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US Ambassador in Facebook plea: “Please stop pirating 'Game of Thrones'”

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By Steven Raeburn, N/A

April 25, 2013 | 3 min read

Jeffrey Bleich, the United States of America’s Ambassador to Australia, has written an extensive and extraordinary plea to Australian viewers to cease pirating copies of the popular fantasy drama “Game of Thrones”.

'Game of Thrones' Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

In a lengthy Facebook posting, Ambassador Bleich lamented the “unprecedented theft” of the programme by downloaders, and said Aussies are “some of the worst offenders with among the highest piracy rates of Game of Thrones in the world”. He pleaded with viewers to do “the right thing”.

“The file-sharing news website TorrentFreak estimated that Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV series of 2012. One episode was illegally downloaded about 4,280,000 times through public BitTorrent trackers in 2012, which is about equal to the number of that episode’s broadcast viewers. In other words, about half of that episode’s viewers stole the program from HBO,” he wrote.

“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.”

He said he was making his plea to coincide with the annual UN World Book and Copyright Day.

“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,“ he said.

“Buying a book in a store costs more and takes longer than stealing it from your neighbor’s house, but we all know it is the right thing to do and it allows authors to make a living and write more books.

“So please celebrate UN World Book and Copyright Day by doing the right thing – Tyrion Lannister will thank you for it.”

Ambassador Bleich was appointed US Ambassador to Australia by President Obama in November 2009.

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