Jeffrey Bleich isn’t your normal Game of Thrones fan. Oh, no. He also happens to be the U.S. Ambassador to Australia. And, in his official capacity as Ambassador, he has a message for you, Aussies: Stop pirating Game of Thrones! Stop it! Bad Aussies!
A post to Bleich’s official Facebook page began as such:
“Earlier this month, my family and I joined millions of others in watching the premiere of the third season of Game of Thrones. For those who aren’t already fans, it is a great epic chronicling the devious machinations of rival noble houses fighting for supremacy. Unfortunately, nearly as epic and devious as the drama, [sic] is its unprecedented theft by online viewers around the world.”
That’s pushing it a bit, Ambassador Bleich. There’s child-murder and torture and incest a’plenty in Game of Thrones. Rein it in with your analogy there.
The file-sharing news website TorrentFreak estimated that Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV series of 2012… As the Ambassador here in Australia, it was especially troubling to find out that Australian fans were some of the worst offenders with among the highest piracy rates of Game of Thrones in the world. While some people here used to claim that they used pirate sites only because of a delay in getting new episodes here, the show is now available from legitimate sources within hours of its broadcast in the United States.”
Australian readers—can you confirm this? Or is Bleich misinformed, much like Ned Stark was when Littlefinger said he could be trusted?
Bleich ties his message into UN World Book and Copyright Day, which was the same day he posted the message, explaining that piracy is “not some victimless crime” and that a “Here in Australia about 8% of the workforce works in the copyright industries and depends on people obeying the law – not to mention the artists in Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco, where the series is filmed, who depend on fans obeying the law.”
“If the 4 million people who watched Game of Throne legally had been illegal downloaders – the show would be off the air and there would never have been a Season 3… I realize that fans of Game of Thrones who have used illegal file-sharing sites have reasons. They will 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. But none of those reasons is an excuse – stealing is stealing.”
And the glorious conclusion:
“So please celebrate UN World Book and Copyright Day by doing the right thing – Tyrion Lannister will thank you for it.”
There’s not an exact equivalent to online piracy in Westeros, but if there were one, I’m confident in saying that I don’t think Tyrion would give a hoot about it.
I feel kind of guilty that I’m laughing about this, but… guys, it’s hilarious. Not Bleich’s stance on Game of Thrones piracy—I think the situation is more complicated than he makes it out to be (I’ve gone into it elsewhere), but even if I don’t agree with his message 100%, his opinion is certainly valid.
No, what I find hilarious is that a U.S. Ambassador is taking to Facebook to upbraid people for doing something he doesn’t like. I’d like to say that if I were an Ambassador I wouldn’t post things about how the Oxford comma should be used more often, guys shouldn’t sit with their knees spread on the subway (I hate that), Quentin Tarantino needs to stop giving himself cameos, and how if Disney makes bad Star Wars sequels I will bring all the power of the U.S. Ambassador to Australia against them. But I know that I’d probably crack eventually.
And yeah, you can make the point that he’s “using U.S. tax dollars” to talk about Game of Thrones, when he should be doing… whatever else he should be doing. But c’mon. It’s a Facebook message. And one that’s law-related, at that!
My hat is off to you, Ambassador Bleitch.