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HBO sends official warnings to Game of Thrones torrenters

HBO obviously isn’t happy that so many people illegally downloaded episodes one to four of the new season of Game of Thrones. The company has sent out thousands of warnings to Internet users involved in sharing the torrents — although there will be no legal repercussions this time around.

As TorrentFreak reports, the takedown notices have been issued through HBO’s anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon. They instruct ISPs to identify the IP addresses associated with the infringements and pass on a warning about repeated violations of their terms of service — ultimately users could be cut off, but that would be down to the Internet Service Provider.

Related: Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of the year (again)

These DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices are nothing particularly new, but they might make some users think twice before pirating material again — that is, if the alerts ever reach them. It’s estimated that the leaked episodes, copied from a review screener, were downloaded millions of times before the season five premiere last Sunday.

It’s not just those who download torrents that HBO is targeting. The company has also been tracking Periscope users who attempt to livestream the show over Twitter. Again, repeat infringers run the risk of having their accounts blocked if they continue to ignore copyright laws.

Such has been the runaway international success of Game of Thrones, the problem of piracy has long been one that HBO has had to deal with: Some 8 million people tuned in to watch the first episode of the new season or caught up with it on the same day. One way in which HBO is hoping to combat illegal downloads is by making the show more accessible through authorized means — hence the launch of HBO Now, the firm’s standalone online streaming service.