For the past two years, Videology, a bar/screening room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has hosted screenings of Game Of Thrones, like hundreds—maybe even thousands— of bars across America. But now The Village Voice reports that the iron throne of HBO has issued a cease and desist letter to the bar, demanding that it stop screening Game Of Thrones. “They said that it’s not allowed to be shown in a public setting,” Videology co-owner James Leet says. (Videology also uses its screening room to host viewing parties of other popular shows, like Mad Men. Leet says this is the first time the bar has been asked not to screen a particular show.)
It must be a busy time for the legal team over at HBO, which has also sent takedown notices to Periscope after the live-streaming app was used to broadcast the season five premiere of Game Of Thrones. HBO is likely cracking down on how people access its subscription-based content in the wake of the recent leak of the first four episodes of Game Of Thrones (a leak that didn’t seem to affect the ratings for the first episode, by the way). But it also has an established track record of threatening legal action against businesses that publicly screen its shows, going back to the cease and desist letters sent to bars that hosted Sopranos viewing parties in 2002.
For now, Brooklyn’s GOT fans will have to find different places to dress up in Westeros garb and geek out on Sunday nights. But, as Leet points out, that shouldn’t be hard: “There are probably a dozen bars within a three-block radius of us that will be showing it,” he said. “For them to single us out and tell us that we can’t show it is very disappointing.”