HBO is monitoring popular torrent swarms of the recently-aired first episode of Game of Thrones season seven, TorrentFreak reported.
Torrent indexers listing the new episode included The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and, EZTV.
Episode 1 aired internationally at 03:00 SAST, and began appearing on torrent sites half an hour later.
This means a pirated version of the episode was uploaded before it had finished broadcasting on TV.
TorrentFreak reported that HBO’s anti-piracy partner, IP Echelon, started sending warnings to torrenters soon after the episode appeared online.
The warnings include the IP addresses of alleged BitTorrent peers, and they asked the ISPs to which the addresses are registered to alert their subscribers to prevent further infringements.
Game of Thrones torrenters have been in HBO’s sights since last year when the network started taking a tougher stance on copyright infringement.
Before season six started airing last year, HBO had a relaxed stance on piracy, saying that it was a compliment of sorts.
“It certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly in March 2013. Lombardo added that piracy comes with having a successful show on a subscription network.
Time-Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, who oversees HBO, echoed Lombardo’s sentiment in an earnings call later that year, saying that being the most pirated show in the world was better than winning an Emmy.Forum discussion