reply to G_Poobah
Re: I for one, see the downfall of HBO on the hori While I don't disagree with your idea, HBO is in somewhat of a bind. I'm sure they would love to do what you're suggesting, but it would kill the rest of their business.
They sign deals with carriers (Cable, Satellite, etc) to be the exclusive providers of their content. If they offer the content to just anyone, then they are competing with themselves. HBO's own advertising says call your cable or satellite provider to subscribe (note that it's a subscription service).
The last thing you want to do is piss off, let's say, Comcast. Comcast now has to pay for the bandwidth over their own cable modem network to the same customers that used to pay them directly for HBO? I don't think so...
(As an aside, many of the cableco's now offer the additional HBO channels through digital cable. It's a great way for them to push the new technology on analog customers. The quicker they can cut analog service, the quicker they can offer more HDTV and faster internet service. DOCSIS 1.1 in a purely digital plant can offer individual customers FIOS-like upload speeds...)
I'll give HBO some credit for attempting a cheaper solution than a bunch of lawyers - but as many people have said, most of the current bittorrent clients auto-ban users that send bad data.
Long live USENET!