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US Ambassador plays Game of Thrones with pirates

Obama's man in Canberra conducts Facebook Diplomacy

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The United States of America's Ambassador to Australia has taken to Facebook to protect one of America's critical industries: the making of gory television serials.

Jeffrey L Bleich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, appears to have noted that Australians are very keen on the HBO series Game of Thrones. Vulture South can report local media is awash with news of how that enthusiasm does not translate into paying for the show, as peer-to-peer networks in the antipodes become rather busier than usual when new seasons of the show commence and then again when new episodes become available.

All that file-sharing takes place despite Game of Thrones now being available on iTunes mere hours after it airs in the USA, for just $AUD2.99 an episode.

Bleich therefore took to Facebook on April 23rd, which happened to be World Book and Copyright Day, to outline his argument that “piracy is not some victimless crime” and that “fans of Game of Thrones who have used illegal file-sharing sites … say it was much easier to access through these sites, or that they got frustrated by the delay in the first season, or their parents wouldn’t pay for a subscription, or they will complain about some other issue with copyright laws.”

None of those factors, Bleich said, excuse theft of the show.

That missive went down reasonably well, but also saw some freetards advance counter-arguments. The Ambassador appears to have read at least some of the numerous online commentaries on his original and yesterday penned a response in the form of a Q&A.

The first question he addresses - “Don’t Ambassadors Have Anything Better To Do?” - suggests he should do more anti-piracy promotion, not less.

He goes on to offer this fascinating couplet:

Q: “But an HBO Executive Reportedly Said Stealing 'Game of Thrones' Is a Sort of Compliment.”

A: Seriously. Illegal immigration is a sort of compliment, too (it means people would rather live in your country than theirs) and so is having someone hit on your partner (because it means they find him/her attractive). The fact that something is a perverse form of compliment doesn’t mean that it is acceptable or desirable.”

Nor, the Ambassador says, is the perverse compliment of piracy reasonable.

Bleich wraps with a knowing nod to Game of Thrones, writing “I know some people will still passionately disagree (and will let me know it). But instead of shifting blame, I’d just ask that the next time one of us considers illegally downloading a copyrighted work, we remember (and actually follow) the Lannister family code: 'A Lannister always pays his debts.'” ®

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