Is piracy flattery or flat out stealing? Well, I think both depending on perspective.. Networks obviously want high viewer ratings and no doubt enjoy the fact that a show is popular, but they also want (and have certain legal precedents established) to control how and when viewers can watch their productions.
According to the list of the Most pirated Shows of 2012, “Game of Thrones” is the number one most pirated show of the year. “Game of Thrones” is aired by HBO, first in the US and only later in other countries. Most of the shows on the list are in a similar or related situation whereby either limited cable access or geographical location will not allow a portion of the population to view a live airing of the show under legal circumstances.
In a population of people who have become accustomed to ease and instant gratification, many viewers prefer to download a pirate and watch shows at their leisure. These pirated copies make no money for the network that originally airs a show in a specific time and place. So, in spite of the fact that those who partake in piracy may justify their actions by saying that producers, directors, actors, and associated bodies benefit from the popularity and exposure, networks argue that real money is being funneled away from the original destination making piracy a form of stealing; Thanks for the flattery, but stop stealing our shows.
What does this have to do with protection of property in industries outside of the television and media world? The message is universal from a protection standpoint (whether you make television, t-shirts, beer or coffee) protect your brand! Put yourself and your product in a better position before any conflicts arise. Register your rights before they are copied.