The Oatmeal had a comic recently about trying to watch the HBO show Game of Thrones. I thought it was funny, but a bit ignorant, and a poor excuse for doing something illegal. It made me a little angry, but I didn’t really want to dwell on it, and after a couple of days of people linking to the comic it went away. Then I saw an article on PandoDaily that made me angry all over again. Luckily, within an hour, another article showed up (on the same site, mind you) that turned all that anger into laughter. On its own, the first article is a poorly reasoned tale of entitlement; however as a pair they are well worth a read!

Help! I’m Being Forced To Pirate Game Of Thrones Against My Will!

Help! I’m Being Forced To Steal An iPhone Against My Will!

As amusing as I found the whole thing, I still want to crystallize the argument that the first author is making, and point out why that argument doesn’t work. Here is the chain of thought:

  • I want to watch Game of Thrones
  • I want to watch it at (or around) the same time it airs on HBO
  • I don’t have HBO
  • I don’t want to pay for Cable and HBO on top of it just to get access to HBO content (you can’t subscribe to just HBO).
  • Game of Thrones content will not be available on iTunes, Amazon, etc. until about a year after it airs on HBO
  • Therefore I must illegally download Game of Thrones

I want to avoid a rant here, so let me just offer up a couple of options which hopefully illustrate that the author’s train of thought is not logically sound and really shouldn’t be used to justify doing something illegal:

  • Pay for Cable and HBO (not a great option, I do admit that is a lot of money to pay just to get to HBO).
  • Go watch the show at a friend’s house who has HBO or get them to DVR it for you.
  • (this is the shocking one) Wait for Game of Thrones to be available on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

The argument revolves around the author’s apparent belief that he is entitled to have access to this content in a timely manner, even if he doesn’t pay for it. This belief can easily blind someone into thinking they have been left no other recourse but to break the law, but blind men are not always wise men.