HBO is apparently cracking down on non-subscribers watching Game of Thrones, in light of the massive leak of the first four episodes of Season 5. The network has sent a cease and desist to Videology — a popular Brooklyn bar and movie theater that also has a video rental service — which has been throwing Thrones screening parties for the past two seasons. The event has become so popular that fans even show up dressed in character.
Videology’s co-owner spoke to Village Voice about the decision:
“They said that it’s not allowed to be shown in a public setting,” says the bar’s co-owner, James Leet. It’s the first time the bar has been asked not to screen a particular show.
“It’s hard for us not to show it, because our fans love it,” Leet says. “And there are probably a dozen bars within a three-block radius of us that will be showing it. For them to single us out and tell us that we can’t show it is very disappointing.”
“We’re sorry that our fans will not be able to see it in the future here,” he says. “We know they really enjoyed it, and we’re sorry we can’t do that for them anymore.”
Yahoo! points out that this isn’t the first time HBO has done something like this; they sent out cease and desist orders back in 2002 when bars and restaurants were showing The Sopranos for fans. But nowadays, with the cult status of popular series and many people eschewing paying for cable service, viewing parties are becoming much more of a popular thing. In Philadelphia, there’s even a network in place to connect people with bars playing their favorite shows.
What will HBO do, seek out every single corner dive that lets patrons watch Game of Thrones on Sunday nights? Seems like it might be more prudent to crack down on all of the *ahem* adults using their parent’s HBO Go streaming services.