The “Game of Thrones” season 4 premiere, “Two Swords,” is likely to break more piracy records, after its Season 3 finale became the most-ever shared illegal download. One “Game of Thrones” season 4 torrent -- a protocol that allows a user to download complete files through a shared network or partial files -- has on Monday afternoon more than 128,866 users sharing and downloading the file on Kickass Torrents, a popular outlet for downloading pirated content.
The “Game of Throne” torrent does not actually contain the episode, it contains a reference to file the user wants to download. In the case of the most popular “Two Swords” torrent, more than 90,000 users have a piece of that file. The 42,886 users downloading the torrent are getting bits of “Two Swords” from the 90,000 users who completed the download. After the download is complete, all of the pieces are combined to create the “Two Swords” file and the 42,886 join the other 90,000 if they choose to share.
On Kickass Torrents, one “Two Swords” torrent has 94,835 users sharing and 38,657 users currently downloading the file. A higher quality version of the “Game of Thrones” season 4 premiere has 49,220 users sharing, known as Seeders, and 34,636 downloading, known as Leechers.
Within an hour after “Two Swords” aired there was a torrent available on Kickass Torrents. At the time of this writing there are 71 “Game of Thrones” season 4 torrents of varying quality and user activity.
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“Game of Thrones” been the most pirated show for the last two years running. The season 3 finale, “Mhysa,” had a record-setting 171,572 users active on one torrent file, with 128,572 sharing and 42,886 downloading the episode. The “Game of Thrones” season 3 premiere previously had the record of simultaneous sharing with 163,089 users sharing and downloading one “Valar Dohaeris” torrent.
According to TorrentFreak, “Game of Thrones” averaged 5.2 million downloads per episode of the 2012/2013 season with “The Big Bang Theory” coming in at a distant second with 2.9 million downloads.
In a 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said of “GoT” piracy, “The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.” Lombardo said the number of illegal downloads is something of a “compliment” and his statement holds true in regards to sales figures.
In a statement sent via email last week, a spokesperson for the cable network said, "HBO diligently protects its content. In addition to numerous anti-piracy tools, we also have made great strides in recent years to deliver the content to all our partners around the world within 24 hours of the US premiere so there is no delay in being able to view our acclaimed programming."