Game Of Thrones is such a double-edged sword for HBO: it must be great to have one of the world's most popular shows, but it must be so frustrating to have everyone pirate it and have no way to stop it. This morning, however, HBO might have just stumbled upon the greatest anti-piracy weapon: take-down notices aimed squarely at VLC Media Player.
For those playing at home, VLC is the media player of choice for content acquired in ways that are less than on the level. The old adage: if it won't play on VLC, it won't play at all. It's an open source piece of software, and the use of which goes hand-in-hand with BitTorrent users' downloading habits.
HBO is one of the many content creators that uses the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to issue take-down notices to search engines like Google, and one of the most recent batches of notices included a direction to remove links to a version of VLC.
Going after online distributors of pirated content has been a losing battle for a long time, but by fighting on a different front, HBO might be able to make some small dent in the piracy habits of less experienced downloaders who can't figure out a decent replacement for the open-source VLC.
There are safeguards in place so that content creators can't abuse DMCA take-down notices, and the elimination of VLC from the web would be a mighty shame, considering how good it is as an open-source player of all things legal as well as illegal.
Who knows, there may be an HBO war-room buzzing with this strategy right now. [TorrentFreak]