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'The Onion' Pokes Fun at 'Game of Thrones' Piracy

16 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

A day after the season four finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” reportedly set a new piracy record, satirical news site “The Onion” had fun with the trend, running the headline “Shocking ‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Concludes With Arrest Of 5 Million Viewers For Piracy.”

“'Wow, you expect some major shakeups in the final episode of the season, but that part right at the end when the FBI kicked in my door and told me to get on the ground? I did not see that coming at all,' Boston resident Peter Herzfeld said of the surprise season-ending turn, which left millions of die-hard fans of the fantasy series in a state of astonishment and disbelief as they were handcuffed by federal law enforcement officials and charged with violating intellectual property law by using BitTorrent and similar file-sharing services,” the article reads.

While FBI agents likely won’t be beating down too many doors over “Game of Thrones” piracy, the June 16 season four finale did set a new piracy record, according to BitTorrent tracking site Torrent Freak.

A quarter million people were sharing a copy of the finale simultaneously, and during the first 12 hours after the show aired, approximately 1.5 million file-sharers downloaded a pirated copy. Torrent Freak estimates 7.5 million people will download a pirated copy in the next few days, more than the estimated 7.1 million who watched it live.

“The latest episode resulted in the largest BitTorrent swarm ever,” Torrent Freak reported. “That is, never before have so many people gathered to share a single file on the Internet. A few hours after the first torrent of the show appeared on torrent sites, the Demonii tracker reported that 254,114 people were sharing one single torrent at the same time [and] 190,701 were sharing a complete copy of that particular torrent while 63,413 were still downloading.”

Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada were home to the most pirates of the episode, all countries where the show is available through legal channels.

Among those legally viewing the episode, HBO reported viewership was up 32% over the season three finale.

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