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

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.


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[referenced url=”” thumb=”×231.jpg” title=”Here’s The Cheapest Way To Watch Game Of Thrones Season 7 (Legally)” excerpt=”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.”]

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