A new season of Game of Thrones usually means recording breaking downloads, but for the season 5 premier of the hit HBO show, things are a little bit different time time. Different, but worse.
The usual pattern with Game of Thrones downloads is that a mere hour or two after the season premier airs on HBO, torrents spring up for the episode and promptly breaks all piracy records.
For the season 5 premier, the torrents that sprang up after the episode aired did not break any records, but this wasn't because piracy had been reduced, but it was because people had already downloaded the first episode, and also episode 2, 3 and 4, before the season premier.
The first four episodes of the new season was leaked onto torrent networks a day before the official airing date. The leak is a huge blow to HBO's efforts to reduce pirated downloads for the show, which included airing the new episodes simultaneously across the globe in 170 countries.
With four episodes to download, and with the unexpected timing of these downloads, no records have been broken as a result, but the first episode of season 5 had been downloaded more than a million times within the first 24 hours.
The leaked episodes were apparently taken from reviewer screener copies, with the watermark blurred out, and are not in HD. This leak may prompt HBO to improve their security measures when it comes to screeners, perhaps moving to unique watermarks for each copy to be able to better track where the leak originated from.