HBO Warns Torrent Users

As you probably already know the first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones season 5 leaked prior to the airing of the first episode.  This brought on a flurry of downloads for what is already the most pirated show on television.  In the past HBO has taken a hands-off approach to torrent use but not anymore.  They have asked ISP’s to send warning letters to those who were caught downloading the first episodes.

Game of Thrones

How did HBO figure out who was downloading the leaked Game of Thrones episodes?  As always they use a third-party company to track users by the IP address used to download the show.  That didn’t work for those using a VPN.  Those who weren’t protected can expect a letter in the mail.  It doesn’t appear any legal action is planned.  HBO is warning users this time around but they could take things a step further in the future.

Here’s a copy of the letter received from a Bell Canada customer:

Sir/Madam Subscriber, We are writing this message on behalf of HOME BOX OFFICE, INC. (“HBO”), with physical offices located at 1100 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, United States (Attention: Director of Anti-Piracy). We have received information leading us to believe that an individual has utilized the IP address $MYIP at the noted date and time below to host and/or facilitate the downloading and/or streaming of content (listed below) in which HBO is the copyright owner of such content (the “HBO Properties”). No one is authorized to exhibit, reproduce, transmit, or otherwise distribute HBO Properties without the express written permission of HBO, and the unauthorized distribution of HBO Properties constitutes copyright infringement. This conduct may also violate other laws, international law, and/or treaty obligations. The title in question is: Game of Thrones As the owner of and/or subscriber using the IP address, HBO requests that you immediately take steps to prevent further downloading or uploading of HBO content without authorization. We have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law, and we are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. This letter is not a complete statement of HBO’s rights in connection with this matter, and nothing contained herein constitutes an express or implied wavier of any rights or remedies of HBO in connection with this matter, all of which are expressly reserved. We appreciate your assistance and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response is requested. Any further enquiries can be directed to Please include this message with your enquiry to ensure a quick response. Respectfully, Adrian Leatherland CEO IP-Echelon Email: Address: 6715 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, 90028, United States

Why did HBO decide to take a stronger stand on the torrent downloads?  They have taken a very lax approach in the past.  That has helped GoT progress into the most pirated show.  It also added to the merchandising profits and popularity of the show.  The difference seems to be their new streaming service, HBO Now.  It seems clear that HBO is going to start cracking down on torrent users.  Will it help or just drive more users to VPN?

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