Game of Thrones spoilers have flooded the internet practically since the show’s inception. Part of the reason for this is that GoT has been plagued with leaks for the last several of years.
TorrentFreak reported in December of 2015 that Game of Thrones was “the most pirated TV-show on the Internet.”
The show has held the top spot for episode downloads through BitTorrent since 2012. The 2015 season finale episode of GoT has been downloaded 14.4 million times alone. That figure is more than double the 6.9 million that second place, The Walking Dead, garnered. TorrentFreak states that the number of downloads Game of Thrones received was higher than the number of traditional viewers in the United States. Most of the downloads occurred after the show had aired, but occasionally episodes leak before airing, which sends spoiler writers into a frenzy.
This time Game of Thrones, Episode 5, Season 6 has leaked, and is making the rounds on torrent sites, and it seems HBO is to blame for the leak. According to The Verge, the episode, entitled “The Door,” was placed on HBO Nordic, which is an on-demand website available in Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. The episode was inadvertently put on Nordic a day before it was set to air. Although HBO took it down within hours, pirates had enough time to grab the show and spread it about the internet through torrent clients. Of course, GoT spoiler articles soon followed the leak.
Game of Thrones has suffered from many leaks such as this latest one. In 2015, the first four episodes of the season leaked online before Episode 1 had even aired. Tech Times reported that leak as “an unqualified disaster.”
The continual problems of piracy of the show have prompted HBO to cease releasing advance screener copies to the press. This policy was instituted just this year. In place of the screeners, HBO has begun holding private screenings in Hollywood for invited critics only.
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In addition, the premium cable movie network has been working to remove any past Game of Thrones episodes that it finds uploaded to the internet. Sometimes downloads are removed within minutes of being posted. The network’s vigilance does not end at the pirated show episodes, either.
James Geddes of Tech Times reports that HBO “has even attempted to censor spoilers posted on the Web revealing upcoming plot points and other details about the show.”
Censoring Game of Thrones spoiler content would be an arduous task. That sort of content permeates the internet, and most content of such a nature does not violate copyright law, so it is unknown how successful HBO has been in this regard.
Despite all the precautions and efforts that they have made this year with GoT, the show has leaked yet once again.
Geddes points out the irony in the fact “that this year’s biggest leak of a Game of Thrones episode comes from the network itself.”
A spokesperson from HBO said, “This past Sunday’s episode was made available early on the HBO Nordic platform temporarily due to a technical issue, at which time it seems to have been copied. Upon learning of the incident, we used the available means to limit further access to the episode.”
However, by that time, it was too late. Initially, the torrents being posted were of poor quality, but at some point a 1080p version was uploaded, and downloads went through the roof.
Home Box Office might have to call this one “lesson learned,” but the question remains: can HBO really keep the lid on Game of Thrones, one of the most talked about, and anticipated, television shows currently offered?
[Image via HBO]