Installments of the HBO show started popping up online a day before the season premiere.
Macall B. Polay / HBO
Fans of Game of Thrones — and of torrenting — got a surprise on Saturday night: The first four episodes of Season 5 were leaked online a day before the official premiere on HBO on April 12.
The first four episodes were sent out to the press for review on a DVD screener and, according to Mashable , the leaks appear to have come from one of those screeners, but the digital watermark is reportedly blurred.
A representative for HBO did not immediately reply to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment about the Season 5 leak.
Greg Spence, the producer in charge of post-production for Game of Thrones told The Denver Post a week ago that he was worried about potential leaks. “The cast is looping all over the world, sending files back and forth,” he said. “Artists are working in special-effects houses all over the world. The files are watermarked, and editors have to confirm in writing that they’ve deleted them.”
Spence clearly had a reason to be worried. The Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer leaked in January after screenings of the last two Season 4 episodes and the Season 5 trailer began in IMAX theaters. Soon thereafter, HBO released an official version.
Game of Thrones has been the most pirated show on the internet for three years in a row and after the trailer leak, HBO went to great lengths to combat that problem: The premium network announced they’d simulcast the show in 170 countries and they introduced the HBO Now service for $14.99, which doesn’t require a cable subscription. Time will tell if HBO’s efforts have any effect on piracy numbers.
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