HBO Puts Game of Thrones Pirates On Notice That They Are Being Monitored

Several years ago, HBO took the news in stride that its hugely popular Game of Thrones had broken a BitTorrent piracy record. HBO's programming president took it as a "compliment of sorts," further noting that the "demand is there" and that record breaking piracy numbers "certainly didn't impact the DVD sales." It was a refreshing viewpoint for an executive to take, but now more than four years later, HBO is growing tired of the rampant piracy. So much, in fact, that it is putting pirates on notice.

HBO is now actively monitoring torrent activity and sending out warning letters to Internet service providers (ISPs) whose subscribers are using their connections to illegally download Game of Thrones, and specifically the season 7 premiere that aired on television this past Sunday.  The warnings include IP addresses of alleged digital thieves and implore ISPs to alert their customers.

HBO Go Game of Thrones

"We have information leading us to believe that the IP address was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization," the notification starts out.

"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," the letter adds.

According to TorrentFreak, U.S. copyright law allows ISPs to decide for themselves whether or not to forward the DMCA notifications to subscribers suspected of illegally downloading content from the web. While it varies by ISP, many choose to cooperate as a courtesy to the rights holder.

This same situation played out last year and the year before that in regards to the fifth and sixth season of Game of Thrones. What we can surmise is that HBO is no longer taking rampant piracy in stride and will continue to try and track and ultimately stop Internet users from downloading and sharing its content. It is a futile battle in terms of wiping out piracy, though the letters might be effective in stopping some people from downloading future episodes. That is probably the best that HBO can hope for.

As added motivation, HBO encourages ISPs to let its subscribers know that there are ways of legally streaming HBO content on various devices by adding HBO to their television package.

Thumbnail Image Source: HBO/Time Warner Cable