‘Game Of Thrones’ Comeback Opens New Opportunity For Illegal Downloaders

HBO knows that other than the show’s avid supporters, certain people are more excited to watch the season finale of the Game of Thrones. The latest piracy data tells us that the coming of GOT opens a great opportunity, although not for its fans, but illegal downloaders.

Game of Thrones is finally coming back after a year of teasing us with short videos of trailers and photos. Avid fans and supporters of the hit TV series are excited to watch it on HBO and on its streaming service, both of which require subscriptions. But, these people only comprise 20 percent of the total population of GOT fans, while the remaining 80 percent watches the show through the illegal means of downloading.

GOT has a record-breaking history of being illegally downloaded

HBO argues that the episodes spread across different platforms with each requiring a subscription to access, but the piracy data tells us otherwise. It seems as if anything that’s ever been recorded is streaming which might be the primary reason why GOT is often watched illegally.

The Game of Thrones Season 7 was illegally downloaded more than 1.03 billion times as of September 2017, according to the latest piracy data. The season opener of GOT was pirated almost 120 million times in just three days, either via download or unlicensed streams. The majority of these downloads did not come from Torrent, as may have previously been the case, but through a new set of copyright-infringing streaming services.

The data gathered by Z6Mag shows that 77,913,032 views of the 7th season came from these streaming portals while Torrent traffic was restricted to only 8,356,382 downloads. The remaining 4,949,298 views were spotted from direct download sites, and 523,109 were seen through private Torrent networks.

Although the number of illegal activities soared high, GOT broke a series record for most legal viewings through live television or HBO’s streaming platforms with an outstanding 16.5 million views.

According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones wasn’t the most pirated show of last year, but that is because the show did not air any new episodes in 2018. The Walking Dead topped the list for last year’s most illegally downloaded series followed by The Flash. However, the sequence may change soon as HBO prepares to launch the final and most anticipated season of GOT on April 14.

GOT fans perpetuate the culture of piracy

Game of Thrones has become one of the most significant global entertainment phenomena of today, and piracy, to access episodes of the show, across the internet is almost inevitable. The increasing number of illegal activities from both downloading sites and unlicensed streaming services directly points to the fans of GOT. MUSO believes, based on the previous years’ data, that these supporters perpetuate the culture of piracy in the country which is becoming a huge problem.

‘In addition to the scale of piracy when it comes to popular shows, unlicensed streaming can be a far more serious type of piracy than torrent downloads,’ according to Andy Chatterley, CEO of the Anti-Piracy firm MUSO which released the 2017 figures.

Piracy is the act of taking and using of copyrighted or patented material without authorization or the legal right to do so. In this case, the illegal downloading and streaming of GOT episodes mirror what is happening in the online world where pirating is much more comfortable. Illegally downloading free movies and TV Shows can be done all over the Internet with only a minor knowledge needed on how to download a product.

The Role of HBO in Battling Piracy

HBO has always attempted to battle piracy, perhaps even more so than other networks. The company has a long history of sending out letters to internet providers of pirates, asking them ‘to inform the subscriber that HBO programming can easily be watched and streamed on many devices legally by adding HBO to the subscriber’s television package.’

HBO also recognizes that a certain level of piracy or its threat might be damaging; as a result, the company pledges to exercise maximum efforts in battling piracy.

GOT Season 8 will double the figure

MUSO predicts that as the new season is fast approaching, the number of people who are illegally downloading the episodes will be most likely to double. Game of Thrones has come to an era of ‘Golden Age Television’ after The Sopranos started it four years ago. That age also coincides with the rise of piracy, and today, with the advancement of technology and streaming services such as BitTorrent becomes too mainstream, there isn’t much solution to stop fans from illegally downloading shows.

Moreover, streaming services came into the picture in an attempt to help curb piracy but actually had the opposite effect. It shows that the streaming portals heighten the issue on illegally downloading TV programs and movies.

Piracy is a serious crime, if caught, but catching someone pirating movies and shows is relatively hard now over the internet. The chances of getting caught are very slim, and doing so rarely resulted in legal action.

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