Game of Thrones has been a worldwide phenomenon and reaches millions of people across the world. It has also been a prime target for digital pirates both in distributing copies illegally and attempting to get episodes of the show into the digital ether before the official release date (i.e. leaking).
Pirates love leaking because it creates a surge in demand for pirated content even from those consumers that would ordinarily use legitimate broadcasters. Getting a pirated stream of an episode online before the release can generate thousands of extra views and therefore higher advertising revenues.
Usually such leaks require pretty nefarious means, even bordering on digital subterfuge. Amazon Prime's German operation, however, inadvertently made available the latest Game of Thrones episode (S8E2) several hours before the worldwide release time (2AM BST on Monday 22 April, which is a primetime slot in the USA on 21 April), making the piracy particularly easy.
The mistake was seized upon quickly, and within minutes a series of torrents and illegal streams was available, and social media was awash with spoilers.
It is unclear whether Amazon Prime will face any sanction from the show's licensor HBO, which has become much savvier this year. In the past it has been rather blasé with its promotional screenings and early showings for journalists, which have led to significant leaks: most notably in 2015 when the first four episodes of the season hit the digital airways before the first of them had been released officially.
We will wait to see whether there are any consequences for this leak, as well as whether the pirates will have to be more resourceful if their attempts to leak the next episode.
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