HBO's Game Of Thrones is one of the most truly epic and grandiose TV series the world has ever seen. The current climate within the world of entertainment is showing an increase in high quality, large budget TV projects that blur the lines of quality expectation between TV and film. These developments are an expensive business in terms of attracting larger named actors and bigger, better production levels - so the rise of profit munching internet piracy is becoming an incredibly counter intuitive problem for the future of these ground breaking shows.
GOT's worldwide popularity has earned it a range of awards and accolades over the last five seasons. Unfortunately for it's network, the list it has just topped is a far less desirable achievement: the most pirated TV show of 2015.
The latest season of Game of Thrones reached some of its highest ratings so far for its season premiere and finale episodes and was the winner of 12 Emmys out of a staggering 24 nominations. 2015 was the year in which fans saw the world of Westeros expand beyond the source novels into unwritten territory and was boldly responsible for some of the most controversial scenes shown on TV such as the sexual assault depicted in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, the sacrificial burning of a child during “The Dance Of Dragons” and the nude walk of shame in “Mothers Mercy”. Despite being over halfway through the downtime between seasons, the show is still very much prevalent in the media with fans never tiring of theorizing over unknown plot lines and hinted at developments.
Pirate torrent site TorrentFreak have just released their most pirated lists of the year for film and TV and it is no real surprise that Game of Thrones has the number 1 pirated series slot for the fourth year running, with the site estimating 14,400,000 downloads in total (half of which were within the first week of the season 5 air date). The show has not had a good year in terms of crafty internet pirates, screener copies of the first four episodes of season 5 were leaked from a press screening prior to the season's TV premiere and download numbers such as these can have a significant future effect on production value - and therefore standards within a high budget show.
TorrentFreak's list of the top 10 pirated TV shows is as follows:
1. Game of Thrones2. The Walking Dead3. The Big Bang Theory4. Arrow5. The Flash6. Mr. Robot7. Vikings8. Supergirl9. The Blacklist10. Suits
The networks' measures to prevent illegal downloads of their copyright property (such as launching service HBO Now and airing each episode simultaneously internationally) have done little to curb fans desire to have these shows for free on their own time - in exchange of breaking a law that is proving almost impossible to police on a scale such as this.
The piracy problem has caused copyright holders to turn to law enforcement agencies for assistance as the levels of lost revenue become more and more severe with each year. This is a constant game of catch up with the legal system thwarted by ever growing new technologies and new torrenting sites popping up to replace successful shut downs. It is clear that the current copyright protection measures are not sufficient to combat the internet piracy issue, but the concept of legally increasing the amount of control law enforcement have over the internet is seen by many as a potential infringement on freedom of speech.
It is worth noting that this list does not reflect legal online streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu, only TV airing and the actual figures could differ from the given estimation. However the list of the most pirated series is an interesting measure of shows popularity that could ironically skew the very qualities these series are popular for in the first place.
Game Of Thrones season 6 starts airing on HBO in April 2016.