MUMBAI MIRROR (August 6, 2017)

After dragons and White Walkers, Game Of Thrones now has to deal with another dangerous enemy – leaks. When episode four of the latest season of HBO’s popular fantasy television series, Game of Thrones, started circulating on the web from Friday, before its official release on Monday morning (IST), it was first thought to have resulted from the cyber-attack on HBO servers earlier this week. However, it turned out that the leak originated from Star TV India.

Episode 4 of the show’s seventh season, titled The Spoils Of War, is set to go live on Star’s streaming service, Hotstar on Monday morning. However, a leaked, low quality version of the episode, bearing the ‘Star India Pvt Ltd’ watermark was available for download over the weekend through Torrents and on online discussion platform, Reddit.

Star India has confirmed that the episode was in fact leaked from its network. A statement from the company said, “This confirms the compromise of episode 4 of Game of Thrones, Season 7. We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.” Star India representatives declined Mumbai Mirror’s requests for additional information on the breach.

In India, Game of Thrones’ latest season is available online to Hotstar’s paying subscribers, but episode 4 was available to download in MP4 format through Star’s website, seemingly without requiring any sort of user authentication, reported. The leak has since been plugged by Star.

That Star India is at fault for an unaired episode of Game of Thrones making its way online through Torrents is ironic, since Hotstar’s widespread promotions for the latest season include hoardings around the city, boldly calling for Torrents Morghulis, which means, ‘Torrents must die’, a play on the term ‘Valar Morghulis’ in the show, which means ‘All men must die’.

This is the latest in a series of leaks that has given HBO executives headaches over the show’s last few seasons. The first four episodes of season 5 had leaked online early through advance copies that were sent out to select media, while an HBO subsidiary was to blame for a season 6 episode being available a day early.

The season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones shattered the series’ and HBO’s viewership records for a single episode, with 26 million people having watched it across platforms. The show is broadcast in 186 countries around the world through television partnerships and streaming services.

With just seven episodes rather than the usual ten, season 7 is Game of Thrones’ shortest. However, the 81-minute-long finale on August 28 will be the longest episode in the show’s seven-year run.
Most pirated show ever

Game of Thrones holds the dubious record of being the most illegally downloaded show ever. Last year, there were about 14.4 million illegal downloads of the fantasy drama per episode, according to the Guinness Book of World records. The HBO series got the title for the fourth consecutive year.