Crackdown on illicit Game of Thrones downloads

Game of Thrones stillEnforcement agencies are mobilising against websites pirating the much-anticipated fourth season of Game of Thrones, which kicked off this week.

The first episode in HBO's cult fantasy series had barely been aired by the time numerous torrents appeared on file-sharing websites. Just a few hours later - as this article is prepared - the most popular torrents are being seeded by tens of thousands of people around the world.

Cue a response by police and other enforcement agencies, although the scale of the problem facing those trying to disrupt the copyright infringement must be daunting.

In the UK, for example, the City of London's recently-formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is identifying websites hosting torrents or streamed video and targeting their owners, encouraging them to remove it and stay within the law.

If that fails, the sites are added to PIPCU's recently-launched Infringing Website List (IWL), which sets out to disrupt the funding of illegal websites by targeting their advertising revenues. A recent report by the Digital Citizens Alliance estimated that in 2013 piracy websites generated $227m from advertising.

When the IWL was launched, a few days ago in collaboration with the creative and advertising industries, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, Head of PIPCU, said: "If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime."

"The IWL also serves as a safety tool, ensuring the reputation of advertisers and brands are not discredited through association with illegal websites," he added. The project was launched after a three-month pilot showed that targeting sites in this way led to a 12 per cent reduction in advertising from major household brands.

One of the reasons Game of Thrones is so widely pirated is that HBO has avoided making it available through legitimate third-party channels such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, instead limiting access to its own pay-per-view and subscriber services.

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top