HBO recently sent a cease and desist letter to a Brooklyn bar for hosting Game of Thrones themed viewing parties on Sunday nights, according to a report in The Village Voice.
The bar in question is Videology, a venue that’s equal parts bar and equal parts screening room. The bar owners presumably decided to capitalize on the immense popularity of GOT and make each new episode a communal event. In fact, some patrons would even show up to the screenings in Game of Thrones themed attire.
Sounds great, except for the fact that bars often get into murky waters when ever they attempt to show programming that specifically requires a fee, an issue more commonly seen with pay-per-view boxing, wrestling, and UFC events.
HBO, per its cease and desist letter, clearly views the public screening of Game of Thrones in a similar vein. It’s worth pointing out here that whether or not Videology charges a fee of entry to the bar for the screening (which they reportedly don’t) is irrelevant to the matter. From HBO’s vantage point, free public screenings of their most popular show provides no incentive for consumers to sign up for their monthly service.
Now given that this isn’t the first time Videology has hosted GOT themed viewing parties (they’ve been doing it for two years now), it stands to reason that the recent GOT leak may have prompted HBO to begin cracking down a bit harder on these public viewings, something which apparently is quite popular amongst other Brooklyn-based bars.
You might also recall that HBO last week went after Periscope users who were caught live streaming the season 5 premiere of GOT.
All the same, HBO doesn’t seem to be suffering too much from all of these issues. Though the show remains he most pirated program on the air today, last week’s premiere drew in a record audience of 8 million viewers.