A hand-made, laser engraved wooden Ho(ld the) door stop for fans, to remember our lost friend. Too soon?
This has got to be infringing some sort of rights… Lets hope HBO doesn’t feel like suing.
HBO is not only taking action against people who download pirated copies of Game of Thrones, the company is also targeting those who predict what’s going to happen in future episodes. YouTube user Frikidoctor has had several videos taken down due to copyright complaints, including one where no infringing video or sound was used.
A software pirate is facing the most unusual punishment ever seen in a copyright infringement action. The man lost a case brought by an anti-piracy group but couldn’t pay damages, so instead agreed to star in PSA showcasing his life as a pirate. If that film doesn’t get 200K hits on YouTube, he’ll be required to pay a large fine.
In an effort to gain more subscribers HBO launched its standalone “HBO Now” service earlier this year.
The subscription allows Americans to access HBO’s content, including Game of Thrones, without the need to have a television subscription.
With the offer HBO hopes to drive people away from pirate sites, but it also created a new form of unauthorized use. As with Netflix and Hulu, many people outside the U.S. signed up for the service through VPNs and other geo-unblocking tools.
While Netflix is still fairly lax about geo-unblocking, HBO is now cracking down on the practice. A few days ago thousands of VPN and proxy “pirates” started to receive worrying email warnings.
We’ve discussed more than a few times the awful precedent set by AT&T’s Sponsored Data effort, which involves companies paying AT&T to have their service be exempt from the company’s already arbitrary usage caps. While AT&T pitches this as a wonderful boon to consumers akin to 1-800 numbers and free shipping, as VC Fred Wilson perfectly illustrated last year, it tilts the entire wireless playing field toward companies with deeper pockets that can afford to pay AT&T’s rates for cap exemption.
So how will the FCC’s new net neutrality rules impact AT&T’s plans? There’s every indication it won’t. The rules are still a few years and a few legal challenges away from becoming tangible, and in the interim, the FCC is telling companies that none of the zero rated efforts currently in play should be impacted. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Norway, Chile and now Canada all realize the threat posed by zero rated apps and have passed net neutrality rules that outlaw zero rating. The FCC, in contrast, has consistently implied it sees zero rating as “creative” pricing.
That’s given AT&T the justifiable confidence to sally forth with its dangerous precedent. After all, injecting a gatekeeper like AT&T (with a generation of documented anti-competitive abuses under its belt) right into the middle of the wireless app ecosystem won’t hurt anyone, and has nothing whatsoever to do with net neutrality.
About a year ago we noted how Comcast has a weird tendency to prevent its broadband users from being able to use HBO Go on some fairly standard technology, including incredibly common Roku hardware. For several years Roku users couldn’t use HBO Go if they had a Comcast connection, and for just as long Comcast refused to explain why. Every other broadband provider had no problem ensuring the back-end authentication (needed to confirm you have a traditional cable connection) worked, but not Comcast. When pressed, Comcast would only offer a generic statement saying yeah, it would try and get right on that:
“With every new website, device or player we authenticate, we need to work through technical integration and customer service which takes time and resources. Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize as we partner with various players.”
And the problem wasn’t just with Roku. When HBO Go on the Playstation 3 was released, it worked with every other TV-Everywhere compatible provider, but not Comcast. When customers complained in the Comcast forums, they were greeted with total silence. When customers called in to try and figure out why HBO Go wouldn’t work, they received a rotating crop of weird half answers or outright incorrect statements (it should arrive in 48 hours, don’t worry!).
Fast forward nearly a year since the HBO Go Playstation 3 launch, and Sony has now announced an HBO Go app for the Playstation 4 console. And guess what — when you go toactivate the app you’ll find it works with every major broadband ISP — except Comcast. Why? Comcast appears to have backed away from claims that the delay is due to technical or customer support issues, and is now telling forum visitors the hangup is related to an ambiguous business impasse:
“HBO Go availability on PS3 (and some other devices) are business decisions and deal with business terms that have not yet been agreed to between the parties. Thanks for your continued patience.”
Since every other ISP (including AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable) didn’t have a problem supporting the app, you have to assume Comcast specifically isn’t getting something from Sony or HBO it would like (read: enough money to make them feel comfortable about potentially cannibalizing traditional TV/HBO viewers). It’s a good example of how crafting net neutrality rules is only part of the conversation. It’s great to have rules, but they don’t mean much if bad or outright anti-competitive behavior can just be hidden behind half-answers and faux-technical nonsense for years on end without repercussion.