Pirates Shatter Filesharing Record With Game Of Thrones Season 5 Season Finale

HBO's wildly popular Game of Thrones just recently concluded its fifth season, which ranks as the most popular in the series to date in terms of viewership, both through official channels and via piracy. Speaking of the latter, the season finale set a new record in piracy with 1.5 million downloads in just eight hours. That number is expected to balloon to 10 million in the coming days.

It's not really a surprise that the finale of attracted so many illegal downloads -- while this represents more than any previous seasons, breaking unsavory records like this one is nothing unusual when it comes to Game of Thrones. The series has built up a rabid fan base in its five seasons, and piracy is something that HBO has been dealing with since day one.

Game of Thrones

There was a time when HBO took this sort of thing in stride.

"I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said back in 2013. "The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network."

That statement was in response to Game of Thrones breaking the record for the largest BitTorrent swarm ever, which has now been broken. However, it seems HBO is growing increasingly agitated at pirates plundering its content. Two months ago, HBO sent DMCA takedown notices to those who illegally viewed Game of Thrones. In that same month, it even threatened paying customers outside the U.S. who were using VPNs to access HBO Now.

Morality aside, one downside to pirating Game of Thrones is the picture quality. The majority of torrents out there are 480p copies.