Friday, 3 May 2013

Dear Mr. Jeffrey Bleich, US Ambassador to Australia

I posted this earlier today on  Jeffery Bleich's Facebook page, after making another plea to Australian internet users, to stop downloading Game of Thrones. I edited some financial and technical issues here and there but the message is still the same:

Dear Mr. Jeffrey Bleich,
I understand your consistent discourse with the Australian public about their internet "piracy", but please here us out on a few things regarding the legal means of downloading the HBO series Game of Thrones. Here's the thing though with those legal means and how people still have the autonomy with viewing preferences.

Game of Thrones via iTunes is $33.99, which is fine. That's an appropriate price for a full season of a TV series which is still in the process of being released. However, a lot of people are not fans of the iTunes format. It has some inherent difficulties of navigation, as well as the requirement of an account and a fairly convoluted system before actually purchasing the full season. I know that while I have an iTunes account, I don't like buying anything from the because I know that they screw independent musicians, content providers and even Television companies, such as the fine work of HBO. If I buy music, I go through bandcamp, or their website or I find out if they have PayPal so I can legally throw money at them.

Game of Thrones on FOXTEL is a whole other bag altogether. Regardless of my feelings towards NewsCorp, the Murdoch family and other political/lobbyist riffraff, buying a FOXTEL package just for Game of Thrones is a fiscally irresponsible and mentally unsound way to watch a single programme. The show is incredible, don't get me wrong, but there is so much content on FOXTEL that some people may not want to watch, nor pay for. The Premium Drama/Entertainment package is $25, per month. Cool, you may say, that's cheaper than the season pass, however, the show runs for ten episodes, which essentially means, that you are paying $75 for that three month subscription. This is regardless, of the over $700 minimum 12 month contract, plus the extra bundle packages, plus the installation fee, plus the extra amount of time and money you spend waiting, fixing and adjusting your FOXTEL box. It is not a great option.

Game of Thrones via Quickflix is actually a pretty good option. They only charge you for the streaming service. It's available on multiple devices. They have a wide range of content that is incredibly a l√° carte, depending on your usage and they're Australian owned. You can stream whatever you want, regardless of the pricing plan. This means you can pay $15 a month and get whatever blu-rays and DVD's sent straight to your house and stream Game of Thrones willy-nilly. However, the debate turns into something a bit more technical.

Most people like downloading the show, not to share it but to play it on their own home media devices when the internet is not "off-peak". Off-peak and on-peak internet usage is something that is becoming more common in your home company, mainly due to greedy ISP's that want to adjust internet service and get people to purchase better plans for no good reason. They throttle the internet usage, which makes it incredibly difficult to stream. As a person who lives in a household that takes in homestays who do not understand this concept, you have no idea how frustrating it can get when you're trying to watch a University streaming lecture at 28.8kbps a is not fun. Not many ISP's offer a service that isn't capped, despite the "unlimited" marketing banner.

Mr. Bleich, despite your name sounding like a Mad Magazine onomatopoeic device, please know that the autonomy of Australian internet users is much more important than a day based on the support of sharing and informing people of international cultures through various mediums. A day spawned from the death of the amazing man who wrote Don Quixote, a book that was heavily pirated to make it's way across the earth.

 Internet culture and yes, even regular culture, is about sharing that culture with the ones you love and finding common ground to communicate and understand one another. I understand that you're unhappy about our pirating ways, but please understand us trying to just enjoy the show. A show which we discuss and have made friendships over. A show which we buy on Blu-Ray and give as gifts. A show that inspired me to buy a knitting bag from an independent artist and give to my girlfriend. I'm not saying you are a terrible person Mr. Bleich but you are asking us to stop culture and I don't like it.

You already had Intellectual Property Day on April 26th. Enjoy your weekend everyone and see you on Thronesday on Monday

P.S. Here is King Joffrey...I mean Jeffrey

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