Television’s most ambitious show ever, “Game of Thrones,” returned to the small screen this week and with it, no doubt, millions who will be looking to illegally download the latest episode from file sharing sites across the world.

Besides the epic battle that is slowly unfolding in George RR Martin’s fantasy drama, another battle is hotting up in the real word, this one being between the law and illegal sites that allow fans across the world to download without paying.

When the first episode of season 4 aired Monday night, it was reported that at least 61 websites were providing a means for individuals to download.

According to the BBC, the City of London police have a range of methods they are looking to employ in a bid to increase pressure on these sites. Steps will include replacing adverts with warnings from the police and serving “prevention and deterrent” notices.

Piracy is clearly a big issue and with one episode of Game of Thrones being the most downloaded ever, at close to 6 million downloads, this is a show that is at the center of the downloading problem?


As Wired points out, most people don’t download so that they can access material without paying for it, they do it as a matter of convenience. “For the last decade evidence has mounted that, while some measure of media piracy is inevitable, it thrives on inconvenience: given the means, viewers will generally pay for a legitimate source, but only if they can get to it more easily than an illegal one. That’s the backbone of services like iTunes and Netflix: making those transactions easy and, critically, fast.”

And therein lies the problem. HBO doesn’t allow sites such as Netflix or Amazon Prime to show Game of Thrones and one way or another, fans of this hugely popular show are going to make sure they see it.

Add to this the fact that many viewers in the UK don’t have Sky, as well as countries around the world having to wait prolonged periods for their favorite show to air and you have a problem that isn’t going to go away any time soon.

A note from the author

What’ more, GRR Martin doesn’t appear to have a huge issue with piracy either. Rather, he thinks part of the problem lies in the long delays viewers are subject to. He told The Verge “You know, if Australia was getting the show the same day that America was getting the show, then maybe the Australians wouldn"t be downloading hundreds of thousands of copies. “

Season 4 of “Game of Thrones,” premiered in the US on April 6 and in the UK April 7, will tell the tale of the second half of the 3rd book in the series “A Storm of Swords” from the series “A Song of Fire and Ice.”