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HBO declares war on Game of Thrones pirates, but it may be a losing battle

HBO declares war on Game of Thrones pirates, but it may be a losing battle
From CBC - July 30, 2017

Season seven of Game of Thrones has only just begun, and alreadyHBO is cracking down on people illegally downloading the wildly popular TV series.

But it's questionable how successful the TV network's attack willbe, especially when many pirates are turning to streaming a form of piracy that's hard to track but easy to do, even for Luddites.

"It's just a lower technical bar," says Dan Deeth of Sandvine, a broadband equipment company that tracks home internet usage.

According to TorrentFreak, a news site that covers piracy issues, HBO is targeting people suspected of illegally downloading Game of Thronesby sending notices to their internet provider.

The letter asks the provider to immediately inform the customer that they have behaved badly and need to stop.

The notice also encourages the provider "to inform the subscriber that HBO programming can easily be watched and streamed on many devices legally by adding HBO to the subscriber's television package."

Last year, HBO sent a similar message to pirates and raised the ire of many Canadian Thrones fans. That's because new episodes of the show are only available to Canadians with a pricey, top-tier TV subscription.

"It's just not viable for me to spend 150 bucks for HBO," says Josh Randell, who lives in Corner Brook, N.L. He received two warning letters last year telling him to stop downloading Game of Thrones and informing him it's never been easier to legally watch the series.

"It's never been easier, then why ca not I get iteasy?" says Randell.He sayshe would happily pay $14.99 US a month for HBO Now, a streaming service only available in the U.S. that offers full access to Game of Thrones shows.

Streaming is king

Despite the warning letters, Randell continues to pirate Game of Thrones, and so do many other people across the globe.

According to the U.K.-based piracy monitoring firm, MUSO, this year's season opener was pirated an astonishingly high 91.74 million times around the world.

"It's a big number but it's a big show and there's high demand," saysMUSOCEO AndyChatterley.

The company based its data oninternettraffic to more than 23,000 piracy sites.Itfound that in most of the cases a whopping 84.9 per centpirates usedunauthorized streaming to watchtheepisode.

Give them what they want

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