Well, that’s put something of a downer on the day for HBO: TorrentFreak is reporting that the first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones series are showing up on major torrenting sites. Season five premieres tonight (Sunday, April 12) in the U.S., but eager fans prepared to overlook copyright laws can get started as soon as they like.
The show already holds the title of the world’s most pirated television program, but the timing will hurt HBO, particular with the Web-only HBO Now service waiting in the wings. If company executives were hoping to stem the tide of piracy with their new service, it looks like they’re going to end up disappointed — hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the available episodes in the first few hours.
“The copies were first spotted on the private torrent tracker IPT, but they soon made their way to more public sites such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and KickassTorrents,” explains TorrentFreak’s Ernesto Van der Sar. “One source informs TF that the leak most likely originates from review copies sent to the press.” The leaked content is only in standard definition, however.
HBO hasn’t yet responded to the leak, but the company is unlikely to be pleased after so much carefully managed build-up to the new season and its new efforts to try and fight back against the pirates. The fact that the final six episodes remain unleaked will be little consolation.
It also gives viewers and fans a problem: Spoilers. If you want to wait to see what happens at the start of Game of Thrones season five then you might want to stay off the Internet for the rest of the day.