetic to the pirates for the reason that the system for purchasing regular ‘ol television legally is so ludicrously expensive, bundled, and anti-consumer.

  50. Michael


    This behavior is a function of the millinial generation. Also called generation Y, but as I like to call it Generation E, for entitled. They ate young, most haven’t worked, but they think the world is owed to them.

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