Ask LH: Will I Get Fined For Pirating Game Of Thrones?

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Dear Lifehacker, Like thousands of my fellow countrymen, I will be watching Game Of Thrones via illegal means this year. I refuse to be locked into a costly Foxtel contract for one show and the Blu-rays don't come out for ages. I feel it's a justifiable crime.

With that said, I'm sure the law probably doesn't agree, which brings me to my question. In respect to Australia's new anti-piracy laws, will anything bad happen to me if I dodge Foxtel this year? Or do the powers-that-be remain as toothless as before? Should I be worried? Thanks, Salladhor Saan

Dear SS,

We get a variation of this question nearly every year. Despite the passing of new legislation specifically to combat online piracy, the answer hasn't changed much. In short, you won't be fined for pirating Game Of Thrones in Australia. At least, not right away.

In May last year, Foxtel and other rights holders backed away from a proposed "three strikes" scheme that would have seen alleged pirates dragged to court after receiving three warning letters for copyright infringement. This proposal was ultimately put on ice due to a lack of agreement on cost allocation. (In short, rights holders wanted ISPs to foot the bill, and vice versa.)

Instead, offending websites are now being blocked by the Australian telco industry - with varying levels of success. The upshot of this is that police and/or rights holders are unlikely to target you for a few sneaky Game Of Thrones torrents.

However, it's still possible that the 'three strikes' scheme (or something similar) might reappear on the government agenda in the near future - especially if rights holders can demonstrate that the current website blocks are having little effect at curbing piracy. If the aforementioned scheme ever gets the green light, you have reason to worry.

As the Dallas Buyers Club fiasco showed, rights holders have no qualms about prosecuting individuals for "old" crimes. The attempted restitution (which was eventually thrown out of court over speculative invoicing concerns) targeted infringements from over a year prior. This means you could potentially end up in court for this year's copyright infringements, even if it takes them until 2018 to clear all the paperwork.

So to answer your question: yes, you should be worried about pirating Game Of Thrones. But only a bit.

Incidentally, Foxtel no longer requires a lock-in contract (which was your stated reason for resorting to piracy.) Furthermore, you can now access Game Of Thrones for as little as $15 a month. With some smart timing and a friend in tow, it's possible to watch the whole season for as little as $7.50. If you still think that's too much money, we don't know what to say to you.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Here's The Cheapest Way To Watch Game Of Thrones Season 7 (Legally)

'.The hugely popular TV series Game Of Thrones is set to return on July 17. If you're one of the many Aussies who have been spooked away from piracy, you're going to need a cheap and legal way to watch.

We've looked at the options and worked out the most cost-effective method. With a friend in tow, it's possible to get the entire series for as little as $7.50. Here's how it's done..'

Read more


Comments

    Do you guys have a quota of game of throne articles you have to post per week, or are you doing an SEO thing or something?

      In 2017, we have published a grand total of 13 Game Of Thrones articles. That's less than two articles per month. To put that into perspective, we generally post around 25 stories on Lifehacker per day.

      Obviously there have been more GoT stories recently, as the new season is about to start and people are therefore interested in the topic.

        I for one support our new Game of Thrones overlords.

        thank you for admitting the problem.. i expect more GOT articles to compensate

    Furthermore, you can now access Game Of Thrones for as little as $15 a month. With some smart timing and a friend in tow, it's possible to watch the whole season for as little as $7.50.

    And as mentioned in previous posts/comments on this site, if people are prepared to wait until later in the run, the entire season could all be binge watched in a fortnight for free.

    So the the whole "locked into a costly Foxtel contract for one show" argument doesn't hold water any more

      Mine is more "Don't want to pay Foxtel".
      I plan to purchase it digitally as soon as it's available but will be pirating every episode to watch on release.

        I mean, that's still illegal?

        Plus I believe you can still score a 3-month free sub to Foxtel Play (up til like tomorrow, I think the code expired) which allows the Foxtel Now access, so you can watch all of s7 without paying Foxtel a dime, thereby meeting all your requirements.

        I believe the promo code was floating around a Lifehacker article at some point.

          Yeah, illegal but it justifies my moral code.
          I don't really want to have to bother with Foxtel at all. Current setup works quite well and I'm not even exposed to any possible legal action in the future.

    "I feel its a justifiable crime". TV is a luxury, not a necessity. You dont need Game of Thrones to survive. Its not like stealing to eat. Itunes is only eight weeks away.

    Choosing to make a stand against Foxtel is one thing, but when there are other options before pirating it that require merely eight weeks of waiting, thats another. Wanting to avoid spoilers just doesn't justify a crime. Especially when you know it is one.

    However, it's still possible that the 'three strikes' scheme (or something similar) might reappear on the government agenda in the near future - especially if rights holders can demonstrate that the current website blocks are having little effect at curbing piracy.

    Political donations won't hurt, either.

    especially if rights holders can demonstrate that the current website blocks are having little effect at curbing piracy

    I'm actually interested to see if there will be a difference in numbers.

    I'm going to wait out the season and then buy it on iTunes. I am aware of Foxtel streaming being cheaper now, and it being possible to wait and binge the whole season during the free trial, but I want to buy them to 'keep' (as much as iTunes allows ownership anyway).

    I'm happy to pay for Game of Thrones on Foxtel as long as they don't make cuts to any potential R18+ content to fit into MA15+ guidelines. They did this earlier this year to an episode of Little Big Lies and it was pretty noticeable.

    especially if rights holders can demonstrate that the current website blocks are having little effect at curbing piracy.
    Curiously, Pirate Bay now appears to be accessible without VPN.
    It may be that I've missed something recently, but with the high amount of publicity the blocking got, it seems quite suspicious that the website can now be accessed directly.

    Tread carefully, or not at all.

    I'm gonna have a crack at Foxtel Now and see if it's any good. If it's shitty and censored for MA15, then I'll strap on the eyepatch and download the arrrrrrr 18+ versions...

    Foxtel still haven't got HD sorted properly. 720, via chromecast only, is not a premium product. I would expect that on a "free tier" of a streaming platform. Considering they're charging a premium over other services, I expect full HD, and 4K, on all platforms (consoles, smart TV's, android/iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc), anything less than that, well, I'm still paying more for an inferior product.

    I have no qualms paying for a quality product. I signed up to Amazon specifically to watch American Gods, I didn't need to do that, I haven't even watched anything else on Amazon, but In recognised that paying to access it that way, was the best way to watch it. With Foxtel, you're not getting the best, you're paying for a very poor product, and the free version, whilst immoral, is of better quality.

    The only way I can watch it on Foxtel Now, is to chromecast it from my Laptop. That is neither convenient or a compelling reason to pay for it, although I did sign up for the free tryout period. It's the copyright owners who are at fault here, not the punters and until they stop trying to rip us off I'll be watching by other means.

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