I was going to write a big editorial about this cartoon by the usually funny Oatmeal, but someone beat me to it, so I'll mostly link you to that editorial and make my own comments. The cartoon is basically a complaint that HBO didn't make it easy ENOUGH for the cartoonist to get Game of Thrones, and so he illegally downloaded it.
The thing about The Oatmeal's cartoon is that it exudes a shitty, childish sense of entitlement. The timing of this is especially interesting because this cartoon, about how HBO all but FORCED our poor cartoonist to steal their content, was published just about two weeks before Game of Thrones hits iTunes and video store shelves. And the entire show is currently available on HBO Go, a great free service offered to HBO customers. Here's what Andy Ihnatko has to say:
You want to see what the hubbub around “Game Of Thrones” is about? Cool. The show is produced by HBO and it’s available exclusively on that channel. It’s a premium channel and any cable provider can sell you a monthly subscription.
HBO’s awesome. They have a streaming app that will allow you to watch pretty much any original series or movie that they still have the rights to (including “Thrones”) and it works with almost everything that can play streaming video. HBO doesn’t even charge for the app or for the extra access.
You say you don’t want to subscribe to HBO, or even cable?
Ah. Well, no worries. The show will be released on DVD and Blu-ray later in the year.
You’re not into physical media? I’m with you. It’ll be on iTunes soon. See? The store page lists the release date. March 6. You can circle it on the calendar and everything.
You’re still frowning. What’s wrong, Scrumpkin?
Oh. You want it right now.
But — umm — the release date is only, like, two or three weeks away. Just hang on a bit. You’ll be fine.
Yes, I heard you (please, sir, there’s really no need to shout). I understand that you want it (and I hope I’m not misquoting you) right the ****ity-**** NOWWWWWWWW. But you can’t have it now. You can have it on March 6. It isn’t even as far away as you think. Remember? February is the super-short month?
You’re already torrenting it, aren’t you?
Annnnd now you’re also calling me a d*** because I expected you to wait two weeks, and you’re claiming that you’re “forced” to torrent it because the video industry is bunch of turds. How charming.
Listen, I agree that the media distribution world has changed, and it's in the best interests of companies to use that new landscape to their advantage. I find it baffling that not every TV show is available to purchase on my Xbox, and it's kind of a pain in the ass for me.
But the thing is that they don't have to offer their content that way. HBO doesn't owe you the show in any way except the way they want to sell it to you. They're a subscription company, so they make most of their money from your subscription fee. This is how they want to do business, and if you want their product you should be doing business with them their way.
Nobody owes you Game of Thrones! You don't deserve it! The fact that people think they deserve it immediately however they want it - that's like entitlement in action. And the theory that your inability to get the thing now allows you to steal it is shabby at best.
This is the sort of topic that kind of enrages me. You're not Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed a child, you're a selfish, demanding Hutt who expects to be entertained at your whim. There is no grey area here - you are taking the work of other people and denying them renumeration for it, simply because you're too impatient or greedy to do it right. My friend says this is the Veruca Salt generation, and I tend to agree.