‘Game of Thrones’ Piracy for Season 4 Premiere Reaches Record Levels

The most pirated series on TV is showing no signs of losing that dubious distinction.

The fourth-season premiere HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Sunday became an instant hit on file-sharing networks worldwide, exceeding first-day piracy levels achieved by its third-season premiere well before its first 24 hours on the Internet. By all accounts, “Thrones” is peerless among TV shows in its ability to drive peer-to-peer copyright infringement.

Piracy-tracking firm Excipio detected 1.17 million unique IP addresses accessing torrents of the season premiere within the first 15 hours of the episode popping up online. That’s more than “Thrones” racked up in the first 24 hours following its April 1 release of the third season last year, which reached 1.15 million.

The United States is far and away the biggest source of that piracy, with Excipio data pointing to 198,000 unique IP addresses, almost 17% of total traffic. Australia and Canada trail with over 187,000 and 93,000 respectively.

While the prospect of mass freeloading on its hit series might seem worrisome to HBO, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has professed to not be concerned by the piracy, citing its promotional value. “Thrones” has also spurred some other digital issues, with the fourth season premiere causing HBO Go to crash Sunday.

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