‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Breaks Piracy Record (CDSA)

By Chris Tribbey

HBO’s massively popular “Game of Thrones” has consistently been a popular target for illegal downloads, and the June 14 season five finale was no different.

According to Bit Torrent news site TorrentFreak, the season finale set a new piracy record, with approximately 1.5 million downloads in just eight hours after the episode aired. TorrentFreak forecasts the episode to hit the 10 million-download mark in the next few days, and for the episode to break the all-time record for the number of file sharers sharing a single file at one time.

“Never before have we seen this many downloads in such a short period of time, and last year it took half a day to reach the same number,” the site reported. “The lower quality 480p copies of the show remain by far the most popular among downloaders, followed by 720p and 1080p copies, respectively.”In early April, before the season five premiere, the first four episodes of the season were leaked online, leading HBO to send thousands of copyright infringement letters to IP addresses associated with downloads of the episodes, demanding that the ISP associated with the subscriber “take appropriate action against the account holder.” HBO also sent takedown notices to Web sites hosting the pirated episodes.

But the threat of legal action hasn’t stopped fans of the show from stealing: TorrentFreak reported June 15 that nearly 250,000 people were sharing the episode at once less than 12 hours after it aired, with 150,000 people sharing a complete copy, and the rest still downloading.

The show has proven especially popular among thieves in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and India.

If the piracy numbers for season five of “Game of Thrones” holds, 2015 will mark the fourth straight year that the show has led the list of videos most often downloaded illegally.