The Game of Thrones season 7 premiere has been pirated an estimated 90 million times, with many viewers having viewed the first episode of the new season on illegal streaming sites and a fraction downloading torrents. Now HBO is firing back against those illegally sharing it, sending warnings to ISPs regarding alleged BitTorrent users that included the users’ IP addresses.
Data collected from the piracy monitoring firm MUSO (via Torrent Freak) reveals that the premiere was illegally streamed a whopping 77,913,032 times, while it was downloaded via public torrents 8,356,382 times. It was also downloaded 4,949,298 times from direct download sites, and 523,109 times from private torrents
“There is no denying that these figures are huge, so they’re likely to raise more than a few eyebrows in the mainstream industry, but it’s in line with the sort of scale we see across piracy sites and should be looked at objectively,” said MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley. “What we’re seeing here isn’t just P2P torrent downloads but unauthorized streams and every type of piracy around the premiere. This is the total audience picture, which is usually unreported.”
As a result, HBO is sending out warnings to ISPs informing them that their service users are downloading the episode. The notification reads: “We have information leading us to believe that the IP address xx.xxx.xxx.xx was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization.
“HBO owns the copyright or exclusive rights to Game of Thrones, and the unauthorized download or distribution constitutes copyright infringement. Downloading unauthorized or unknown content is also a security risk for computers, devices, and networks.”
No legal threat comes with these notifications, and ISPs do not need to contact their customers to inform them of the warning. However, HBO is currently tracking several torrents of the episode and taking a note of downloaders’ IP addresses, in an attempt to dissuade people from watching the episode using torrents.