On Sunday nights, some “Game of Thrones” fans in Brooklyn, New York, like to dress up in costume and head over to a cool bar-slash-movie theatre called Videology and watch the episode as it airs live on HBO.
HBO is apparently not pleased. The media company has sent a cease and desist letter to Videology telling them to stop showing “Game of Thrones,” Lara Zarum at the Village Voice reports.
“They said that it’s not allowed to be shown in a public setting,” the bar’s co-owner, James Leet, told Zarum, adding that this is the first time the bar has been asked not to screen a particular show. It screens other popular shows, too, like Mad Men, he said.
Watching GoT at a bar is a fairly New York thing to do. There are a number of other bars that throw a G0T party each Sunday, and it’s not clear if HBO has reached out to all of them yet.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if the company did.
HBO did the same thing with cease-and-desist letters when bars and restaurants were throwing ‘Sopranos’ parties back in 2002. and we understand that HBO often tries to tamp down on this sort of public showing of its content.
When we asked about this cease and desist letter, a company spokesperson told us, “As a pay subscription service, HBO should not be made available in public establishments. When it does happen, it is of particular concern when there is an attempt to profit off the programming. This is nothing new as we have taken such actions for well over a decade.”
In GoT case, HBO has got its work cut out to protect the show. It’s already the most pirated show of 2015, anti-piracy firm Irdeto reports. GoT (all seasons) is illegally downloaded an average of 116,000 per day, Irdeto says, or more seven million times in 2015 so far.
On top of that, somehow the first four episodes were leaked on BitTorrent file swapping sites, CNBC reported.
That said, the international smash hit show also set a new ratings record for HBO, nabbing eight million viewers for the season premier.