While screener episodes of HBO's new Game of Thrones season haven't been made available to the press -- and reportedly won't, to preserve the show's secrecy this season -- U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly seem some of the episodes already.
Apparently irked by this double standard, a writer for Refinery 29 reports that she has filed a request through the Freedom of Information Act to get her hands on Obama's copies.
Freedom of Information requests can be made of any record "controlled by" the U.S. government, so it's debatable whether a screener that's property of a third party and provided to the President as a courtesy would count.
(This is how screeners are generally provided to the press: with a caveat that if you're asked to surrender it, you must, since it's technically studio property.)
Per the government's own verbage, "A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. You can also specify the format in which you wish to receive the records (for example, printed or electronic form). The FOIA does not require agencies to create new records or to conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests."
That said, there are a number of exemptions to FOIA, one of which is that if the document contains trade secrets or commercial information, the organization can deny the request. Another exemption exists if the information is not allowed to be released by another statute -- and copyright law could certainly be invoked as a statutory reason not to release the studio's private property to the press -- especially since typically members of the public or the press are allowed to share FOIA'ed documents without restriction once they've been deemed acceptable for release.
Game of Thrones Season Six debuts on Sunday, April 24 -- which is way, way sooner than a FOIA request would be responded to anyway.0comments