Hit series ‘Game of Thrones’ breaks digital piracy records

Josh Peterson | Tech Editor

HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” returned on Sunday, breaking records for illegal downloads in the process, despite many efforts by the company to combat digital theft.

Game of Thrones set the record in 2012 as the most illegally downloaded series. On Monday, TorrentFreak reported that illegal downloads of the series set a new record – topping one million downloads over the file sharing protocol BitTorrent in less than a day.

Suzanne Pinto, vice president of corporate affairs at HBO, told The Daily Caller that as part of the company’s effort to address piracy, “HBO removed the window between the U.S. and international debut of Game of Thrones, essentially launching its third season with a worldwide premiere.”

“From initial data, we have seen the benefits of this strategy with viewership up significantly in international markets in comparison to last season, as well as a record premiere here in the U.S.

“Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon, and HBO uses every tool available to protect its content,” said Pinto, noting that “unfortunately, with such success also comes theft.”

“Many anti-piracy tactics have been effective and we will continue to improve those efforts so we can continue to deliver high quality, acclaimed programming to our customers,” she said.

The new BitTorrent record followed up comments from the company’s programming president, Michael Lombardo, who recently said over the weekend to Entertainment Weekly that piracy did not negatively impact DVD sales.

Instead, he even called it a “compliment of sorts” to HBO’s marketing of the series.

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