|Title:||Torrenting Game of Thrones-So wrong and yet so right|
|Citation:||MacNeill, K. (2017) Torrenting Game of Thrones-So wrong and yet so right. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, Volume 23, Issue 5, p.545-p.562. Available at https:http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1177/1354856516640713|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data consists of the analysis of 252 comments on a Facebook post by the US Ambassador to Australia, which concerned Game of Thrones and widespread copyright infringement. Results were coded using content and thematic analysis resulting in 5 themes on the justification of piracy (informed by neutralization theory): (i) the denial of a victim, (ii) the denial of responsibility, (iii) the denial of harm, (iv) condemning the condemners and (v) appeal to higher loyalties. Only 12 responses could not be categorised within these themes.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
"This article examines the views expressed by Australians relating to unauthorized digital access to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. A detailed analysis is undertaken of the online responses to a 2013 Facebook post by the United States Ambassador to Australia, chastizing Australians for their ‘illegal’ behaviour. This analysis is used to critique the dominant framing of the activities of filesharing, torrenting and unauthorized downloading as criminal and those involved in the activity as being influenced by sociological factors. In contrast, the research found that many of the justifications for these behaviours contained in the Facebook comments demonstrated an informed critique of the market mechanisms at work in the distribution networks."
Main Results of the Study
• Some users seek to "neutralize" their unethical behaviour by denying guilt for unauthorised downloading. In response to the downloading of Game of Thrones, users denied suggestions that there was any direct link between their activities and harm to the creators, citing the show's wide success, consistently high authorised sales and ancillary merchandise. Many complained that the exclusive distributors in Australia failed users on price, mode of delivery and time delay. Other comments suggested wider tensions with "American cultural imperialism", describing disparities between US and Australian distribution models as an "Australian tax".
• Whilst neutralization informed themes of the study, the authors found that many of the comments suggested users had a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of market dynamics than first anticipated. Piracy in this instance acted as a proxy or shadow competition for the monopoly distributor, demonstrating instead a loyalty to the products users were being accused of injuring.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Whilst the study does not make any explicit policy recommendations, the authors note that the framing of unauthorized downloading within models of criminality (framing piracy as "stealing") is not a productive way of understanding the dynamics of downloading. Instead, unauthorized downloading is often viewed by many as an ethical act of rebalancing within a distorted market, perhaps mitigating the impact of monopoly pricing.