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The Hobbit and Game of Thrones Top Most Pirated Lists of 2013 193

Posted by timothy
from the there's-a-fast-and-furious-six?! dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "Fantasy fans are clearly among the most prevalent downloaders of pirated material if the 2013 lists of most pirated films and TV shows is anything to go by. The Hobbit beat Django Unchained and Fast and Furious 6 while on TV, Game of Thrones saw off competition from Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead as the most pirated TV show. While this is clearly losing money for both industries, the US box office doesn't seem to be suffering too much as it is about to record its best year ever."
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The Hobbit and Game of Thrones Top Most Pirated Lists of 2013

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:58AM (#45828229)

    ... and then stating their high profits?

    Okay. Explain. How are they "clearly losing money"? Prove it.

    • by Timothy Hartman (2905293) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:12AM (#45828317)
      It is a running tenet in the entertainment industry that a download equals a lack of a sale. Common sense tells people that an unemployed basement dweller, third worlder who doesn't have a legitimate method to access content, or cheap soul who spends nothing on entertainment are lost causes for a sale.

      I wonder to what extent piracy is being cited on tax claims from these guys. Flawed logic could save them heaps a year.
      • by pmontra (738736) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:36AM (#45828495) Homepage
        Or first worlder that happen to live in a country where the content has not been distributed yet and don't want to wait for months or years or forever. Those piracy-afraid-companies should just bypass all the distributors and stream content directly to all the world at once.
        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:46AM (#45828575) Homepage
          Then again, I know plenty of "first worlders" who have ample ability to access the content, but still feel quite entitled to download stuff. There's people who will use an app every single day, yet would rather pirate it than pay 99 cents. People who will play an entire game that they pirated, and go way past the "I'm just trying it out" phase. Sure there are people with more legitimate reasons for pirating content, but there's a very sizable portion of people who just pirate because they are cheap. Also, I'd like to point out that not there's no show/movie/game/other-entertainment-thing that you just have to have. If they don't release the movie where you live, then just watch some other movie, or play some other game. Downloading it just gives the entertainment industry more reason (flawed reasoning or not) to tighten restrictions on content, or not sell it in the country where everyone is pirating it anyway.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:11AM (#45828791)

            I get probably 85% of my content legitimately. I pay for Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and a few other services. I own a roku. But some content I can't get without full on cable subscriptions. For those I hit the torrent sites.

            I'd gladly pay to get a season of game of thrones, boardwalk empire, etc as it was released in 1080p that was playable via plex or my roku. Just like music, once I could get the content in a unencumbered form I stopped 'stealing' my music.

            That said, there is also a lot of pirated content that is never viewed. For example. I watched the first season of GoT. I kept my rss feeder downloading GoT though all the remaining seasons, yet I've not yet watched it. Recently I was gifted the first 3 seasons of GoT on blueray so I deleted those downloads. I believe a lot of piracy works this way, large scripts that download content the script owner thinks he/she wants, but never actually consumes. I've deleted tons of crap I thought I'd like, downloaded entire seasons, watched 10 minutes and deleted the whole thing.

          • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:10PM (#45829431) Homepage Journal

            If they don't release the movie where you live, then just watch some other movie, or play some other game.

            Or volunteer at your local soup kitchen ... actual reality-based entertainment.

          • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:07PM (#45830229) Journal

            The price is not only money. If to pay 99 cents you also have to create an account, which means coming up with another weak password or just further compromising a weak password you use everywhere, and hand over a credit card number and your identification including your snail mail address, and an email address and perhaps hunt around to opt out of being put on several mailing lists, that's actually too high a price.

            If people could pay 99 cents without getting themselves identified, analyzed and targeted for advertising, or worse, punitive pricing, I'm sure more would. Suppose "a study shows that men who bought songs like Under My Thumb and Maxwell's Silver Hammer are more prone to domestic violence", and therefore they should have their insurance rates raised, and be put on a crime watch list. 99 cents is the least of the price one might pay for a few lousy songs.

      • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:16AM (#45828853)
        Life is stressful, and for many entertainment is a valve for that stress. It's not that poor people downloading the Hobbit or Game of Thrones are causing a loss of sale on one or the other, it's that with a little bit of that stress relived they're much less likely to make a snap purchase (which they can't afford) to relieve that stress.

        When add the fact that one or two players in the economy owns all the media and that corporate profits by and large go to 1% of the populace then the **AA's of the world's stance makes sense. It doesn't matter _what_ you buy, they make money either way. But they need you _ready_ to buy.

        Let me put it this way: If you want chicken but you've got steak, odds are good you'll settle for chicken. If you've got neither I can sell you chicken.
    • by citizenr (871508) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:43PM (#45831193) Homepage

      ... and then stating their high profits?

      Okay. Explain. How are they "clearly losing money"? Prove it.

      It works exactly the same way AGW does. Reality keeps proving models wrong, so models must be right, right?

  • by RogueyWon (735973) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:13AM (#45828325) Journal

    To start with a disclaimer: I haven't pirated The Hobbit (or indeed any other movies since my student days many, many years ago) and have no intention of doing so.

    But on the other hand, after sitting through the first one, there is no way on Earth I am going to sit through the second one in a cinema. If I ever do watch it (which is a bit 50/50 given what a bad adaptation I thought the first one was), it will be in the comfort of my own home in a format where I can pause and resume at will, breaking it up into more manageable chunks.

    I don't actually dislike going to the cinema; I'll happily sit through 2 hours or so of movie. But if you want me to go for a 3 hour+ bladder-bursting ass-numbing epic, then give me the opportunity to pause it for a while and go for a walk around in the middle.

    Hell, I can still just about remember when longer films used to have an intermission during showings in a cinema. I know that's not an idea that's popular in the days of cram-'em-in multiplexes, but it might be worth bringing back for films like these to lure people like me back to the theatres.

    • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:56AM (#45828657)

      Pause button? To sit through any of those movies, I either need a fast-forward button or a place to nap.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:04AM (#45828749) Homepage
      Whatever happened to putting an "intermission" in long movies? Would it really be that bad? The Cinemas would probably make a few extra dollars. People could get up, stretch their legs, use the bathroom, buy some more snacks and drinks. It's not needed for 1.5-2 hour films, but for movies pushing 3 hours it would definitely be an advantage is some respects.
      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:05PM (#45829407) Homepage Journal

        Whatever happened to putting an "intermission" in long movies?

        The ongoing decline of quality in movie audiences, I imagine. Someone will have to hold your seat because if you leave say a sweatshirt, if it's not stolen it will likely be urinated upon. If it is stolen, when you return someone will likely be in your seat, and odds on they'll be on their cellphone and will insist you do not disturb them.

        All in all, piss on going to the theater. I have a Blu-Ray player which I've used never, because even an upscaled DVD looks good enough for my purposes. Perhaps one day I'll get my fancy LED from DX, and then I'll see about reviving my DLP projector. With a 1600LM LED I should still be able to get an adequately bright 10' picture even after color correction.

        • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @03:07PM (#45831403)

          If [your sweatshirt] is stolen, when you return someone will likely be in your seat

          wearing your sweatshirt. Thieves are pretty brazen these days.

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @03:37PM (#45831659) Homepage
          I think that the "decline of quality in movie audiences" is either non-existent, because movies for the most part, have been one of the cheaper forms of entertainment, at least when compared to live performances so you end up with a good cross section of the public at the movies, or the problem could easily be solved with assigned seating, which is already provided in some theaters anyway. Every time there's an option, I'll easily pay the few extra dollars for the show that offers assigned seating, because I don't have to show up ridiculously early to get a good seat, and the seats and theater itself are usually of better quality anyway. If theaters want to survive in the age where people have 7.1 setups with 60+ inch screens at home, they are going to have to offer a very good experience, something that's worth paying the extra money for. Getting to see the movie before it's available for rental, by itself, isn't enough incentive.
    • by necro81 (917438) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:25PM (#45830431) Journal

      But on the other hand, after sitting through the first one, there is no way on Earth I am going to sit through the second one in a cinema

      I'm with you. What I'm actually looking forward to is the eventual fan-edit. After the third one comes out, some enterprising person will take the bloated 9 hours of cinematic release, then (1) cut out anything or anyone that didn't appear in the book, and (2) cut every fight/chase scene in half. You'll end up with a perfectly watchable, engaging film that clocks in around 2:45.

  • by rjejr (921275) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:15AM (#45828341)
    All 3 seasons of GoT back in April. Saw both Hobbit movies in theaters though, full New York prices, sorry. I'm not DLing "epic" feature films to watch on my tv, GoT is on tv regardless. If it was on Hulu or NF I'ld watch GoT that way. Can I get HBOgo w/o HBO yet?
  • by Toshito (452851) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:15AM (#45828343)

    I sometimes download episodes I missed from tv series. Now they would call that pirating but seriously, what's the difference between recording it myself and watching it later, or having someone else record it, and I me downloading it and watching it later? I will not watch the ads anyway...

    If having someone else record the show for me is pirating, does that mean that if I ask my neighbour to come to my house and start the recording of the show while I'm not home a form of pirating?

  • (DRAMATIC SIGH) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:19AM (#45828371)

    Simple solution: Stop hiding your TV shows and films behind a wall of artificial scarcity. We have the internet which gives us instant access to whatever we want whenever we want. That has spoiled us and you (studios) haven't capitalized on this yet or are too damn slow.

    Put your film in theaters. Once it is no longer profitable at the box office then put it on youtube (not some proprietary bullshit site that only runs in IE or some other nonsense) for a discounted rate and allow multiple viewings. Don't rent me a fucking film for $2.99 and then only give me access for a few days at most. That is a rip off. Let me pay a few bucks for a month or two or three. Honestly how much money will you lose if you let people have the movie for three months? How many times in one month is someone going to watch a movie? This is especially important for childrens shows/movies where they might want to watch it a hundred times.

    TV shows, do what South Park does: Release the episode on both TV and the internet AT THE SAME TIME! Put a few commercials in there just like a regular TV episode and people will watch it. Or give them the option to pay a cheap monthly or yearly fee to watch commercial free. Id pay southpark studios a few bucks a month to watch their shows if I could see them all commercial free. If you are a premium show like Game of Thrones then do the same damn thing but for a fee. Let me watch an episode for a dollar and let me have access for a month or more. Or let me pay a few dollars to watch as many episodes as I would like for a month or so.

    People have enough of a burden trying to pay bills/make a living and you expect us to spend hundreds on cable TV, tickets and DVD/BR *every month*. No thanks, we have better things to spend our money on. Your content is simply a time waster when we want to relax for a bit or go out every now and then. We dont need it and I am not willing to pay the exorbitant amount demanded. Adapt or die.

    • by superdude72 (322167) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:03AM (#45828733)

      $2.99 to rent a film for 3 days is a fucking rip off? You lost me there. I would add, the timer on the three-day period doesn't start until you start watching the movie (on Amazon, at least.) You have a month to start watching the movie.

      And if the kids are going to watch Despicable Me (for instance) hundreds of times, yes, the studios and distributor clearly *would* lose money by not offering a "buy" vs "rent" scenario. $10 to stream Despicable Me (in SD) as many times as you want! Now clearly this is a value judgment. I can't tell you you're wrong for how you feel about that. But clearly, a lot of people find that reasonable. As someone who lived through the '80s and '90s, and paid $4 to rent a VHS tape at Blockbuster, then often paid an extra $2 a day in late fees on top of that, I find it a hell of a deal. To me, it's not worth pirating a movie to save $2.99.

      A bit of a digression though. The issue with Game of Thrones is that you *can't* stream recent episodes for a fee. You have to have a costly cable subscription. Different kettle of fish, which is why the show is so pirated.

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:29PM (#45831055) Homepage Journal

        $2.99 to rent a film for 3 days is a fucking rip off?

        It's not so much that it's a ripoff, but that it deters rentals. It's just a stupid business practice.

        I often decide not to rent something when browsing because I'm not sure I have time to watch it before the rental period expires. I may or may not ever stumble across it again later when looking for something to watch. Give me multi-month access for $3, and I'll rent stuff on a whim. Make it viewable multiple times, and I'll rent even more, because I may rent stuff that I think I'm only marginally interested in but my family might want to see.

        On the other side, what's the potential loss? I've been renting movies in various formats for 30 years. I don't believe I have ever, in that entire time, rented a movie and then rented it again within a few months. If I have done it, it's definitely only been a very small number of times, a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of times I've rented. I don't think I'm unusual in this. So, shutting off access after a few days, or a single viewing, is not going to extract another rental fee from me.

        Back when I was renting physical media, there was a clear purpose for the short rental periods. They needed the tape or DVD back so they could rent it to someone else. With streaming media that issue is gone. The cost of streaming a movie to me is negligible, and there is no limit to the number of people they can rent to simultaneously. So if the content owner's goal is, as would seem logical, to extract the maximum possible amount of money from viewers, they should allow repeat viewings (which will hardly ever be used) and long rental periods -- not long enough that rental can be confused with purchase, but long enough that people don't have to think about whether they'll have time to watch it before the period expires.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:51PM (#45832295)

        I too grew up going to the video store. In fact the parents of a close friend of mine used to own one down the block. FREE RENTALS! Those were the days.

        But getting back to the $2.99 price, I look at it from the point of viewing time. Its 2014 and we are still stuck with an artificial, video store time limit. There is no physical tape or disc to return which makes sense for a video store who want to give other customers a fair chance to rent the video. The video store has a limited number of copies for rent. Remember when it was only 1 copy for most movies, before blockbuster? The internet can in theory stream a video to an unlimited number of viewers (assuming no bandwidth limits). So the video store model is just idiotic to impose on an internet delivery system. 15-20 bucks gets me a physical copy I can watch unlimited times but 3 bucks gets me only 3 days online? A dollar a day? This is why I say three days is insane. Give me a month or two. Maybe one weekend I want to watch with a friend and the next week or so with girlfriend.

    • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:06PM (#45830837)
      Wow, even throwing a toddler's tantrum will get you modded up around here, if it's related to piracy demands. Apparently you became grossly self-entitled and "spoiled" through no fault of your own, eh?
      • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:35PM (#45832165)

        The point is this:
        The internet has changed the world. No longer is information scarce. You used to have to go to the library to find informations and books. Now its at your fingertips in the comfort of your own home. Maybe the kids going online to do research for their report are spoiled too? The Movie studios could benefit from instant on-demand delivery by offering a wider selection to a wider audience. But they have so far refused to make any major effort. They make far too much money by making their content scarce which to me makes no sense in this modern internet connected world.

        Apparently you became grossly self-entitled and "spoiled" through no fault of your own, eh?

        Please, tell me how I am spoiled when the Studios are ignoring the Internet which can open the floodgates to their content and allow people to view programs and movies as they see fit? Why should I be forced to pay insane amounts of money for a premium TV service that I don't really care about. I had HBO and let me tell you this: its worthless. The movie selection was terrible at any given time and its on demand barely offered anything I was interested in. Its 2014 and I still have to buy a plastic disc to watch a movie or pay $15 a month to watch game of thrones and a bunch of crappy movies? I realize Netflix and others are getting better but their content masters are still holding onto an ancient business model that is causing people to flock to alternative methods to find what they want. Yea some people just don't want to pay but I WOULD HAPPILY PAY if I could watch it on a device of my choosing whenever and wherever I want.

        • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:23PM (#45832527)
          Yeah, the wonderful "Internet" has lowered distribution costs of media, but production and marketing costs are higher than ever. In other words, Hollywood still needs "scarce" revenue models, regardless the fact that it's composed of all for-profit corporations in the first place, just to maintain its existing level of production standards. Now, nobody is forcing you to consume anything they make. You can buy nothing if you like. But recognize your whine is really short-sighted when looking at the whole media ecosystem at large.
    • by brit74 (831798) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:13PM (#45830893)

      Simple solution: Stop hiding your TV shows and films behind a wall of artificial scarcity.

      So, the solution you're proposing to studios is "give everything away for free!!" Yeah, that sounds like a great solution. Seriously, does anyone on Slashdot think about the needs and desires of the studios, or are all "solutions" really just kneejerk strategies which result in consumers getting as much stuff as possible while paying nothing?

      • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:18PM (#45832027)

        Okay, hold on here. Where did I say free? Honestly if you are going to write a rebuttal please actually read the comment you are responding to and not just the first sentence. I said either fund it with commercials like South Park or offer a one time fee for a more reasonable limited viewing period.

    • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:49PM (#45831241)

      Here's the problem: HBO has very expensive carriage right deals with the major cable companies and satellite providers in the USA, deals that are very lucrative to HBO itself. If HBO were to make HBO Go no longer needing proof of a cable subscription, that will effectively kill that gigantic revenue stream and HBO will obviously not have the money to do shows like "Game of Thrones."

      It will take essentially an antitrust lawsuit to change this picture.

  • Here's Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:27AM (#45828435)
    A latecomer to the Thrones saga, I purchased the first two seasons in November of this year. I fell for the palace intrigue immediately, watched the first two seasons in a couple of weekends, and then discovered the 3rd, already filmed and telecast, season (with the friggin' dragon on the cover) isn't available until the middle of February.

    Are they 3D printing the CDs or what?

    • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:34PM (#45829783)

      The same reason why it took like 3 years for the last Game Thrones book to come out in softcover rather than hardcover. It isn't like there was some sort of shortage, or production problem. It is because they want to sell you more hardcovers which cost 3 times as much. Myself I refuse. Even now that it is out, I am thinking of waiting til it comes out in a used book store. I was that pissed at how they handled it (two released dates delayed) when it was obvious they are just being dicks about the whole thing.

      All the old media models do this.

    • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:34PM (#45829785)
      Is it so terrible to wait until February? It's not like you'll ever be more than one season behind. I love the show, but I don't mind waiting myself.
  • by scarboni888 (1122993) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:30AM (#45828997)

    Yeah well they're living in a fantasy land if they think they're going to keep on getting away with it! Article 4.2 of the TPPA is coming to an ISP near them soon! Then we'll see whose fantasy we're living in.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:44AM (#45829153)

    Netflix is undergoing another content purge. I'm perfectly willing to pay for the service. There are some movies I never got around to watching that are disappearing. Oh, well. I'll have to pirate them then.

    It's important to note how my viewing habits have changed.

    Before the Internet: Tape from live TV, borrow from the library, Blockbuster

    After the Internet: Tape from live TV for broadcast shows, watch crummy encodes of anime leeched from napster and other early p2p services, would buy reasonable sets of DVD's for material I love and will be rewatching.

    After Bittorrent: All BT, all the time

    After Netflix Streaming: Is it on Netflix? No? Ok, now start searching torrents.

    I've gotten away from buying physical media because I don't have the space for it. I do want to reward the creators, I just don't have a proper means to do so. Here's the kicker: Netflix is MORE convenient than piracy. For a small fee, I have shows on my TV, laptop, phone, tablet, and they all stay in sync. I don't have to remember my watchlist. Hell, for TV downloads I keep a text file in the directory that I update after I'm done watching so I don't lose my place. That's less convenient than Netflix.

    I'm happy to pay for a service that's timely and reasonable. I'm not waiting six months if the shit's done and released elsewhere. I'm also not paying a bajillion dollars because some executive's wife needs new tits.

    • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:26PM (#45829669)
      In other words, you don't respect any of the content you're viewing or the people who produced it.
    • by Whorhay (1319089) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:28PM (#45829687)

      There was a period as a young single adult where I torrented movies constantly and probably watched a couple at least every night. Now I just use Netflix for most of my passive entertainment. The only stuff I find myself torrenting is regular network TV shows that we get too far behind on watching. I'd really like to watch GoT but I'm not going to buy a cable subscription and pay a premium price for special channels for one or two shows of interest. So for now I just don't watch it at all or wait for it to show up on Netflix.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:40PM (#45829883)

    Butters complaining about "Floppy Penises" and "Where's the Dragons?!?" when talking about Game of Thrones. Of course Martin didn't order the pizzas and said that they would be coming and be the best! Oh and there would be five of them! An analogy of the dragons in GoT. Best three South Park Episodes ever! [uproxx.com]

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:52PM (#45830033)
    TV shows are not made to entertain people. They are made to gather people in front of a particular station, at a particular time, so that they become an "audience" (perhaps with a particular "demographic"), during which time the station SELLS YOUR EYEBALLS to advertisers. The "scarcity" model is not artificial; it is a crucial component of maintaining the novelty of the show so that it can be used as bait again to gather more eyeballs for more advertisements.

    Once something is available on DVD (or, now, for streaming), it is automatically less valuable for re-runs, because everyone who wants to see it has already had the ability to see it whenever they want, instead of the once-a-year that "seasonal favorites" were released when I was a kid (and you HAD to be in front of the TV when it was on, because there was no home VCR to time-shift it). (Disney manages to suppress their content for years between releases, making scarcity itself a product.) Plus the producers cannot sell new advertisements; they had to make one-time deals even for "coming attractions" on the disk (out-of-date within a year, and therefore often of value only to the same producer), and certainly had to make a one-time deal for the cost of selling the material in physical form. No wonder they prefer the pay-per-view jukebox model.

    Remember: In the video industry, if you can't see the product they are selling, it's YOU.
  • by brit74 (831798) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:08PM (#45830841)
    > "the US box office doesn't seem to be suffering too much as it is about to record its best year ever."
    Source? (I remember the last time I saw that claim on Slashdot, and discovered it was wrong.)

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