Bell: No Plans for Game of Thrones Viewing without Cable Subscription

This week Canadians pirating episodes of Game of Thrones received letters of infringement from their Internet Service Providers, such as TELUS.

One reader shared a snippet of their letter, which interestingly enough had a passage informing pirates “it has never been easier to watch HBO programming legally in Canada”.

Below in bold is the passage, which reads like an advertisement from Bell Media, which owns the rights to HBO Canada, informing users of ways to watch via CraveTV:

We have information leading us to believe that the IP address XXX.XXX.XX.XXX was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization (additional details are listed below). HBO owns the copyright to Game of Thrones and the unauthorized download or distribution constitutes copyright infringement. Downloading unauthorized or unknown content is also a security risk for computers, devices, and networks.

Plus, it has never been easier to watch HBO programming legally in Canada, and stream HBO on your favorite devices, by adding HBO Canada to your television subscription to watch current programs or by subscribing to Bell Medias CraveTV at to watch all of the best programs from the HBO library.

As the owner of and/or subscriber using the IP address at the date and time below, HBO requests that you immediately take the proper steps to prevent further downloading or sharing of HBO content and additional infringement notices, including removing any programs used to access unauthorized content and securing the network.

When CBC News contacted HBO, spokesman Jeff Cusson said “The statement you reference seems self explanatory, it speaks to the unprecedented availability of HBO programming.” But when asked about how HBO was distributed in Canada, the spokesman deferred comment to Bell Media, the rights holder of HBO here.

Bell informed the CBC it works closely with the American network to send out copyright infringement letters, and that it stood by its message to Canadians, adding its recent HBO deal in Canada “has resulted in a significant increase in the availability of HBO content.”

The company explained HBO cable subscribers can stream any of the latter’s series using TMN GO and older episodes and seasons are available to any subscriber of CraveTV.

Bell told CBC News that while it continues “to assess the market,” it has no current plans to make Game of Thrones available without a cable subscription.

Users in the United States have HBO Now, a standalone subscription service at $14.99 per month–that does not require cable and can be streamed from the web, Apple TV or an iOS device.

This decision, according to the CBC article, means some users without cable subscriptions but willing to pay for an on-demand HBO service in Canada, will continue to pirate the show, or circumvent geo-restrictions by using VPN services like this lifetime subscription to Hotspot Shield Elite for 59% off.

There’s one way to combat piracy–and that’s make it easy to view content at a reasonable price. HBO is a cash cow since Game of Thrones is one of the most-watched television shows, so if you want to view it legally in Canada, you’re going to have to pay to play.

How are you watching Game of Thrones in Canada? Would you pay for a standalone HBO streaming service here, if it was available?

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